Healthy Home, Healthy Lifestyle

The Bacteria Timebomb in Your Home

 Most of us never give a second thought to how long we've had that old chopping board - or those pillows, even that hairbrush.

But while they may look clean and serviceable enough these seemingly innocent house-hold items can harbour potentially harmful bacteria if used too long, regardless of how often they are cleaned.

With the help of scientific experts we examine how often you should spring clean those everyday items - and when it's time simply throw them in the bin...

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A Brand-NEW pillow doubles it weight in three years, thanks to the remains of dust mites that build up inside it. This could aggravate hay fever, eczema or asthma, particularly since your face is touching the pillow and you will be breathing in the remains explains Professor Jean Emberlin, director of Allergy UK. Dust mite waste leaves people more susceptible to rhinitis (stuffy nose) and sinusitis. Washing your pillow will help-do so every 2 months at a minimum of 60c if you suffer with asthma and can afford it buy yourself a hypoallergenic pillow which is made from foam.

Duvets also harbour dust mites and skin debris in the same way. In one study by the University of Worcester, ten typical duvets were analysed and scientists discovered they contained up to 20,000 live house dust mites along with bacteria and fungal spores. Duvets should be washed every six months.


REPLACE: Pillows, every two years and Duvets every 5 Years



We excrete half a pint of moisture every night, says the Sleep Council. This, and the annual 1lb of skin scales we shed, provides a constant source of food for dust mites.

The average bed contains more than 10,000 house dust mites (resulting in more than 2 million droppings), according to figures from Allergy UK. Even if you haven't got hay fever or allergies, being in constant contact can make you allergic, particularly if there are allergies already in the family, 

Keep mattresses clean by stripping and vacuuming them at least once a week.

Replace: every 5 years if you vacuum every week it can be up to ten years, if you have you mattress professionally cleaned every year, it could last you a life time. 


 Researchers at the university of Arizona recently found that 50 per cent of the vacuum brushes tested contained faecal bacteria; 13 per cent with the potentially fatal bug E.coli.

Spray the brush with a disinfectant after every use- traces of bacteria can survive five days inside the the vacuum after you empty the dirt, And disposable-bag vacuums promote more bacterial growth, says the study, so you may want to try the bagless variety.

Clean attachments once a week by washing in hot soapy water, or these germs can be transferred to upholstery and furniture and be picked up by hand.