Education Articles

Preparation and Maintenance of a Dust-Free Bedroom

Bed with white sheet and pillows

The instructions offered below may seem unnecessarily severe, but experience has shown that a dust-free environment for even a part of a 24 hour period will be substantially beneficial for the dust sensitive patient. It is impossible to control the dust factor throughout the home or place of work, but the sleeping quarters do lend themselves to rigid control.
Infiltration of dust into a bedroom is insidious and cannot be controlled by ordinary house cleaning methods. Dust filters in the room from around the windows and spaces in the frames. Old dust, which is most antigenic, also comes from other rooms in the house, while many heating systems are dust circulators.

Pillows, mattresses, box springs, bed pads, blankets, bead spreads, comforters, quilts, stuffed furniture, rugs and drapes all break down to produce substances of allergic importance and if mites are present all become collectors of mite antigen.

Cleaning Walls, Ceilings, and Floors

Before cleaning the room, remove all furniture, rugs, carpets, curtains, and drapes. All the clothes closets should be emptied (keep clothes elsewhere or keep clothing scrupulously clean, dust free, and store in plastic bags). Clean the vacant room as follows:

Seal all furnace pipes leading into the room, clean the walls and ceiling with a damp cloth. Scrub the woodwork and floors in the room, scrub radiators, ceilings, walls and floors of closets and wax the floors. Linoleum is the preferred floor covering. Hardwoods are also satisfactory.

If mold has grown on walls or window seals, it should be washed off with soap, water and household bleach or a potent mold inhibitor.

Preparation of Beds and Bedding

Scrub the bed frames and springs. The room should contain mainly beds of metal or wood. When box springs or mattresses are used, they must be covered with dust proof coverings or if uncovered, vacuumed weekly. In humid climates where mold can grow, fiber or synthetic cover maybe necessary.

Care of Bedding

Foam rubber or a synthetic (Dacron) pillow must be used. Do not use feather, kapok, or down pillows. Allergen proof coverings are also available and can be used on pillows. Use freshly washed cotton bedding, cotton sheets, and pillowcases. Use cotton, polyester, or synthetic fiber blankets. Unnapped 100% wool blankets may be tolerated. Do not use quilts, comforters or mattress pads. A cotton blanket folded in half may be substituted for a mattress pad. Wash blankets every 4-6 weeks. A dust proofing product in the rinse cycle will greatly reduce the amount of lint and airborne particles. Insecticides are too hazardous to use in the control of mites.

Dust proofing

There are dust proofing products available, which inhibit dust formation on furniture, rugs, blankets and drapes. It is recommended that this type of product be used in the dust free room in particular, as well as in the rest of the house to immobilize old dust and retard the formation of new dust. These are easily applied, either by an aerosol spray or simple spray equipment.

General Instructions

  • The dust free room must be cleaned daily with an oiled or damp cloth, and given a thorough and complete cleaning once a week. The patient, of course, should not be in the room during cleaning. If possible, keep this room for sleeping only; dress in another room. At all times, brush clothes and shoes off before entering the bedroom, since these may carry in the allergenic pollens, molds and dust.
  • Keep the doors and windows of this room closed as much as possible, especially when not using the room. An air conditioner may be needed during the summer to keep the room comfortable for sleeping. Avoid drafts. Keep humidity as low as possible to prevent mold growths.
  • Articles of furniture which contain allergenic dust should be removed from the house. If this is not possible, each article should be frequently and thoroughly vacuumed at a time when the patient is out of the home. Following the vacuum cleaning the house should be thoroughly aired out. Questionable furniture that is retained should be sealed with a dust proof cover.
  • If the patient is a child, do not keep toys which will accumulate dust in the room. Use only washable toys that have non allergenic covers and stuffing, and which are heat dried thoroughly to prevent mold growth. Avoid toys with animal hair covers or stuffing with feathers, sawdust, kapok, or hair.
  • Remove all dogs, cats, birds, and other pets from the house. Avoid carpet pads that contain animal hairs, coarse vegetable fibers, or animal glues. Pets such as dogs, cats, birds may contribute to dust allergies and should be kept out of the house. Do not use insect sprays or powders. Avoid odoriferous substances, such as camphor tar, room deodorants, etc. Be sure all clothes that have been put away are well aired before using them.
  • Electrostatic air filters are available as single room units or for complete home air filtration. These units are helpful in removing large amounts or particles of dust, pollen, and mold spores from the air, in the home as well as filtering pollen and mold spores from the outside air, thus removing a potential source of allergen exposure. Since some of this equipment may produce excess ozone, installation should always be discussed with the physician prior to purchase.
  • Room sized air cleansers should be run continuously and the windows and doors kept closed to prevent contamination from other rooms or outdoors. The collecting plates on electrostatic type of air cleaner should be cleaned frequently according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Dirty collecting plates and inefficient filters and may produce ozone which is irritating to the eyes and respiratory tracts. None will be effective unless their installation is properly engineered. Therefore, always deal with established, reputable heating and ventilation contractors, and consult your physician.

Go to next article: Airborne Allergies

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