10 Things in Your Bedroom That Are Especially Dirty

You may be forgetting to clean these important areas

White nightstand with white night lamp and decor items next to bed with pillows and white headboard closeup

The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

You change the sheets weekly. You dust your dresser and don't let the dirty laundry pile get too high. You have an essential oil diffuser and a fresh bouquet of flowers. But despite all this cleaning—your bedroom is dirtier than you think. Here are 10 secret spots in your bedroom you're forgetting to clean.

  • 01 of 10

    Your Pillow

    White and yellow pillows on bed closeup

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

    After a long, hard day, you probably let out a sigh of relief when your head hits the pillow. Unfortunately, pillows quickly build up excessive amounts of health busters such as bacteria, mold spores, and dust mites. Pillows should be replaced at least once per year if they aren’t washable. Use an anti-allergy cover to protect your pillow, and change the pillowcase every few days. 

    Over time, pillows lose support and shape, leaving you with a less than comfortable night of sleep. If your pillow doesn’t spring back to its original shape after being folded in half, or it’s a foam pillow with an indentation of your head permanently etched in place, it’s time for a replacement. 

  • 02 of 10

    Houseplants

    Small houseplant on nightstand next to candle and black eyeglasses

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

    While houseplants add a powerful punch of colorful interest to your bedroom—and even help purify the air—if you tend to overwater them, not only will your plants eventually succumb to root rot, but it’s quite likely that their soil will become home to mold spores. The solution is simple—only water houseplants when the top of the soil is dry, and never leave them sitting in a tray of water.

  • 03 of 10

    Pets

    dog and cat cuddling
    Mr Fox/Getty Images

    Sure, Fido and Mittens are beloved family members, but when it comes to bedtime, they are better off in their own cozy beds, not sharing yours. Not only are pets likely to disrupt your sleep, but their fur is full of dander, dust, pollen, mold spores and bacteria. Give your four-footed friends their own beds next to yours to avoid dirtying your ben covers.

  • 04 of 10

    The Vacuum Cleaner

    Pink handled vacuum passing over beige rug for cleaning

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

    Although your vacuum cleaner is the easiest way to tackle dust bunnies in the bedroom, if you are using a vacuum without a HEPA filter, you could be sucking up dust, pollen, dirt, and grime, only to have it spray right back out into your bedroom air. Look for a vacuum cleaner with HEPA filters that contain even the smallest particles, and if the vacuum uses bags, make sure those are made from HEPA material as well. 

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    The Humidifier

    Humidifier emitting steam next to houseplant

    The Spruce / Sarah Lee

    While running a bedside humidifier in your bedroom is a great way to lessen the dryness in the air of your home, if you forget to change the water daily or neglect regular cleaning of the humidifier, you might soon find yourself coping with the effects of mold growth in the humidifier. Change humidifier water daily and clean it thoroughly at least once per week. 

  • 06 of 10

    Your Mattress

    Mattress corner with no bed sheets closeup

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

    You spend a third of your life on your mattress, and it has the skin flakes, bodily fluids, dust mites, bacteria, dust, and grime to prove it. Your mattress requires regular cleaning just like the rest of your bedroom. You’ll also benefit by protecting the mattress with a protective cover that’s impermeable to dust mites, fluids, and small particles.

  • 07 of 10

    Door Knobs

    doorknob Alesie Rosenrot / EyeEm

    Alesie Rosenrot / EyeEm / Getty Images

    You probably touched the door knob on your way in and out of your room to do some cleaning and never even thought about cleaning it. All you have to do is think about the number of times that door knob is touched and by how many people and all the places those hands have been, and you know that your door knobs need a good wipe-down to clear off the germs and bacteria that have been left behind. Make sure to wipe down the knobs on each side of the door, and get the closet door knobs too.

  • 08 of 10

    The Carpet

    White shag rug in front of houseplants, stacked books and chair corner

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

    Sure, carpet is soft and pleasant on bare feet, making it the most popular flooring choice for the bedroom. But carpet holds on to every speck of dust, dirt, pollen, animal dander, and general grime from shoes and feet, and it can even become home to fleas if your pets are infested. At a minimum, your bedroom carpet needs weekly vacuuming and a good shampooing every few months. An easier choice for keeping clean and cleaning would be wood or laminate.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Your Window Shades

    Wooden window blinds next to yellow chair and corner shelving with plants and decor items

    The Spruce / Amelia Ingraham

    Every slat on a window shade is a spot for dust, pollen, and dander to collect. They may seem difficult to clean, but once you see how much grime comes up on a cleaning cloth, you'll know it was worth it. Your curtains could use a good clean, too. If you can, toss them in the wash, or take them to the dry cleaners. Reading the tag indicating the material they're made of should tell you what you need to know about care.

  • 10 of 10

    Light Switches

    light switch

    Cristian Diaz / EyeEm / Getty Images

    Same as the door knobs—just thinking of the number of hands that have touched the light switches in your room should make you reach for the cleaning solution. Wipe down light switches on the wall as well as any light switch remote controls or twist knobs on lamps.

Article Sources
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  1. Salo, P., Wilkerson, J., Rose, K., Cohn, R., Calatroni, A., & Mitchell, H. et al. Bedroom allergen exposures in US householdsJournal Of Allergy And Clinical Immunology141(5), 1870-1879.e14. doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2017.08.033

  2. Basic Facts About Mold and Dampness. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  3. Pet Allergy. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.