How to Clean the Bedroom: After a long busy day, there is nothing better than lying in bed – sometimes with a good book –and letting our stresses and aggravation that has built-up gently flow out of us like a calming stream of tranquility.
The trouble is our calming stream of tranquility won’t flow very far when we see the untidy mess which is our bedroom. Something is going to have to be done about this, so let’s start with the bed!
Let’s transform that flaccid, pile of cloth you call your bedding into a shining example of crisp, fresh laundry. Before you do anything, however, always check the labels on your items to make sure there are no special cleaning requirements.
You should change your sheets weekly to keep the bed fresh and to protect your linens from wear. Pillowcases should be changed twice a week but comforters, duvets, and quilts need only monthly laundering.
Many bedspreads are hand or machine washable, so before you try this at home, dip a corner of yours in a detergent solution to check for colorfastness. If the color bleeds, don’t wash it because your bedspread must be dry-cleaned only.
Also, be very careful when attempting to remove stains from delicate satin or silk bedspreads. You can easily ruin these, so I recommend only dry-cleaning them.
If your spread is washable, treat any stains first with lemon-juice or an eco-friendly pre-wash spray before throwing them in your machine (we cover ink stains later).
For really big bedspreads, visit your local launderette and use a large commercial washing machine. An overstuffed domestic washer won’t clean it properly and the wet-weight of the spread can strain the machine.
Once washed, dry your bedspreads on a clothesline or in a large commercial dryer.
For blankets, try vacuuming them occasionally to suck up any dust and give them a good airing out on a clothesline to freshen them up.
Many are washable – even some woolen blankets – and these you should treat in much the same way as you would bedspreads.
There are a few other things you should consider though.
Before you wash a blanket, mend or replace any loose bindings.
Never dry-clean or mothproof electric blankets – only wash them! The chemicals in these can easily damage the wiring.
This has happened to me so many times when the kids were growing that it became almost a routine. Once, I was wearily trying to clean off a pen mark, only to realize it was part of the pattern!
So, for an ink-stain, firstly, soak the patch with rubbing alcohol and then blot away at it with an old cloth to lift the mark out of the fabric.
If the alcohol isn’t working, add a drop of laundry detergent, and keep blotting. Repeat the process until all the stain has come out.
Once stain-free, and if safe to do (read the care label), launder the bedspread in a washing machine or hand-wash. If it is not washable, then air it dry on a clothesline.
Always use the hottest setting on your washing machine that is safe for the material – not very energy conscious, I know, but it will help to kill any bugs in there like germs and dust-mites. Having said that, though, cotton can tolerate a lot of heat, but polyester blends should only be washed in warm water.
Just like clothing, separate your sheets and cases by color so any dark dye runs don’t ruin your lighter bedding.
Even if you own a dryer, always hang your sheets outside to air in the sun if you can. Sunlight acts as a natural disinfectant and helps to brighten whites.
If you’ve left your sheets in the dryer too long, they may have become badly wrinkled. If this is the case, throw in a wet sock or cloth with your bedding and dry them for another 10 minutes or so.
According to some statistic, 96 percent of Americans never wash their pillows and the main reason for this is because they don’t know how to. Like all stats, this should be taken with a big pinch of salt, but, even if only half true, that’s an awful lot of people resting their heads each night on bedding that’s swimming in drool, dirt, pollen and maybe even nasty bugs!
So how do you clean them?
As always, check the labels to see if they’re machine-washable or dry-clean only.
For feather pillows, it is dry-cleaning only, I’m afraid! You can spray a little fabric freshener over them to kill off any odors, but for cleaning, call in the professionals. If you try washing them in the machine, you run the risk of mold building up inside and stray feathers clogging up your appliance.
Foam pillows, however, can be machine washed with a little care! Use a gentle warm water setting on your machine and wash the pillows separately from the rest of your laundry. This is to allow them space and avoiding crushing. Also, because they only need a little soap, use about half the detergent you would normally for a load of clothing. Why waste money putting in any more then you have too?
This is a noisy one but works nicely! You can simply leave your foam pillows to air-off naturally but this can take an age. If you own one, put them in a dryer at a low setting – any higher and you will ruin them. Now the best bit! Throw in a few tennis balls with the load. Watch in amazement as the balls collide with the pillows, plumping them up in the process, thus helping to maintain their shape.
When was the last time you cleaned – or even turned over your mattress, Hmmmm?
A month ago? Six months ago? Never?
Mattresses take all sorts of abuse. Apart from sleeping on them seven hours a day / 365 days of the year – we can have all sorts of spills and accidents, such as having your kids wet the bed. Not surprisingly, they can become lumpy and heavily stained. Moreover, they can get very dirty in other ways.
Like all mammals, people sweat, lose hair, and deposit hundreds of skin flakes every day. A lot of this yucky “dander” ends up in your mattress, as well as pollen grains that can drift onto the surface and accumulate in the fibers. Mattresses can therefore be a snugly place for germs and mites to thrive.
So how do you clean them?
Firstly, every month or so, strip the bed and vacuum up as much dust as you can from the mattress using your upholstery attachment.
Then, every six months or so, turn the mattress over and spin it around 180 degrees so you’re sleeping on the opposite side with your head and feet swapped to the either end. When attempting to do this, don’t afraid to ask for help because a mattress can be heavy and the last think you want to do is to hurt your back. As well as evenly spreading the wear and tear on the mattress, this can also shake out dust and other nastiness, so it’s advisable to vacuum under the bed after flipping. This is when my husband always starts sneezing.
To keep the dust down in the first place, buy an anti-allergenic bed cover. As the name suggests, this helps to prevent the buildup of allergens as well as dirt on the mattress. Purchasing one of these is a must for asthma suffers.
First thing to check is the warranty for your mattress as it may cover stain removal. Also, check to make sure you won’t void the warranty if you inadvertently damage it through cleaning.
To clean stains, add a cup of mild laundry detergent to a cup of warm water in a bowl and mix the solution with an electric whisk until lots of suds form. Then take a dry sponge and dip it only into the foam, avoiding contact with the water. Now work the sudsy sponge into the soiled patch. Use a second sponge, slightly dampened with warm water, to wipe away the suds and then leave the mattress to thoroughly dry. Do not allow the interior padding to get wet. To speed drying, either air the mattress outside in the sun or rig-up an electric fan to blow across the surface.
If the laundry detergent isn’t working, repeat the above with mild dishwashing soap.
Finally, try a good-quality upholstery shampoo, but follow the instruction on the bottle to the letter!
Generously sprinkle the mattress with baking soda, leave it on overnight and then vacuum up the powder the next day. The soda soaks up any moisture and the nasty smells, too!
These can be tough to shift – especially if done long ago – but far from impossible!
Lightly pour some white vinegar onto a dry sponge or towel and then blot firmly at the stain. Use this sparingly to avoid over damping the mattress. Then dry with baking soda using the method suggested above.
Another tough stain to remove is blood – especially dried! Apply a little hydrogen peroxide to a white towel or cloth, then using pressure, blot the soiled area. Work from the edges to the center of the stain until no more blood appears on the towel. Then apply baking soda as before to dry.
One final note: Always wait for a mattress to dry completely before putting the sheets back on; otherwise, molds and mildew may grow on the surface.
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