It’s very difficult to get rid of dust mites completely, but you can reduce the number living in your home by taking the right preventative measures.
If your dream home is warm, humid, and has plenty of bedding, carpeting, and upholstered furniture, it’s probably a dust mite’s dream home, too.
The average house is more likely than not to have dust mites, and there’s a good chance you could go about your days not even knowing they’re there. However, if you have significant allergies or asthma, dust mites and the waste they leave behind are going to make day-to-day life a lot harder.
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How to tell if you have a dust mite problem
Dust mites are microscopic pests that can commonly be found in house dust. They thrive on dead skin left behind by people and
Dust mites are environmentally significant in the sense that they help break down organic matter.
However, that doesn’t necessarily make them pleasant to live with. When dust mites are left unchecked, the waste they leave behind can exacerbate medical conditions like allergies and asthma.
Dust mites are too small to see with the naked eye, so it can be hard to know for sure whether your home has them and where. If you have a lot of them, you might notice worsening allergy symptoms or breathing problems. If you’re curious about whether you have a specific allergy to dust mites, you can ask your doctor to test you for it.
There are also various kinds of dust mite test kits you could consider trying out at home.
What do dust mites look like?
Unless you have bionic eyesight, you’re probably not going to be able to see dust mites yourself. But with the help of a microscope, you’d be able to observe that they’re translucent and less than a millimeter in length.
What attracts dust mites to your home?
Dust mites are well-adapted to living indoors and live in virtually any home.
They especially like warm, humid environments, and for that reason, they often prefer hanging out in the same places you do, like the warmth of your couch or your bed.
They’d also be drawn to that dusty shelf in the corner of your living room, next to your window’s heavy (but elegant!) drapes. The more clutter and dust your home has, the more food sources your dust mites have.
Where you’ll find dust mites in your home
Dust mites can most commonly be found in these areas of your home:
- Cloth furniture
- Pet beds, toys, and blankets
- Rugs, carpets
Pro Tip Dust mites aren’t prone to biting. If you wake up with what looks like insect bites, you might have another problem on your hands, like a bed bug infestation.
10 natural ways to get rid of dust mites
Given how ubiquitous they are and how they’re impossible to see, it’s probably not possible for you to eradicate dust mites from your home completely.
Simply put, the easiest way to combat your dust mite problem is by limiting the conditions they need to thrive. Here are several ways you can do just that.
- Clean regularly and keep clutter to a minimum: If you or someone in your household is affected by dust mites, it’s probably due to the waste they leave behind. Dusting, vacuuming, and cleaning surfaces regularly can help keep the problem at bay, as well as limit the food sources that dust mites depend on.
- Keep your home cool: Dust mites particularly like 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Keeping your home a little cooler than this could help reduce the number of dust mites living in your home.
- Reduce your home’s humidity: Dust mites don’t just love heat, they also like humidity. TheNational Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIH)recommends keeping your home’s humidity level at or below 50% to curtail dust mite numbers, which you can do with the help of a dehumidifier and/or air conditioner.
- Keep bedding clean: Another recommendation from the NIH is to wash bedding once a week using hot water. You’ll want the water temperature to be 130-140 degrees to kill dust mites. For bedding or other materials that can’t be washed, and even kids’ orpets’toys, consider freezing them overnight.
- Use hypoallergenic pillow cases and mattress covers: The right type of cover can prevent dust mites from harboring inside your bedding—or at the very least, it will make it much more difficult for them.
- Use the right air filters: HEPA air purifiers and filters can help remove dust mite waste that could be lingering in the air in your home, which could help mitigate allergies and breathing problems. Consider using a HEPA filter in your vacuum, too.
- Reduce the amount of fabric in your home: If you’re particularly sensitive to dust mites, consider switching out heavy drapes for wood blinds or something you can machine wash regularly. If you’re making updates to your home, consider opting for wood or tile floors over carpet.
- Use bedding with synthetic materials: Bedding that has materials like wool or feathers is more hospitable to dust mites.
- Use a steam cleaner on carpets: A steam cleaner can use hot temperatures to kill dust mites hiding out in yourcarpet.
- Use natural oils (but double-check to make sure they’re not toxic to your pets): A2014 studysuggested that clove oil might help reduce bed bug numbers in certain circumstances, but can lose its effectiveness over time.
Pro Tip When dusting, use a damp cloth rather than a dry one to avoid spreading more allergens throughout the room.
How an exterminator gets rid of dust mites
Can exterminators get rid of dust mites?
NIHasserts that you can’t really eradicate dust mites. You should probably be wary of an exterminator that claims they can rid your house of dust mites completely.
That said, if your dust mite problem is severe enough, an exterminator might have certain sprays or other mitigation strategies on hand.
How to keep dust mites out of your house
As previously mentioned, it’s hard to keep a microscopic creature from entering your home, but you can still take steps to limit just how many dust mites take up residence with you. Let’s review!
- Keep clutter to a minimum
- Limit your indoor humidity levels
- Keep your home cool
- Limit environments where dust mites can multiply
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How can you tell if you have dust mites?
It can be hard to know whether you have dust mites since they’re too small to see, but you might notice worsening allergy or breathing problems if you have too many in your home.
How do you get rid of dust mites?
It’s not very likely that you’ll be able to completely rid your home of dust mites. However, there are a number of ways you can reduce their numbers, like washing bedding and curtains regularly and keeping dust buildup in your home to a minimum.
What causes dust mites?
Dust mites thrive in warm, humid conditions where they have ample access to food sources like shed skin cells from humans and pets.