How To Remove and Keep Dust Mites Out!
Dust mites are microscopic bugs that live in human habitats, particularly in your bed, carpet, couch, clothing, and soft furnishings. These pests thrive well in our home environments because they live off dead skin cells and pet dander. Regardless of how clean we endeavor to keep our homes, we’re all vulnerable to dust mites. After all, the average human sheds more than 8 lbs. of dead skin cells every year.
Though these tiny insects are usually harmless, in large numbers they can be problematic to people with allergies. During its lifetime, a dust mite can produce huge amounts of waste products. Research shows that this waste can cause complex human health complaints and allergic reactions, leading to coughing, congestion, breathing difficulties, and more. So, how can you remove dust mites from your home? Follow these 5 steps to start reducing the mite population in your property today.
Step 1: Learn How to Breathe Easy
One of the easiest steps you can take to protect your home from dust mites, is to adapt your internal atmosphere. Dust mites prefer environments that are warm and humid, so cooling things down by lowering your thermostat, and installing air conditioning can be a good first step. Keep your interior temperatures below 70°F, and limit humidity to lower than 50%.
Air conditioning can reduce your need to open windows, minimizing the amount of mold and pollen allowed into your home. Since dust mite waste can circulate in the air, it can also be helpful to invest in a specialist high-efficiency particulate air filter, or HEPA product, to restrict the presence of allergens.
Step 2: Wash your Bedding Regularly
Beds are one of the most welcoming places for dust mites. Not only are they dark and humid, but we humans shed a great deal of dead skin while we sleep, offering the perfect food source for mites. Fortunately, you can reduce your exposure to these pests by regularly washing your sheets at high temperatures of around 140°F.
If you have a tumble dryer, it may help to put sheets through a spin-cycle until they are completely dry. The excess heat in the dryer will take care of any mites or particles that might have survived the wash. Interestingly, some research suggests that a few drops of eucalyptus oil in your laundry can eliminate up to 99% of dust mites.
Step 3: Try Allergy-Proof Bedding
Since dust mites are naturally drawn towards bedding, it makes sense to take extra steps to protect yourself in the bedroom. Even the cleanest mattresses can be teeming with these pests. Though you may not be able to make your mattress completely mite-free, you can use specialist hypoallergenic mattress and pillow covers to reduce your exposure to irritating particles.
A mattress protector or cover will act as a barrier between you and the mites in your mattress, preventing your skin cells from entering their feeding zone, and stopping them from disrupting your sleeping patterns.
Step 4: Keep your Home Clean and Tidy
Although this may seem like an obvious solution to dealing with dust mites, it’s one of the most important ways to limit allergens and improve your home comfort. Conducting full home-wide cleaning sessions removes dust particles from your property. Try some of the following tips:
- Start high and work your way down
- Use damp cloths to dust walls, fan blades, shelves, picture frames, and anything that might collect dust
- Remove obvious “dust collectors” in your living room and bedroom
- Keep pets out of the bedroom to reduce pet dander
- Vacuum and wash upholstered furniture regularly
- Take down and wash your curtains every few weeks
When cleaning your home, remember that damp cloths will attract particles rather than move them around. Additionally, avoid sweeping, as this will simply send the dust into the atmosphere and displace it, rather than removing it completely.
Step 5: Keep Carpets Clean of Dust and Dander
Carpets are yet another preferred habitat for dust mites. Vacuuming regularly is a great way to prevent dust mites from breeding, but it’s important to remember that dry vacuuming is not effective at removing mites. Wet vacuuming and steam cleaning can help to offer a more comprehensive clean, as the heat of the moisture attracts the mites, and the heat of the steam kills them.
If you find that you’re struggling to keep your carpets clean, it may be beneficial to consider installing hardwood flooring with washable rugs that you can put in the laundry. Alternatively, purchase a HEPA filter vacuum for more specialist cleaning.
Reducing Dust Mites in Your Home
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to completely eliminate dust mites from the home. However, you can reduce the population of mites significantly, and limit your allergic responses by properly cleaning and protecting household items.
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