Au­tumn home clean

Don’t suf­fer a winter of bugs and mould

EADT Suffolk - - Inside -

AU­TUMN ap­proaches . . . as sunny days come to an end and tem­per­a­tures creep down, we’ll be turn­ing on the cen­tral heat­ing and hun­ker­ing down in­doors. Be­fore you hi­ber­nate, how­ever, it might be an idea to give your home an au­tumn clean.


Cen­tral heat­ing and closed win­dows re­duce ven­ti­la­tion, cre­at­ing ideal con­di­tions for dust mites, bac­te­ria and mould, which can lead to health prob­lems.

Mould and con­den­sa­tion oc­curs when mois­ture builds up, of­ten a re­sult of dry­ing wash­ing in­doors, boil­ing ket­tles, cook­ing and sim­ply from breath­ing out moist air as we spend more time in­doors. High in­door hu­mid­ity en­cour­ages bac­te­ria, dust mites and fungi to grow, which can lead to res­pi­ra­tory in­fec­tions. Peo­ple who are al­ler­gic to dust mites’ fae­cal mat­ter can be at in­creased risk of asthma, eczema and al­ler­gic rhini­tis.

So, the mes­sage is, open a few win­dows to let in some air, even if it’s cold out­side. Air­ing rooms and bed­ding will help to get rid of dust mites, which love warm en­vi­ron­ments but can’t tol­er­ate cold. Low hu­mid­ity caused by cen­tral heat­ing can also be a prob­lem as it dries the nasal lin­ing and eyes, in­creas­ing sus­cep­ti­bil­ity to cold viruses.

You can mea­sure hu­mid­ity with a hy­grom­e­ter. It should be 30%-50%. Use a de­hu­mid­i­fier to re­move mois­ture. If lev­els are be­low 30%, a hu­mid­i­fier will add mois­ture.

The best place for dry­ing clothes is al­ways out­doors, but in winter that’s not al­ways pos­si­ble. So, open win­dows or use a de­hu­mid­i­fier when dry­ing laun­dry. Keep fur­ni­ture away from walls to en­able air to cir­cu­late.


Your car­pets might look clean but they can still con­tain a huge amount of dirt and other nas­ties. Cen­tral heat­ing and lack of fresh air pro­vide the right con­di­tions for bac­te­ria, moulds, mites and yeasts to flour­ish in car­pets. So vac­u­um­ing doesn’t just mean get­ting the cleaner into every nook and cranny. Un­less you empty the bag and clean the ma­chine’s fil­ters, brushes and at­tach­ments reg­u­larly to en­sure it’s work­ing ef­fi­ciently, you’re wast­ing your time.


An as­ton­ish­ing 45% of peo­ple in the UK have never washed their du­vets. This means they could con­tain up to 20,000 live house dust mites, plus bac­te­ria and fun­gal spores. Du­vets should be washed or dry-cleaned every few months and re­placed every five years. Vac­uum your mat­tress weekly us­ing an up­hol­stery brush attachment, and wash your mat­tress cover every month at 60°C at least.

What are you shar­ing your bed with . . . ?

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