Dust mites’ invasion are like those alien-themed movies, where extra-terrestrials come to conquer the earth and its human inhabitants. They come in armies and build bases to increase their power. They stay and take over and make humans suffer. And then the turning point would be, humans fighting for their habitat and reclaiming ownership of their home. They kill the aliens, vanquishing them from the face of the earth. …**closing credits**.
That’s how I see it whenever I’m in thought of how to get rid of dust mites infestation in our home. I want to get a specialized weapon to incinerate the millions of dust mites that are disturbing and threatening my family’s comfort and health. And finally, make our home alien-free, or rather, dust mite-free, again!
Did I succeed in getting rid of dust mites totally, just like in the movies where the aliens are kicked out from the earth? Was I able to kick them out of our home too? Did I need to resort to building a specialized weapon to eradicate them to oblivion?
Fortunately, I didn’t need to go to such lengths and I just took these four easy-to-follow steps to get rid of dust mites from our home.
1. Begin in your bedroom
Dust mites love your bed like you do, not because they sleep on it as you do, but because they can burrow in the warmth and dampness of your mattress and pillows. Plus, most of your skin sheds are left on your bed, so they have tons of food supply to prosper and build in numbers. As we talked about in our article Where Do Dust Mites Come From, your bed is their ‘happy place’.
So, what are you going to do? Not worry about them since they are not disturbing your sleep? Well they actually do, in fact the waste they produce are your allergens, and that’s what makes you sneeze, wheeze, and cough for unknown reasons. You wake up feeling unwell because there are tons of dust mites underneath your sleeping den.
To prevent dust mites from making your sleeping haven a hell, start by cleaning and fixing your beds with these helpful tips:
- Regularly wash your bedding.
First, soak your bed sheets, covers, blankets, comforters, pillow cases, and the likes in hot water, usually 60°C (140°F). Extremely hot temperatures are enough to kill the mites and remove their waste and skin particles off the cloth, even before you wash them with detergents. After washing, you may tumble dry the beddings to fully eliminate the mites, since the heat from the dryer can also kill any residue. Doing this will not only kill the dust mites but would ensure a clean bed for a good night sleep. Have a regular washing schedule that you can upkeep.
- Opt for hypoallergenic mattress covers.
It is wise to invest in a hypoallergenic mattress or bed cover to keep you protected from dust mites. Bed covers act as a barricade between yourself and the bugs under your mattress, preventing moisture to seep into the mattress and blocking your shed skin from feeding these mites. You could also go one step further and wear hypoallergenic clothes when sleeping for extra protection.
- Leave your bed unattended.
After you wake up, pamper yourself first and have a hearty breakfast, leaving your bed as it is. Let moisture on your bedding dry first by exposing it to the air which will help to dry it out. In this way, you’re making it a little bit harder for the dust mites to thrive, since they like damp surroundings and you’re not contributing to that. But make sure you go back and make your bed to further clean it. It can help to give the bed sheet a brush to remove any dead skin whilst making the bed each morning.
2. Veer away from fabric surfaces
Dust mites love anything that is made of fabric because they are excellent breeding places. They can hide in every layer of the fabric where temperatures and conditions are ideal for them. Fabric provides warmth and can be easily moistened, which is a perfect breeding ground.
Floor and wall carpets, especially deep piles are an excellent host for these organisms. Getting rid of dust mites, might also mean opting for hard flooring, such as wood laminate, linoleum, concrete, or tile. You may want to consider ripping up your carpets, although it might be costly to replace, but this might just save you some money in the future by protecting your long term health.
As with your carpets, you can replace your window curtains with hard blinds. Also, get rid of soft furnishings and replace them with hardwood, leather, or synthetic. These ways of picking hard surfaces over fabrics will make life harder for dust mites to thrive, while making it easy for you to clean and maintain your home.
But if you really wanted to stick with your ever-stylish carpets, drapes, and soft furniture, make sure to vacuum regularly with a good quality vacuum cleaner to remove the build-up of dust and dust mites. You may also use denaturing sprays and treatments to get rid of the allergens that dust mites produce.
