Dust mites are allergy victim’s worst nightmares. What are dust mites you ask? They are microscopic insects, that cannot be seen with your eyes and they are critters that feed on yours and animal dead skin cells. They breed and multiply ridiculously fast like some infection, and there are literally millions of them living and feeding inside fabrics in your home, like your bed, carpets, soft furnishings, clothes, and anywhere where dust tends to accumulate.
A dust mite can produce up to 200 times its own body weight in waste product. It can trigger a range of health problems and allergic reactions, like breathing difficulties, coughing, nasal congestion, itching, and watery eyes. These problems can also have a detrimental effect on your sleep, causing you to wake up several times during the night.
It’s not possible to eliminate dust mites but there are several precautions you can take to drastically reduce their numbers and mitigate their threat. Today we will introduce you one effective and natural way to get rid of dust mites in your house using things you already have at home.
Lower the Temperature and Humidity Level
Dust mites love living in relative humidity and warm environment. Anything outside this range won’t necessarily kill them but will push them outside their comfort zone and slow down their breeding.
Ideal Temperature to Reduce Dust Mites
So, the best way is to set the temperature of the A/C inside your house to no higher than 21°C. This is considered a normal and healthy environment for a human but is very slightly below optimal for a house dust mite. If you can comfortably live at a few degrees below this temperature, you will make life tougher for dust mites. But we know A/C is expensive.
Ideal Humidity Level for Reducing Dust Mites
Dust mites live comfortably in a temperature like humans, but they prefer a higher humidity. Anything lower than 70% relative humidity reduces their reproductive rate, so try to keep the relative humidity in your bedroom and home to less than 50%.
You can test humidity in the home with an electronic humidity monitor. If you find that relative humidity levels are greater than 50%, try to get air circulating through your house by using vents and fans and by frequently opening windows. If this does not work, or if it is too inconvenient, it’s also possible to control humidity with air conditioning units and dehumidifiers.
Clean and Remove Dust Regularly
If it isn’t already obvious, dust mites’ dwell and feed on dust, which is made of dead skin cells. With the average human shedding enough dead skin each day to feed one million of these pesky critters, maintaining a frequent cleaning schedule is vital.
Wipe Down Dusty Areas
Make a note of all the places in your home where dust tends to accumulate and wipe these areas several times a week with a damp cloth or a microfiber duster. Make sure you are picking up the dust rather than just sweeping it off. You do not want the dust flying about the room and collecting in your carpets. By wiping down dusty cabinets and countertops, you can dispose of the dust by either washing away the cloth or shaking it out in a trash can outside.
Vacuum Rugs, Carpets, and Fabric Furniture
To capture dust, dander, and other airborne allergens, you must use a vacuum with a sealed HEPA filter. HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air, and it works by trapping small particles in the fine mesh, including pollen, dust, and even tobacco smoke! Regular vacuums will only suck up big pieces of dust but may send tiny microscopic particles flying right back out into the air. HEPA filters can capture more than 99% of particles that are at least 0.3 microns in size and prevent them from being released back into the air. If you suffer from dust allergies, wear a dust mask, and open the windows when you vacuum or ask someone else to do it.
Use a Steam Cleaner on Your Couch, Bed, and Carpeting
Steam cleaners are a great way to clean items and objects that are not suitable for a washing machine. Most steam cleaners reach a temperature of 93° to 121° C. This is even hotter than the temperatures on washing machines and dryers.
Use a steam cleaner on carpets, curtains, cushions, kitchen/bathroom surfaces, and other hard-to-reach places. The steam not only kills dust mites, but it also disinfects by killing bacteria and mold spores. Remember that while the steam can kill 100% of dust mites, their droppings and dead bodies are what causes allergies, so after steaming, go over everything again with a vacuum. This is something you need to do at least weekly!
Sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth (DE) on Beds, Furniture, and Carpets
Diatomaceous earth is a natural fine powder made from silica rock. DE literally pierces the exoskeleton of dust mites as they crawl through it, killing them instantly. The effect that diatomaceous earth has on dust mites is like them being grounded in a blender.
Sprinkle DE anywhere you think dust mites might reside, such as beds, pet beds, carpets, furniture, upholstery, etc. Leave the power there for as long as possible to allow all the dust mites to crawl through and die. Then vacuum it up with a vacuum that does not have a filter because the powder can clog the filter.
DE is perfectly safe for both humans and pets. It can also kill fleas and bed bugs! Use it as frequently as you need to control the dust mite population and prevent breeding. You need to do this frequently enough!
Use a Tea Tree Oil and Eucalyptus Spray
Tea tree oil is a natural antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal oil that many homeowners, as well as beauty gurus, swear by for killing everything from acne bacteria and foot fungi to mould and mildew. It gets rid of dust mites and also disinfects and prevents viruses and fungi.
Mix two cups of distilled water with two tablespoons of tea tree oil and two tablespoons of eucalyptus oil (which repels most bugs, including dust mites). Pour the concoction into a dark spray bottle to prevent light from rendering the oils ineffective. Spray liberally on your bed, pillows, and furniture. Use them as you conduct your cleaning!
Use a Hypoallergenic Mattress and Pillow or an Anti-Allergy Protective Cover
On average mattress vary wildly, from 10,000 to over a million resident dust mites. Whatever the exact figure, one thing is certain: even the cleanest of mattresses are filled with these vermin.
Sadly, it just isn’t possible to make a mattress completely dust mite free. But a hypoallergenic mattress and pillow and/or a protective cover greatly reduces dust mites. Hypoallergenic bedding material uses tightly woven fabric that makes it nearly impossible for mites to penetrate through. The impermeable material also prevents moisture and dead skin from entering your pillows and mattress, which prevents dust mites from living and breeding in your bed.
Anti-allergen covers and protectors are cheaper than hypoallergenic mattresses and pillows, and in similar ways, act as an impenetrable barrier to prevent dust mites from burrowing and to keep your body moisture and skin from entering the mattress. Likewise, if there are dust mites or other allergens present, the mattress protector stops them from infiltrating your sleeping zone. You will still need to keep them sanitized weekly to keep them clean!
How to Prevent Dust Mites
- Regularly clean and vacuum the house. Cut down on clutter, and don’t give dust a chance to collect.
- Regularly clean your vents to prevent allergens from spreading around the house.
- Wash bedding every week using high temperatures of at least 54°C.
- If you have house plants, do not overwater them. Clean up dead leaves on top of the soil.
- Use hypoallergenic bed and pillow covers, which are impenetrable to dust mites.
- Open windows regularly to lower humidity levels in the house.
- Replace carpets, curtains, and soft furnishing with hard flooring, blinds, and leather or pleather furniture.
These are just some of the commonly used tricks by Cleaning Services or Part Time Maids to deal with dust mites. If you struggle to deal with them, you should not compromise your safety and get some professional help.