When you’re struck with an itchy throat and runny nose, you probably think pollen is the big offender. But the true cause of your allergies could be more insidious. Dust mites are microscopic bugs whose organic waste material can light up someone’s allergies and asthma. Thankfully, there are a ton of ways you can get rid of dust mites. So grab your vacuums and dehumidifiers. It’s time to smite the mite.
What Are Dust Mites & Why Do They Suck?
It’s unnerving to think about all the microscopic little beasties crawling around — looking at you, eyelash mites. And some are easier to detect than others. Dust mites are some of those tiny creatures that you won’t know you have unless you have an allergic reaction.
Dust mites feed on dead skin, and their bodily fluids/dead carcasses can cause an allergic reaction in some people. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, if you’re prone to allergies or asthma, you might react to dust mites in the following ways:
- Having a runny nose
- Having itchy or watery eyes
- Having a stuffy or itchy nose
- Having an itchy throat
- Experiencing post-nasal drip
- Having chest tightness
- Having trouble sleeping
Of course, if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, make sure you follow up with your doctor to check that it’s not something more serious.
If nobody in your home has an allergic reaction, you may never know you have dust mites. But, if you're worried that you do (but don't have symptoms), you can always grab an inexpensive microscope and see if the tiny buggers are in your dust samples.
8 Quick Tips for Getting Rid of Dust Mites
If you don’t have a dust mite allergy, you’ll probably never realize they’re living their best life in your sheets and sofa cushions. If you’re just as grossed out as we are by the tiny skin-eating creatures, then it’s time to go to war! And these are your best tactics to win.
Invest in a HEPA Vacuum Cleaner
Vacuuming up dust mites is one of the easiest ways to get rid of them. Just make sure you invest in a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate arrestor) vacuum cleaner. These vacuums have a better filter than anything else on the market, which keeps the most amount of dust and debris from escaping back into your house.
Start a Weekly Dusting Schedule
Dusting is just as important as vacuuming. Not only will keeping the dust low in your house clear up dust mites, but it’ll also remove all the debris that circulates through the air and causes eye/nose/throat irritation.
Send Them Packing by Removing Their Homes
Dust mites will live anywhere that they can get access to your skin. Obviously, you can’t throw away your bed or chairs. But keep any unnecessary drapery or upholstery that you can't wash to a minimum, as they’ll cling and linger on them for months.
Throw on Dust Mite-Proof Mattress/Pillow Covers
If you’re struggling with a dust mite allergy, then a great way to help reduce your symptoms is putting a dust mite-proof cover on your mattress and pillows. Any basic allergen-proof cover will do. The idea is to create an added barrier between where they might live and where your skin is. If they’re trapped, you have fewer chances of getting their organic debris in your sinuses.
Wash Your Bedding and Furniture Covers Every Week
Be proactive and wash your bedding and furniture covers once a week in hot water. Since vacuuming an entire comforter is an impossible task, washing your fabrics is the best way to clear them of any dust mites that might’ve moved in.
Keep the Humidity Low
Dust mites need water, but they can’t drink it. Instead, they absorb it through the air. So the more humid it is (aka, more water in the air), the more dust mites will be there. Ideally, you should keep the inside of your house below 50% humidity. But if you live in a really humid region, then you’ll probably need to invest in a few dehumidifiers to keep it at that level.
Change Your Air Filters to Allergen-Specific Ones
While you’re making moves to eliminate dust mites, also consider changing out your air filters to the allergen-specific ones. Although they’re usually more expensive than your regular filters, they’re built with a higher quality filtration system that will block more dust mites from recirculating in the air.
If You’re Really Affected, Replace Your Carpets
Replacing your flooring isn’t something you can do on a whim, and it’s definitely not the most cost-effective method of clearing out dust mites. However, if you or your family members are struggling with dust mite allergy symptoms, then changing carpets to something like wood or laminate will remove so much dust mite real estate.
Attack the Dust Mites From Every Angle
You can’t do too much when you’re fighting a dust mite army. If you really want to keep the dust mite population to a minimum, take a multi-pronged approach and attack them from every angle. So long as you disrupt their environment (from removing their food sources to bulldozing their homes), you’ll be able to kill the dust mites in no time.