Dust mites are microscopic organisms related to spiders and ticks. They live on carpets, pillows, mattresses, bedding, and curtains and thrive in warm, humid environments. These minute creatures feed off moisture in the air, house dust, and skin cells shed by people and pets. Mites multiply quickly, so it’s difficult to rid your home of them, but it’s possible to minimize their impact. Dust mites spray works well but there are many other things you can do.
Why Dust Mites are Dangerous
Dust mites’ bites are dangerous because they trigger allergic reactions in some people, causing red, itchy eyes, sneezing, and nasal congestion. In those with severe dust mites allergy, mites can trigger asthma, causing wheezing, difficulty breathing, and chest pain. People who exhibit severe asthma symptoms related to dust mites should seek emergency care.
Dust mites bite elicit eczema outbreaks in some people. Eczema causes skin to become red, itchy, and inflamed. It’s an uncomfortable condition that often results in sleepless nights and many trips to a dermatologist.
These tiny creatures are present year-round, compounding the misery in the form of dust mites allergy they can cause. For those who suffer from dust mite allergies, the only solution is to get them out of the house, which isn’t always easy and not as simple as using a dust mites spray.
How to Keep Dust Mites out of the House
Ridding Yourself of Dust Mites
Regardless of how clean a house is, it’s difficult to get rid of dust mites entirely. However, you can greatly reduce the number of mites that live in your home by incorporating the following strategies into your house cleaning and organizing routine.
- Use a dehumidifier or air conditioner to keep the relative humidity in your home at 50 percent or below. Mites thrive in environments with 70 to 80 percent humidity, so it’s vital to keep the humidity levels in your home below those levels.
- The warmth and darkness of your bedding make it a good home for mites. A favorite place is dust mites pillow dwellers. To get rid of mites, wash your bedding once a week in hot water. Don’t allow it to air dry outside because it’s likely to pick up allergens.
- Dust mites can’t survive extremely cold temperatures, so place non-washable fabrics in plastic bags and freeze them overnight. This approach works well for items such as lace, decorative pillows, and stuffed animals. Keep in mind that freezing kills mites but doesn’t get rid of them. You’ll need to take the items you froze outside and shake them well before using them again.
- Declutter your home. Stacks of boxes and piles of clothing provide welcoming environments for dust mites, allergens, spiders, and cockroaches. Decluttering gives mites fewer places to live and helps them die off faster.
- Carpet and rugs trap dust mites, giving them a place to multiply and thrive. If you can afford to, replace carpet and rugs with hard surface floorings such as hardwood, tile, or laminate. If new flooring isn’t in the budget, you can purchase carpet treatment sprays that’ll help control mites.
- Use damp cloths to clean; the dampness traps dust mites. Dry cloths simply stir up dust and spread the mites throughout your house.
- Vacuum at least once or twice a week, and use a vacuum cleaner with a microfilter bag to trap and prevent mites from re-entering your home.
- Steam clean items that are too large for the washing machine or freezer. Steam cleaners work well on couches, carpets, and curtains. Most steam cleaners reach temperatures of at least 220 degrees, which is hotter than the majority of dishwashers and washing machines. The steam will kill dust mites, mold spores, and bacteria, even dust mite pillow dwellers. While steam cleaning kills mites, it doesn’t get rid of them. You’ll need to vacuum dust mite pillow dwellers and others after steam cleaning to remove them from your home since their dead bodies and droppings are what cause allergies in most people.
Related: 20 Dirtiest Places in Your Home You Don’t Know About
More Helpful Tips to Rid Your Home of Mites
- Don’t wear shoes in the house. Removing your shoes before you enter your home will reduce the amount of pollens, dust, mites, and other allergens you track inside.
- Get rid of horizontal and vertical blinds and shutters; they trap dust and take a lot of time to clean properly. Replace them with roller shades that don’t accumulate as much dust and debris.
- Use an air conditioner. Opening your windows to allow air to circulate lets dust, allergens, and pollens into your home. An air conditioner will filter the air in your home, keeping it clean and crisp.
- Don’t make your bed in the morning. If you can handle the messy look, leaving your bed unmade will allow it to air out, making it a less welcoming environment for mites and can help in eliminating dust mites pillow inhabitants.
- Dust mites thrive on pet dander, so don’t allow your pets on your bed and consider keeping them out of your bedroom entirely. Bathe and groom your pets regularly, and keep in mind that pets can suffer from dust mite allergies too, so wash their bedding often.
- Enclose pillows and mattresses in dustproof covers to reduce the number of mites they harbor. While it’s not possible to entirely eliminate dust mites from pillows and mattresses, protective covers can greatly reduce their numbers. If you can afford to spend the money, consider purchasing hypoallergenic mattresses and pillows to fight against dust mites pillow infestation. They’re made from tightly woven fabrics that are almost impossible for dust mites to permeate.
- Wear a mask when vacuuming and dusting to avoid contracting any dust mites allergy. These cleaning methods stir up mites, sending them floating into the air where they’re easier to inhale. If possible, those with severe allergies should avoid recently vacuumed and dusted rooms for at least 20 minutes following a cleaning. If you have severe allergies, ask a family member for help with chores.
The best way to reduce dust mites bites and their impact on your health is to minimize their presence in your home. Dust mites are tiny creatures that can cause big problems. These common allergens send thousands of people to allergists every year in search of relief. While it’s difficult to get rid of mites altogether, it’s possible to reduce their numbers and minimize their impact on your home.