Dust mites are microscopic insects that produce substances which cause allergies and/or asthma in people. Dust mites love living in bed mattresses, curtains, carpets, and furnishings, all commonly found in our homes. While dust mites don’t bite us, their waste products can stimulate allergies in may people. There are a few simple steps to take to reduce dust mite numbers in your house.
Problems Caused by Dust Mites
Image via Flickr by Marc-Anthony Macon
Dust mites are one of the major reasons we have allergy and asthma reactions in our homes. A mild reaction can cause a runny nose, sneezing, and watery eyes, while a more serious reaction lasts longer, with frequent sneezing and coughing. People who have an allergic reaction to dust mites should take steps to reduce them in their homes.
Dust mites love a humid environment because they absorb moisture from the air instead of drinking. Keep your house below a 50% humidity level to reduce dust mites. In humid areas, the use of an air conditioner with a HEPA filter can keep humidity levels in check. If you live in an area with a lower ambient humidity, open the windows for one hour a day to bring the drier air indoors.
Eliminate Carpets and Rugs
Remove carpeting whenever possible, including area rugs, because dust mites love to live in the fibers. Leather and wood furnishings are a better option for those with dust mite allergies. Drapes should be replaced with shades, and if this is not possible, wash drapes in hot water. Items that collect dust, such as toys and small decor items, should be kept clean or removed.
Bedding and Laundry Care
Box springs, pillows, and mattresses should be sealed with plastic covers. Polyester pillows are a better choice than those with feathers. All of these items should be washed in hot water (over 130 degrees) in order to kill the dust mites. Washing on a weekly basis helps greatly reduce these bugs.
Cleaning and Vacuuming
When you are cleaning the house, use a damp mop or cloth to reduce the dust that is stirred up. It’s better to steam clean carpets and upholstery once or twice a week with a powerful vacuum and filter to pick up particles. This technique will help to reduce dust mite numbers.
Maintain a Clean HVAC System
Maintaining your HVAC system with clean filters and parts will help you breathe air that is free of pollutants and contamination. Ensuring that the filters are regularly cleaned and changed can also reduce dust mites. Contact an HVAC professional who can best guide you on how to keep your HVAC clean.
By following the above steps, you can prevent dust mites from making your home theirs. Dust mites are not easy to detect, but if you find yourself having allergic reactions in your home and have yet to do some spring cleaning and/or maintenance on your HVAC, these actions can greatly help. You can also contact a professional to keep your HVAC working well.