Unless you’re blessed with microscopic vision, you can’t see the millions of dust mites crawling all over your home, that is, if it actually crawls. But dust mites are not an urban myth and I’ve experienced first hand how they wreak havoc to my son’s health.
Dust mites are ugly little things that feed on dead skin cells. Considering an average individual sheds more than one million dead cells a day, the millions of dust mites ruling your home need not worry about food.
If it happens that your home is warm and humid, the dust mites are practically living in heaven. These microscopic bugs thrive when the room temperature ranges between 20 – 25 degrees Celcius and a humidity between 70% – 80%.
13 Remedies Proven To Reduce Or Kill Dust Mites
Do not take dust mites allergy lightly especially if you’re living with children. When the symptoms are not controlled, it may lead to asthma. That’s why I have been zealous in getting rid of dust mites from my home.
Here are some methods that are great in putting a stop to the growth of dust mites.
1. Reduce (or increase) The Temperature
Like humans, dust mites are comfortable in an environment that is neither too cold or warm. To be exact, researchers have pinpointed the temperature that is optimal for dust mites to be within 20 to 25-degree Celcius.
One of the easiest ways to reduce the growth of dust mites, or possibly ending the colony, is reducing or increasing the temperature of the room. My preference is to lower down the temperature whenever possible, as I’m one who can’t tolerate warm environments.
2. Ensure Your Home Is Not Overtly Humid
Unlike temperature, the ideal humidity for humans is one that will prevent the growth of dust mites. Dust mites multiply exponentially when the humidity varies between 70%- 90% whereas humans are comfortable with a relative humidity of 30% to 50%.
There are tell-tale signs of an overly humid room that promotes the growth of dust mites. Check out for mold and mildew, especially in the bathroom. It’s an indicator of trapped vapor that may affect the surrounding area, especially the bedroom. Or use a hygrometer to gauge humidity accurately.
A great way to decrease the humidity is to ensure proper ventilation of your home, especially the bedroom and bathroom. I make a habit to keep all windows open each day. However, I have a very badly ventilated bathroom, even after opening all the windows in the house. That prompts me to have a ventilation fan installed to keep the bathroom relatively dry.
Besides the ventilation fan, you can also install dehumidifiers which help to regulate the humidity at a consistent level. Be careful of not driving the humidity to the other extreme as very dry air increase the chances of catching flu viruses and aggravate skin diseases.
3. Wash Your Beddings Once A Week
If you have serious dust mites problems at home, the primary suspect is often the bed. That’s where you spend an average of 7 hours asleep each day and naturally shedding the most dead cells on. It also means any serious dust mite prevention should start with your mattress.
Make it a habit to have all the bedsheets, pillowcases, blankets, comforters and other soft fabrics on your bed washed once a week. It’s ideal if you could turn up the heat on the washing machine and dryer to kill off the dust mites.
Anything above 50 degrees Celcius is good enough to get rid of the dust mites. If you’re using a washing machine without temperature control, heat up water manually and soak the beddings for about 10 minutes will eliminate the dust mites.
If you couldn’t increase the washing temperature, adding a few anti dust mite detergent also helps in killing the pests in the laundry.
4. Freeze The Dust Mites
A washing machine and hot water seem to be a great and easy solution except for some fabrics or plush toys that are not machine washable. In that case, freezing the items to ice-cold temperatures is the best option.
Place the items in a sealed plastic before placing them in the refrigerator. The shocking low temperature is more than enough to kill the dust mites. While it does nothing to remove the feces that causes the allergies, this at least puts a stop to the incessant growth of dust mites.
5. Replace Brooms with Vacuum Cleaners And Keep Your Home Dust Free
Every speck of dust in your home is a good indication of a collection of dead skins and the home of dust mites. Common sense says a home free of dust reduces dust mites problems drastically. However, the tools that you use to clean off the dust matter, especially if you are allergic to dust mites.
I have stopped using brooms as it tends to send the molecular size of dust particles flying in the air, often together with dust mites and their fecal pellets. It helps if you’re wearing a mask, but I prefer using a vacuum cleaner fitted with HEPA filter to do the job.
The HEPA filter is a mechanical filter designed to trap small particles of pollutants like dust mites, pollens, and chemical vapors. To qualify as a HEPA filter, it must be able to filter out 99.97% of particles greater or equal to 0.3 micrometers.
A vacuum cleaner fitted with the HEPA filter traps the dust mites safely in the vacuum. Ensure that you’re getting the newer models of vacuum cleaner that are bagless and allow easy removal of the dirt. The last thing you want is the dust mites spread all over the air when you’re trying to empty the vacuum.
Some great places where you will have fun vacuuming are isolated corners of your rooms, underneath the bed, sofa and behind the furniture. These are the areas where dust tends to build up and invite the growth of dust mites.
6. Use Special High Power UV Vacuum Cleaner For Mattress
A regular vacuum cleaner is good enough to remove specks of dust from floors and hard to reach areas in your home. But it would do a poor job sucking out dust mites from your mattress and pillow. Most vacuum cleaners do not have enough suction power for the deeply entrenched dust mites.
Instead, using special UV vacuum cleaners that are meant for dust mites is the wiser option for mattresses and pillows. These vacuum cleaners are designed to be compact and handheld but pack an extremely powerful suction power to remove dust mites from the mattress.
Besides fitted with a HEPA filter like its conventional counterpart, this special vacuum cleaner is also equipped with UV light to neutralize dust mites and other bacterias. Some of these vacuum cleaners are also heated to increase the rate of dust mites destruction.
7. Sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth On Carpets And Mattress
Nothing gets more natural than sprinkling diatomaceous earth. It’s a fancy name for fossilized remains of miniature aquatic organisms. Diatomaceous earth contains natural compounds of silica which turns out to be an effective way of ridding dust mites.
