Dust mites are an invisible foe - literally. These microscopic bugs could be the cause of your allergy or asthma symptoms, plus they can give you a skin rash after feeding on your dead skin cells. All it takes is one person to feed 1 million dust mites.
Dust mites are particularly bad because they cause allergies in three ways:
- Mites themselves are allergenic, which means they cause allergies.
- Dust mites’ own shedding can trigger allergies.
- Mite fecal matter can also lead to allergies.
It’s no wonder dust mites are one of the most common allergens. And unlike pollen, dust mite allergies can be a year-round problem.
Dust mites are in every home, and there’s no guaranteed way to get rid of dust mites completely, but you can dramatically reduce their numbers. In this article you’ll learn how to get rid of dust mites in the house and keep them gone.
Where Do Dust Mites Come From?
If you have arachnophobia you may want to skip this part and move right to getting rid of dust mites. Although many people assume dust mites are similar to bed bugs, they are actually arachnids. If you look at them with a microscope you’ll see what looks like tiny white spiders.
Dust mites are naturally occurring just like other arachnids. They love to hitch a ride on dust specks, which is how they get their name.
Since dust mites feast on the dead skin that flakes off of flesh, the largest populations are found on upholstered furniture, in the carpet and in bedding. Basically, any soft surface where skin cells can accumulate you’ll find dust mites.
How to Get Rid of Dust Mites
So we’ve answered the question where do dust mites come from, we’ve discussed why they are in our homes and where they like to hang out. Now it’s time to focus on getting rid of these allergy and asthma inducers.
The good news is there are many ways to get rid of dust mites in the house. The bad news is, to keep dust mites under control you’ll need to use a variety of measures.
Vacuum Regularly, Every Day If Possible
If you want to know how to kill dust mites and get them out of your house for good go to the closet and grab the vacuum cleaner. That’s your best weapon against dust mites.
A vacuum can be used to suck dust mites off of almost any soft surface. Carpets, rugs, upholstered furniture and curtains should be vacuumed regularly. Aim to vacuum carpeting and rugs in high traffic areas every day. Upholstered furniture can benefit from a cleaning at least a few times a week. Curtains can be thrown in the wash or vacuumed at least once a week.
At least once a month steam clean the carpets and upholstered furniture. The heat will help kill off more dust mites than vacuuming alone.
Make Sure Your Vacuum Cleaner Has a HEPA Filter
Some vacuum filters aren’t able to actually trap dust mites and instead they escape out of the exhaust and back into your home. But a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter can trap the smallest of particles, even microscopic dust mites.
Wash Bedding with Hot Water at Least Once a Week
The dust mites that hang out in your bed can be easily taken care of with a trip to the laundry room. Wash all bedding in hot water once a week then tossing it in the dryer will kill off any dust mites that weren’t drowned.
Use a Dehumidifier
Dust mites survive not by drinking water but by absorbing moisture in the air. Depriving dust mites of this moisture with a dehumidifier makes your home less habitable. There are whole house dehumidifiers and portable devices that can be used to dehumidify a room or section of the house.
Aim to keep the humidity in your house at 35-45% to control dust mites without impacting air quality.
Replace Carpeting with Solid Surface Flooring
One of the best ways to get rid of dust mites is to reduce the amount of carpet in the home. This is an investment, but the less carpet there is the less square footage dust mites have to accumulate.
Consider Chemical Reinforcements If All Else Fails
There are insecticides called ascaricides that can be used to kill dust mites on furniture and in the carpeting. These chemicals are only somewhat effective, which is why they should be considered if other measures aren’t working.
How to Get Rid of Dust Mites Naturally
If you’re already concerned about what’s in the air inside your home the idea of using chemicals and insecticides probably isn’t appealing. In addition to the cleaning advice above, there are a few other ways to get rid of dust mites naturally.
Dust with a Wet Cloth Once or Twice a Week
Get rid of the dust and you’ll get rid of dust mites. But don’t reach for that old feather duster. Dry dusting does nothing more than kick the dust around and make allergies worse. Dusting with a damp cloth will remove the dust without releasing it into the air.
Use a More Efficient Air Filter
What’s the MERV rating of your HVAC air filter? If it’s below MERV 9 it’s time to upgrade so that dust mites are captured by the air filter. The ideal option would be a MERV 13 air filter. It provides superior filtration without impacting airflow.
If dust mites have been a problem in your house, it helps to replace or clean your air filter more regularly. Instead of once every three months, replace or clean the filter every month for maximum dust mite removal.
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