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HOW TO GET RID OF DUST MITES IN THE HOUSE

HOW TO GET RID OF DUST MITES IN THE HOUSE

Introduction

You are probably only reading this article because you want to find out how to get rid of dust mites in your house, however, I’m sure you’ll agree,  when considering common pests that are found in the home, few people will think of Dust Mites. We tend to think of larger insects and animals that are more visible and forget about the tinier insects that, ironically may be far more dangerous to our health.

What are Dust Mites?

Dust Mites are very small (measuring 0.008 – 0.012 inches in length) and it’s very difficult to spot them with the naked eye. You would typically need 10x magnification to see them.
The average life cycle of a house dust mite is 65 – 100 days, but during that time the female can lay 100 eggs.

 

House Dust Mites
House Dust Mites

Where do Dust Mites live and what do they eat?

They feed on flakes of dead skin shed by people or their pets and some species of mold. They prefer living in dark warm and humid places. They are attracted to live in mattresses, bedding, upholstered furniture, and carpets.

The Dangers of Dust Mites

Dust Mites do not bite or in way attack humans or pets, but their danger lies in the very unpleasant side effects of their physiology and the way they live. In particular, they are the source of allergens.

Since they are unable to effectively digest their food within their bodies, they secrete enzymes and deposit a fungus, known as Aspergillus Repens, to help digest the food. It is this fungus, as well as the fecal matter of the Dust Mites that are the cause of Allergies. During the lifetime of the Dust Mite, 2000 fecal particles and an even larger amount of partially digestive enzyme-covered dust particles are produced.
These potentially dangerous particles are very light and easily waft in the air when disturbed and in this way are breathed in, mostly at night during your sleep.

Diseases caused by Dust Mites include:

Asthma

 

Asthma can be brought on by house dust mites
Asthma can be brought on by house dust mites

Sinusitis & Polyps

 

Sinusitis & Polyps
Sinusitis & Polyps

 

Eczema

 

Eczema is an unpleasant symptom of Dust Mites
Eczema is an unpleasant symptom of Dust Mites

Chronic Allergies (coughing wheezing, watery eyes, itching, sneezing & nasal congestion).

 

Dust Mites can bring on many symptoms related to allergies
Dust Mites can bring on many symptoms related to allergies

 

It’s quite frightening to think that very few people would associate the above diseases with this common pest that lurks unnoticed in almost every home.

Ways to get rid of Dust Mites in your home

The primary ways of getting rid of these pests consist broadly of a combination of extraction, and eradication and changing the environment so as to make it difficult for them to survive.

VACUUMING

 

vacuuming for house dust mites
vacuuming for house dust mites

This involves thoroughly vacuuming up all dust particles, fecal matter, and the dust mites themselves at least once per week. In this regard make sure you vacuum all places in the home and particularly your mattress. Use a double-layered microfilter bag or a HEPA filter in your vacuum cleaner (otherwise you will merely redistribute the dust mites and their fecal matter.
Unfortunately, not all vacuum cleaners are powerful enough to do a proper job and therefore, if you are in the market for a new vacuum cleaner, I would recommend one of the more powerful cleaners that are designed to clean mattresses effectively

It is a good idea to wear a mask while vacuuming and stay out of the vacuumed room for 20 minutes to allow allergenic particles in the air to subside.

As an added layer of protection, once your mattress has been thoroughly vacuumed, or better still immediately after purchase, cover the mattress with an allergen-impermeable cover. These covers should also be placed over mattress box-springs and pillows.

WASHING

Make a practice of washing all bedding once a week in hot water, 130 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Non-washable bedding and items such as toys can be placed in the freezer overnight to get rid of dust mites.

 

Washing at high tempertures to get rid of Dust Mites
Washing at high temperatures to get rid of Dust Mites

CHANGING CERTAIN MATERIALS IN THE HOME

Consider replacing natural fabrics such as wool or feathered bedding products with synthetic materials. If possible choose bare floors or tiled floors instead of carpets and remove upholstered furniture and curtains where possible

 

Tiled, wooden, or bare floors offer better protection
Tiled, wooden, or bare floors offer better protection

REDUCING HUMIDITY LEVELS TO 50% OF BELOW

Since Dust Mites thrive in humid environments, adjusting the humidity levels below 50% is very effective in eradicating dust mites. If you are sensitive to the allergens produced by Dust Mites, you could move to a dry environment or you could use a dehumidifier or even an air conditioner. (Incidentally, the original air conditioners were invented, not for heating or cooling, but rather for industrial drying).

Air conditioning to dry the air & get rid of dust mites
Air conditioning to dry the air & get rid of dust mites

USING AIR FILTER SYSTEMS

A good solution is to purchase an allergen-trapping air filter.
Allergenic particles can remain suspended in the air for hours and be inhaled. To remove these allergens, HEPA-grade filters can be installed in your home’s HVAC system or used within portable air cleaners, which can be placed in strategic areas of the house. The portable systems are naturally less effective than a central HVAC system.

 

Allergen Trapping air filter being fitted
Allergen Trapping air filter being fitted

CHEMICAL SOLUTIONS

A useful technique to get rid of house dust mites in the house is to use chemicals that contain Mite-killing benzyl benzoate.
Alternatively consider using products containing tannic acid, which are designed to alter dust-mite allergens so that they no longer cause symptoms.
Note, these techniques are best implemented by professionals and I would recommend these measures only after the previous measures discussed previously have been followed.

 

 

Benzyl Benzonate molecular structure
Benzyl Benzoate molecular structure

 

 

CONCLUSION

Although Dust Mites don’t bite and are so small they can hardly be seen, they can be the source of allergy-related diseases that can be severe. Follow the protocols discussed in the article to enjoy a healthier life in your home.

House Dust Mite
House Dust Mite

Sven Welsh

What started out as an intention to economically protect my family and property from the ravages (and some dangers) of pests, has turned into a quest to share my research and findings with others.
Despite the cost and potential dangers of some eradication techniques, there are cost-effective and ethical ways of dealing with pests.
Knowledge is power.

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