"Our bed is our sanctuary and there is nothing better than getting cosy after a busy day but if you knew what was lurking in your bedding you might think about your bed a little bit differently."
Expert advice on washing duvets and pillows (not just the covers!) this National Bed Month (March)
It’s National Bed Month – a time to reflect whether your bed is aiding sleep and relaxation, and the perfect time to stop and take stock of what could be lurking beneath your sheets!
We may snuggle down in them every single night, but pillows and duvets can house hundreds of thousands of house dust mites. Yet despite this, they are one of the most neglected items of bedding when it comes to washing – 20 per cent of us have never washed our duvet according to research*.
Laundry experts at leading homecare brand, Surcare, explain why washing duvets every six months, and pillows every three, is crucial to keeping dust mites and allergens at bay - with a no-nonsense guide to cleaning bedding.
Why house dust mites could be aggravating your allergies:
Claire Lancaster, from Surcare’s product development team, explains: “Our bed is our sanctuary and there is nothing better than getting snug and cosy after a busy day – but if you knew what was lurking in your pillows and duvets you might think about your bed a little bit differently.
“House dust mites are found in all homes – they are around 4mm long and feed off dead skin cells which have been partially broken down by moulds. Unfortunately, our beds provide the perfect conditions for dust mites to thrive – they love warm, humid environments and these little critters and their droppings can easily build up.
“If sleeping under a duvet with house dust mites isn’t unappealing enough, they could also be making you unwell. Allergies to house dust mites are extremely common and they can be linked to conditions such as asthma and eczema. Often it is the droppings that contribute to the allergy and these can cause symptoms even after the mite has died.
“Washing your pillows and duvets every few months will help remove any accumulated dirt, moisture and dust, keeping it hygienic and refreshing the filling. More importantly, washing at 60 degrees will stop dust mites in their tracks.”
How to make washing pillows and duvets a regular part of a regular cleaning routine.
Firstly – always check the care label. Each product will have specific washing instructions and synthetic and natural fibre (feather/down) duvets need to be treated differently.
If your duvet is synthetic it should be able to be washed at 60 degrees. Always wash as high as the care label allows for the best results and most hygienic clean.
Next, check that your duvet actually fits into the machine – allowing enough room for fabric and fibres to agitate inside and get thoroughly clean. Larger togs and duvet sizes (e.g. King and Super King), will probably need to be washed in a large capacity machine (the majority of modern washing machines now have a high capacity drum as standard). Also put your machine on an extra spin.
After the cycle, shake out the duvet while it’s damp to redistribute the filling evenly. Drying a duvet as quickly as possible is always advisable. We suggest in a tumble dryer for 45 minutes (if the care label allows) – or outside on a hot sunny day! Air the duvet before placing it back on a bed.
Natural duvets should be washed with extreme care. In fact, specialist cleaning is highly recommended, as natural filled products cannot be washed and dried at home, regardless of the capacity or capability of your washing machine.
It is absolutely ESSENTIAL that natural duvets be thoroughly dried. Even though a duvet may feel dry to the touch, the filling inside often holds on to moisture so if the duvet is not dried properly, rotting of the filling can occur.
If your duvet has been subject to a spillage or stain then you should mop up any excess liquid as soon as possible. Try and move as much of the filling away from the area you need to clean and tie the area off with an elastic band. Dab (don’t rub) the stain with cold water (hot will set the stain) and add a mild detergent or a specialist stain removal product for more stubborn stains. Then wash as per the instructions above.
Choosing the right washing detergent
It’s advisable to wash duvets and pillows with a gentle non-bio detergent to avoid skin irritation. If you suffer from allergies and sensitive skin you should use a fragrance-free washing detergent and fabric conditioner that has been created to be especially kind to your skin. Products that are dermatologically tested, and contain no unnecessary dyes, acids, enzymes and fragrances, help to support delicate skin because any ingredients that could cause irritation have been removed.
Surcare’s range of non-biological laundry detergents and fabric softener has a unique formula with 0% fragrances, enzymes, acids, and dyes and have been approved by Allergy UK and are proven to be sensitive skin friendly, without compromising on cleaning power. So, if you’re ready to get your duvet in the washing machine this National Bed Month, then changing your washing detergent could have added skin caring benefits.
For more information about Surcare please visit https://www.surcare.co.uk/