How to get rid of dust mites - your comprehensive room-by-room guide
To create a truly healthy indoor environment, it is essential to address dust mites comprehensively throughout every corner of the house and implement a thorough strategy that goes beyond simple surface cleaning.
- Where do dust mites live?
- Is it possible to get rid of dust mites in your home?
- How to get rid of dust mites naturally - general tips
- How to get rid of dust mites in your bedroom
- How to get rid of dust mites in your living room
- How to get rid of dust mites in your kids room
- How to get rid of dust mites in your kitchen
- How to get rid of dust mites in your bathroom
Where do dust mites live?
Dust mites are attracted to places where they can find a source of food (skin flakes), humidity, and a stable environment. It is common to fin mites in the following places, where they have ideal circumstances to thrive:
Usual places where dust mites live
- Bedding: Mattresses, pillows, sheets, and blankets.
- Carpets and Rugs: Especially if not regularly cleaned.
- Upholstered Furniture: Sofas, couches, and cushions.
- Stuffed Toys: Particularly if left unwashed.
- Curtains and Drapes: Especially if infrequently cleaned.
- Clothing: Sometimes, if not disturbed for a long time.
- Pet Bedding: Where pet dander accumulates.
Unusual places where dust mites can live
Musical Instruments: Particularly in instruments with soft surfaces like pianos, accordions, and woodwind instruments stored in humid conditions.
Dollhouses and Stuffed Toys: Especially if they are kept in dusty or humid areas, where the fabric and stuffing provide a food source.
Electronics: While they don't live inside electronic devices, dust mites can accumulate on the surfaces and inside dust-collecting vents.
Libraries and Books: Dust mites can infest books, especially older or rarely read volumes, attracted by dust and organic materials between the pages.
Office Cubicles: Dust mites can be present in upholstery and carpeting in office environments where skin cell shedding occurs.
Cars: Dust mites can thrive in car interiors where dust and skin flakes accumulate, especially if not regularly cleaned.
Where dust mites don't live
Outdoor Areas: Dust mites are indoor pests and do not thrive outdoors.
Extremely Dry Environments: Dust mites require a certain level of humidity to survive. Extremely dry environments with very low humidity levels are not conducive to their survival.
Metallic or Non-Porous Surfaces: Dust mites primarily reside in soft materials like bedding, fabric, and upholstery. They do not live on hard, non-porous surfaces like metal, plastic, or glass.
Clean and Well-Maintained Spaces: Regular cleaning, vacuuming, and maintaining proper hygiene can help prevent or reduce dust mite populations in indoor spaces. Clean and well-ventilated areas are less likely to harbor dust mites.
Spaces Subject to Extreme Heat: Dust mites are sensitive to high temperatures. Extreme heat, such as in baking or drying clothes at high temperatures, can kill dust mites.
Is it possible to get rid of dust mites in your home?
The short answer is no, it's not possible to completely get rid of dust mites from your home. However, there are many things you can do to reduce their numbers and control their growth, which can help alleviate your allergy symptoms. Read on to find out what are our top tips to get rid of dust mites in your home as well as a plan for each room.
How to get rid of dust mites naturally - general tips
Humidity control is vital in managing dust mite populations because these microscopic arthropods thrive in environments with high humidity levels. Dust mites require moisture for survival, and when indoor humidity exceeds 50%, it provides an ideal breeding ground for them. By maintaining indoor humidity levels below this threshold, typically between 30% to 50%, you create a less hospitable environment for dust mites. Lower humidity reduces their ability to absorb water from the air and ultimately limits their reproduction and survival rates. As a result, controlling humidity effectively helps in diminishing dust mite populations and minimizing allergic reactions caused by their presence, particularly for individuals with dust mite allergies.
HEPA Filter Air Purifier
HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) air purifiers are incredibly effective in managing dust mites by trapping and removing their tiny allergenic particles from the air. These filters can capture dust mite feces, body fragments, and other allergens, preventing them from becoming airborne and reducing exposure.
Regular cleaning is essential in getting rid of dust mites because it disrupts their habitat and removes their primary food source, which is human and pet skin flakes. Consistent cleaning practices, such as mopping, dusting and vacuuming help reduce the accumulation of skin particles and dust mite allergens in the home. By removing these sources of nourishment and allergens, regular cleaning disrupts the dust mites' reproductive cycle and makes the indoor environment less conducive to their growth and survival. This, in turn, can alleviate allergies and asthma symptoms triggered by dust mites, contributing to a healthier and more comfortable living space.
Clean Air Conditioning, Heating and Ventilation Systems (HVAC)
Have your HVAC system serviced regularly and consider using HEPA filters in your air conditioner to trap allergens.
To eliminate dust mites from items that cannot be washed, such as stuffed toys, pillows, or smaller bedding accessories, place them in a sealed plastic bag and put them in the freezer. Ensure the items are in the freezer for at least 24 hours, as this duration is effective in killing dust mites and their eggs. The low temperatures freeze and desiccate the mites, rendering them inactive and incapable of causing allergies. This method is particularly useful for individuals who cannot use hot water for washing or have items that are not machine-washable.
