Do you believe that you live alone in your house? Sorry, you don’t! There are millions of tiny creatures sharing your bed, sofa and carpets with you. Dust mites! Don’t expect to see them moving around the house like ants or flies, and don’t try to kill them with a fly swap. That’s not a way to get rid of them.
Even if you clean your house regularly, dust mites still remain. And it’s pretty tricky to get rid of them. You need to take more drastic measures. Luckily, there are a few things you can do! Here are 13 easy steps on how to get rid of dust mites for good!
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What are dust mites, and how to know if you have them?
Dust mites are tiny eight-legged arachnids that live all over the house and aren’t visible on naked eyes. Their size is 0,1-0,5mm, and they live in beddings, carpeting, curtains, upholstered furniture, mattress covers and mattresses, duvets, radiators, stuffed toys and so forth. They’re pests that feed on dead skin cells, but they don’t bite or sting us. They can be usually found wherever human skin cells are. Dust mite population also thrives in humid environments.
Due to their tiny size, it’s impossible to see them. However, there are signs to notify you of their existence. If sudden allergic reactions are triggered, you should be alerted that you might have visitors! Some of these signs are:
- Postnasal drip
- Runny nose
- Stuffy nose
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Red, itchy skin
- Itchy throat
Why should you get rid of dust mites?
House dust mites are one of the top reasons that trigger people’s asthma and allergies. About 80% of people who suffer from allergies are also allergic to dust mites. The enzymes in their faeces trigger allergy symptoms like sneezing, coughing or watery eyes. In severe conditions, things can be worse. Someone might suffer from persistent coughing and sneezing, congestion or asthma attack.
How to get rid of dust mites
Once you’re convinced that dust mites have taken over your household, there are certain things you can do to get rid of them. We can say with real confidence that there are many ways to do it and all of them are really effective.
1. Dust and clean regularly
Dust mites live, feed and thrive on household dust as they can find a plethora of human and pet skin flakes, dry temperatures and steamy environments. With that being said, you can understand that the first step to defeating these “sneaky enemies” is to dust and clean your house regularly.
Someone might say that it’s impossible to keep dust out of the surfaces. However, you can keep it at a low level. Dust frequently all the surfaces in your house, starting from top to bottom. Use a microfibre cloth or a damp cloth to prevent spreading dust around, as a feather duster might do.
2. Frequently vacuuming
Carpets and rugs accumulate dust and skin cells as well. It’s recommended, though, to vacuum them at least twice a week. If there’s heavy traffic and pets on a carpet, then you should vacuum every day.
But the most important isn’t how often you vacuum your carpets, but what vacuum cleaner you use, as not all types are suitable for removing dust mites, pollen, and other airborne allergens. For these reasons, you need a cleaner with high-efficiency particulate air ( HEPA). These vacs with a HEPA filter can remove dust from the carpets and prevent mites from camping in your house.
You might also want to consider steam cleaning your carpets. Hot temperatures kill mites and disinfect. A steam cleaner reaches a temperature of 93° to 121° C, so steam cleaning your carpets at least once a month is ideal. Hence, if you don’t have a steam cleaner, maybe it’s time to purchase one.
3. Change your bedding regularly
Humans spend about 7 hours per day in bed. The same goes for dust mites. They love lying in your bed as well. It’s estimated that more than 10 million dust mites live in your pillowcases, bedsheets and mattress. Cute, right? How about “NO”?
The bed has the perfect condition for mites to live and reproduce. It’s a warm and steamy environment with lots of food sources like dead skin cells and dust. The easiest way to get rid of the mites is to regularly change and wash beddings, mattress, and pillow covers in the washing machine (if they are washable). Change bedsheets at least once a week and wash them in hot water.
4. Use hypoallergenic mattress, pillows and protective covers
Just changing beddings regularly won’t help you get rid of dust mites. You have to do more! You can get a non-allergenic mattress and pillows and use an anti-allergy protective cover. These products are made of woven fabric that mites can’t stick to and live on. They are also waterproof, meaning that it doesn’t keep moisture. And with no moisture mites can’t survive.
5. Eliminate their food source
Washing your mattress, box spring, pillows and duvets regularly is quite impossible. In fact, even if you do wash them every week, dust mites won’t leave their nest. There’s, though, a way to kill dust mites. Let them starve. How? Use special dust mite allergen covers. These covers are pretty expensive. However, they can reduce allergy symptoms.
