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Shocking bedside truths uncovered.


From pesky bed bugs and dust mites to stubborn blood stains and dead skin sheddings - the mattresses we sleep on are a breeding ground of diseases. And if you think it gets any better at the hotels, it is far worse.

A reputed five star hotel where over 170 mattress toppers were covered with 40-50 per blood stains; a popular hotel apartment where 21 rooms were heavily infested with beg bugs; a third hotel that wanted 500 mattresses cleaned following a 'large number of guest complaints' - recent cases handled by UAE-based cleaning companies are a shocking revelation.

Cleaning experts said despite stringent hygiene protocols laid down by the authorities, few hotels have a budget for mattress cleaning. At homes too, residents very rarely give mattresses a thought, with the result that they are the most unhygienic spaces around us.

Gaston Dexter Pitchen of Allerx Cleaning Services, a green mattress cleaning company, said: "The awareness on mattress cleaning in the UAE is close to zero. Although mattresses have a durability of 15-20 years, poor hygiene forces hotels to simply throw their mattresses out every few years. This can be avoided with regular cleaning, but it is rarely done in spite of official standards."

He said: "In the capital, for instance, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority stipulates that establishments show hard evidence (annual plans, implementation checklists, etc.) that an annual deep cleaning schedule exists, but most do not have a budget for mattress cleaning."

It's the same story across homes too. Chadi Jader of The Healthy Home, another green mattress sanitisation company, said: "You may have a spotless house but would well be sharing your bed with millions of dust mites, bed bugs, mold, bacteria and viruses that greedily make use of your mattress as a reproduction haven. These microscopic creatures have been medically proven to trigger several health problems such as asthma, allergies and eczema."

Jason Thomas, an Al Barsha resident, said he had long been looking for a solution to deal with his family's health concerns. While his wife complained of sinus, his 14-year-old daughter had issues with eczema. "When someone suggested I get the mattresses at home cleaned, I said why not. I had never thought of that before. It is shocking how much dust settles into the mattresses. My wife and daughter feel much better after the cleaning which is recommended every six months."

Jader said dust mites breed actively in hot and humid climate like the UAE. "This coupled with the fact that we shed skin which settles into the foam makes the mattress very conducive for mites. So they have to be dealt with from time to time."

Similarly, Pitchen said it is important to look out for potential bed bug infestations. "Bed bugs are nocturnal creatures and are attracted to heat and carbon-di-oxide. That's why they bite us on the upper arms or the neck, mainly in the regions that we breathe out. Their presence often goes unnoticed although the parasite feeds on their blood, causing itchiness and rashes. As a mattress cleaner, we use traps to monitor these bugs and employ a green technology that makes their survival difficult."

Did you know?

*Humans spend an average of eight hours daily or a third of their entire lives sleeping on mattresses, yet they are never cleaned.

*An average two million dust mites can collect in a mattress in six months, excreting twice their body weight per day.

*Dust mites double the weight of the average mattress after10 years and increase the weight of the average pillow by 10 per cent every year.

*The allergen contained in dust mite excrement is a known cause of allergies, asthma, coughing and other respiratory problems.

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Publication:XPRESS (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Feb 5, 2015
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