If members of your household suffer from allergies, an unchecked dust mite population may be contributing to their misery. Symptoms of dust mite sensitivity can include itchy, watery eyes, a runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, eczema, asthma and other respiratory problems. You can’t see these microscopic, spider-like creatures, but there are likely millions of them residing in your carpets, upholstery, and bedding.
Here are a number of ways to get dust mites under control in your home:
Monitor Humidity Levels
Dust mites don’t drink. Instead, they absorb moisture directly from the air. When it’s warm and humidity is above 70 percent, their reproduction rate skyrockets. Using a dehumidifier to maintain humidity below 50 percent is one of the best ways to keep their numbers down.
Clean With Hot Water and Steam
Dust mites live on shed skin fragments and dander, which tends to collect in fabrics and textiles. Hot water and steam can kill these eight-legged pests, so launder your washable bedding once a week in 130 to 140-degree water. Use a steam cleaner on carpets, mattresses, furnishings and soft goods that aren’t washable, such as decorative pillows, throw rugs, stuffed toys, curtains and upholstered furniture.
Dust and Vacuum Regularly
Common household dust contains dust mite droppings and body parts, which can trigger allergic reactions. To keep this in check, wet dust the surfaces in your home regularly. Avoid using a dry cloth since this simply sends dust particles airborne. Vacuum frequently with a machine that has a HEPA filter or a double-layered microfilter bag.
Purify the Air
When it’s airborne, dust mite debris recirculates through your HVAC ductwork five to seven times each day. Installing a whole-house air scrubber is an effective way to filter out this allergy trigger. These units work in tandem with your HVAC equipment to rid your home of all types of allergens, chemicals, and other unhealthy contaminants, improving indoor air quality.