When we think of personal hygiene, we usually focus on things like taking a shower or washing our hair, but keeping clean extends beyond just personal care. Maintaining a clean space is also important, but many people make some common hygiene mistakes, especially when it comes to their bedroom, without even realizing that they're an issue. Sure, it's okay if your bedroom is a little messy here and there, but if you neglect to take care of your living space, it could actually end up harming your health.
Since we spend about one third of our lives in our bedrooms, according to Health, it's important we spend time tending to its upkeep. This can not only help benefit our physical health, but also help with our mental health, our sleeping habits, your allergies, and hey, maybe even your sex life. Setting aside time each day or week to keep your bedroom clean can really play a big role in how you feel.
To make sure you're not only keeping your bedroom nice and comfortable, but keeping your health as best as possible as well, you'll want to avoid these gross bedroom hygiene mistakes. Luckily, there are some easy ways to fix them — you'll thank me later.
1Letting Dust Bunnies Pile Up
Not wiping down the dust that gathers or spending any time vacuuming might seem harmless, but even if you don't see much to the naked eye, these particles could still wreak havoc on your health and wellbeing. Chronic exposure to dust mites can cause allergic reactions as well as worsen symptoms of asthma, according to the American Lung Association. Be sure to use a high-efficiency vacuum and wipe up surfaces where dust accumulates, such as the baseboard of your bed.
2Leaving Your Sheets Unwashed
"Dust gathers everywhere, but the bed sheets take the most of it since that’s where body skin cells gather the most," says cleaning expert Lauren Haynes over email. "Where there are human skin cells, there are dust mites to eat them. So to prevent this from happening, change and wash your bedding regularly." To prevent all that sweat, oil, and dust from building up, it's best to wash your sheets once a week, according to today.com.
3Leaving Your Upholstered Headboard Untouched
"Upholstered headboards are beautiful, but they can be germ magnets," says Debra Johnson of Merry Maids over email. "Not to say you shouldn’t have one, but it needs to be cleaned pretty frequently — weekly is ideal — and make sure to clean the wall behind it, too. You will be breathing in this area every night, so avoid awful allergies and sicknesses by just giving it a weekly cleaning."
4Using Air Fresheners
Using air fresheners and candles might seem like they would make your room feel nicer, and although they do smell nice, they emit some toxic chemicals that you're not going to want in your bedroom. Many of these products contain toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde and phthalates, which can not only cause allergic reactions, but can cause neurological damage as well as cancer, according to the Scientific American. Look for natural ways to keep your bedroom smelling fresh, like using essential oils or opting for vegetable-based candles, such as 100 percent soy.
5Not Changing Your Pillowcase
"Because women tend to wear makeup and use skincare products before bed, these products may rub off on pillows," says dermatologist David Lortscher, MD over email. "How often to change your pillowcase is not an exact science, but I would recommend doing so at least once a week — more often if you perspire lots. Every other day works for some people who flip their pillows, and some patients put a clean white T-shirt over their pillows every night. For most, a clean pillowcase once or twice a week works well."
6Using Toxic Chemical Cleaning Products
You might be proud of yourself for actually cleaning up your room, but if you're using the wrong products, you're actually putting your health at risk. Many chemical cleaners contain toxins and carcinogens that can cause anything from skin irritation to cancer, according to a study done by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Instead, try cleaning things with different combinations of vinegar, lemon, and baking soda or opt for more natural products.
7Letting Mold Grow
If you use the heater during the winter months, it's not uncommon for mold to build up on places like the windowsill. Leaving it untouched is not just unattractive, but can have some negative repercussions on your health. Exposure to mold can lead to nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing, eye irritation, skin irritation, or even more serious chronic lung illnesses, according to the CDC.