6. Lower the home’s temperature and humidity levels
Dust mites thrive in temperatures of between 20-25 degrees Celsius and between 70%-80% levels of humidity. If you live in conditions above these levels, you should act ASAP. How? By using an air cooler and air conditioning. Beyond all the other benefits of an air purifier, it can also eliminate allergens, like dust mites, pet dander and odour, responsible for allergy reactions.
On the other hand, an air conditioner or a dehumidifier (along with other benefits this machine has) can reduce the humidity levels and maintain it at about 50%, preventing dust mites from breeding. It’s probably time to start looking for an air purifier and a dehumidifier!
7. Spread Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
Diatomaceous Earth is a powder from sedimentary rocks and has high levels of fossilised algae with a high level of compound silica. This magic powder is used to kill dust mites in a few minutes by dehydrating them.
You can sprinkle DE over the surfaces, like your bed, carpets and couches. Leave it there for as long as possible. Then use a vacuum cleaner without a filter to avoid clogging it. DE is absolutely safe for humans and pets but not for dust mites and bed bugs.
8. Freeze items you can’t wash
Beyond hot temperatures, dust mites can’t live in the cold as well. If you have things that can’t be washed in high temperatures, you can just ….freeze them! Delicate fabrics, stuffed animals, silk or lace, you can simply put them in plastic bags and place them in the freezer for 24 hours. Extreme cold temperatures will kill dust mites. You should keep in mind, though, that they won’t remove any allergens.
9. Use essential oils
Most essentials, like tea tree and eucalyptus oil, are naturally antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal. Here’s what you need to get rid of dust mites:
- 2 cups of distilled water
- 2 tablespoons of tea tree oil
- 2 tablespoons of eucalyptus oil
- A dark spray bottle
Once you gather all the ingredients, do as follows:
- Mix distilled water, eucalyptus and tea tree oil and pour it in a spray bottle.
- Spray as much as you wish on your bed, furniture, pillows and carpets.
10. Avoid making your bed in the morning
For you who hate making your bed in the morning, we have some great news. You’re doing a great job! Moisture excreted from the bodies during the night is the water that mites drink. Thus, if you don’t make your bed, you give the mattress and cover the needed time to dry, reducing the moisture and humidity.
11. Keep your pet out of your bedroom
Pet dander is a food source for dust mites. Hence, keep your adorable pet out of the bedroom and your bed. Bathe and groom them regularly. Vacuum and clean their bedding often if you want to be extra sure.
12. Replace curtains, cushions and soft furnishings
Curtains and soft furnishings are the best places for dust mites to live and breed. Fabric traps dust and moisture and makes it impossible for us to get rid of them. You can, though, throw away dust mites by:
- Replacing curtains with blinds that are easy to clean.
- Replacing your fabric cushions with leather/artificial leather ones.
- Changing the couch with a leather one which is also super easy to clean.
13. Replace your carpets with hard flooring
As we’ve said a million times, dust mites love warm and humid environments, like the ones that can be found in carpets. Instead of regularly washing your carpets, you might consider replacing them with hard floorings, like laminate which is much easier to clean.
How to prevent dust mites from coming back
You might now wonder, “Now that I have managed to get rid of dust mites, is there a way to prevent them from coming back?” Of course, there’s a way. And not just one.
- Clean your house regularly.
- Wash bedding once a week in the washing machine using a high temperature (60°C).
- Use the non-allergenic bed and pillow covers.
- Open windows regularly to reduce the humidity levels in the house.
- Replace carpets, curtains, and soft furnishing with hard flooring, blinds, and leather furniture
- Use essential oils to keep dust mites and bed bugs out of your mattress, pillows and carpets.
- Use air conditioning to control levels of humidity and not to open the windows. This will reduce pollen and other airborne particles, which are food sources for dust mites to enter your house.
House dust mites might not bite us. However, their presence in our homes greatly impacts our health, especially for allergy sufferers. Regular cleaning and vacuuming, air conditioners, air coolers and air cleaners, and hypoallergenic mattresses and pillows and anti-allergy protective covers are some of the measures we can take to kill and prevent them from coming back.