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Wondering if you might have a dust mite infestation, or just looking for a way to prevent them? In this post, we cover 14 easy tips on how to reduce and prevent dust mites within your home along with a little information about them.

Skip to 14 Tips on How to Reduce and Prevent Dust Mites

What Are Dust Mites?

Dust mites are tiny, blind, microscopic mites that dwell pretty much anywhere that’s warm and humid.

This can include areas such as couches, carpeting, mattresses, curtains, inside dust bunnies, as well as lurking out in nature.

Dust mites also produce some of the most common types of allergens within the home, typically through their feces, and often wreak havoc on allergy sufferers—particularly those who have asthma.

Watch a Quick Video About Dust Mites

In a rush or want to know more? Check out this quick video, courtesy of PBS via Deep Look on Youtube.

WARNING: some may find it graphic or…well, just a bit gross. But, hey, #CleaningMotivation


How to Know If Dust Mites Are In Your Home

Dust mites infestations cause a vast majority of dust-related allergy symptoms due to an allergic reaction to their feces (err…well, their poop).

Because of this, having an allergy outbreak may sometimes be a good indicator of their presence; however, many of the symptoms can also be the result of other underlying causes.

dust-mites-can-be-found-in-soft-textiles-and-fabrics

Are Dust Mites Harmful?

While dust mites aren’t necessarily harmful, their feces can cause a lot of issues when it comes to certain common and more severe allergy symptoms such as those listed below.

Common Dust Mite Allergy Symptoms: sneezing, stuffy nose, itchy throat or nose, post-nasal drip, itchy skin, runny nose, and itchy, watery, or red eyes.

Severe Symptoms: asthma and chest pain or tightness, trouble sleeping, and wheezing.

When In Doubt, Ask a Doc

It’s always good to speak with a medical professional if you want to find out if you have a dust mite problem in your home or to rule out other causes for things such as allergies, asthma, etc.

In most cases, a medical professional will perform a series of tests to form a diagnosis, such as a skin-prick test or blood test.

Common Treatments

While certain steps can be used at home to help reduce dust mites over time, medical treatments might be necessary.

Treatments may range from prescribing antihistamines and decongestants to allergy shots. or whatever types of prescriptions are determined by a medical professional.

Note: For more information on treatments and getting a diagnosis, please speak with a medical professional.


Dust Mites vs. Bed Bugs

While many people tend to believe otherwise, dust mites and bed bugs are two completely different critters. However, some at-home methods for preventing, reducing, or getting rid of them can often be similar.

What Are Dust Mites?

Contrary to popular belief, dust mites are not parasites nor insects and do not bite or burrow into a person or animal’s skin, unlike bed bugs.

Dust mites are actually microscopic arachnids, and they love to live in soft, warm, and humid environments and eat our fallen dead skin cells. Yum. Oh, and they can trigger typical allergy-type symptoms.

What Are Bedbugs?

Bedbugs are large, brown, flat insects that are much larger than dust mites and can easily be seen with the naked eye.

Similar to dust mites, bed bugs typically hideout within soft surfaces such as mattresses, pillows, blankets, and upholstered furniture.

Unlike dust mites, bed bugs bite to drink blood and cause the skin to itch and form large welts. They do not cause common allergy symptoms.


14 Tips for Getting Rid of Dust Mites

While you may not be able to eradicate dust mites in your home completely, you can at least work towards reducing them or preventing them from thriving with these 14 easy steps.

5. Consider getting an air purifier.

Air purifiers specifically work to reduce airborne contaminants from the air within a specific environment.

This makes air purifiers great for reducing dust as well as dust mites in particular since they can help reduce dust particles–not to mention your skin cells–from the environment.

You may even see a reduction in other allergy problems as well.

What to Consider When Buying a Purifier

  • The size of the space or room you need to cover.
  • Does it meet the square footage needing to be covered, and, if so, in what mode (e.g., low, medium, max)?
  • What the unit’s filter will help trap? (i.e. dust, pet dander, odors, VOCs, mold, etc.)
  • What type of modes does the purifier come with?
  • How many decibels does it put out?
  • Does it have a Sleep Mode?
  • How much do the purifier filters cost and how should they be replaced?

We’ve used units such as the Alen Breathesmart and Levoit air purifiers in our homes and have enjoyed them.

Other popular and reliable choices include Rabbit Aire, Blueair, Winix, Molekule for large rooms, and Germ Guardian.

Notes: Freestanding air purifiers generally only work in the specific rooms that they’re in for the amount of square footage that they’re rated, usually while on their highest-running setting.

8. Wash and change your bedding often.

One of the easiest ways to eliminate or prevent dust mites in your home is to change or wash your bedding often.

