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Breathe Easier: Improving Indoor Air Quality in Your Bedroom


Studies show that poor outdoor air quality can worsen asthma and allergies. This news may make you think you need to stay indoors to avoid air pollution. But your indoor air may actually be worse than the outdoor air.

Proper asthma and allergy management involves more than taking your medicines. You also have to think about the quality of the air where you spend your time. You may have heard that you should reduce the allergens in your home. That’s a great start. But that’s only a part of what it takes to create healthy indoor air. 

The Truth About Indoor Air Quality

Particles or gasses that are not normally part of the air affect air quality. This is called air pollution. Air pollution can also happen indoors. Why is this?

  1. Bad outdoor air can enter your home. You bring outdoor air inside any time you open a door or window. You can also bring in pollen and smoke. Leaks around doors and windows can let polluted outdoor air in too.
  2. Indoor air also has allergens like dust, pet dander and mold.
  3. Building materials, furniture and carpets can release chemicals into the air.

Clean outdoor air needs to replace indoor air often or else the indoor air becomes more polluted. That means allergens, smells and pollutants stay in your home and recirculate.

If you have pollen allergies or allergic asthma, you’ll want to keep your windows closed when pollen is high. If you follow air quality reports, you’ll also want to stay inside in the air conditioning and keep your windows closed on days when the air quality is bad. If you don't have air conditioning and the heat is also high, consider going to places like the mall or the library to avoid the poor air quality and the heat. What can you do to improve your indoor air quality?

Improve Your Bedroom’s Environment

We spend one-third of our lives in our bedrooms. But it can have the worst air quality of any room in your home. Your bedroom may be full of allergens, asthma triggers, scents and chemicals.

Reduce Allergens and Triggers

The bedroom tends to have the highest amount of allergens. As you try to improve your indoor air quality, start with your bedroom first. Here are some ways to reduce bedroom allergens:

 If your bedroom has a connected bathroom, don’t forget about the allergens in there too.

  • Run a fan or vent for at least 15-20 minutes after showering to prevent mold.
  • Fix leaks in or near sinks, toilets, tubs and showers.
  • Allow towels and wash clothes to dry thoroughly after bathing.
  • Clean your shower, tub and sinks often with vinegar or detergent and water to keep mold from building up.
  • Clean under sinks and behind toilets often where mold and other allergens may build up.
  • If you already have mold, clean it as soon as possible with detergent and water. Wear a mask or have someone else clean it for you.

Keep the Outside From Getting In

When the outdoor air has poor quality, you’ll want to reduce it from getting inside as much as possible. It’s impossible to keep all outdoor allergens and from getting in your bedroom. But there are things you can do to reduce exposure:

  • Shower and shampoo your hair every night before going to bed to remove pollen from your hair.
  • If you work outside, change clothes outside of the bedroom.
  • Seal air leaks in windows and doors leading outside.
  • Use a Certified asthma & allergy friendly® air cleaner.

Reduce Scents and Chemicals

Scents and chemicals in your bedroom can affect your air quality. Even pleasant scents, like candles, plug-ins and potpourri, can cause asthma symptoms.

New furniture, especially mattresses, can have a strong scent. This is called offgassing. It is the release of gasses from chemicals called volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

While experts don’t know if VOCs have any long-term effects, they do know VOCs can have some short-term effects. Some VOCs can cause:

  • Eye irritation
  • Breathing problems
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Allergic skin reactions1

If you have asthma, let your new bedroom furniture air out in another room or garage before you move it into your bedroom. Remove any plastic or wrappings. You could also check with the company you buy your furniture from to see if they would let your furniture air out in their warehouse before they deliver it.

Paint and new building materials can release VOCs too. So if you remodel your bedroom, make plans to use another room until the scents are gone. 

The air quality in other rooms in your home is important too. Read about how to improve the air in your living room and kitchen.

1. Volatile Organic Compounds' Impact on Indoor Air Quality. (2017, April 19). Retrieved September 14, 2017, from

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Comments (43)

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Hi Nelson! Actually, indoor plants can be a source of indoor allergens:

Control Indoor Allergens:

Is It Possible to Control Indoor Allergens?

You can control indoor allergens with cleaning and reducing allergens in your home. The main sources of indoor allergens are:

  • Pets
  • Wall-to-wall carpet
  • Soft furniture
  • Stuffed toys
  • Bedding
  • Damp areas
  • Indoor plants
  • Mattresses that aren’t in allergy covers
  • Pillows and bedding you can’t wash in hot water

There may be more allergens on surfaces than in the air. Surface allergens enter the air easily when you disturb them by dusting or sitting.

Do you know what your asthma triggers are?

Hi, really love your tips so far on indoor air quality improvement. My question, you didn't make mentioned low humidity. This could also affect air quality. It will be nice if your next post emphasis on this area. Thanks a lot

Last edited by Melissa G

Thank you to everyone for sharing their tips to improve the indoor air quality in their bedroom!

We'd like to congratulate Tiffany F. as the winner of one of the certified asthma & allergy friendly® Dyson Pure Cool™ Link air cleaners.

