You might think you’re suffering from a dust allergy, but chances are you’re actually allergic to dust mites.
These are tiny insects that you can’t see and they eat shedded skin from animals and humans.
How do you know if you’re allergic to dust mites?
You’ll have symptoms such as a runny nose, cough, and perhaps even wheezing, since this allergy can trigger asthma. If you have allergy symptoms all year round, dust mites could be the problem.
In the UK alone, there are dust mites in every home.
While you might not be able to eliminate every single dust mite, there are effective methods to reduce their numbers so that they don’t cause you problems.
Read on to discover how to go about this.
Do Dust Mites Live In Dust?
Before we can talk about eliminating dust mites from the home, it helps to know more about them.
You might assume that wherever you see dust, that’s where dust mites live.
But this isn’t always the case, which can make it feel more difficult to find and eliminate dust mites.
Dust mites don’t usually live in dust, especially if the dust is on a hard surface in the home because this doesn’t meet their needs.
In order to be able to survive, dust mites need to be in areas where there’s moisture and they need a constant supply of human and animal skin cells, as this is their food supply. So, you’re likely to find them as close to humans and animals as possible.
How To Get Rid Of Dust Mites Naturally: Top 12 Tips
If you think you have dust mites in the home that are causing you to experience allergy symptoms, here are some important ways to send them packing!
Brush Your Pets
Since these mites feed on shed animal skin, you really want to prevent pet dander in your home.
Your pets can also bring dust mites into the home via their fur so give them a good but gentle brushing session regularly. You should especially brush your dogs on a regular basis if they have thick fur.
Locate Their Hiding Spots
Besides for travelling on your pets’ fur, where do dust mites like to be? Well, since they need to feed on shed skin cells, they will usually be found in places in the home where you spend a lot of time.
So, area rugs and carpets that experience lots of traffic, mattresses, and bedding where you sleep, and sofas where you chill out after a long day are all dust mite hotspots.
Decrease Your Home’s Humidity Levels
It’s worth noting that dust mites like high temperatures and humidity levels. So, try to keep the moisture in your home below 50 percent and your home cool, such as with the use of open windows or air conditioning units.
Bear in mind that if you have fish tanks and plants, these can increase the humidity levels in your home so keep these out of your bedroom or any other areas where dust mites are a problem.
Wash Your Linen
Make sure you wash your linen once a week in very hot water.
Use the hottest setting on your washing machine. You can dry items in the dryer for 20 minutes on high heat as that will also kill dust mites.
Air Out Your Bed
Since dust mites love moisture, when you get out of your bed in the morning don’t quickly make your bed. First air out your bedding and sheets.
Cover And Clean Your Mattress
To keep dust mites out of your bed, you should enclose your mattress on the top and sides with a plastic cover. Another good way to protect your mattress against dust mites is to make use of fitted sheets. This is because it prevents human skin cells from accumulating.
Invest In Air Purifiers
These are a great way to reduce indoor air pollution and allergy triggers. They can eliminate up to 99 percent of pollutants, including dust mite feces, animal dander, dust, pollen, and more.
Freeze Items Outside
If you think that there are dust mites in a chair or couch, and you want to eliminate the dust mites quickly, consider moving the offending item into a freezing cold environment for 24 hours, like on a really cold day.
Smaller, non-washable items can be placed in the freezer for the same amount of time to kill dust mites.
Although it’s a big job that can be expensive, removing carpets in the home and replacing them with tiling or hardwood can help to reduce the number of dust mites in your home. If you want to make use of rugs, ensure that they’re small in size so that they’re easy to wash.
Vacuum Your Home Once A Week
Make sure you vacuum your home at least once a week to eliminate dirt, dust, and tackle dust mites.
However, your vacuum cleaner should have a double-layered microfilter bag or a HEPA filter in order to prevent dust emissions during the vacuuming process. If you battle with dust allergies, you should stay out of the room while it’s being vacuumed for about two hours.
Avoid Dust Collectors
Bear in mind that if an item in your home collects dust, it will also collect dust mites.
Make sure you eliminate unnecessary clutter in the home, especially in your bedroom. You should also wipe down items such as books, ornaments, and others that are in your home regularly with a damp cloth to prevent dust accumulation.
When removing dust with a damp cloth, use it in one direction only so that it effectively collects dust. If you move it back and forth, you’ll be moving the dust around or releasing it into the air.
Try To Replace Fabric Items
If some of your furniture is covered in fabric, this is appealing to dust mites because they can hide in the fabric and it won’t be easy for you to clean those items to eliminate the mites.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to replace these items if you can. An example is to replace draperies with blinds.
Should You Use Dust Mite Sprays?
A common tip for eliminating dust mites in the home is to use a dust mite spray.
The problem is that there are many on the market that contain chemicals, so they’re not a natural way of removing dust mites.
However, you can find some eco-friendly ones that won’t bring toxins into your home.
Another good reason to choose these products is that chemical dust mite sprays sometimes have warnings on their packaging to alert you of dangers associated with getting the product on your skin or clothing, which is quite alarming.
Therefore, choosing a natural product that eliminates dust mites is much better for you and your health, and can be an alternative way of eliminating dust mites if you’re dealing with a severe infestation.
Here are two dust mite sprays to consider.
- The Ecology Works – DustMiteX is an example of an earth-friendly dust mite spray that can be applied to various items in your home to combat dust mites, such as your pet’s bed, mattress, carpet, and upholstery. Once applied, it can work to remove dust mites from your home for up to six months. It’s available on Amazon.
- Ecozone Dust Mite Stopper is another good product because it gets to the source of the dust mite problem while being plant-based so it won’t irritate your allergies or cause them to flare up. It works to dissolve debris, such as human skin, that dust mites like to eat, thereby removing their food source. It also works well for up to six months before requiring reapplication. You can buy this dust mite spray from the Ecozone website.
What’s the difference between dust mites and bed bugs?
The main difference between these two is that bed bugs bite human skin and feed off their blood, whereas dust mites don’t bite even though they can cause skin irritation.
What do dust mites look like?
While you can’t see them with the naked eye, under a microscope dust mites are white in colour and they have hairs on their body and legs. They are 0.5mm in size and globular in shape.
No one wants to think about dust mites crawling around their bed at night and feeding on their shedded skin. It’s something straight out of a horror movie, and yet it’s very common.
To reduce the number of dust mites in your home, you need to ensure you follow some important cleaning tips, such as those we’ve outlined in this article.