3. Manage room conditions
A warm and damp surrounding is a paradise for these parasites. Anywhere between 24°C and 27°C temperature (75°F and 80°F) and 70% to 80% humidity levels are the ideal conditions for dust mites to live and to propagate.
Your target? Get out of these mite’s comfort zones by controlling the temperature and humidity levels at your home. Set the temperature with the aid of a mist fan or air-conditioner to no more than 21°C (75°F), which is also a conducive room temperature for us to live comfortably. Humidity levels on the other hand can be controlled with the use of either a dehumidifier or humidifier, whichever is necessary based on your conditions. The bottom line is to come up with a 50% relative humidity, so dust mites will find it harder to survive.
4. No better way but to clean your home
It all boils down to the cleanliness of your home to be able to get rid of dust mites, dust, dirt, and other allergens. A dirty place is an outstanding breeding ground for these invading enemies. In no less than a few days of not upkeeping your home, hundreds and thousands of dust mites are marching on and celebrating their independence, and you don’t want that to happen. Instead, get ready with your broom, duster, and dustpan and shoo the dust mites away. Better yet, with your carpets, draperies, and fabric furnishings, use a high performance vacuum cleaner to effectively remove dust, dirt, and dust mites.
I may not be able to get our home 100% free from dust mites (as that is an impossible feat), but following these steps certainly helped me to significantly reduce the presence of dust mites. By taking these actions regularly you can make your home clean and non-conducive for dust mites to live and proliferate. If you have any other tips on how to fight dust mites, I’d love to hear from you, so we can together stop this invasion in its tracks. Our home is our world and we should protect it from dust mite aliens.
Finally, if you really want to go the extra mile in eliminating these house dust mites from your life check out the video below. We found it very informative and it expands on the 4 key steps we’ve outlined above to give 15 ways to get rid of dust mites quickly:
- Use allergen-proof barrier covers on all mattresses, duvets and pillows.
- Wash all bedding that is not encased in barrier covers (e.g. sheets, blankets) every week. Wash at 60 degrees.
- Allergic children should not sleep in the bottom bunk bed where allergen can fall onto them.
- If possible remove all carpeting in the bedroom. Vacuum hard floors regularly with a high-filtration vacuum cleaner (see below).
- Remove all carpeting from concrete floors. Such floors trap moisture allowing dust mites and mould spores to thrive. Seal the floor with a vapour barrier, and then cover it with a washable surface such as vinyl or linoleum.
- Where carpets cannot be removed, vacuum regularly with a high-filtration vacuum cleaner. Use a high-temperature steam-cleaner to kill mites effectively.
- Products are available that can be sprayed on carpets to kill mites; these are effective but should be used with care if you suffer from respiratory symptoms, and should not be used in areas where children play on the carpet, or on soft toys or pillows.
- Use a high-filtration vacuum cleaner with filters capable of retaining a high proportion of the smallest particles (HEPA filter, S-class filter or similar). Miele and Sebo vacuums are two of our favorite vacuum brands due to their exceptional filtration capabilities.
- Damp-wipe all surfaces each week (pelmet tops, window sills, tops of cupboards and so forth).
- Use light washable cotton curtains, and wash them frequently. Reduce unnecessary soft furnishings.
- Vacuum all surfaces of upholstered furniture at least twice a week.
- Washable stuffed toys should be washed as frequently and at the same temperature as bedding (60 degrees). Alternatively, if the toy cannot be washed at 60 degrees place it in a plastic bag in the freezer for at least 12 hours once a month and then wash at the recommended temperature.
- Reduce humidity by increasing ventilation. Use trickle-vents in double-glazing, or open windows. Use extract fans in bathrooms and kitchens.
- If necessary use a dehumidifier to keep indoor humidity under 50% (but over 30%).
- Apply an effective allergen barrier balm around the edge of each nostril.