Tiffany F. posted:

My daughter has asthma and I wash her stuffed animals monthly, and we are working on removing the carpet from areas of our home.  I am taking down her fluffy curtains to minimize dust and embracing minimalism when it comes to fabric soft surfaces in her room.  I vacuum daily with my Dyson HEPA v6 stick vacuum since the filter on it is so good.  We currently own 2 Germ Guardian HEPA air filters, one is in her bedroom and runs all night - but would love to trade them for a Dyson model!

Allergy Mom posted:

I have a 5 year old with cough variant asthma. In the fall and winter (perhaps due to the season change?), I notice his coughing becomes much worse at night and in the morning. I am new to dealing with asthma (not having it myself), and am trying to find ways to ease his symptoms.

This post and the comments were helpful! I’m going to make sure to do the following:

-showers at night 

-air purifier for his room

-thinking of taking out the carpet in his bedroom

-washing pillows and bed linens more frequently on the allergy wash setting 

-making sure to clean with safe cleaners (apple cider vinegar, for ex)

If anyone has had sucess with other things, please let me know! 

Happy cleaning!



Hello! My asthma is pretty much the same way. Best advice that I have found is, make sure your filters are changed regularly, for one. I have also used a vaporizer to help combat dry air. I also use a rescue inhaler as needed. 

These tips and blogs were very helpful! I have the coughing type asthma and also allergic to dust and chemicals and pollen and mold and some fragrances. I also have exercise induced Asthma so have severe attacks when cleaning. I already do some of the tips, but I'll add the rest to help my attacks. Thanks again!

I have an air purifier in my bedroom but not working good enough. I do have a ceiling fan and a tower fan in the bedroom since live in Az. I have a Dyson vacuum also. I definately need a better air purifier since I'm having to use my inhaler every night!

I've been allergic to dust, pollen and animals since childhood but suffered for years before it was diagnosed in my late teens as triggering my frequent asthma. Now I'm the mom of a kid with food and environmental allergies (and another without), and finding my asthma is worse than ever. We are downwind from the terrible California fires, and realizing that our indoor air purifiers and general good practices are not up to the task during this time of emergency. Thanks for the helpful tips - I wish you all clean air and healthy deep breaths! :-) 

These tips are a helpful guide and reminder especially at this time of year when many people start spending more time indoors for the cooler months and darker days. I keep in mind how the quality of our sleep space impacts how well-rested and healthy our bodies will be during the time it spends rejuvenating and recovering. 


We leave things like that in another room that can be ventilated or the garage or if need be we stay elsewhere for a few days.  Those chemicals can cause real problems unfortunately,  especially if you already have respiratory issues.  If you must have them near you then using a great air purifier, a mask rated n95 or above and appropriate antihistamines or decongestants are good options.   

My eyes burn from the chemicals with new furniture or mattresses, or even fabric.

I try to vacuum often, wash fabrics as soon as I bring them home, andkeep my home environment as clean as I can to reduce irritants in the air.

Allergymom: have you had him tested for allergies? I would say that is the first step. Once you find out what his allergies are, you can zero in on the things you need to concentrate on.

I too have cough variant asthma. I actually have no allergies, but I do have severe sensitivity to fragrance, so I have to be very careful with shampoos, soaps, laundry detergent and anything else that has added fragrance. (There are so many things that do). 

Good luck with helping your little gut to feel better.

I have a 5 year old with cough variant asthma. In the fall and winter (perhaps due to the season change?), I notice his coughing becomes much worse at night and in the morning. I am new to dealing with asthma (not having it myself), and am trying to find ways to ease his symptoms.

This post and the comments were helpful! I’m going to make sure to do the following:

-showers at night 

-air purifier for his room

-thinking of taking out the carpet in his bedroom

-washing pillows and bed linens more frequently on the allergy wash setting 

-making sure to clean with safe cleaners (apple cider vinegar, for ex)

If anyone has had sucess with other things, please let me know! 

Happy cleaning!



Thank you for this information! I'm just getting started in improving air quality in my home and this was very helpful.

I have a Split Level home and it's not ideal to have a whole house air purifier. Looking at stand alone ones, especially for my bedroom, will hopefully help me sleep better.

Last edited by Jerry

I have improved the air quality in my bedroom by: not using carpet,using an air conditioner with a good filter during the summer,using allergen blocking mattress and pillow covers and washing my sheets in hot water once a week! This has made a big difference in controlling my asthma and allergy symptoms!

At age 58, 5 years ago, I was diagnosed with asthma and allergies. I do my best to sweep the carpets, clean bed sheets, the mattress and dust the rooms. It is an on-going process and a air purifier would be a great help. It is scarry when I can't catch my breath enough to use the rescue inhaler. I use 2 inhalers and singular on a daily basis and any help would be great. Thanks for this offer Dyson!