Dust Mite Vacuum
Using water filtration or UV (Ultraviolet) vacuum cleaners can be crucial for individuals with dust mite allergies because they offer advanced methods of allergen removal. Water filtration vacuums trap dust mites, their allergens, and other particles in a water reservoir, preventing them from being released back into the air during cleaning. UV vacuum cleaners, on the other hand, use ultraviolet light to kill dust mites and neutralize allergenic proteins, further reducing the risk of allergic reactions. These specialized vacuum cleaners provide an extra layer of protection against dust mites, creating a healthier indoor environment for allergy sufferers by minimizing allergen exposure during cleaning activities.
Ventilate Your Home
Open windows and allow fresh air to circulate in your home to reduce indoor air pollution.
Bathe Pets and Wash Pet Bedding
Bathe your pets regularly to reduce the amount of pet dander in your home. Pet dander is a common allergen that can attract dust mites. Make sure to use pet shampoo that's specifically designed for your pet's skin type, and dry them thoroughly after each bath.
Periodically, consider professional carpet and upholstery cleaning to deep clean and remove dust mites.
How to get rid of dust mites in bedroom
Each week, launder your bedding, including sheets, pillowcases, and blankets, in hot water (minimum 54°C). Then, dry the washed bedding on the hottest dryer setting, preferably above 54°C, to effectively remove dust mites and allergens. It's crucial to ensure the bedding is fully dry before folding or storing it to prevent potential mold growth in damp or partially dried bedding.
To eliminate dust mites from your mattress, start by washing bedding in hot water weekly, vacuuming the mattress with a HEPA-filtered vacuum, and exposing it to sunlight and fresh air. Invest in dust mite mattress protectors and rotate the mattress regularly. Use baking soda to deodorize and consider steam cleaning for thorough sanitization. Avoid moisture, maintain a clean bedroom, and, if necessary, seek professional cleaning services.
Curtains and Drapes
Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to thoroughly vacuum both sides of curtains, paying attention to folds and seams where dust mites accumulate. If your curtains are machine washable, follow care label instructions, use a dust mite allergen neutralising wash additive, and air dry or tumble dry on a low heat setting. For non-washable or delicate curtains, consider professional dry cleaning or use a steamer to sanitize them.
If possible, replace wall-to-wall carpeting with hard flooring like hardwood or laminate. To effectively get rid of dust mites in your carpet, adopt a routine of regular vacuuming using a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter, focusing on high-traffic areas and corners. Consider steam cleaning your carpet every few months to kill dust mites and their eggs with high-temperature steam.
How to get rid of dust mites in your living room
Minimise clutter in your home, as it provides more surfaces for dust to accumulate.
Couch and Upholstered Furniture
To eliminate dust mites in upholstered furniture, begin by thoroughly vacuuming all surfaces with a dust mite vacuum, paying attention to seams and crevices. If possible, remove and wash washable cushion covers in hot water regularly, using a dust mite detergent or dust mite laundry additive. Consider steam cleaning the furniture to effectively kill dust mites and remove allergens. Use dust mite spray as directed.
Cushions and Pillows
To effectively get rid of dust mites from cushions and pillows, begin by washing removable covers in hot water, at least 54°C regularly, using a dust mite detergent, and ensure they are fully dry before reusing. For non-removable cushions and pillows, use dust mite spray and allergen-proof covers to create a protective barrier against dust mites. Regularly fluff and air out cushions and pillows in direct sunlight, as sunlight can help reduce humidity and kill dust mites. Vacuum them thoroughly with a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter, paying attention to seams and folds. If feasible, consider using a dust mite steam cleaner to sanitize and eliminate dust mites.
How to get rid of dust mites in kids room
Wash stuffed animals and toys regularly or place them in the freezer for a few hours to kill dust mites.
How to get rid of dust mites in your kitchen
Dust and wipe down all surfaces, including countertops, shelves, and appliances, with a damp cloth or microfiber cloth to capture and remove dust mites and allergens. Pay attention to areas where food particles and crumbs may accumulate, as these can attract dust mites. Keep food items stored in airtight containers to prevent contamination and discourage dust mites from accessing food sources. Additionally, maintain proper ventilation and humidity control in the kitchen to create an environment less conducive to dust mite survival.
Dishcloths and Towels
Wash dishcloths, towels, and oven mitts regularly in hot water to ensure they are free of dust mites and their allergenic particles.
How to get rid of dust mites in your bathroom
Mould in bathrooms can inadvertently promote the growth of dust mites due to the interconnected nature of these allergenic culprits. Mold thrives in damp, humid environments, which are also conducive to dust mite proliferation. When mould grows, it releases spores and particles into the air, providing a food source for dust mites. These microscopic creatures can then feed on the mold particles and multiply, exacerbating indoor allergen levels. Therefore, it's crucial to keep humidity levels down in bathrooms and other areas of your home by using exhaust fans, dehumidifiers, or proper ventilation. Lower humidity not only discourages mould growth but also creates an inhospitable environment for dust mites, contributing to a healthier indoor living space.
Use a washable shower curtain and clean it regularly to prevent mold and dust mites.
While it's not possible to completely get rid of dust mites, by following these strategies, you can significantly reduce their numbers and alleviate your allergy symptoms. Remember that consistent and ongoing efforts are required to keep dust mites under control, so it's important to make these changes a part of your regular cleaning routine.