Dust mites are microscopic insects that live in upholstered furniture throughout the home and feed on dead skin cells. Just so you know, one million dust mites daily can happily feed on the remains of your skin from the average adult!
Of course, these tiny house invaders are not harmful in small numbers, but larger mite populations can cause significant problems for some people. Common indoor allergens that affect the eyes and nasal passages are dust mites, mold and mildew, cockroaches, and even animal dander. Pollen from trees and grass can also enter your home. All of these irritants cause some unpleasant side effects, including head congestion, itchy eyes, itching and pain in the throat, mouth, sneezing, coughing, and red or watery eyes.
For statistics, here are some data: about 20 million Americans are struggling with allergies to dust mites, and studies have shown that in 81% of asthmatics tested, the disease is caused by these insects and their excrement.
Dust mites can never be completely banished from your home, but you can reduce or cure allergy symptoms by limiting the number of mites with these natural, non-chemical methods.
1. Lower temperature and humidity
Finding the ideal temperature and humidity level is the key to overcoming dust mites and controlling allergies.
Dust mites reproduce well and thrive in humidity above 50%. At lower humidity, their action is blocked, so some people turn on the dehumidifier if necessary, if it is possible to measure the level of humidity in the house.
It is also recommended to open windows for one hour each day to reduce humidity. On the other hand, if the humidity drops too low, it is more likely that some allergen particles will circulate in the air! For this reason, a temperature between 18º C and 22º C and a humidity of 40% is optimal.
This room temperature is ideal for the bedroom, where mites are at their highest, and is also very beneficial for encouraging good sleep.
2. Do wet cleaning
Dust on all surfaces in rooms interferes with the elimination of dust mites. Therefore, do wet cleaning 1-2 times a week.
Always use a damp cloth to help prevent the spread of mites through the air, and wash the cloth at high temperatures (hot water) or discard immediately after use.
There are many sprays on the market today to kill dust mites as well as reduce other allergens, but they are often ineffective and costly. You can make your own dust removal spray that will not only eliminate dust mites, but also allergy-inducing bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
Simply mix two cups of distilled water with 2 tsp. tea tree oil, pour into a dark bottle. Use the spray regularly, and spray not only on your furniture, but also on your upholstery and carpets, and soon you will feel some relief from allergy symptoms! Remember to shake the bottle before each use to evenly distribute the oil inside.
3. Wash bedding and upholstered furniture at high temperature
If possible, don’t pile too much upholstered furniture around the house, as it collects dust and provides an ideal breeding ground for dust mites. For example, from 100,000 to 10 million mites can live on one bed with an average mattress, which leaves quite unpleasant thoughts!
Since mites cannot survive high temperatures above 60ºC, wash your bedding weekly at this temperature. Other upholstered furniture such as pillows, throws and carpets should be washed once or twice a month at the same temperature.
What’s more, adding a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil to your laundry eliminates up to 99% of dust mites from bedding, according to a study.
After you’ve cleaned your bedding, wrap your mattress in a protective anti-mite cover. There are quite a lot of choices on the market. Covers are even made for blankets and pillows.
Consider reducing the number of throw pillows with your family, because you can live without them. And finally, don’t use wool blankets, which are unpleasant for many people with asthma and allergies.
4. Freeze them!
Some items in the house, such as silk pillows or soft toys, depending on their size, simply cannot be washed at high temperatures.
If the toys are small enough, they can be placed in the freezer and frozen for up to 24 hours. This will kill the mites, although it won’t get rid of the allergy. Shake items vigorously after freezing to remove as many dead mites as possible.
5. Buy special bedding
You already know that one mattress can contain up to 10 million mites and many times more of their excrement, which means that the bedroom plays an important role in the fight against mites!
Although many of the methods listed above result in a reduction in dust mites in bedding, extra protection against these pests is required for particularly sensitive people.
There are special anti-allergic fabric coverings that are used to pack mattresses and even pillows. They don’t get dust mites.
Of course, they are very expensive, although in 2004 the New England Journal of Medicine wrote that many children’s mattresses and pillows with special coatings against ticks reduce the complications of asthma. But everyone looks at their wallet options and chooses what is appropriate for them.
6. Sprinkle with diatomaceous earth
Diatomaceous earth is a fine powder made from the fossilized remains of tiny aquatic organisms known as diatoms.
The skeletons of these creatures are cylinder-shaped with razor-sharp edges that do not affect humans, but can be deadly to parasites and small insects, including dust mites!