I developed adult onset asthma in 2016. Unfortunately it is severe. I took it seriously in part because I am a nurse but because I ended up in the ED three times September 2016. I have never been more scared. I thought I was going to die the first time. I began to read up on taking control of all I could. I bought an air purifier, actually my husband did as I was couchbound. I bought a mattress cover, pillow covers and new pillows. Recently I decluttered my room and took out scarves I had hanging, hired help (grown daughter) to vacuum my room 2 x a week and have her wash my linens weekly. We started using chemical free soaps, shampoos, cleaners and detergents. 

Dyson is a well respected brand and I would love to be able to use their products in my home. 

We have to be very aggressive because my asthma and allergies are so severe, I've been intubated a couple of times in the last year.  We keep air purifiershow next to my side of the bed and an additional one near the foot of the bed.   Also next to the couch in living room.   We actually have them in every room but those are the important extras. I frequently, always when outside the house and occasionally inside,  wear a mask rated n95 or better.   All of my clothes and linens are rinsed three times and we don't have scented anything in our home ever.  We use a Dyson vacuum in carpeted areas and hard floors are constantly kept clean,  we use a portable Dyson to pick up anything the consistency of dust or sand. Our furnace/air conditioning filters are changed very frequently and we also keep the ducts clean.  Windows are never opened in the bedroom and rarely anywhere else.  When they are a mask and all filters on high is a must.  Pillows are also changed out regularly,  per my allergist 6 months is their max life. 

I have a drug allergy but I also have allergies that haven't been able to be diagnosed. I believe one of them is the Asian beetle but they don't have a test for it in my remote area of Doctors. I use a Holmes Air Purifier in my bedroom and I vacuum up the Beetles when I see them. They are already all over my windows upstairs as it is getting cooler out at night. I think this year is going to be a bad one based on my observation of their numbers thus far. I also wash sheets often and keep doors closed. It is very difficult when you don't know what is causing your problem. I have had all the tests they offer in the UP but they all come up negative. I hope I win this Dyson purifier as I'm sure it is top of the line and could really help. 


kuntzmd posted:

Over the past 3 years, I have become allergic to many thing including pollens and mold. I live in an environment where pollution has become a problem. Grew up in another part of the country. Stinks getting older. I have very old technology for air purifier. Can't find one that truly works. I currently vacuum4 times a week, bedding once a week, pillows once a month and replace every 6 months.

I have good results with the Germ Guardian 3-stage air purifier, made sure to get a floor-standing one large enough for the entire room plus a little. $89-99 at Best Buy a couple of years ago. It is same size as a column-shaped room fan. A little loud on high so I leave it running on high for a few hours before bedtime (even all day while at work) with the door closed, and turn it down when I go to bed. I can tell a difference in the air when I enter the bedroom.

Good graphic; I am a graphic designer, myself. :-) The article is concise and relatively thorough - even my CP specialist's secretary did not know to leave the bathroom fan on after showering! I use a 3-stage air filter in my bedroom, I wash the bedding weekly in hot water, as well as the bath towels from the en suite. I treat the tub and toilet with well-diluted apple cider vinegar or another non-toxic antibacterial frequently, running the exhaust fan (no window) and wearing a mask and rubber gloves. I press a wash cloth over the shower head after each use, it absorbs the water that would otherwise drip into the tub for a few minutes. I squeeze the cloth and lay it to dry (or put all towels straight into hot water laundry). The tub dries faster. I have removed all the carpet in my house, starting with the master bedroom. I researched and applied low-VOC concrete etching and paint materials for the concrete floors. I keep the bedroom temperature lower than before - including routing some air conditioning in favor of that room - and keep the humidity to less than 50% to lessen air particulates from dust mite activity. Also to combat dust mites, I put a waterproof and then a hypoallergenic mattress cover on, both, when the mattress was new. I wash both of those covers in hot water periodically and immediately put them back on; it is as dander-free as possible, therefore. I keep a spray bottle of eucalyptus oil and water in the bedroom, and lightly spritz the pillows with it occasionally between washings, allowing it to dry before bedtime. I sometimes use aromatherapy - a cotton ball with 3-4 drops of eucalyptus oil or peppermint oil on the nightstand to sleep. I do not store anything under the bedroom furniture so it is easier to keep those areas dust-free with a long-handled Swiffer duster. I have added whole-house filtration incl. UV light to the central air conditioning, had the ducts cleaned, and have periodic deep cleanings done by the best professional house cleaning service found. This has been esp. helpful, as is leaving shoes at front door rather than tracking allergens into the bedroom dressing area as before. There is no upholstered furniture in the bedroom, other than the bed.

For my bedroom, I always wash my sheets in HOT and wash them weekly.  I use unscented detergent so I won't have any issues with allergies.  I have wood floors so it's easy to sweep.   I have allergy covers on my pillows for dust mites and same with the mattress.   I have roller blinds on my bedroom windows, no drapes!   I have a HEPA filter in my furnace as well!

I make sure to wash my bedding often and vacuum weekly (at least). I have special filters that cover my floor/heating vents in my bedroom. I also have a special window screen I can pop in my window that filters the I can have my window open (during allergy flare-ups and farming season!) It's adjustable and portable - I love that window filter!