Find everything you need to know to maintain a functional, clean bed long term.
You’re diligent about washing your sheets, but do you clean what’s underneath them? In addition to the expected bodily fluids and dust, your mattress comes in contact with all types of microscopic filth, chief among them dust mite droppings. Dust mites live in upholstery and feed on skin cells (something you’re constantly unwittingly shedding), and beyond being plain gross, their droppings can cause allergic reactions. So it’s high time you add mattress cleaning, a seasonal chore, to your to-do list. Having removed the sheets, vacuum the surface using the upholstery and crevice attachments. Spot clean any stains using an enzyme-based upholstery or carpet spray, such as a pet-odour remover. Then liberally cover the mattress with baking soda; let sit for a full day. Finally, vacuum up all the powder and enjoy a truly freshly made bed.
Buyer’s guide: In the market for a new mattress? Check out our shopping tips:
Cost: Set a realistic budget (don’t cheap out on a good night’s sleep) and stick to it. This is a big-ticket item, so the store may be willing to bargain.
Quality: Pay attention to details (stitching, seams, etc.), which will reveal how durable and well made the mattress is.
Comfort: Always lie down to get a feel. If you’re debating between two models, opt for the firmer one – it will soften over time, and you can buy a plush mattress pad if need be.
Policies: Familiarize yourself with the return policy and warranty before purchasing.
The average lifespan of a mattress is about a decade. If yours is showing surface wear, sagging or becoming at all uncomfortable, it may be time to trade up.
Seasonal to-do: On rotation much like the groove that develops in your go-to spot on the sofa, over the years, different areas of your mattress get uneven wear. To help it last longer, make a habit of rotating the mattress once a season. Alternate between flipping it from head to toe one season and upside down the next. (If your mattress has a pillow top, then only flip it head to toe.)
Very airy: Air circulation is key to deterring bacterial growth, so give your mattress some breathing room: If possible, place it outdoors in the sun (the UV rays will add an antimicrobial kick) every few months. When you go out of town, leave it bare of sheets.
Do: Use a mattress cover. Launder it frequently, especially if you suffer from allergies.
Don't: Saturate your mattress with water or use any sort of dry-cleaning chemicals; both can cause irreparable damage.
Stock up on these tools to create the ultimate mattress-cleaning kit
1 ￼Deodorizer: Nature’s best odour absorber is baking soda, and this one is sourced without the use of chemicals. Bob’s Red Mill baking soda, Well.ca, $5.
2 Dirt sucker: This handheld is specially engineered to extract all the microscopic dirt from your mattress. V6 mattress vacuum, Dyson. $330.
3 Stain remover: This non-toxic spray tackles organic stains without leaving behind any harmful residue. Nature Clean Pet Stain & Odour remover, Well.ca, $9.
This huge dock is a dreamy spot for lounging and socializing all day long.
There are 66 steps from the dock up to the cottage, so the owners of this lakeside property built a boathouse to better enjoy their prime piece of real estate.Ontario’s beautifully rugged Muskoka region is known as much for its gracious lakeside boathouses as it is for its sprawling cottages. And with steep rocky shorelines, there’s often quite a trek from the dock to the living quarters. This family retreat on Lake Joseph is no different – while its high perch makes for glorious lake views, it also means “there are 66 steps from the water up to the cottage,” says one of the homeowners.
A small but efficient kitchenette is equipped for making drinks and snacks to serve on the dock.
Its modern charcoal and white palette is a fresh contrast to the aged hemlock flooring.
The white beadboard-clad walls and peaked ceiling create an airy effect in the living room. A pair of striped sofas (one is a pullout) imbues the space with a nautical feel, as does the stunning view of the lake. A glass-lined balcony with a lockable gate serves as a diving platform for daring swimmers.
Nancy eschewed the rusticity one might expect in a more traditional cottage for a design that’s youthful and modern.
The homeowners wanted a fresh and bright interior, so they chose white-painted beadboard for the walls and ceiling. Warmth comes from 100-year-old reclaimed hemlock flooring.
A compact bunk room comfortably sleeps four adults on twin-sized beds. Clean white walls, aged hemlock floors and blue and white bedding reinforce the casual coastal scheme.
The blue and white scheme is carried from the main cottage exterior to the boathouse and the dock furnishings.
The huge dock is a dreamy spot for lounging and socializing all day long.
How to: Remove stubborn price stickers
Interior: Scandinavian-style holiday home