Dust mites are among the most dreaded microscopic bugs among people who are allergic to them. While they are not particularly harmful, their dead body parts and excrement trigger a wide array of health complications. These symptoms range from breathing difficulties to nasal congestion, coughing, and itching.
There are several proven ways of combating dust mites. Some of these methods use chemicals, while others are much more eco-friendlier and equally effective. If you are obsessed with natural living, the latter options will interest you the most.
How do you remove dust mites without using chemicals?
1. Maintain a frequent dusting/cleaning schedule
Dust mites thrive in house dust because it offers plenty of food supply. House dust is made up of several things, including skin flakes (dead skin cells) that humans and pets are constantly shedding.
It is estimated that one person sheds enough dead skin cells to keep one million dust mites alive every day. That being said, it’s obvious that the first line of defense against dust mites would be to dust and clean the house regularly.
It’s impossible to keep dust at bay altogether. However, it’s easy to keep it at low levels. For instance, you could identify where dust tends to accumulate the most in your house and ensure that you dust those places frequently.
When dusting, remember to start from top to bottom. Again, be sure to use a microfiber duster or damp cloth. Otherwise, a feather duster will merely be moving dust around.
2. Vacuum frequently
Experts advise vacuuming carpets and rugs at least twice every week. However, for a household with heavy traffic and pets, daily vacuuming may be the best idea, especially if you suffer from dust mite allergies.
Which is the best vacuum for dust mite?
Much more important than vacuuming frequency is the type of vacuum cleaner that you’ll be using. To successfully capture and get rid of dust, dust mites, pollen, and other airborne allergens, you need to use a vacuum fitted with a high-quality filtration system. HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filters are the best at the moment. What gives HEPA filter vacuums the upper hand in the fight against dust mites is their ability to prevent these critters from leaking into your house again once they have been suctioned.
3. HEPA Air Purifier
There is no level of cleaning or vacuuming that could remove dust allergens floating in the air. Live dust mites are not airborne and are not inhaled since they live burrowed in carpets and soft surfaces. However, their waste particles and body fragments get airborne at the slightest disturbance and get inhaled. This is where air filters come in.
Airhonest.com explains that the best air purifiers for dust are effective at removing airborne dust mite allergens from the air and releasing purified air back into the room. These devices may also help in minimizing asthma attacks.
4. Change and wash your bedding in hot water weekly
Although dust mites are spread all over your house, they particularly love being in your bed. It is estimated that at any given time, over 10 million dust mites are living in your mattress, pillows, and bedsheets.
Your bed makes the best nest for dust mites since it’s warm and humid and has lots of dead skin flakes that mites love feeding on. One way of minimizing them is by changing the bedsheets weekly (or sooner). Ensure that you clean the dirty sheets in hot water (130 F). This kills all the dust mites lurking in them, thereby reducing their colonies.
5. Cut their food supply- let them starve!
It might not be practical to wash your mattress, box spring, and pillows in hot water weekly. Actually, once dust mites burrow inside your mattress and pillows, it’s almost impossible to get them out.
The good news, though, is that it’s possible to starve them to death by putting a barrier between them and their food supply: you. How do you do this? Encase the mattress, pillows, and box spring in special allergen-proof covers.
We can’t deny that these covers are expensive. However, studies, including this one, prove that special mite-proof covers help a lot in minimizing asthma complications.
6. Nuke them using Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
Diatomaceous Earth is a multipurpose powder obtained from sedimentary rocks. Since these rocks were formed from fossilized algae with a high level of compound silica, Diatomaceous Earth has high levels of this compound too.
When used to kill dust mites, DE works by dehydrating them, thereby killing them in a few minutes.
To get rid of dust mites using this powder, sprinkle a light layer over the surfaces that may be infested, including your bed, carpets, and couches. Let it sit for around 30 minutes and then vacuum thoroughly.
Hint: When purchasing this powder, ensure that you go for the food-grade type as other types may irritate the nose and cause itchiness.
7. Lower your home’s temperature and humidity
Dust mites prefer temperatures of between 68 and 77 degrees F and humidity levels of between 70% and 80%. Armed with this vital knowledge, you can easily make life unbearable for mites by adjusting these 2 parameters to your advantage.
Upon detecting an infestation, lower your indoor temperatures below 65 F and the humidity level to 40-45%. While this won’t kill dust mites instantly, it will make their life unbearable leading to a slow death, especially when coupled with other methods.
8. Consider trading your carpets for a hard floor
Your new plush and comfortable carpet may make the room feel cozy, but it’s the last thing that you need if you have dust mite allergies. Similar to mattresses, carpets are virtual magnets for dust mites and a load of other types of allergens too. Experts say that carpets and area rugs harbor 100 times allergens compared to hard floors.
Unlike what Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) claims, carpets don’t trap these allergy-provoking substances. When they are disturbed by even the slightest movements, they get airborne and circulate the room for some time before settling on surfaces.
In addition, the high level of allergens on carpets is bad news for crawling babies as they spend most of their time on the floor.
One of the best ways to get rid of dust mites in your home is by doing away with carpets and going hard floors all the way, or at least have more hard floors than carpets. If that’s not an option, though, consider steam cleaning the carpets regularly, preferably monthly to kill dust mites.
9. Groom Your Pets Regularly
We can’t talk about dealing with dust mites without your pets coming in the picture. Reason? These animal friends also shed a lot of dander, which adds to dust mites’ food supply.
There are a lot of things that you can do to minimize pet dander, including plenty of brushing and bathing your pet regularly. Other ideas that you can incorporate in your fight against dust mites include barring your cat and dog from getting into your bedroom and keeping them off the couch. Much more important, consider visiting your pet’s vet in case her shedding is getting out of hand.