Reducing Dust Mites

Dust is one of the most highly allergenic substances in most homes, and dust mites are often contributors. Through their skin and feces, dust mites affect many people and aggravate symptoms of asthma, hay fever and other allergic conditions. You can control the dust mite population in your home with a few procedures that will reduce their numbers.

Wash all pillowcases and sheets every week with detergent in water that is at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Because the mites cannot live in extreme temperatures, this is an effective way to kill them. For those who are particularly sensitive to allergens, the use of a barrier pillowcase can control dust mites in one of the most common places to find them. Also, regular housecleaning that focuses on dust control will reduce the numbers of the dust mites and prevent dangerous levels of accumulation.

Choose to vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate arresting vacuum (HEPA) several times per week. These vacuums are specially designed to trap small particles, such as dust mite skin and feces, without releasing them back into the air. Vacuuming with a regular vacuum can actually aggravate symptoms because they are only designed to pick up large particles and usually just stir up dust levels and redistribute mites within the home.

For homes with occupants who are extremely sensitive to dust mites and their byproducts, removing carpet is a big but effective step in reducing the dust mite population. Replacing carpet with smooth flooring will reduce the buildup of dust. Since carpeting is a prime breeding ground for mites, the absence of it will create a more hostile environment for them.

You can reduce the number of dust mites by controlling the atmosphere and humidity in your home. Mites thrive in a humid environment, so keep levels below 50 percent and use the air conditioner to keep temperatures cooler. An air filter with an anti-microbe design will help as well. Ordinary standard air filters do not have this capability. Selecting a high-efficiency air filter will trap mites and their skin and feces.

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