To reduce the population of mites, as well as fleas and bedbugs, carpets, mattresses, bedding, and pet beds are sprinkled with a light layer of diatomaceous earth and allowed to settle.
Best left for a couple of hours or overnight before vacuuming. And the bedding is naturally washed. You can repeat this procedure often.
When choosing a brand of diatomaceous earth, make sure you buy a food grade one that is safe for pets and people to use in the home. Diatomaceous earth is also used in many recipes for health, beauty and more.
7. Minimum indoor plants
While houseplants make a wonderful addition to any home, they quickly create a layer of dust and become a haven for mites.
If you cannot live without greenery, then at least do not forget to regularly wipe the leaves with a damp cloth. In addition, moist soil around houseplants is an ideal place for mold to thrive. To prevent mold growth, water only when the soil is dry and to just dampen, not completely flood.
To reduce other allergens inside your home, choose specific plants. Some fantastic plants for air purification: spathiphyllum, golden epipremnum, philodendron, gerbera, yellowish dipsis, dracaena, etc.
8. Essential oils
Many of the chemicals and toxins used in conventional detergents can cause or exacerbate allergy and asthma symptoms. Even products like bleach, glass cleaners, detergents and air fresheners have been proven to aggravate asthma symptoms in women and lead to decreased lung function after inhalation, immediately and in some cases over time!
And two Australian studies found that many common household cleaners release toxins into the air that increase the risk of asthma in children.
Therefore, watch your health and choose cleaning products with a natural and herbal composition. Or prepare your own remedies.
As we already wrote, eucalyptus oil is very effective against ticks, besides, it can be easily used on absolutely any surface: fabrics, bedding, carpets, etc.
9. Vacuum cleaner
Vacuuming is a great way to reduce dust mites and other household allergens, but be aware that dry vacuuming removes the dust that mites live on and is largely ineffective at removing the mites themselves from carpeting. This is especially true of old, worn carpets (another reason to replace carpets with beautiful wood or tile flooring)!
However, vacuuming is still necessary to reduce allergies and remove surface dust. Here are a couple of tips to help make this household task even more efficient:
- Buy a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to reduce dust emissions from the vacuum cleaner itself.
- Vacuum at least 2 times a week and pay special attention to areas where most of the dust is found, such as under the bed and near doorways.
- Wear a mask while vacuuming to avoid breathing in the circulating dust.
- You understand that you should vacuum not only carpets, but also curtains, sofas, upholstered furniture and other upholstered upholstery.
- Steam cleaning carpets is more effective at removing mites and their excrement than dry cleaning.
10. Extra precautions with pets
The presence of pets with fur or feathers increases the supply of food for ticks. In fact, significant amounts of cat hair remain on carpets for up to 20 weeks, and in mattresses for many years after the animal is gone.
It is better to keep pets outdoors in the open air to avoid the spread of wool and be sure to regularly wash not only animals, but also their bedding, preferably at high temperatures.
Keep your bedding away from pets so they can’t get to it – this will reduce dust mites in the bedroom. Designate a specific area of your home for your pet and never let him enter your bedroom.
Pet owners should also be aware that their furry friends can also suffer from dust mite allergies (between 30% and 80% of dogs and cats tested tested positive). Common signs in animals are itching, recurrent ear inflammation or infections. Bathe animals regularly.
11. Open windows
A great way to turn on more oxygen and freshen up a room without all the chemicals is to simply ventilate the room. Using air conditioning in your car also reduces the amount of dust you breathe by as much as 30%!
12. Use rugs and slippers
The highest concentration of house dust is found in carpets near the landing. Up to 40% of household pollutants are in the air!
When you change into comfortable slippers after work, you not only relieve the pain in your feet, but also reduce the amount of dust in the house.
To achieve the maximum effect of cleaning the place of carpets at the outer door, leave grate rugs that are easy to shake out from dust.
13. Air filter or cleaner
Many experts recommend the use of household allergen air filters. Always choose air purifiers with a HEPA filter that removes 90% of allergens, and clean the filters regularly. Remember to close the windows in the room where you are using your purifier, otherwise it will be ineffective.
14. Love minimalism
Clutter collects dust and therefore dust mites! Hide things that collect dust well: unnecessary jewelry, picture frames, stacks of books, piles of papers. So you get rid of dust mites, and besides, it will be much easier to clean.
Homes with bare floors have up to 90% less dust than homes with carpeted floors! Prioritize tile or wood floors over carpets. You can decorate them with small plush rugs that can be easily washed every month.