Dust mites are a common household pest that can trigger allergies in many people. They live off of skin flakes that have shed so they will live anywhere that humans live. While they do not bite or burrow under the skin like other pests such as scabies or fleas, they can be a threat to those with allergies because they leave behind faeces and body parts that become airborne when dust is disturbed. These allergic reactions can exacerbate exiting respiratory conditions such as asthma and hay fever. When the area and furniture is properly cleaned and maintained, the allergens can be contained and eliminated.
Containing dust mites in your furniture starts with eliminating dust in your home. Start by using a vacuum, preferably with a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter, and clean all of your floors, drapes and furniture. For furniture with deep seams, use the crevice tool to get down to the bottom of the seam. If possible, try to avoid purchasing overstuffed furniture as this provides even more hiding spaces for dust mites to multiply. Make sure to pay special attention to your mattresses and bedroom because there will probably be more mite populations there since we spend so much time in these rooms while sleeping. Spray dusting liquids directly onto the surface rather than on the cloth because this will attract more dust, and make sure to use a clean, damp cloth each time to avoid spreading old dust around.
Purchase an air purifier unit with a HEPA filter if your current heating or cooling system does not already use one. These filters can remove up to 99.7 per cent of air particles and are highly recommended for those with any type of airborne allergies. You can also invest in a whole house filtration system that can be added to your existing ventilation system to continuously filter the air in your home. This can be especially helpful if your home uses oil heat to eliminate the particles that are emitted.
Reduce the humidity in your home with dehumidifiers. Dust mites use the free water in the air to survive, and eliminating excess humidity will kill them by dehydration. Also try to wash clothes, drapes, furniture coverings and anything else that could collect dust in hot water and dry them with hot heat. This will kill the eggs that stick to these surfaces.
Use cold temperatures to help rid dust mites from specific pieces of furniture. When the weather is cold, try putting that sofa or chair outside for a few hours. Since dust mites have a high concentration of water in their bodies, they will freeze and die, as will their eggs. Vacuum the pieces when you bring them inside to collect the remnants.
Avoid using chemicals to eliminate dust mites. Chemicals could be harmful to those with allergies or to pets. Use allergy or vinyl covers for mattresses or pillows. Conduct thorough weekly cleanings rather than light daily cleanings to ensure that your home is properly clean.
Consult a doctor if you believe you may have an allergy to dust mites.
Tips and warnings
- Avoid using chemicals to eliminate dust mites. Chemicals could be harmful to those with allergies or to pets.
- Use allergy or vinyl covers for mattresses or pillows.
- Conduct thorough weekly cleanings rather than light daily cleanings to ensure that your home is properly clean.
- Consult a doctor if you believe you may have an allergy to dust mites.