These 6 items are making your bedroom dirtier – here's what to do about them

These six bedroom items may be staples, but they are making your sleep space dirtier, cleaning experts warn

(Image credit: Crate & Barrel)

If you clean your bedroom at least once a week, then you probably presume that is relatively hygienic. However, there are some items that not only contribute to clutter but make a bedroom dirtier too, cleaning experts are warning us.

Whether they hinder our efforts to keep a bedroom clean or are simply magnets for dust and dirt, these six items could be affecting our sleep by worsening allergies and introducing nasty smells.

This is how the experts recommend cleaning a bedroom and tackling these six bedroom items for a more hygienic sleep space, and why these offenders can be so bad for our health.

Items in your bedroom making it dirtier

It might seem silly that some simple, inanimate objects can have such an impact on our sleep, but anything from an accumulation of dust to clutter can have a negative effect on our rest.

1. Excessive nightstand clutter

soft green bedroom with antique nightstand and vintage rug with accessories

(Image credit: The Misfit House)

There are generally two types of people – those who love to have a clear, empty nightstand, and those who love to collect all their essentials next to the bed (I, for one, am the latter). While having everything within arms reach can be useful, it turns out it is making our bedroom dirtier and could be affecting our sleep, warns Diana Ciechorska, general manager at Park Slope Cleaning:

‘Decorative items on nightstands and dressers can collect dust quickly. When surfaces are cluttered, they are harder to clean, and dust can accumulate more easily,’ she explains. ‘Declutter a nightstand and minimize decor to a few essential or meaningful pieces. Regularly dust surfaces and consider using closed storage options such as a nightstand with drawers to reduce dust collection.'

2. Wet laundry

A large wicker laundry basket with a removeable lid in the doorway of a country bathroom

(Image credit: Anbôise)

We need to put our used laundry somewhere before we trudge it down to the washing machine, but the bedroom might not be the best spot, Diana Ciechorska, cleaning expert continues:

‘Leaving wet laundry, such as towels or workout clothes, in the bedroom can create a breeding ground for mold and mildew, which can be harmful to your health and difficult to clean,’ she warns. Instead, she recommends immediately hanging wet laundry to dry in a well-ventilated area or placing it in a laundry basket in the bathroom or laundry room where it can dry off more easily. This also helps organize laundry for a more streamlined laundry routine.

3. Clothes on the floor

After a long day, it can be easier to just leave the clothes on the floor where we drop them. However, we have clothes storage for a reason, reminds Barbara Brock, professional home organizer, and stager, founder of Barbara Brock Inc.:

‘Clothes thrown on the bedroom floor immediately make a room look smaller, unkempt, out of control and disorganized. Try using a clothes chair instead of the floor to pile clothes. This is an attempt to control the chaos. Piles of dirty clothes left around the house are not only unpleasant to look at, but they give off odors and give in to an unhealthy lifestyle.’

What’s more, clothes left in piles on the floor can trap dust and dirt while making vacuuming and dusting harder and therefore exacerbating allergies and reducing sleep quality over time.

4. Home gym equipment

A green yoga mat on a light wood floor with a black kettle bell weight on top. A green wallpapered wall.

(Image credit: Feathr)

It can be great to have a home gym, but it is best left out of the bedroom, suggests Jennifer Bell, professional organizer and owner of Bell Home Organizing. Not only is it a germ magnet, but it provides a place to dump clutter, encouraging bacteria growth, she warns:

‘Bedroom furniture and gym equipment can become clutter collectors. If you find yourself placing dirty or clean laundry, luggage, and other items on your bedroom furniture or gym equipment for storage, get rid of it or relocate it to another area of your home!

‘The furniture or gym has become a crutch, and it is hindering you from completing the task of putting your items away in their rightful place. Remove the roadblock and once you no longer have it as an option, you are more likely to put your items away to their correct location and keep your room clean.’

5. Carpets and upholstery

Bedroom carpet ideas with textured grey carpet with rustic grey linens on the bed

(Image credit: Kersaint Cobb)

Carpets are very popular in bedrooms, as is soft, upholstered furniture, to help make a bedroom feel cozy. However, cleaning carpets and cleaning upholstery is infamously tricky unless you have a shampooing machine or steam cleaner – and regularly commit to deep cleans, says Eliana Coca, professional cleaner and owner of E.C. House Cleaning.

‘Unlike hardwood or tile, carpets trap dust, allergens, and pet hair. Similarly, fabric headboards can harbor dust mites,’ she explains. ‘Regular vacuuming and using protective covers can mitigate some of these issues, but choosing low-maintenance materials is a more straightforward solution.’

6. Shoes

Shoes organized onto a shelving unit at the back of a large closet

(Image credit: Future)

Whether you wear shoes in the house or not, you should never keep your shoe storage in your bedroom, Kathy Cohoon, professional cleaner and owner of Two Maids Cleaning, recommends. Your shoes are one of the dirtiest items to keep in a bedroom, introducing germs and bacteria, as well as musty smells, that can impact your sleep health and quality, she explains.

‘Shoes pick up the worst of where you’ve been – think dirt, bacteria, grime, waste, and more – and can bring them into your home. In addition to these nearly invisible things, shoes can also smudge floors and cause wear and tear.’

Instead, keep shoes in the entryway to minimize their impact on your clean home.

Although it might not seem as important as picking the best mattress or the best bed sheets, tackling these dirtiest places in a bedroom is one of the best ways to sleep better by removing allergens, germs, and irritants that can impact our health and, therefore, negatively affect our rest.

Chiana Dickson
Content Editor

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for two years, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.