Mattress dust mites, also known as house dust mites, or simply dust mites, are one of the most common household bugs that tend to make life miserable for hundreds of thousands of homeowners all across the world.
They might be really small in size, but they can compromise the safety and comfort of your home nonetheless.
This is because dust mites breed prolifically and lead to a range of health problems. They can make it difficult for you to live, or even breathe, within the same premises for that matter – no kidding!
The worst part is that because these tiny crawlers cannot be seen with the naked eye, you might not realize you have a dust mite infestation until it’s too late.
In this guide, we will help you identify if you have mattress dust mites taking over your home, and how to get rid of them effectively and efficiently.
But as they say, the first rule of warfare is to know your enemy.
So, if you want to get rid of the dust mites in your home, it’s essential to first learn some basic information about these tiny but nasty creatures.
- 1 What Are Dust Mites?
- 2 How to Tell If Your Mattress Has Dust Mites?
- 3 10 Ways to Get Rid of Dust Mites
- 3.1 1. Keep Indoor Humidity Level Low
- 3.2 2. Use an Anti-Dust Mite Vacuum
- 3.3 3. Wash Your Bedding Weekly
- 3.4 4. Use Allergen-Proof Bed Covers
- 3.5 5. Use Eco-Friendly Pillows
- 3.6 6. Buy Washable Stuff Toys
- 3.7 7. Remove Carpeting
- 3.8 8. Install a High-Efficiency Air Filter
- 3.9 9. Don’t Dust; Mop
- 3.10 10. Use a Dust Mite Bed Protector
- 4 Conclusion
What Are Dust Mites?
Dust mites are microscopic insects (measuring less than half a millimeter long) that belong to the same family as spiders.
They thrive in warm environments where temperatures are typically in the range of 70 to 80 degrees. Dust mites also prefer humid environments as they need to absorb moisture from the air to survive.
Dust mites feed off the flakes of dead skin shed by humans and pets alike. Though you can’t see it happening, you shed an average of about 1g of dead skin cells every day.
This is enough to feed over a million dust mites on a daily basis!
In homes, these insects usually live in dark and moist places such as mattresses, carpets, curtains, and upholstered furniture like sofas and couches.
Dust mites won’t bite you, but their body parts and feces can cause severe allergic reactions. In extreme cases, they can lead to respiratory problems and the onset of skin infections.
People living in a dust mite infested home are prone to asthma attacks and developing eczema.
Note: Dust mites must not be confused with bedbugs. Bedbugs are a different species of household pests.
Unlike dust mites, they leave visible bites on your skin. However, at times, dust mites might cause skin rashes.
How to Tell If Your Mattress Has Dust Mites?
Sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, and itchy skin are the most common symptoms of dust mite allergies. A clinical test can confirm if your allergy stems from the cast skin and fecal matter of dust mites.
Alternatively, you should focus on the following aspects to determine if you have this pest problem.
These are the usual signs of dust mites breeding in large numbers in the nooks and crannies of your mattress and other furniture items:
- Your throat, nose, or skin feel itchy, especially when you are inside the house or, more specifically, in your bedroom
- Your pillow smells weird or makes your eyes watery/ itchy if you lie on it for too long
- You often have a stuffy nose or frequently sneeze even outside the usual flu season
- You have a dry cough or wheezing with no signs of a cold
- Your allergy tends to last almost year-round
- Your flu-like symptoms peak during summer months when the weather gets hot and humid
- You notice red patches on your skin when you wake up in the morning (these may or may not itch)
10 Ways to Get Rid of Dust Mites
Although it is impossible to completely eliminate dust mites from your home, there are several ways in which you can limit their numbers and neutralize their threat.
Here are the steps you need to follow in order to drastically reduce the number of dust mites invading your living space:
1. Keep Indoor Humidity Level Low
Maintaining a humidity level of 50% or lower in your home can help you get rid of dust mites by cutting off their ‘supply’ of water. You can control the moisture content of the indoor air using a dehumidifier or by changing the air conditioner setting accordingly. Buy a hygrometer to keep a close check on the humidity level at all times.