Sprinkling diatomaceous earth on carpets, rugs, and mattresses will naturally reduce or eliminate dust mites population, as the silica compound absorbs oil from the cellular layer of dust mites. Diatomaceous earth also has sharp edges which help to crush the exoskeleton of dust mites.
While diatomaceous earth is generally safe for humans and pets, you’ll want to avoid inhaling these tiny particles. It may cause irritation on the nasal passage and may result in coughing or breathing difficulty.
8. Get Rid Of Unnecessary Carpets, Rugs, Furniture, Soft Toys
If dust mites continue to rule supreme in your home, it’s time to get rid of those exquisite Persian carpets or cute fluffy toys that are nice to cuddle. At the very least, wrap them up to prevent dust mites from taking shelter in the fur or fabric.
Just be aware that you may send plenty of dust mites and fecal pellets into the air when you’re packing or removing upholsteries. Wearing the right face mask helps to prevent the tiny particles from being inhaled.
Of course, it helps if you’re a minimalist. Personally, I prefer to have an uncluttered home and bedroom. Besides minimizing cleaning times, there aren’t many spots for the dust mites to hide. Controlling or getting rid of dust mites is also relatively easier.
9. Use A HEPA Air Purifier
One of the first arsenals that I’ve brought in to my home is an air purifier equipped with a HEPA filter. It may be helpless for the dust mites that are deeply camped in mattress, pillows or carpets, but having an air purifier does help to reduce dust mites that are floating in the air, especially when you’re making your bed.
When choosing an air purifier, it’s important to ensure that it has the capacity to sufficiently cover the area of your living room or bedroom. By trapping some dust mites in the air, an air purifier helps to a certain extent in your attempt to halt the growth of dust mites at home.
10. Use Anti-Dust Mites Pillow And Mattress
It may seem like a drastic step, but I’ve replaced all the pillows and mattress that my child is sleeping to those that are labeled as anti-dust mites. This follows the advice from the child specialists that I’ve been consulting with, and an enlarged image of dust mites breeding in the regular mattress.
Anti-dust mites pillow and mattress are tightly woven so that there is no space for dust mites to creep through or made of wool or silk that are not suitable for dust mites to grow. Look for labels like anti-dust mites, hypoallergenic or anti-allergy when you’re replacing your beddings.
Alternatively, you can also use anti-dust mites pillowcases and mattress cover instead of replacing the entire beddings. These specially woven sheets help to prevent dust mites from escaping from the mattress or pillow when you’re sleeping.
11. Use Anti-Bacterial, Anti-Fungal Essential Oil
While Lysol may be the go-to solution in killing bacterias, germs and dust mites at home, there are natural remedies that are equally effective. The essential oil has long been used by civilization for its medicinal properties, and some of the oils are great in killing dust mites.
Look for essential oils that possess anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. For instance, tea tree oil, eucalyptus, and lavender are some of the best essential oils to eliminate dust mites at home. To kill dust mites in bed and pillows, dilute 3-4 drops of essential oil into a cup of water. Place the mixture into a hand spray and start spraying on dust mites infested items.
As essential oils are a potent extract, you’ll want to prevent direct contact with sensitive parts of the body like eyes, ears, and nose. Also, some individuals may develop allergic reactions when coming into contact with undiluted essential oil.
You could also add baking soda or vinegar with essential oil dilution in a spray bottle to kill dust mites in your home.
12. Leave Your Bed Unmade In The Morning
This is where being lazy can help to prevent dust mites’ growth in your bed. If you’re one who made your bed the first thing in the morning, you’re trapping moisture that is released by your body and making the bed warm and humid for the dust mites.
Instead, let the bed air out for about an hour (or don’t bother making your bed at all like me). At least not, until I sprayed some natural disinfectant over the bed. If you have a penchant for tidiness and insisting on making your bed, try being gentle and not send clouds of dust mites and the fecal pellets into the air.
To be safe, you may want to put on a face mask when making your bed.
13. Sprinkle Table Salt
Table salts, or any other types of salt have been proven to be effective killing dust mites. It is believed that salt removes moisture from dust mites. About 75% of a mite are made up of water.
When dehydrated, these mites are destroyed. The idea with sprinkling with salt is to have the salts coming into contact with dust mites. If you’re sprinkling on a carpet, you’ll need a few packs to cover the entire surface.
Let the salt rest for a couple of days before vacuuming the residues off.
What Causes Dust Mites Allergen
By themselves, dust mites are pretty harmless. They aren’t creatures that bite humans. However, dust mites produce a form of protein in their fecal pellets which trigger allergy response in humans.
These fecal pellets, measuring in micrometers are the culprit of allergic symptoms in some individuals. My child turned out to be extremely sensitive to the presence of dust mites, and experience severe allergy symptoms caused by the dust mites excretion.
Look out for signs of itchy, or teary eyes which may lead to excessive blinking. These eye irritation may not go off after applying eye drops as the infection starts from the throat. Your throat may feel discomfort then and when in allergy worsen, the nasal may be inflamed.
These are the obvious signs that were suffered by my child that warrant a visit to a child specialist. While nasal sprays, anti-histamine, and eye drop help, eliminating the dust mites are what truly matters.
Can You Get Rid Of Dust Mites Completely?
I’ll be lying if I say you could. But I’ve employed multiple strategies and routines that I’ve shared to reduce the growth of dust mites in my home. To an extent, my child’s allergies are getting better even without the medications.
As long as you are allergic to dust mites, or someone in your family does, you’ll have to be diligent in reducing dust mites growth at home.
Which natural home remedies for dust mites have you tried? What works for you? Share your thoughts in the comment below.