Try as we might, there is one household pest that your pest control professional cannot help you to get rid of: the dust mite. We are happy to share our knowledge with you about the minute pest, but that is about the extent of our abilities. That is because there is no way to eradicate dust mites from your home completely. We will explain more about that later, but know that treatment is focused on you and managing any potential allergy you may have to them when it comes to dust mites. That said, there are some things you can do to minimize your exposure.
What are Dust Mites?
Dust mites are microscopic pests that feed on dead skin cells. They do not bite or sting humans, so they are not a threat in that way. Instead, it is what they leave behind that is responsible for one of the biggest allergy triggers in the world. Their droppings and shed body fragments are the things that most allergic people react to.
Where Do They Hide?
Dust mites are in almost every home in the world. Whether or not the levels of mites are high enough to be detectable depends on a few factors. One of the major ones is humidity. These mites do not drink water. Instead, they absorb moisture from the air around them. So, the higher the humidity level, the more they can hydrate. Lucky for us in Florida, our humidity levels are always high, which provides plenty of moisture for our mites. They tend to live in the soft surfaces of your home, so places like curtains, carpet, bedding, mattresses, stuffed animals, upholstery, and clothing. So, to minimize exposure to dust mites, those are the places to focus your attention.
How to Minimize Dust Mites?
One of the most important things to do to minimize dust mites or reduce your exposure is dust your home frequently. Removing the dust will help to keep allergic reactions at bay. Other steps to take include:
- Wash all bedding once a week in the hottest water the material will tolerate.
- Wash your curtains and drapes frequently in hot water. If you can remove them altogether, so much the better.
- Wash stuffed animals in a delicates bag in hot water at least once a month.
- Vacuum carpets with a HEPA filter rated to remove microns down to .3 microns. Vacuuming with anything less will stir the dust into the air rather than remove it, which will only make allergic reactions worse. Homeowners should vacuum at least weekly.
- Lower the overall humidity in the home to below 50%. You can achieve this naturally by leaving a window or door open for at least an hour every day. Or you can use a household dehumidifier to lower the overall humidity.
- Use special encasements for your pillows and mattresses that surround the items and zip shut, keeping dust mites out. Wash these linens at least once a month in hot water.