Dust mites are microscopic insects that are comfortable living indoors in almost any climate. The females live only a couple of months, but in that time will lay over one hundred eggs.
Dust mites prefer to live on carpets, and in furniture, bedding, pillows, and mattresses, where they enjoy the warmth and slight dampness of human companions. Here they feast on the dead skin cells that we constantly shed. They also enjoy sharing the bed of the family pet.
Dust mites collect by the hundreds of thousands, and often millions, but we do not see them or hear them. They do not bite us, nor do they cause any diseases, but they are far from harmless.
The protein in the fecal matter of dust mites and in their cast off skin, can cause severe allergic reactions, and intensify the symptoms of those with asthma.
While it is impossible to ever eliminate dust mites, it is possible to at least control them.
Controlling Dust Mites
1. To get rid of as many existing mites as possible, vacuum your home well, at least once a week, and more often if there are asthmatics present.
2. Wash all your bedding, including pillows, in hot water. Cold water will not kill the mites.
3. If bedding is not washable, put it in a hot dryer for twenty minutes.
4. Cover your mattress and, hypoallergenic pillows with dust mite imperious covers. They may rustle a bit when you move, but you soon get used to them.
5. If you are serious about controlling dust mites, remove all carpeting and replace it with smooth surfaces that are easier to keep dust, and mite, free. If you must have carpets, vacuum them well weakly and have them commercially cleaned annually.
6. Replace drapes with blinds or curtains, that can be washed weekly.
7. Turn down your thermostat. Over seventy increases the likelihood of dust mites.
8. Keep the indoor relative humidity down to 50%, even if you have to use a dehumidifier.
9. Think carefully when you buy new items. Buy washable items if possible.
10. Be aware that pets may also be sensitive to dust mite droppings. They too can develop allergies and related skin conditions. With this in mind, wash pet beds and fabric toys often, as you would your own.
11. When you dust, it is best to use a slightly damp or slightly oily cloth. This will pick up more mites than a dry cloth.
12. There are various sprays available for killing mites. They can be sprayed in hard-to-reach corners and on carpets. Let them do their job, and then vacuum up the bodies.
13. Some people may consider buying air purifiers. These are excellent for air-borne particles, but will do little to eliminate mites embedded in carpets and objects.
14. Remember, dust mites do not bite. If you are being bitten while sleeping, the bitter is most likely a bed bug.
Dust Mite Bedbug