Even after making her home in Koramangla, dust-free, Shilpa Rao, 55, a teacher at an international school, suffered from persistent allergic reactions. Her doctor suggested that the problem might lie in her mattress and she needs to get it cleaned. She contacted ‘Clean Fanatic’, a company specialising in cleaning mattresses. Shilpa says that after the cleaning, her wheezing has reduced considerably.
Brothers Anuroop and Sanjay Prabhakaran, 34 and 38, who live in Banaswadi, too opted for the service after constant allergic reactions to dust. "We thought it was the pollution but we are not exposed to dust outside so we decided to see if this helps," says Anuroop.
Mattresses harbour millions of dust mites, that feed on dead skin and dust. These mites thrive in all seasons and do not go away after washing or shampooing. Dr.Nagendra Prasad Komarla, Allergy Physician at Bengaluru Allergy Centr, off Mission Road says that the mite float easily in air as they are small and light.
"Every one inhales mite bodies along with fecal particles. The body and the droppings of mites are rich in proteins and those vulnerable to allergies become sensitised to the mites and react to get nasal allergy, lung allergy (Allergy asthma) and skin allergy," he says.
Businesses like Clean Fanatic and Sanitair claim to specialise in sanitising mattresses. They use a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter based vacuuming equipment, which can suck out particles of up to 0.3 microns in size.
Dr Komarla says that HEPA fitted vacuum cleaners are better than normal vacuum cleaners as they can suck in more minute particles. He adds that traditional methods of putting the mattress in the sun and beating it can help but does not entirely get rid of mites as they might settle down again with the dust.
"Sunlight is strong enough to kill mites but their droppings might still remain in the mattresses," he says. He adds that an average person does not need to go in for specialised mattress cleaning services regularly. "It can be of help to people suffering allergies or asthma," he says.
Nishant Prasad, 34, who started Clean Fanatic seven months ago says that their cleaning process consists of three steps. It starts with sweeping the mattress with Ultra Violet light stick, then vacuuming the mattress with a HEPA filter and finally, sprayed with an organic neem based spray to minimize recurrence of dust mites.
The HEPA filter does not collect the dust in a bag but in a bowl of water, attached to the machine, making the entire process dust-free. Sanitair, a one-year old company based in Indiranagar, has a single step of using the HEPA vacuum machine. The process takes an average half hour per mattress.
The sanitising process is different from mattress cleaning service like Tippu Cleaning Services on Bannerghatta Raod. Prasahant, the owner, says that they clean bedding by first applying a chemical based shampoo and scrubbing it thoroughly. Then, the lather is sucked out through a normal vacuum and left to dry for an hour.
Shibi Agin, manager at Sanitair, says that just shampooing a mattress or a sofa is not enough to kill the mites. "Making a mattress wet only makes it easier for the mites to thrive." She adds that just cleaning mattresses does not take care of mites; sofas and pillows too have to be regularly cleaned. "Mites are present in pillows, quilts, sofas and mattresses. They can cling to our clothes and begin to infest sanitised mattresses," she says.
Clean Fanatic charges Rs 700 for a double bed mattress and Rs 125 per seat of a sofa. If one wants to opt for an Annual Maintenance Contract (AMC) service, which consists of cleaning twice in a year, a discount of 15 – 20% on the bill can be availed. Sanitair charges Rs 300 per sofa seat and Rs 700 for a double and 500 for a single bed mattress. A discount of 15% can be availed if opting for twice a year service. Tippu Cleaning Services charges Rs 800 for a king-sized bed and Rs 600 for a single bed. ⊕