Dust mites are too small for you to see with the naked eye. However, they survive in most homes, hidden in mattresses, dusty corners, and dark or wet areas of your house. Unfortunately, due to their microscopic nature, dust mites are hard to find and eliminate. Fortunately, you can take several practical steps to get rid of dust mites and keep dust mite allergies at bay. Let's discover a little more about what these mites are, the conditions that create them, and how to protect your family and home.
What Is A Dust Mite
According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, dust mites can only be seen by a microscope. They are only a quarter to a third of a millimetre in size. Dust mites live within dust in our homes, sustained by dead skin flakes or dander of humans, dogs, and cats. They are linked to indoor allergies, often increasing the severity of symptoms in those with asthma while raising the presence of overall allergens in the home. The Government of Canada found that dust mites can also trigger asthma in children as young as one year old, as asthma is both a genetic and an environmental condition.
Luckily, dust mites aren’t parasitic, biting, stinging, or burrowing critters. So they won't lodge themselves in your body, according to the American Lung Association.
Places dust mites may live in your home:
● House dust
● Upholstered Furniture
● Stuffed toys
A dust mite allergy may be caused by either the body of the mite or by their waste. Even when they are killed in high heat or bitter cold, mite bodies stay in the dust particles of the home, and unless properly cleaned and disposed of, they can cause allergic reactions in people.
Dust Mite Creating Conditions
The National Journal of Indoor Environment and Health studied bio-contaminants in Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, and Windsor floor dust collections. They found various components in the homes that affected the concentration of dust mites, including:
● low floor cleaning frequency
● age of the home
● humidity levels
Additionally, they found that high-frequency cleaning and dehumidifiers did not correlate with the existence of multiple bio-contaminants.
Dust mites are happiest in high humidity. Rooms in your house with humidity above 50% can attract these pests. Older homes are generally very susceptible to dust mites as ventilation, insulation, and other protective measures wear with age. Clutter creates time, space, and opportunity for gangs of dust mites to conspire against your home.
Parring down possessions is a pivotal way to open spaces and reduce dust mite hiding places. If you struggle with cleaning carpets and rugs regularly, consider reducing how many you have in the home. You may want to replace your wool or down beddings, pillows, or comforters as they are magnets for dust mites. Unprotected mattresses invite these pests as well, so consider ensuring that your mattresses and other surfaces are adequately protected.
Conditions that create dust mites:
● 70-80% humidity
Best Practices To Avoid A Build-Up Of Dust Mites
It's no surprise that dust mites are found everywhere in the world except Antarctica (according to the AAFA). Here are some best practices to help eliminate dust mites in your home without having to move to Antarctica!
Use Dehumidifiers In Moist Areas
You can get rid of dust mites by monitoring the temperature and humidity levels of the rooms in your home. Dehumidifiers like the Luka 3000 remove moisture from the air and monitor humidity levels in real-time. Using a dehumidifier not only helps ensure the conditions aren’t optimal for dust mites, but also helps keep you and your family comfortable.
To reduce the lifespan of dust mites, wash your bedding and other fabrics weekly in hot water. They can't survive high temperatures, but water under 130°F or 55°C won't be hot enough. Don't forget to wash your kid's stuffed animals too.
Consider renovating old flooring if possible. Old carpeting is a perfect environment for dust mites, and even with regular cleaning, dust mite build-up can be difficult to remove. Other old flooring can become a hospitable home for dust mites, as well. Consider replacing old vinyl or wood flooring, as dust mites can make their home in the cracks and crevices.
Dust mites in pillows are all too common. Get rid of dust mites in pillows by replacing them with an anti-mite foam pillow and covering your pillows and mattress with anti dust mites covers. A pillow shouldn't be in your home beyond two years, as it'll become infested with dust mites and other allergens. And for more comfort you can opt for bamboo pillowcases offering anti-bacterial and hypoallergenic properties.
A dust mite mattress cover made of polyester and a full zippered enclosure wraps your mattress in a shield dust mites can’t get into. It’s important to remember that the best dust mite mattress covers do not have a cotton fabric top. This is because cotton tops offer a perfect nesting area for dust mites. Our dust mite mattress cover has the highest Thermal Evaporative Resistance (TER) rank and is OEKO TEX 100 certified against dust mites.
Toss Drapes And Black Out Curtains
Exchange your fabric drapes and blackout curtains for wood or plastic blinds, blackout vinyl roller shades, or pleated paper shades. This can help ensure that you reduce the liveable areas that dust mites love. Just be sure to dust your new blinds or shades regularly.
When you suffer from allergies and asthma, dust mites can be a major trigger for worsening your indoor symptoms. Fortunately, an air purifier is ideal for removing dust, including dust mite allergens, and helping you breathe easier. Allergists recommend an air purifier with a true HEPA filter and a minimum CADR of 100 to ensure proper air circulation. An air purifier also prevents illness by killing harmful airborne germs.
Conditions that kill/reduce dust mites:
● 35-50% Low humidity
● Washing bedding at 130°F- 55°C hot water weekly
● Hardwood, laminate, vinyl flooring
● Increased ventilation
● Synthetic Materials, e.g. polyester
Dust mites can turn our homes from sanctuaries of safety to havens for allergy attacks and hostile health conditions. Taking the proper precautions now can save your family from suffering later.