For the approximately 20 million Americans suffering from dust mite allergies, these tiny creatures are no small problem. Luckily, there are several ways you can fight back and alleviate your allergy symptoms.
What Are Dust Mites?
Dust mites are extremely tiny bugs (approximately 10 can fit on the period at the end of this sentence) that live in virtually everything around you. They exist in large populations on household items such as bedding, upholstered furniture and carpeting. Dust mites, whose primary food source are your dead skin cells, are closely related to ticks and spiders and thrive in warm, humid environments.
Symptoms of Dust Mite Allergies
People with dust mite allergies are not necessarily allergic to the living mites themselves, but to the protein in their microscopic fecal matter and dead bodies, which are small enough to become airborne.
Dust mite allergy symptoms can range from mild discomfort to serious, sometimes life-threatening problems, including:
Ideal Environments for Dust Mites
Large populations of dust mites can be found in areas where the humidity reaches 65 to 80 percent and temperatures fall between 68 and 77 degrees. To sustain a community, mites seek out safe areas with plenty of moisture.
How to Reduce Dust Mite Populations
Due to their overwhelming numbers, it’s impossible to rid your home of all dust mites. There are, however, a few things you can do to control their population.
If your budget allows, remove carpeting from bedrooms and other high-traffic areas. Carpet is a comfortable and relatively safe habitat for dust mites, especially if it has been installed over concrete. Concrete holds moisture easily, providing an ideal, humid environment for mites.
Tile, wood or vinyl flooring are great alternatives. If you like the feel of carpeted flooring, consider purchasing a large area rug as an alternative to wall-to-wall carpeting.
Standard vacuums aren’t enough to do the trick, unfortunately, because they only remove surface dust. Vacuums with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter are the best choice because in addition to removing surface dust, they work to filter house dust emissions. If your allergies are severe, have someone else vacuum, and refrain from entering that area for about two hours after cleaning.
Items that go untouched around your home will collect dust, and with that dust, dust mites. If you have allergies, consider removing knickknacks, books, magazines and newspapers from your bedroom to reduce the number of surfaces they can live on.
Keep Humidity Low
If your HVAC unit is compatible, install a HEPA filter and keep the humidity level between 30 and 50 percent in your home.
Choose Bedding Wisely
Avoid purchasing bedding that is difficult to clean and traps dust easily. Because people spend so much of their time sleeping, you’ll want to make your bedroom an unattractive environment for dust mite habitation to avoid triggering your allergies.
Use allergen-proof bed covers made of tightly woven fabric. These covers are designed specifically to prevent dust mites from colonizing.
Another tactic is to wash your bedding, including sheets, pillowcases, blankets and bed covers, once a week. Dry them in a hot dryer or natural sunlight during summer months.
Dust and clean furniture regularly with either a damp or oiled towel to prevent dust from accumulating. Avoid using dry methods, like feather dusters, as this will kick up dust and potentially make the problem worse. If you have children, only buy washable stuffed toys and wash them often.
If your home is decorated with fine rugs, entrust a professional to clean them. At The Great American Rug Cleaning Company, we use a thorough process to efficiently remove particulate dry soil and dust, which is dangerous to your health as well as the appearance and lifespan of your rug.
Need Help Ridding Your Home of Pesky Dust Mites?
Since 1993, The Great American Rug Cleaning Company has taken great pride in our expert care of Texas homeowners’ fine rugs. Our thorough rug cleaning process sets us apart from the competition and provides a level of excellence you can depend on. Our steps include:
Following the cleaning, your rug will be wrapped and ready for pickup or delivery! Contact us online today or give us a call at (281) 255-2407 for an instant quote.