Dust mites are one of the most common bugs that invade our everyday lives. You may not be visually aware of their existence but they are almost everywhere on your bed and sofas in your house; this is because they are extremely minute in size and their microscopic, spiderlike body is barely visible to the naked eye; consider this our lucky trait because, if we were able to see them, we would be startled by their sheer numbers in that they swarm in millions.
Dust mites live in warm-weathered conditions (with temperatures of 70 Fahrenheit and above) and they also crave for humid environment (humidity level: 75-80%). Places where these tiny little creatures can be found include mats, bedding, upholstery, curtains, stuffed animals, etc. They love to feed on flakes of dead skin shed by humans and animals. A lot of people are allergic to dust mites and the allergy symptoms can include skin itchiness, runny nose, red spots on the skin, watery eyes, and even asthma.
Getting rid of dust mites completely is not possible due to their massive numbers. However, you can somehow reduce their numbers by adopting the following methods:
(i) Wash all your bedclothes (blanket, bedsheet, mattress pad, comforter, pillow cover, etc.) on a weekly basis in hot water with temperature of no less than 130-degree Fahrenheit to kill off the mites; after this, dry the bedclothes in a hot dryer. Non-washable material can be placed in the fridge overnight for 48 hours because dust mites can also be killed via extreme cool temperature.
(ii) When not in use, encase your pillows and mattresses with anti-allergen, dust-proof covers; use the covers made of plastic if possible, for dust mites cannot survive in plastic material.
(iii) Equip your room with a dehumidifier to control the level of humidity. Maintain a humidity level of 50% or below. It’s best to go for a level at 35%.
(iv) To better control the infestation of dust mites, it would be best to remove the carpets and install the bare floors with tile, wood or linoleum and to replace curtains with roll-up window shades. Furthermore, replace any wool and fabric bedding with synthetic material. For example, use pillows made of polyester fibers in lieu of kapok.
(v) Clean the floors with a damp mop or rag and vacuum the carpets and upholstered furniture once or twice a week. Use a vacuum cleaner with HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter because this type of vacuum cleaner is powerful enough to contain the allergens and prevent them from escaping through the vacuum’s exhaust; furthermore, it is also able to pick up the feces as well as the eggs of dust mites . Be sure to wear a mask when you do vacuuming to avoid accidentally inhaling allergens.
(vi) If you have a furry pet, say, a dog, groom it regularly. Brush your dog’s fur and wipe its coat with a damp washcloth, especially when it just enters the house from the garden.