Is it possible to give house dust mites the dust off? You can’t see house dust mites, they are tiny microscopic arachnids (relatives of spiders), however there are close to 3,000 mites in the average gram of house dust. More than half of all homes are infested with Dermatophagoides (dust mites.)
Dust mites aren’t just limited to homes. They can be found in hospitals, hotels, motels and similar locations. They are most commonly found in soft furnishings such as mattresses, pillows, carpeting, pet bedding, stuffed toys, sofas and even in cracks of floors.
They feed mainly on skin scales that are continuously shed by people and pets. They also eat fungus, food crumbs and other organic debris found in dust.
5% of the U.S. population is allergic to dust mites. House dust is only second to pollen that can cause allergic reactions in people. Eliminating dust mites in your home can be a challenge, but there are ways you can reduce them.
11 Tips for Reducing Dust Mites in Your Houston Home
- Dust mite populations are reduces in low humidity. You can use a dehumidifier or air conditioner to maintain relative humidity at about 50% or below.
- There are many allergy covers on the market. Encase your mattress and pillows in dust-proof or allergen impermeable covers.
- Wash all bedding and blankets once a week in hot water (at least 130 – 140°F) to kill dust mites.
- You can also place items in a plastic bag and remove as much air from the bag as possible. Place the bag in the freezer for 48 hours to kill the dust mites.
- Replace wool or feathered bedding with synthetic materials. Mites can’t live in foam or latex.
- Replace traditional stuffed animals with washable ones.
- If possible, replace wall-to-wall carpets in bedrooms with bare floors, you may want to also consider replacing fabric curtains with shutters or blinds.
- If you do have carpet, plan on vacuuming the carpet at least three times a week. Use a vacuum cleaner with either a double-layered microfilter bag or a HEPA filter to trap allergens that pass through a vacuum’s exhaust.
- Use a damp mop or cloth to remove dust. There are products such as Endust you can spray on your cloth before dusting. Never use a dry cloth since this just stirs up mite allergens.
- Wear a mask while vacuuming to avoid inhaling allergens, and stay out of the vacuumed area for 20 minutes to allow any dust and allergens to settle after vacuuming.
- Brush your pet outdoors to reduce the number of scales that are brought into the home. You may want to wipe your pet with a damp rag before letting t back into your home.
These helpful hints will help you reduce the number of dust mites in your home.