Dust mites are very small arachnids that feed on skin cells. Depending upon your hygiene and location, dust mites can become so prevalent that they produce allergies. Dust mites are the scourge of allergy sufferers everywhere. There are literally millions of them living and feeding inside your bed, carpets, soft furnishings, clothes and anywhere where dust tends to accumulate. Dust mites are tenacious little critters that breed prolifically- getting rid of them is no easy feat! Although you cannot completely remove all dust mites from a home, a combination of the following methods should be used to get rid of dust mite problems:
Remove all the bedding from the beds in your house. This is the where dust mite problems are usually concentrated. Wash as much of the bedding as you can in hot water, over 130 degrees Fahrenheit (54 degrees Celsius). Include pillow covers, mattress pads and comforters, if possible. If you have a severe dust mite problem, you should wash all of your bedding in hot water every week.
Dry your bedding in a hot dryer. This will kill any dust mites that lived through the washing cycle.
Consider throwing away pillows that are 6 months to 2 years old. Down pillows and comforters attract the most dust mites, and they cannot be cleaned conventionally to get rid of dust mites. After 2 years, your pillows’ weight may be 10 to 15 percent dust mite waste.
Replace pillows and comforters with those that can be cleaned in a conventional washer and dried in a dryer.
Use a dehumidifier or air conditioner to maintain relative humidity at about 50% or below.
Replace wool or feathered bedding with synthetic materials and traditional stuffed animals with washable ones.
If possible, replace wall-to-wall carpets in bedrooms with bare floors (linoleum, tile or wood) and remove fabric curtains and upholstered furniture.
Use a damp mop or rag to remove dust. Never use a dry cloth since this just stirs up mite allergens.
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.
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.
Direct sunlight kills dust mites, so hang bedding in the sun whenever possible. (Be mindful, though, that outdoor allergens can collect on bedding hung outside.)
Vapour steam-cleaning (using a small machine that heats surfaces with dry steam) kills fungus, dust mites, bacteria, and other undesirables. This is a good way to clean bedding that you can’t launder, such as mattresses. Vapour contains only 5 to 6 percent water (conversely, most steam cleaners use lots of warm water to clean), so the vapour steam doesn’t contribute to a moist environment. vapour steam deeply penetrates whatever it is cleaning, and it is great for upholstery, couches, carpets, and mattresses.
Freeze stuffed animal toys in the freezer (in a tightly closed plastic bag), and shake vigorously outside after removing them from the freezer. Or, wash stuffed toys often.
These simple steps will prevent dust mites from congregating in your home and prevent you from frequent allergic reactions.