Wash Your Bedding Regularly

The longest time to go without changing or cleaning your sheets should be no more than two weeks. However, it’s usually recommended to do so weekly—at least where sheets are concerne–or as part of your weekly and bi-weekly cleaning chores.

Things such as comforters or duvet inserts, or even runners, can sometimes go a little longer. But it’s still good to try to do so as often as you can.

Be Mean And Try Steam

You can also try steaming and/or vacuuming certain bedding types that you may not want to wash as often, such as a comforter or duvet.

Catch Some Rays

UV sanitizing devices are available that are specifically designed for mattresses and some work well at combating dust mites.

Just make sure that it has a vacuum feature on it in order to suck up any debris or feces since this is the main source of allergens where dust mites are concerned.

Cheaters Sometimes Prosper

Some people find it useful to freshen up larger or more delicate items, such as pillows and duvet inserts or blankets, in the dryer, using a steam sanitizing cycle when available as a feature.

This can work against contaminates, odors, and potentially dust mites. Using a slightly damp cloth in a regular dryer might work, too, but we can’t guarantee it.


Tip: The ideal temperature for killing dust mites is said to be 130 degrees for at least 20 minutes.

10. Exfoliate to help prevent dust mites.

Skin is the #1 thing that dust mites feed on, and we happen to shed a ton of it.

what-causes-dust-mites-dead-skin

Preventative Pampering

While you can’t stop yourself or others from shedding dead skin cells, you may be able to reduce how much dead skin (a.k.a. dust mite food) winds up on your bed, furniture, and other parts of the house by making sure to exfoliate at least once a week.

Exfoliating will help reduce skin shedding and flakiness, and it can be beneficial for your health and skin quality. And it can be particularly useful if you have skin issues like eczema, psoriasis, KP, or ichthyosis vulgaris.

Exfoliate And Hydrate

Using a washcloth is, of course, one way to go about exfoliating to reduce mites in your home.

However, if you find that’s not enough, you may have better luck with a body scrub or exfoliating mitt for something gentle.

Go Spa or Go Home

If you’re looking for super-soft skin, then you may prefer a Korean Italy towel, a hammam kessa mitt, which I love to use, or a nylon scrubbing cloth.

Above all, don’t forget to lotion up once you’re done getting all baby-smooth to moisturize your skin and keep it from drying out, potentially creating an unintentional dust mite smorgasbord.

11. Don’t forget about your fur babies and feathered friends.

Dogs, cats, birds, and other beasties shed, too, adding to the potential 24-7 dust mite smorgasbord.

Pet dander can also contribute to allergies as well, even aside from mite-related ones.

Ways to Combat Pet Dander

  • Giving them occasional but not-too-frequent baths.
  • Using skin and pet-friendly bath products with moisturizing or dander-fighting benefits.
  • Brushing regularly, preferably before vacuuming.
dust-mites-getting-rid-of-allergies

Our ultimate favorite shampoo for dogs and cats is Earthbath Shampoo in Oatmeal and Aloe and Earthbath Conditioner in Oatmeal and Aloe.


Tip #1: You can try spraying little water on your pet while brushing them, then wipe them dry with a microfiber cloth or towel, which is always helpful for in-between baths and to reduce dander. It’s also great for reducing fly-away fur while brushing.

Tip #2: There are pet sprays and treatments available for those who suffer from pet allergies in particular, or even for pets who have excessive dander issues. Ask a veterinarian or a medical professional for suggestions.

Psst… Curious to know more pet-related cleaning tips? Check out our post on 11 Easy Tips On How To Control Pet Fur At Home and 14 Ultimate Pet-Related Spring Cleaning Chores & Helpful Tips next (new tabs).


Conclusion

Knowing how to get rid of dust mites or prevent dust mites in the first place basically boils down to making your environment less hospitable for them by starving them and eliminating their feces as best as you can.

How to Get Rid of Dust Mites

  1. Don’t neglect the surrounding environment.
  2. Air things out a bit.
  3. Dust and vacuum more thoroughly and consistently.
  4. Reduce mite-friendly habitats.
  5. Consider getting an air purifier.
  6. Don’t neglect your household filters.
  7. Try high heat when possible to do so.
  8. Wash and change your bedding often.
  9. Avoid excess moisture and humidity.
  10. Exfoliate to help prevent dust mites.
  11. Don’t forget about your fur babies and feathered friends.
  12. Consider a mattress protector.
  13. Let there be steam!
  14. Spot treatments.

Do you suffer from dust mite allergies or had bed bugs or dust mite infestations in the past? Let us know in the comments down below!




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