Dust mites pose health issues for individuals with allergies or respiratory conditions. Along with the mattress and bedding, pillows are one of the usual sites where they accumulate. Since pillows are in close contact with the face every night while resting or sleeping, this is an issue for concern.
Quick Facts on Dust Mites
Dust mites are microscopic bugs that thrive on household dust. They are generally present on various surfaces such as upholstered furniture, pillows, mattresses, and stuffed toys.
The mites feed on miniature human skin flakes that we shed daily. Once shed, these flakes accumulate in furniture, carpets, mattresses, bedding, pillows, and stuffed toys. These areas contain large populations of dust mites. Furthermore, having pets around such as cats and dogs release dander which also serves as food for the mites.
A mite only grows to one-quarter to one-third of a millimeter which makes them invisible to the naked eye. When using a microscope, you’ll see an 8-legged white bug categorized as an arachnid along with spiders, chiggers, and ticks. They prefer environments with temperatures between 68-77 degrees F with a humidity level of 70-90%.
How To Remove Dust Mites From Pillows
There are various ways to eliminate dust mites from pillows.
1. Clean Pillow Covers Regularly
Since pillows come in close contact with our face every time we sleep, it potentially increases the risk of allergies or asthma among highly sensitive individuals.
- Wash all bedding including the pillow covers in hot water once a week to eliminate any dust mites. The water should be at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit to get rid of the mites.
- Place the pillows in a dryer for 15 minutes. Make sure that the dryer reaches 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Put Pillow Covers In Air Dryers
An air dryer has both industrial and household applications. It is a device or equipment that removes water vapor from compressed air.
The main function of an air dryer is to eliminate moisture from the air using a refrigerant to cool it. As an outcome, the water vapor condenses, and the air is compressed. The dry compressed air can be utilized in compressed air equipment without resulting in any damage. It also reduces the amount of vapor in the compressed air.
Placing pillow covers in air dryers remove the moisture from dust mites. It’s an effective method to kill dust mites that have accumulated on pillow covers.
3. Use Hypoallergenic Pillow Protectors
Most of us spend almost half of the day in bed at night. If dust mites are present in our pillows, we are inhaling their wastes. If highly sensitive or allergic to dust mites, it is recommended to use hypoallergenic pillow protectors as a shield against the mites.
These covers not only protect the pillows from dust mites, but also from other potential allergens that can trigger health issues such as mold, mildew, pollen, and animal dander.
A hypoallergenic pillow protector is designed to enclose the pillow with a non-porous material that will not allow the entry of dust mites, usually with a zipper. Make sure that it provides a tight fit, so you can still place a pillowcase over the cover.
Remember to wash both the pillow cover and other pillowcases on a regular basis.
4. Use A UV Vacuum Cleaner
Another alternative is using ultraviolet (UV) light to eliminate dust mites. Aside from the dust mites and their eggs, UV light can also eliminate viruses, bacteria, germs, mold, and other microorganisms but its effectiveness is based on the strength of the light and amount of time the microorganism was exposed.
UV vacuums are specially designed to get rid of dust mites on your bed, carpet, and sofa. While the UV exposure may be short, most UV vacuums are designed to blast hot air, which kills dust mites instantly. The UV lights turn off automatically when lifting the vacuum cleaner to prevent direct eye exposure.
Furthermore, UV vacuums usually include a semi-transparent dust trap and a micro brush tip for thorough cleaning without causing any damage to fabrics. In addition, it has a HEPA filter for efficient filtration of dust and mites.
5. Use A Steam Cleaner
Dust mites are instantly killed by steam vapor and the allergens are also deactivated. If you have a handheld steam cleaner, you can steam-clean the mattress and follow up with vacuuming what’s remaining of the mites.
Steam cleaning has been proven to be effective in various studies. Researchers from the University of Glasglow has shown that steam cleaning eliminates 100% of dust mites while reducing the allergen by up to 86.7%.
6. Consider Getting A Hypoallergenic Pillow
Sometimes, it is wiser to dispose of an old pillow for a hypoallergenic one if the former is suspiciously teeming with dust mites. Hypoallergenic pillows are made of allergen-friendly material that inhibits dust mites’ growth. They are protected with tightly-woven fabric that blocks the mites from passing through.