Apr 13, 2018

Science I Like

Do not make up your bed. When you are sleeping under a blanket, your body becomes hot and sweaty. This creates the perfect breeding ground for dust mites which are microscopic bugs that can exacerbate asthma and allergies. Research from Kingston University has proven that the best way to get rid of dust mites is to leave your bed unmade and let it dry out. When mites are exposed to sun and air they get dehydrated and die.

Scientists have developed a computer model to track how changes in the home can reduce numbers of dust mites in beds. “We know that mites can only survive by taking in water from the atmosphere using small glands on the outside of their body,” Dr Pretlove said. “Something as simple as leaving a bed unmade during the day can remove moisture from the sheets and mattress so the mites will dehydrate and eventually die.”

The two-year project has attracted more than £200,000 funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. Dr Pretlove is working alongside built environment experts from University College London and the University of Cambridge. Zoologists from Insect Research and Development Ltd and the Royal Agricultural College are also part of the project team.