Reduce the Dust Mite Population in Your Home

05-30-2016

Dust mites are insects that thrive on mattresses, furniture, carpets and other fabric. They feed on skin flakes shed by people and pets every day, thriving in warm, humid environments. Their presence is associated with reduced respiratory health, triggering asthma and other allergy related attacks. Unfortunately, dust mites can never be totally eliminated from the home. However, the dust mite population in your home can be reduced by proper cleaning, protecting household items and other methods.

Vacuum regularly.
Vacuum everything that you can, including couches, mattresses, armchairs, floors, mattresses and other places where people frequently sit or lay down on. To trap allergens effectively, your vacuum should have a double-layered microfilter bag or a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. This is important because it helps ensure that dust is not recirculated into the air.
Vacuuming removes surface dust but can’t remove most dust mites and dust mite allergens. Mites are tiny enough to pass through the vacuum cleaner bag. However, vacuuming keeps dust down so these areas aren’t as attractive to mites. Get underneath and behind furniture to keep "dust bunnies" from forming.
If you have severe allergies, leave the area being vacuumed and let someone else do the work. Stay away from the vacuumed room for about two hours to let everything settle.
Keep your vacuum serviced so that it continues to work well.
Use a water vacuum to keep mites inside the water container so you can dump the water into your toilet and flush it.
You may wish to wear a mask when you vacuum to avoid inhaling allergens. Even if you don’t have allergies, it’s best to leave the house for about half an hour after vacuuming for the remaining dust and allergens to settle.
Damp Dust.
Feather dusters and dry cloths will stir up allergens into the air. Use a damp or oiled mop, rag or electrostatic cloths to clean hard surfaces once a week. This will help keep dust and dust mites down.

Try Not to Sleep on Your Couch or on Your Carpet.

This can attract more dust mites to the area by providing ample food in the form of your dead skin cells. Couches and carpets tend to be more difficult to protect from dust mites than beds. It is better to sleep in a bed with a dust mite cover for protection from allergens and mites.

Change Your Flooring in Bedrooms.

Carpet is a haven for dust mites, especially if it sits on concrete, which holds moisture and provides a humid environment for dust mites. Remove wall-to-wall carpeting to help with dust mite allergies, especially in bedrooms. Replace with bare floors, such as linoleum, tile, vinyl, wood or anti-allergenic carpet.

  • Also, remove furnishings that collect dust, such as fabric curtains, horizontal blinds and upholstered furniture.
  • Don’t forget to remove all rugs and mats from the home as they too harbor dust mites.
  • Bare floors can be damp-mopped or cleaned with electrostatic cloths.

Ventilate your home.

Open windows and screen doors to allow fresh air to circulate. This reduces humidity and can help move dust and other allergens out. Do this often to reduce dust mite populations.

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