2. Use an Anti-Dust Mite Vacuum
An anti-dust mite vacuum, as the name suggests, is an automatic cleaning tool specifically designed to eliminate mattress bugs. It features a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) air filtration system that effortlessly sucks out all mites hiding around the house.
The anti-dust mite vacuum can also be used to clean sofas and curtains. Compared to hiring professional pest control services, this is an easy and more cost-effective way to get rid of mattress dust mites.
3. Wash Your Bedding Weekly
Since a majority of dust mites live in the mattress, you need to pay special attention to cleaning your bedding regularly.
Ideally, you should wash your bed sheets, pillowcases, blankets, and bedcovers in hot water. The water temperature should be around 55 degrees Celsius as dust mites cannot survive the heat at this temperature.
If the item cannot be washed in hot water, make sure to dry it a high temperature instead to kill off the mites. Then wash the bedding normally to remove the allergens left behind.
4. Use Allergen-Proof Bed Covers
Allergen-blocking covers can help keep your mattress and pillows free from dust and dust mites alike. These covers are made from a tightly woven fabric that prevents the accumulation of dead skin cells.
When your bedding is not food storage for dust mites, you automatically get rid of this microscopic infestation.
Similarly, when choosing bedding, make sure that it will not easily trap dust and other allergens. If you currently use woolen or feathered bedding, consider replacing it with synthetic materials that are dust mite –resistant.
5. Use Eco-Friendly Pillows
Since you spend one-third of your day sleeping, you ought to invest in a pillow that’s safe, comfortable, and above all, free of any tiny bugs that can easily enter your nasal passageway.
Eco-friendly pillows are made from special materials such as shredded latex or organic wool. They are highly hygienic, hypoallergenic, and designed to keep unwelcome parasites at bay.
6. Buy Washable Stuff Toys
When buying stuff toys for your kids or any other similar item for home décor, make sure that it is washable.
As for the old toys that might be home to dust mites at the moment, clean them by putting them in a zip lock bag and then leaving the bag in the freezer overnight.
The low temperature kills all the mites present in the material. However, keep in mind that the item will still not be free of allergens. For that, you need to wash it separately.
7. Remove Carpeting
Carpets and throw rugs are the most favorite habitat for dust mites. Therefore, to get rid of dust mites and prevent them from coming back, limit the use of carpet in your home.
If you have concrete floors, it’s better to avoid carpeting your home altogether. This is because carpeting concrete floor provides the ideal atmosphere for dust mites as carpets trap heat and moisture.
If you have any fancy floor mats in the living room or foyer, make sure to properly vacuum them at least once every week. Washing such items every three months is a must for maintaining proper hygiene indoors.
8. Install a High-Efficiency Air Filter
Install allergen-capturing air filters in your home conditioning system to keep indoors clean from the airborne dust mites and their fecal matter. Your filter should have a MERV rating of 12 or higher.
9. Don’t Dust; Mop
If there are dust mites in your home, dusting off the furniture will only stir up the allergens. This can trigger asthma attacks, especially in the young and elderly members.
Plus, it won’t be of any help in driving out the dust mites.
What you need to do instead it mop the floor regularly and clean furniture items with a relatively damp cloth. This is more effective in removing the mite allergens as well as the dead skin cells that these insects feed off.
10. Use a Dust Mite Bed Protector
If you don’t have the budget to replace your infested mattress with a new one, the next best option is to buy a mattress cover for dust mites instead.
It is a special bed cover that forms a barrier between the mites and your body, thus shielding you from skin irritation and related problems.
However, you must wash the protector periodically to remove the mites that might accumulate on the surface of the cover.
Mattress dust mites are a common nuisance for many homeowners. Despite their miniature size, these pesky creatures can bring about huge trouble for you and your family members.
By following the tips discussed above, you can easily eliminate dust mites and prevent yourself from the resulting allergies.