What 'mite' be sleeping under your duvet?

In response to Dreams’ research on dirty beds this week, Johnson Cleaners have revealed that almost half of the country doesn’t know where to get duvets washed and over 70% are unsure of how to clean feather pillows.

It is known that duvets can harbour live and dead dust mites, skin scales and fungus, which can lead to allergies such as rhinitis and infections such as conjunctivitis. Unless duvets are washed every six months, they can contain up to 20,000 live house dust mites* together with bacteria and fungal spores which can exacerbate eczema and even cause new allergies. According to a survey carried about by Johnson Cleaners, only two thirds of the population cleans their duvets twice a year. The findings also revealed that half of the country would choose to throw away bedding, rather than have it professionally cleaned.

Domestic washing machines are often too small to clean a duvet effectively and professional laundering is more likely to kill off dust mites and the allergens produced by them. Each of Johnsons’ giant washing machines takes 200kg of laundry and uses specialist steam heating and 99 washing programs to ensure duvets are treated with care while being thoroughly cleaned. Johnson Cleaners pillow cleaning service uses ultra violet light to rid feathers of any hidden nasties, as wet washing can cause feathers to decompose and change the shape of the pillow. Throwing your bulky duvet away results in it being dumped in a landfill site, where it cannot biodegrade. The growing number of duvets which clog up these sites is a major concern to the environment, as not enough is known about the impact a discarded duvet has once it’s thrown away.

We also found that 36% of respondents said they would be more likely to buy a new duvet if it was looking a bit distressed and needed cleaning and only 1 in four people would choose to buy a new mattress protector, rather than washing it if it needed cleaning. 

*Study by the University of Worcester, 2006. 

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