Dust mites are astoundingly common – and they’re also among the most common triggers for asthma and allergies in the home. This article explains what house dust mites are, how they can affect your home, and provides an easy step-by-step guide to getting rid of dust mites quickly and effectively.
What Are Dust Mites?
The house dust mite is a tiny, microscopic creature that lives in every human habitation. Eight-legged and related to the spider, these little creatures feed on the flakes of human skin that we shed every day – and which are one of the main components of dust. You can’t see them, but there are countless dust mites in your home – your bed alone may have 2 million dust mites living in the bedding and mattress. They also thrive in pillows, soft furnishings, soft toys, and carpets. But in addition to finding dust mites in bed, you’ll also find them in bathrooms and kitchens, particularly where a lot of dust has accumulated.
How Dust Mites Can Affect Your Home
Don’t worry — dust mites are not parasites and they won’t bite you. They are, however, a problem if you are allergic to them. The faeces and decayed bodies of dust mites are a major allergen, and can trigger asthma, eczema, and rhinitis – giving you typical allergy symptoms like a runny, itchy nose or watery eyes. This makes it worth keeping the house dust mite population at a controllable level – just follow our simple, easy steps to deal with them.
How to Kill Dust Mites
Dust mites thrive in warm, moist, and (obviously) dusty places. So as a general rule, if you get rid of the dust in your own home, you’ll also get rid of many of the dust mites.
- Dust and vacuum your house regularly. Aim to dust and vacuum your house once a week, making sure to clean hard-to-reach places like the tops of bookshelves, and behind and under furniture. Vacuum carpets and rugs thoroughly and use a HEPA filter in your vacuum if possible.
- Wash your bedding regularly. We recommend washing sheets and pillowcases weekly with a quality detergent like Surf excel Liquid Detergent. Remember to read the label of your chosen product and follow any instructions for the best results. If you have the option to choose a temperature on your washing machine, higher temperatures are the most effective way to kill dust mites, but warm water is more environmentally sustainable and can also reduce the dust mite population.
- Keep your house dry and ventilated. Dust mites start to die when the humidity drops below 50%. So open your windows to let some fresh air in, and use an extractor fan in your bathroom and kitchen after you’ve washed or cooked.
- Use an air purifier or a dehumidifier. An air purifier is a particularly effective way to remove dust mite allergens from the atmosphere, and a dehumidifier is great for reducing the moisture that dust mites thrive on.
- Wash soft toys often – or freeze them. If you don’t want to launder your child’s soft toys too frequently, you can also tie them in a plastic bag and pop them in the freezer for 12 hours. This should kill any dust mites living inside them.
- Wash pillows, curtains, and duvets every few months. If you have a particularly strong allergic reaction to dust mites, you may want to use a mite-free allergen cover for your mattresses, duvets, and pillows.
- Use special allergen cleaning products. Anti-mite sprays or powders can be applied to your furniture, carpets, or upholstery to kill dust mite populations. Make sure to read the instructions on all product labels carefully as some specialised cleaning products can damage certain materials.
With these easy suggestions, you should be able to get rid of unwanted dust mites easily! It’s worth remembering that dust mites are an everyday part of any household – but these tips should keep them in check if they become a problem.