Teary eyes, itchy throats, and blocked nose. It’s only a matter of time before you start losing patience and vow to put an end to the dust mites that infested your home. Instead of a one-off solution, removing dust mites from your home is rather a continuous process.
Quick Facts About Dust Mites
Dust mites are tiny pests that can’t be seen by your bare eyes. Each of the mites averages 0.3 millimeters, which is probably smaller than the pixel on your screen. Not only they are the invisible enemies of every household, but dust mites also grow exponentially when the conditions are right.
Dust mites thrive in temperature between 20 to 25 degrees Celcius and a humidity between 70% – 80%. Besides a warm and humid environment, dust mites fed on dead skin cells, which is aplenty in every home. For a better picture, the skin cells shed by a single individual can feed tens of thousands of dust mites, at a minimum.
As gross as it may seem, you’re sleeping with probably hundreds of thousands of dust mites, or millions in your bed each night. Spending at least 8 hours on the bed, that’s where dust mites are highly populated as the food (a.k.a. dead skin cells) supply is almost endless.
Truth Behind Dust Mites Allergy
With all being said about dust mites, they are practically harmless to human beings. They don’t bite and don’t cause the mentioned allergic symptoms, at least not directly. The culprit of the endless discomfort that you experienced is the fecal pellets of the dust mites.
The excretion is way tinier than dust mites and these pellets trigger allergic reactions in certain individuals. The allergy usually kicks off with minor symptoms like coughing, irritated throat, and teary eyes. But they could evolve into serious symptoms like nasal blockage and if left untreated; asthma.
Treating allergic symptoms is only a temporary measure. Getting rid of the dust mites is vital to put an end to the problem. As the child specialist that I consulted mentioned, “you don’t want to treat the symptoms forever”.
How To Remove Dust Mites From Home
So, how do you remove dust mites from home if you can’t even see them? Thankfully, dust mites are not invincible. Instead, they are highly sensitive to the environment and the food chain. Besides, there are other ways that could kill dust mites effectively. Here are some useful tips.
1. Decrease The Temperature Of The Air Conditioner
Dust mites grow optimally in a room temperature between 20 to 25 degrees Celcius. Apparently, that’s a temperature that many people fill comfortable with. A great way to reduce or probably put a stop to the growth of dust mite is to decrease the temperature to 19 degrees and below.
But driving your air conditioner to the extreme can mean a significantly higher electric bill. Besides, not every individual enjoy living in such a cool environment. This brings us to the next method.
2. Properly Ventilate Your Home
A properly ventilated home is vital as it prevents moisture from building up. Dust mites have a positive growth rate when the relative humidity fluctuates between 70% – 80%. It is also the ideal humidity for mold and mildew. If you spot mildew growing in your bathroom, it’s very likely that a colony of dust mites is present in your home.
The most economical way to reduce humidity in your home is to keep doors and windows open for natural ventilation. Besides that, installing an exhaust fan in damp areas, such as the bathroom, helps to lower down the humidity.
If you prefer a consistent rate of humidity and have the budget for doing so, you could invest in a high-quality dehumidifier. Setting the dehumidifier to values between 45% – 55% will be ideal for humans and make it an unsuitable environment for dust mites.
3. Clean Beddings, Rugs, Carpets, And Other Fabrics With Hot Water
Anything hotter than 50 degrees Celcius is likely to kill the dust mites. To remove dust mites from your home, make it a habit to clean beddings, rugs, carpets, curtains and other fabrics regularly, especially when they are likely suspects for dust mites infestation.
As beds usually have the highest population of dust mites, thanks to the shedding of dead skin during our sleep, I’ll recommend washing the beddings at least once a week. If you have a washing machine with temperature control, wash the mattress protectors, pillowcases and other fabrics in hot water of 50 degrees Celcius and above.
But if you are using a washing machine that is not equipped with temperature control, you can soak the beddings with hot water. Either way, read the washing instructions on the beddings to ensure that they won’t be damaged when washed with hot water.
4. Make Use Of Your Refrigerator
Frozen dust mites don’t sound right. But that’s the path you could take to remove stubborn dust mites from your home. Not every fabric item could survive the vortex of a washing machine. And you wouldn’t want to risk the stuffed toys of your child.
This is where plastic bags and refrigerator make a good combination. Place the stuffed toys or other items into the plastic bags and sealed them tight before placing them in the refrigerator. Leaving them for 24 hours in the frozen kingdom of the refrigerator puts an end to the dust mites in them.
