Reducing dust mites in the home

Dust mites are microscopic relatives of the spider that live on mattresses, bedding, upholstered furniture, carpets and curtains.

No matter how clean a home is, dust mites cannot be totally eliminated. However, the number of mites can be reduced.

Floors & Walls:

  • Vacuum regularly. Stay out of the vacuumed area for 20 minutes to allow any dust and allergens to settle.
  • Replace carpet with a solid surface such as hardwood tile or linoleum, if you can. This can eliminate 90% of dust mites. If you must have carpet, get low pile, not shag.
  • Regularly wash or dry clean throw rugs.
  • Replace window coverings with washable curtains or mini-blinds.

Bedding:

  • Encase your mattress and pillows in dust-proof or allergen impermeable covers.
  • Wash all bedding and blankets once a week in hot water (at least 130 - 140°F). Non-washable bedding can be frozen overnight to kill dust mites.
  • Replace wool or feathered bedding with synthetic materials.
  • Make sure any stuffed animals are washable.
  • For waterbeds: Regularly wash the mattress pad.

Air:

  • Keep humidity below 50% throughout the home by using a dehumidifier or air conditioning.
  • Use a damp mop or rag to remove dust. Don’t use a dry cloth since this stirs up mite allergens.
  • Place HEPA filters on the furnace to decrease the total number of house dust mites.

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4 tips to manage dust in the home

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Dust can contain mold spores, fungi, dust mites and even parts of cockroaches. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Linda R.)
Dust can contain mold spores, fungi, dust mites and even parts of cockroaches. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Linda R.)

Do you need a better way to control allergies from dust in your home? The solution lies in how well--not necessarily how long--you clean your home. From running the furnace fan to flushing out dust mites, these cleaning practices get results.

Comments

A 20 minute run through a hot dryer will kill dust mites and remove most of their dander from pillows and blankets. Weekly treatment helps to reduce problems. Don't scorch large blankets or pillows by over stuffing your drier.

Great tips; I had no idea about dust mite allergies until I started getting flaky, dry skin on my eye lids. Some simple control techniques, including a mattress cover, eliminated it! One comment about the "Replace wool or feathered bedding with synthetic materials" tip, though. Feather bedding is able to be washed and dried on high heat, which will sterilize it and kill the dust mites within. Synthetic bedding will not put up with the same high temperatures and so can't be as thoroughly cleaned! I replaced my poly fill comforter with a feather duvet as part of my dust mite mission and it has served me well. I also bought a pair of Roombas; they're higher maintenance than a regular vacuum cleaner but they sure do pick up a ton of dust that the upright didn't. They're not for everyone, as they are expensive and you have to clean them often. But it's nice to not have dust and cat hair flying out of the carpet any more!

If you can afford it, get a whole house vacuum that vents the exhaust air outside your house. The problem with vacuum cleaners is that they all stir up as much dust as they suck in. A whole house vacuum that does not use a powerhead and that vents exhaust air outside your house is a must for people with severe allergies, compromised immune systems, and other serious health issues.

I recommend a product like the Chem-Dry Dust Mite Anti Allergen. They apply it to your furniture, bedding and other surfaces where Dust Mites are most likely to exist. No more allergic reactions. I also hear that placing your bed in the path of daylight for some sun exposure kills off the Dust Mites. Not always possible. Regardless, I recommend getting a can of the Dust Mite Anti-Allergen.

Carpet is not your enemy here. Vacuum with a quality vacuum(at least 12 amp motor), not a cheap one-the newer vacs all have HEPA filtration.Professional(truckmount hot water extraction) cleaning on a regular basis. Carpet trpas and hold particles that would otherwise be airborne on a hard surface floor. Clean carpet provides cleaner air than a hard surface floor. Electronic air filters on the furnace cured my allergy 15 yrs ago.

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