You’ve heard how fabrics are good breeding spots for dust mites, especially if they are covered with dust and skin cells. Regular washing is ineffective in getting rid of dust mites, but does the dryer heat helps to kill the tiny pests in laundry?
Why Regular Washing Does Not Kill Dust Mites?
Dust mites are microscopic creatures that grow within a specific range of environmental parameters. To be exact, dust mites live in homes where the temperature falls between 20°C to 25°C. Also, relative humidity of 70% to 80% will encourage dust mites’ growth.
On top of that, dust mites require food to survive. While they don’t chew on our skin or suck blood like bed bugs, dust mites feast on dead skin cells that you shed daily. On average, an individual shed more than one million tiny skin cells to fuel dust mites in the house.
The common area where you’ll find a great population of dust mites in the bedroom. It isn’t surprising as you spend an average of 8 hours daily in the bedroom. As you sleep, skin cells dropped on the bed and the warmth of your body increases the humidity.
Common sense says that you ought to wash your beddings regularly to get rid of dust mites. However, regular washing in cold or warm water is not effective in killing dust mites. This is affirmed by a scientific publication in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
How Using A Laundry Dryer Can Kill Dust Mites
The key to killing dust mites in clothes, fabrics, mattress protectors and other bedding items is to turn up the heat when doing laundry. If you have a laundry dryer in your home, you already have the lethal tool to kill dust mites.
Dust mites are killed when the surrounding temperature exceeds 55°C. Most modern laundry dryers have different temperature settings and have no issues in reaching 55°C. By placing dust mites-infested clothes or beddings in a dryer, you’ll practically kill off all the dust mites.
A scientific study was performed to evaluate the presence of dust mites before and after hot tumble drying. The final results record almost 0 live mites in 6 out of 8 duvet cover that was tumble-dried in a dryer.
However, it is important to note that dust mites allergen, Der p 1, is not destroyed even after going through the process of hot tumble drying. The allergen is responsible for causing dust mites allergy symptoms in highly-sensitive individuals.
Nevertheless, using a laundry dryer is an effective method in reducing the dust mites population in your home.
Choosing An Efficient Dryer For Dust Mites
If you’re thinking to get a laundry dryer to kill dust mites when doing laundry, you’ll want to take these into considerations.
- Heat settings – It’s important that the dryer can produce the minimum temperature required to kill dust mites. Most modern dryers do but it’s best to verify with the manufacturer.
- Load capacity – Are you staying alone or with your family? How often are you doing laundry? These factors can affect the load capacity of the dryer.
- Size – Naturally, a laundry dryer with a smaller capacity will take up lesser space in your home. You’ll want to figure out where to place the dryer when it’s delivered.
- Quiet operation – You don’t need a dryer that is loud when the tumble is in full operation. Opt for dryers that are built to operate silently.
- Energy-star rating – Appliances that produce heat will rack up the energy bill. Look for the Energy Star rating. It’s an indication that the dryer is engineered to use as little electricity as possible.
Here’s one by hOmeLabs that’s Energy Star rated and has no problem in hitting 55°C in warm drying mode. It’s also quiet and features a compact design.
Other Methods To Kill Dust Mites In Laundry
If you don’t have space or budget for a new laundry dryer, fret not, as these methods may still help in reducing dust mites in the laundry.
1. Use Essential Oils
Some essential oils are proven to be effective in killing dust mites. Eucalyptus oil has been a popular option but fennel oil is the most potent essential oil when it comes to increasing the mortality rate of dust mites.
You can add 5-10 drops of these essential oils with detergent to kill dust mites in pieces of clothing or beddings when doing laundry.
2. Use Detergent For Dust Mites
There are detergents that are formulated to kill dust mites and they are commercially-available. Instead of regular detergents, use these anti-dust mites detergents for laundry. Not only are they effective in killing dust mites, but the detergents also neutralize the allergens in the laundry.
It’s often an overlooked fact that a laundry dryer can be a highly effective tool in killing dust mites. If you already have a dryer in your laundry room, use it to stop the menacing dust mites in your home. Else, consider some of the alternatives mentioned to reduce dust mites.