What are Dust Mites?
Dust mites are found around the house usually associated with dust particles (which contain their food-human skin scrapings). Although Dust mites resemble other small bugs, dust mites do not bite humans at all. However, their presence may trigger an allergic reaction in your body exhibiting as a rash or runny nose.
Dust mites are one of the most terrifying microscopic bugs for people who are allergic to them.
Although they are not so harmful themselves, their corpse (dead matter) and droppings stimulate a large variety of health complications. The symptoms of an allergic reaction to dust mites involve issues such as breathing problems, coughing, itching, and nasal congestion.
How do you remove dust mites naturally, without using chemicals?
There are various ways of battling dust mites. Most of these methods to control dust mites use chemicals. However, there are other natural methods which are more eco-friendly and equally effective. These modern options will be of special interest to you if you are obsessed with natural living.
1. Maintain a frequent dusting/cleaning schedule.
Dust mites grow in house dust as it provides plenty of food supplies for dust mites. House dust is made up of several bits and pieces such as skin flakes (dead skin cells) that pets and humans are continuously shedding around the house.
It has been estimated that a person sheds enough dead skin cells to keep one million dust mites alive every day. With that being said, the first line of defense against dust mites would be to clean and dust the house every day.
Although, it is impossible to have the house absolutely free of dust at all times. However, it is easy to keep it at low levels. For example, you could figure out where dust tends to gather the most in your house, and make sure that you dust those places regularly.
While dusting, make sure to dust starting from the top and working your way down. Also, be sure to use a damp cloth or microfibre duster. Using a feathered duster will just be moving the dust around instead of cleaning it.
2. Vacuum Frequently
Experts suggest vacuuming the rugs and carpets at least twice every week. Although, for a household with a greater number of people and pets; vacuuming daily is advised, especially if you’re asthmatic or allergic to dust mites.
Which vacuum is best for dust mites?
Even more important than the vacuuming frequency is the type of vacuum cleaner you’ll be using. A high-quality filtration system is needed to ensure successful capture and removal of dust, pollen, dust mites, and other airborne allergens. Currently, HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filters are the best against dust mites. The ability to prevent these critters from leaking into your house again once they have been suctioned by the vacuum is what gives HEPA filter vacuums the upper hand in the fight against dust mites.
3. HEPA air purifiers
Dust allergens floating in the air can not be removed by vacuuming or any other cleaning methods. Dust mites live burrowed in the carpets and soft surfaces which is why they are not inhaled as airborne dust mites. However, their droppings and body parts get airborne at the minimal disturbance and get inhaled by humans thereby triggering an allergic reaction. This is where air purifiers with HEPA filters come into play.
Research suggests that the best purifiers of air with HEPA filters are very much effective at removing all the dust particles and the allergens from the atmosphere. They also release the purified air back into the room which helps in reducing incidence of asthma attacks.
4. Change and wash your bedding in hot water weekly
Dust mites love being on your bed despite being spread all over your house. Approximately over 10 million dust mites are living in your mattress, bed sheets, and pillows at any given time of the day.
Since beds are warm and humid and have a lot of dead skin flakes that mites love feeding on, they make the best nest for dust mites. One out of many ways is to change the bedsheets on a weekly basis or maybe even sooner. Make sure that you clean the bedsheets in warm water (130oF) or use minimal amount of bleach in white sheets; this kills the mites and reduces their numbers.
5. Cut their food supply- let them starve!
Once dust mites burrow inside your pillow and mattress it is impossible to get them out, as it is not practical to wash your pillows, box springs and mattress in hot water weekly.
However, there is a silver lining; although the mattresses and pillows can’t be washed, the mites can be starved to death by putting a barrier between them and their food supply: You. How can this happen? Encase the pillows, mattress, and box spring in special allergen-proof covers and keep them that way for 2-3 days so they starve to death.
It cannot be denied that these cases are costly. However, studies including these validate that special mite-proof cases go a long way in lowering asthma complications.
6. Nuke them using Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
A multipurpose powder obtained from sedimentary rocks is called Diatomaceous Earth. Diatomaceous Earth has high levels of compound silica since sedimentary rocks were formed from fossilized algae.
When it comes to killing the mites; Diatomaceous Earth dehydrates them, thereby killing them in a matter of few minutes.
To get rid of the mites using this powder, scatter a layer over the infested surface, including your bed, carpets, and couches. Wait till 30 minutes before vacuuming thoroughly with HEPA filter vacuum.
Hint: When purchasing this powder, ensure that you go for the food-grade type as other types may irritate the nose and cause itchiness.
7. Lower your home’s temperature and humidity
Dust mites prefer humidity levels of between 70% and 80% and temperatures of between 68 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Having this essential knowledge, you can easily make life impossible for mites by adjusting these two perimeters to your advantage (lower indoor humidity and temperatures).
As soon as an infestation of dust mites is discovered, lower your indoor temperature below 65oF and the humidity level to 40-45%. Although this won’t kill the mites immediately, it will make their lives impossible leading to a slow death. This method is very effective, especially when paired with other methods.
8. Trade your carpets for a hard floor
Do consider hard flooring rather than carpets. The new carpet and plush will make the room look cozy but that’s not what you would want if you have dust mite allergies, it would end up pretty bad for you. The same is the case with mattresses carpets are magnets to dust mites and many other types of allergens.
Even though the Rug and Carpet Institute (CRI) has claimed that carpets don’t trap allergy-provoking substances. Other researches suggest that; compared to hard floors, carpets have 100 times more allergens in them. When these substances are disturbed by any movement, they get airborne which makes them circulate the whole room before they settle down on surfaces. These allergens can be worse for babies as they spend more time on the floor so they may get infected by dust mites directly.
One of the best solutions for dust mites in your home is to get rid of carpets and go for hard floors. At the very least, have more of hard floored area than carpeted area around the house. If you have more carpeted around the house then try to steam clean the carpeted area every week to kill the dust mites.
9. Groom Your Pets Regularly
It’s not possible to mention dust mites without mentioning pets. You must be wondering what would be the reason for that. Well, these animals are also in danger since they are also at the risk of being infected and adding to dust mites’ food supply.
There are many things that you can do to reduce pet danger; it involves plenty of bathing and brushing your pet regularly. Other solutions for the fight against dust mites would be to not let your dogs and cats getting into your bedroom and to keep them away or off the couch. Most importantly visit your pet’s vets in case the shedding gets out of hand.