How to Get Rid of Dust Mites
Learning how to get rid of dust mites is essential for allergy sufferers to properly control their symptoms. House dust mites love nothing more than a warm, moist environment in which to live. Just think about the modern home. The central heating turned right up, all the windows closed to keep the air in, making it humid, and then all those soft furnishings. It’s a dust mites paradise.
Thankfully though, there are number of steps you can take to fight back against dust and get rid of dust mites once and for all. Whilst you are never likely to eradicate them completely, you can drastically improve your quality of life by making some simple changes. It takes constant work and dedication not to slip back into old habits, but it’s essential for sufferers. And, as we’ll cover, making some simple changes my improve and simplify the way you live regardless of whether your an allergy sufferer or not. So as a starting point, consider the following steps:
Here’s what to do.
- Encase all bedding and mattresses in impenetrable, dust mite proof covers. These must be fully encased. There is no point spending money on something that won’t work, so lock down your pillows and your mattress completely so no allergen can get either in or out. Take a look at the shop for a list of options.
- Remove excess bedding and upholstery. It can be tempting to cover your bed in blankets, duvets and all sorts of pillows but you’ve got to remember each and every one will carry and distribute dust around your room. Get yourself a single duvet, with a high tog to keep you toasty. Cover it with a high-quality encased duvet cover. And lose everything else.
- Get yourself a minimalist bed. The worst possible bed you could have for your dust allergy is a divan or something similar with lots of drawers and upholstery attached, all of which holds dust. Get rid of it. Buy a simple bed frame with wooden slats that you can easily vacuum underneath and won’t collect dust. Or better still, sleep in a hammock. Seriously, if it’s a possibility go for it. That’s precisely zero dust surrounding you as you sleep.
- Washing your bedding correctly is critical to control dust mites. The recommended temperature is 60 degrees or above, to kill the mites. Some modern washing machines will have a specific allergy setting. But make sure you kill them, and you do it regularly. It’s a chore, I know, but once you’re in the habit of doing it every week, let’s say on ‘wash day’ it will become part of your routine. And you will feel the benefits instantly.
- Consider changing your curtains for blinds. Curtains again are another source of fabric to collect dust, and then when you sweep your curtains closed they will agitate and spread dust throughout the room, which will remain airborne for hours. Any fabric that can go, should go. And sure, they’re expensive, but if you invest in a quality blackout blind you should find it has a positive effect on your sleep as well.
- If you do have any soft toys, consider freezing them to kill off the mites. Washing them on a high temperature might not be practical because it will ruin the stuffing etc, so freezing will have a similar effect and is an unusual but effective way to control dust mites. A minimum of 12 hours in the freezer should be sufficient to kill off the bugs.
- Dusting is an absolute, obvious must. Seriously. Every single surface will gather particles of hair, skin, fabric and dirt which we know as dust. The worst thing you could do is just go moving the dust around with a duster – that won’t achieve anything. Likewise you don’t want to use a lot of polishes because if you’re allergic to dust the likelihood is, like me, these nasty chemicals will only aggravate your symptoms and your eczema etc. What you need to do is trap, and gather up the dust so you can dispose of it. Wet dusting is the best way to do this, and there’s an extensive article on this, found in the blog section.
- Alongside dusting itself, consider removing anything at all that can gather dust, particularly excess surfaces. As we’ve mentioned, the worst offenders for gathering house dust mites are soft furnishings and fabrics, but any clutter is almost as bad. make sure you pack away your clothes, shoeboxes, deodorants, camera, picture frames etc. Keep ‘stuff’ to an absolute minimum and do not have several chests of drawers and wardrobes where dust can gather on top, underneath and inside. if it’s not essential, lose it. De-cluttering is therapeutic in itself, even for non-sufferers. There are extensive articles on this subject alone, see here and here for some ideas.
- Speaking of surfaces, floors are seriously important. Lose the your carpet and replace it with bare floorboards, line or tiles. Carpets are like Velcro for dust, gathering it and locking it in. You can’t realistically expect to get rid of dust mites in your home if you’ve got an old, dirty carpet. Looking at one under a microscope would give you nightmares, so ditch them. Who wants carpet anyway? Walking barefoot on lovely warm wood is very pleasant and minimalist, and you could perhaps add one rug in the center of the room which can be easily washed and aired outside.
- Vacuum regularly. This might be obvious, but it needs to be stressed. We spoke earlier about having few items of furniture, and a bed that it’s easy to get under. This will help enormously when it comes to vacuuming. You will be able to get into every corner, round every object and suck out every ounce of dust. To properly control dust mites, you will need a quality cleaner of course, ideally one with a filter. This may be out of your price range, so if it is, focus on a vacuum that at least has good suction, empty it regularly so it’s not blowing dust around the room and don’t be tempted to cut corners. Really get under and behind everything.
- Consider investing in an air filter. Again, this is an expense not everybody will be able to afford. If you cannot afford a filter, or even if you do, make sure you air your home regularly. This can be difficult in winter, but those mites love a clammy, damp environment. The last thing they want is you cracking open your windows and really airing out the whole place. But that’s exactly what you need to do.
To get rid of dust mites properly you need, above all, dedication. There’s no point in dusting and cleaning properly one week, only for you to give up and allow to dust gather all over again behind that same bookcase. Persevere, and don’t let bad habits creep back in and when you do get rid of dust mites in the home, and you feel your allergy symptoms reduce from severe down to mild, or barely noticeable, you’ll know you’re on the right track. Now where’s that duster.