5. Vacuum Your Home Regularly
If you spot dust in any corners of your home, it indicates a build-up of debris that includes dead skin cells. It’s safe to assume that dust-prone areas are a good breeding place for dust mites. Cleaning off the specks of dust is mandatory, but I’ll recommend refraining from sweeping with a broom.
The last thing you want is to send specks of dust flying in the air, along with dust mites and their fecal pellets. Instead, it pays to invest in a high-quality vacuum cleaner. Modern vacuum cleaners are usually installed with a HEPA filter, which trapped the dust mites in it and has an easy waste disposal mechanism.
6. Use Special Dust Mites Vacuum Cleaner For Mattresses
If there’s any spot in your home that deserves the most vacuuming, it’s the mattresses. Mattresses are dense with dust mites and fecal pellets that are deeply entrenched. A regular vacuum cleaner is not powerful enough to dislodge and suck dust mites from a mattress.
Instead, you’ll need vacuum cleaners that are specially constructed for dust mites and other allergens. These vacuum cleaners are also equipped with HEPA filter but have more powerful suction power and for some models, heat and UV elements.
7. Unclutter Your Home
The next time you noticed a nice piece of decor that fits perfectly in your home, do ask yourself if you really need it and does it make another hiding spot for dust mites. Being a minimalist helps in reducing the dust mites population at home.
Start scanning across your living room and identify rugs or carpets that are not really necessary and has become a potential hideout for dust mites. If you have children in your home, go through their toys regularly and ensure you have them cleaned regularly.
Living with only necessary items means less time spent on cleaning and lesser dust mites issues. Uncluttering your home not only you save money from buying items on whims, but you also save for not visiting the doctor or pharmacists frequently.
8. Turn On An Air Purifier
An air purifier may not be the best tool to go against dust mites, especially when they are deeply hidden in mattresses and rugs. But when you send dust mites flying into the air, especially when you make your bed, an air purifier is handy in filtering the allergens from the air.
When choosing an air purifier, ensure that it is equipped with a HEPA filter. Without that, the dust mites would have a free run through the machine. You’ll also want to ensure that the capacity of the air purifier is sufficient to cover the size of your home or room.
9. Spray Essential Oil
If you’re a fan of aromatherapy, you will be surprised that some of the essential oils, especially eucalyptus and tea tree oil can kill dust mites. These essential oils are known for their anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.
Instead of using a diffuser, you’ll need to mix water and a few drops of essential oil before putting them into a hand spray. Spray the essential oil-infused water on beds, cushions, rugs, carpets and other fabrics to get rid of dust mites. It’s an effective and natural method compared to using chemical disinfectants.
10. Use Anti-Dust Mites Mattresses And Pillows
Anti-dust mites or hypoallergenic pillows are great solutions for people who are allergic to dust mites. They are constructed with material that is almost impossible for dust mites to live in. Therefore, you’ll spend less time cleaning the anti-dust mites mattresses and pillows.
Alternatively, you can use anti-dust mites mattress protectors. They are woven so tightly that leaves no space for dust mites to pass through. It’s a great way to contain dust mites in a mattress or prevent any from getting in.
11. Avoid Having Pets
As much of a pet lover you are, cats and dogs are a great food supply for dust mites. Don’t read this wrong though as dust mites don’t feed on your pets but rather the furs that result in dander. Pets dander are often trapped in fabrics like beddings and carpets and fueled the growth of dust mites.
If you are inseparable from your pet, do keep them away from the bedroom and if possible have them placed out of your home. It helps to reduce the allergic symptoms that you’re suffering from.
12. Sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth is an ancient bane of dust mites since the days of our ancestors. They are tiny particles of fossilized remains of an aquatic organism. Diatomaceous earth contains silica, a compound that would extract oil from the exoskeleton of dust mites, killing the latter gradually.
Besides that, Diatomaceous earth has sharp edges that puncture the structure of dust mites, making it an effective natural remedy for dust mites. To use Diatomaceous earth effectively, lightly sprinkle the powder on mattresses or carpets and leave it for a few hours.
Then, vacuum the powder and together with it, decimated colonies of dust mites. It’s important that you only use food-grade Diatomaceous earth that is safe for children and pets.
Can You Remove Dust Mites Completely?
Anyone who claims that you could have a 100% dust mites free home needs to back it up with facts. Common sense says it’s impossible to completely rid your home for dust mites, but it’s impossible to reduce them to a minimal population.
When these microscopic insects are under control, you’ll find that the allergic symptoms are reduced or cease completely.
I hope that you find some of these tips useful. If you have other natural means of dust mites home removal techniques, do share it in the comment below.