If you're like me, you appreciate books that organize the information by category so you can jump right to the subject you want information on, which this book does beautifully. Granted, it is not a skimpy quick and easy read. The author goes into great detail, and often times more detail than I would prefer. But the I find the details she offers always seem to make sense. In other words, the details don't seem to be there just to fill up the book, but rather explain the whys and hows, which makes it much more bearable. (My tolerance for pretense and fluff is painfully low.)
Of particular intersest to me was the chapter on bedroom care on page 660. She points her readers to the age old custom of airing out the bed (& the room if possible) for an hour every day or more. Most of us fall into one of two camps: those who get out of bed and rarely make it up and those who get out of bed and make it right away. I'm from the second camp, but both are wrong. Who knew?
"Each day when you arise, air the bed. Open the windows, if possible; throw the bedcovers back over the foot of the bed. (If the bedding will otherwise drag on the floor, stand a chair at the foot of the bed to support it.) Let the bed stand this way, unmade, while you shower and eat breakfast. The bed should air for at least an hour if you are going to work, or even longer if you are staying home. This helps immensely toward keeping the bed feeling and smelling fresh until you next change the sheets."
She goes on to present some very good reasons for this practice:
"While you are sleeping, you breathe about two pounds of moisture, along with breath odors and flocks of microorganisms, into the air, your pillow and your bedding. You also perspire, perhaps a cup's worth, and exude skin oils and body smells. And you use up the room's oxygen and replace it with exhaled carbon dioxide. When there are two or more people in the bed or the room, these effects are multiplied. All this explains why, if you sleep with closed windows, the room has a characteristic stale morning smell (although you might not perceive it until you leave for a few minutes and then return.) Unless you leave the bedcovers pulled down and the windows open for an hour or two, the moisture you have left in the bed either does not evaporate or evaporates very slowly, which makes for an environment in pillows and mattress in which dust mites, molds, and other microbial life have more of an opportunity to multiply. Opening the windows lets in new air to dilute the pollutants (microbial and particulate), carry them off, and bring in fresh supplies of oxygen."
When I think back on all of the years and centuries that people did not have central air & heating and the average home was NOT air-tight. Whoever heard of cancer back then? Ever watch an old movie or read in old books where people routinely opened their windows at night? Yah, I think they knew what they were doing. Doctors would prescribe fresh air as a remedy for various common ailments. My husband and I have been sleeping with open windows most of our marriage and now, I'm going to start airing out our beds daily. It's a pretty cool excuse for not making the bed, too, I might add.
Whenever the weather and temperature allows, our windows are open. In our previous house, our bed was positioned up against the window in the master bedroom and the sweet fresh air that billows in as I fall asleep is sublime and makes me drift off to sleep like a baby. Now our bed is up against a wall and I am really missing the fresh air wafting down on me.
So glad we're having an indian summer so I can throw open the windows at night and air our bed and bedroom out in the mornings!