Dust mites are microscopic creatures that live in bedding, carpets, drapes, furniture, and anywhere dust accumulates. They feed off of dead animal and human skin cells, which are shed daily without our even knowing it. Dust mites and skin cells are too small to see, and it’s a good thing – dust mites are ugly critters!
Because of their tiny size, getting rid of them entirely is unrealistic. But keeping their numbers and your allergic reactions down is certainly feasible. Here are some tips.
1. Put Teddy in the Freezer
Dust mites die at freezing temperatures. A case freezer is ideal for this – put pillows and children’s stuffed animals in plastic bags and put them in the freezer for 24 hours. This will kill the dust mites on those items.
2. Wash Bedding Weekly
Since you can’t put your entire bed into the freezer, you’ll need to wash your bedding regularly in hot water (dust mites die at high temperatures, too). Weekly washings are ideal. Encase your mattress in an anti-allergy cover that is like a giant pillowcase for your mattress. Such covers are made from materials that will prevent the dust mites from passing through the mattress and into your respiratory passages. Encase pillows with similar covers.
If your furniture has removable covers, wash them every few weeks in water that is as hot as the manufacturer recommends. If your furniture does not have removable covers, clean the fabric surface with hypo-allergenic or natural cleaner every few weeks. Another option is to cover your furniture with washable slip covers. Remove and wash the slip covers every few weeks.
If you can, invest in leather, vinyl or wooden furniture that is inhospitable to dust mites. Vacuum your furniture every few days, too.
Speaking of vacuuming, you’ll need to vacuum your floors daily if you want to decrease the number of dust mites in your home, especially if you have carpet. (If you do have carpet, getting rid of it is a good step toward keeping dust mites at bay.) If your vacuum does not have a HEPA filter, get one that does. It’s a worthy investment.
5. Filter the Air
Change the filter in your heating and cooling system often, and use filters that are manufactured to keep out dust mites. Consider investing in an air purifier to filter out airborne mites.
Clean your drapes every few weeks, or remove them entirely.
7. Dust Regularly
Remove the dust from your home regularly, but make sure you use a damp cloth to keep the dust from becoming airborne.
8. Dust Mite Spray
Dust mites are not insects, but they are arachnids, meaning they are related to spiders. Spiders are repelled by citrus scent, so when you dust, dampen the cloth with citrus-scented spray. Make your own by putting a few tablespoons of lemon juice or a few drops of lemon/orange essential oil into a 1-quart spray bottle. In addition to dampening your dusting cloth with this solution, spritz it freely around the house, including onto your mattress, furniture, and bedding.