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Following FlyLady's BabySteps: Day 15

Updated on July 29, 2013

Today FlyLady’s BabyStep challenge was to make our bed first thing in the morning. I never EVER make my bed. Not because I’m lazy or unmotivated, but for one simple reason…dust mites. I mean, come on, you've heard the adage "don't let the bed bugs bite"...

Does making your bed encourage dust mites to settle in?
Does making your bed encourage dust mites to settle in?

What Are Dust Mites?

Dust mites are small insects that thrive in a warm moist environment. The tiny creatures are invisible to the naked eye, and they feed off of flakes of dead skin. Unfortunately, your bed is the perfect home for them. While you are sleeping you are not only adding to their food source, but also keeping the bed warm and humid exactly the way they like it.

Believe it or not, it is possible that your bed could be housing up to 6 million of these tiny insects.

Dust mites aren’t dangerous, but many people who have indoor allergies usually suffer from allergies to dust mite waste. Asthma suffers also have a hard time dealing with dust mites as exposure to the bugs could bring on asthmatic reactions.

When children are exposed to dust mites they could quite easily develop a life long allergy. There is also the chance that exposure to dust mites while young might lead to other complications such as asthma and eczema. Ever notice that most crib mattresses are covered with plastic? It may be to keep the mattress waterproof, but there is the added bonus that dust mites cannot live in that environment.

Why I Quit Making My Bed

Several years ago when I was going through another cleaning and organizing binge, I went to the library and checked out several books to help me. I mostly just skimmed them for ideas. I would only stop and read if something caught my attention. One of the books said to stop making the bed. A book on cleaning that said to stop making the bed? Yes, that definitely got my attention. The book implied that an unmade bed is more healthy and sanitary than one that was made. By leaving your bed unmade, you were letting the bed dry out and air out keeping the dust mite population at bay.

According to research done at Kingston University, dust mites cannot thrive in the dry conditions of an unmade bed. They need water from their surroundings to live. Researcher Dr. Stephen Pretlove suggests, “Something as simple as leaving the bed unmade during the day can remove moisture from the sheets and mattress so that the mites will dehydrate and eventually die.”

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That was all I needed to stop making the bed.

To me, it made perfect sense. You lay in bed all night sweating and shedding skin. When you make your bed the next morning, you are effectively sealing the little buggers in for a day of binging and multiplying. Ewww!

Now I’m sure I could just let my bed air out for an hour or two to affectively have the same result. I have to admit, a bed that has been made does look much neater in the room, but ever since I read that book I’ve never felt the same about making my bed. It actually disgusts me. Oh, I could go out to the store and buy one or more of the myriad of products on the market that proclaim to protect your bed of dust mites. For some reason though, it just seems easier to not make the bed.

My encased dust mite playground
My encased dust mite playground
My fridge before.
My fridge before.


I stumbled out of bed this morning and made the bed first thing. Yes, I cringed a little knowing I was creating the perfect breeding ground for the dust mites, but I am trying to follow these FlyLady BabySteps as much as I can. After getting my daughter on the bus, I set out to do my FlyLady morning routine. These routines were becoming second nature to both my friend and I.

Today, I spent my 15 minutes de-cluttering the front and sides of my fridge. It was the only logical choice since Kelly’s mission was to wipe down the major appliances in the kitchen. My fridge was so covered with my daughter’s art work that would be impossible to wipe it down with out cleaning it off first. I love having her artwork displayed on the fridge, but some of it did need to be put away in a box so she could have it in the future.

After 15 minutes my fridge was a much better place to display my daughters art.
After 15 minutes my fridge was a much better place to display my daughters art.

In the allotted 15 minutes I was able to strip everything off the fridge, wipe the fridge down, and put back up my favorite pieces of her artwork. The fridge looked much better. Since it wasn’t so cluttered, it made a much better showcase for her precious handiwork.

I then reset the timer and wiped down the rest of my major kitchen appliances. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about doing the two tasks back to back, but 30 minutes really wasn’t to over whelming for me. I was, however, glad to be done FLYing for the day.

My friend also had a successful FlyLady day. She was like Super FlyLady today.

“I shined my sink, emptied the dressed and all that stuff. Made the bed. For my 5 minute rescue we worked on the toy room (ugh). 2 minute hotspot was a chair that collects jackets and all kinds of stuff. My 15 minutes I spent on a couple of wire mesh things that hold bills and papers and had gotten way way way out of hand It looks good. I did 2 loads of laundry and made spaghetti sauce and meatballs. So all in all, a pretty productive day.”

There was no way I could keep up with her. She was really FLYing now!

Day 15...complete!

I’ve always heard that it takes anywhere from 21 -28 days to form a habit. After only 15 days though I feel like my friend and I are establishing some great habits that we can take with us long past the 31 days of FlyLady BabySteps.


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      Sally 5 years ago

      In Anne of Green Gables, Anne turns down the bed before breakfast and then goes upstairs to make the bed after breakfast. Turning down the covers (over the end of the bed) gives the bed a chance to air and dry and you still get to have a neat made bed for the rest of the day.