Dust mites are annoying, to say the least. Not only do these tiny creatures trigger asthma, but they are also one of the most common allergens, often lurking on all sorts of surfaces in your home. Luckily, you can keep your allergies and unsightly dust under control with a few quick solutions for less sneezing, easy breathing, and great air quality.
Dust mites often make their homes in thick carpeting. Keep in mind that carpeting laid over concrete is especially comfortable for dust mites, thanks to the high humidity and moisture levels. If you have old carpets in your home, consider replacing them with hardwood or tile flooring. Similar surfaces like horizontal blinds and upholstered furniture are other breeding grounds for dust mites, so think about some simple design changes you can make to decrease the dust.
Dust mites thrive in humid areas, so maintaining proper humidity levels in your home will help you manage the dust. A relative humidity under 50% is recommended for your home, and you can pick up a hygrometer at your local hardware store to monitor these levels. A reliable air conditioner or dehumidifier will take care of the humidity in the background as you handle the rest of your home maintenance.
High-quality filters are essential for your air conditioning and heating systems too. Filters with a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) of at least 11 or 12 are a safe bet for clearing dust mites and avoiding recirculation of airborne irritants and pollutants. Use the fan to filter all the air in your home, and swap out filters four times a year for the best air quality.
Frequent steam cleaning kills dust mites with the high water temperature. Invest in a steam mop or arrange professional services to steam clean upholstered surfaces, carpet, mattresses, and countertops. The steam also destroys bacteria and mold, so make this a regular part of home cleaning to keep your entire household comfortable with fewer irritants in the air.
Dust mites won't survive in freezing temperatures. Try freezing stuffed animals, delicate bedding, and other nonwashable items for a day to kill stubborn, invisible dust mites. Some people even freeze old baking mixes and dry pet food to stop dust mites from growing there too. Just make sure to protect the items in a tightly sealed bag before placing them in the freezer.
Clutter can take over your life if you're not careful, and the more junk you have lying around, the more dust mites there will be throughout your house. Anything that collects dust attracts dust mites, so keeping a neat and tidy home will make a big difference. Start by throwing out old magazines, newspapers, and wrappers away when you're done with them, and prioritize seasonal cleaning to clear out dust mite hotspots on your tables, shelves, and dressers.
It's important to regularly wash your sheets and pillowcases to cut down on germs and dust mites. Try sticking to a weekly routine of stripping your bed, washing the linen, and putting clean sheets on. Wash everything in hot water that's at least 130 F to eliminate dust mites and allergens. If your bedding can't be washed in hot water, stick the sheets in the dryer on high for at least 15 minutes to zap the dust mites before making your bed.
Another easy trick to ensure your bedroom remains free of dust mites is to use allergen-blocking or dustproof pillow and mattress covers. The tightly-woven fabric on these covers keeps dust mites from building up in your bedding. You can get also get affordable allergen-proof covers for your box springs at a lot of home stores or online. Even if you invest in these covers, you still need to keep up your washing routine to prevent dust buildup.
Eliminate dust mites and germs by committing to a strong cleaning regime. The more you clean, the fewer dust mites you will have to deal with. Wipe down tables, countertops, and furniture with a wet mop or oiled rag instead of dry cloths to pick up dust. Cleaning these surfaces at least every few days will stop even the tiniest dust particles from moving around the house and hopefully keep your allergies to a minimum.
Cleaning the floors is important, too, especially if you can see dust bunnies underneath your couch or chairs. Vacuum your house every week to get rid of surface dust on carpeting, rugs, and upholstered furniture. For the best results in reducing dust mites, opt for a vacuum cleaner with high-efficiency microfilters to cut down on emissions. If your allergies are acting up, wait a while before going back into the vacuumed area to let the air settle.