What are Dust Mites And How to Get Rid of Them?
If you’ve ever woken up feeling congested or spent the night tossing and turning, the culprit might be closer than you think—right in your mattress, to be precise. As professional mattress cleaners, we often field questions about dust mites, those microscopic critters that love to dwell in our bedding. But what are dust mites really, and how can we get rid of them for good? This blog post aims to shed some light on this common issue.
What Are Dust Mites?
Dust mites are microscopic organisms that feed off human skin flakes and thrive in warm, humid environments. They are particularly fond of bedding, furniture, and carpeting. While they are generally harmless and do not bite or transmit diseases, their fecal matter and body fragments can be allergens that cause a variety of health problems like asthma, allergic rhinitis, and eczema.
Dust Mites vs. Bed Bugs
It’s crucial to note that dust mites and bed bugs are not the same. While both might share your bed, bed bugs are larger, visible pests that feed on blood and can cause visible bites. Dust mites, on the other hand, are almost invisible and feed on dead skin.
Size: Dust mites are tiny and nearly invisible, while bed bugs are larger and visible to the naked eye.
Bites: Bed bug bites leave red, itchy welts on the skin, while dust mites don’t bite.
Feeding Habits: Dust mites feed on dead skin cells, while bed bugs feed on blood.
Location: Dust mites primarily hide in bedding and upholstery, while bed bugs hide near sleeping areas.
Did you Know?
- A female dust mite can lay up to 100 eggs in a lifetime, meaning populations can grow very quickly
- Dust mites primarily feed on dead human skin flakes, which we shed naturally. An average human sheds enough skin each day to feed a million dust mites
- In an average mattress, there can be anywhere between 100,000 to 10 million dust mites.
- A single dust mite produces about 20 waste droppings each day, each containing a protein many people are allergic to
Exposure to dust mites can lead to various symptoms:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Red, itchy, or watery eyes
- Skin rashes
- Worsening of asthma symptoms
How to Get Rid of Dust Mites?
Eliminating dust mites involves a combination of cleaning and preventive measures.
Vacuuming: Use a vacuum cleaner to capture dust mites and their waste. Make sure to vacuum your mattress, carpets, and furniture regularly.
Hot Washing: Wash all your bed linens, pillowcases, and blankets in hot water to kill dust mites effectively.
Dusting: Dust mites can settle on furniture and in the corners of your rooms. Dusting regularly can help keep them at bay.
How Professional Mattress Cleaning From Clean Fanatics can help?
Ultra Violet treatment (UV Treatment):
Ultraviolet (UV) treatment can be effective in reducing the population of dust mites in your home. UV treatment specifically targets these microscopic pests by using ultraviolet light to disrupt their biological processes. Here’s how UV treatment affects dust mites:
Kills Dust Mites: UV-C light, a specific type of ultraviolet light, damages the DNA and cellular structure of dust mites. This light is germicidal and effectively kills dust mites on contact.
Disrupts Reproduction: UV-C light can also interfere with the reproduction of dust mites by damaging their DNA. This disruption in their life cycle helps reduce their population over time.
Allergen Reduction: Dust mites produce waste and proteins that can trigger allergies in some people. UV treatment can break down these allergens, rendering them less harmful to individuals with dust mite allergies.
Surface and Air Treatment: UV treatment devices can be used on various surfaces, such as mattresses, carpets, and upholstery, where dust mites are commonly found. Additionally, some air purifiers use UV-C technology to kill dust mites and other allergens in the air as it passes through the purifier.
Regular Maintenance Required: It’s important to note that UV treatment is not a one-time solution. Dust mites can multiply quickly, so regular and consistent use of UV-C devices is necessary to keep their populations in check.
Complement to Other Cleaning Methods: UV treatment should be considered as part of an overall strategy to control dust mites. Regular cleaning, washing bedding in hot water, using allergen-proof covers on mattresses and pillows, and maintaining a low humidity environment are also crucial steps in reducing dust mite populations.
Safety Considerations: When using UV-C devices, it’s essential to follow safety guidelines to protect yourself from potential harm to your eyes and skin. UV-C light can be harmful if directly exposed to the body, so it’s important to use these devices according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Dust Extraction HEPA Filter Vaccum:
Dust extraction using a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filter vacuum can significantly reduce dust mite populations and their allergens in your home, although it doesn’t “kill” dust mites in the traditional sense. Here’s how a HEPA filter vacuum works to control dust mites:
Capturing Dust Mites and Allergens: Dust mites and their microscopic feces, as well as other allergenic particles and pet dander, are commonly found in household dust. HEPA filter vacuums are designed to capture these tiny particles effectively.
High-Efficiency Filtration: HEPA filters are highly efficient at trapping particles as small as 0.3 microns with a 99.97% effectiveness. This level of filtration ensures that most dust mites and their allergenic components are captured during vacuuming.
Removing Allergens from Surfaces: When you use a HEPA filter vacuum to clean your home, you’re removing dust mites and their allergens from various surfaces like carpets, rugs, upholstery, and bedding. By physically removing these particles, you reduce the overall dust mite population in your environment.
Preventing Reintroduction: HEPA filter vacuums also prevent the reintroduction of captured dust mites and allergens into the air through the vacuum’s exhaust. This is crucial because airborne allergens can be inhaled and trigger allergies or asthma symptoms.
Regular Cleaning Routine: To effectively control dust mites and allergens, it’s important to incorporate regular vacuuming into your cleaning routine. Frequent vacuuming can help reduce the accumulation of dust and dust mite allergens in your home.
Use Dust Mite Covers: Special covers for mattresses and pillows create a barrier between the dust mites and your skin. Dust mite covers are usually made from tightly woven fabric or are laminated to have pore sizes smaller than dust mites and their waste products. This helps to contain dust mites and their allergens within the bedding. These covers are usually equipped with zippers, sealing off the entire mattress or pillow, which means that mites can neither get in nor out, effectively isolating them from the sleeping environment
Keep Humidity Low: By reducing the humidity level to below 50%, a dehumidifier makes the environment less hospitable for dust mites. Lower humidity levels can cause dust mites to dehydrate and eventually die. Also, Dust mites feed on organic matter like human skin flakes, which can absorb moisture from the air. Lower humidity can make this food source less appealing or viable for dust mites
Regular Professional Cleaning: Even with the best at-home care, it’s recommended to get your mattress professionally cleaned regularly. As discussed above, professional cleaning companies employ advanced equipment and technologies that are more effective in eradicating dust mites compared to typical household tools.
Dust mites may be tiny, but their impact on your health can be significant. By taking a proactive approach to cleaning and using preventive measures, you can reduce your risk of dust mite-related allergies and enjoy a cleaner, healthier home. Remember, the battle against dust mites is ongoing, so make these practices a regular part of your home maintenance routine.
Ready to get a good night’s sleep without the sneezing and itching? Start taking action against dust mites today!