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This Oft-Overlooked Area Is A Hotspot For Germs At Home

Minimal but lived-in bedroom with personality
Image by Yasmine Boheas / Unsplash
January 10, 2022
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Your home should be a place to relax and breathe easy—but for some, it's a source of allergies and irritation. If you suspect that the toxic load in your home is affecting your health, you'll want to call up an inspector like Ryan Blaser of Test My Home who can analyze samples for things like mold spores and allergens. To collect such samples, there's one dusty, dirty area of the home he would probably beeline to right away.

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Why the area under your bed is a hotspot for germs.

"When I go to do home inspections, usually the best place for me to go to collect dust is underneath the master bed," Blaser tells mbg. "That's the place that doesn't get vacuumed very often, people don't usually move things under it around very often, and it gets pretty nasty."

Once these under-bed samples are analyzed in a lab, Blaser explains that they're often found to contain dead skin cells, broken down fibers, insect parts, and even mold spores and pesticides. Lovely!

These irritants are not what you want to be sleeping on top of night after night. Not only can they lead to sore throats and stuffy noses upon waking, but they may also negatively affect your sleep quality1—and your overall health in turn. Those who are allergic to things like dust mites2 will have an especially hard time with a dusty under-bed.

It's a pretty gross problem with a pleasantly simple fix: Be diligent about cleaning this oft-neglected area. Blaser says that vacuuming under your bed once a week wouldn't be excessive—especially if you have carpets, which tend to trap more dust than hardwood.

In the process, you'll have to move around anything you're storing under your bed. This is yet another reason to declutter the home goods, mementos, and clothes you're keeping down there, or at least store them in boxes that are easy to maneuver. According to feng shui design philosophy, doing so will also help open up the flow of positive energy in your bedroom. We'll take it!

To stay on top of your new under-bed cleaning routine, you could tack it onto a weekly sheet-washing ritual (bedding is another huge source of irritants and allergens). As your sheets go through their hot wash, run a vacuum underneath your bed, taking care to get into any hard-to-reach nooks and crannies. While you're at it, you might want to vacuum your mattress too—just in case.

In the process, you'll make your sleep space a sanctuary once again, well before the quick-wash cycle is even up.

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The bottom line.

Since we spend so much time in our bedrooms, they can quickly become the dustiest, dirtiest rooms in our homes. Keeping your sleep space clean with regular vacuuming, washing, and laundering will help put this problem to bed.

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Emma Loewe
Emma Loewe
mbg Sustainability + Health Director

Emma Loewe is the Sustainability and Health Director at mindbodygreen and the author of Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us. She is also the co-author of The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care, which she wrote alongside Lindsay Kellner.

Emma received her B.A. in Environmental Science & Policy with a specialty in environmental communications from Duke University. In addition to penning over 1,000 mbg articles on topics from the water crisis in California to the rise of urban beekeeping, her work has appeared on Grist, Bloomberg News, Bustle, and Forbes. She's spoken about the intersection of self-care and sustainability on podcasts and live events alongside environmental thought leaders like Marci Zaroff, Gay Browne, and Summer Rayne Oakes.