Dust Mites in the Home, and What You Can Do About Them

We recently found this information on the www.familydoctor.org

website, and thought it would be really good information to share in our


“What are dust mites?

Dust mites are tiny bugs that live in your home. They measure about 1/100th

of an inch in length, which is smaller than the period at the end of this

sentence. Dust mites feed off of pet and human dander (dust), and their

waste is a major cause of allergies and asthma. In children who have asthma,

dust mites can cause them to wheeze more and need more asthma medicine. So,

cutting down the number of dust mites in the home is an important step if

your child has allergies or asthma.

Dust mites love warm, humid areas filled with dust. Bed pillows, mattresses,

carpets and furniture are great places for them to live. Cleaning each one

of these places can make a real difference in the number of dust mites in

your home.

What do I do first?

Start in the bedroom. Most of the dust mites in your house live in your

mattress. Put an airtight plastic or polyurethane cover over your mattress

(check out our Platinum Mattress Protector pad at this link:

http://healthyfoundations.com/ordering.html#plat). Wash your sheets and

blankets in very hot water every week. Wash your pillow every week or put a

plastic cover on it. (The pillowcase goes over the plastic cover.) The

water used to wash your sheets and blankets should be 130°F. This

temperature is higher than you may want for your water heater, because water

over 120°F can burn children if they turn on the hot water by themselves. If

you don’t want to set your water heater at this temperature, you can wash

your sheets and blankets at commercial laundries. Your bedroom should have

a hardwood, tile or linoleum floor instead of carpet. Dust mites can grow

rapidly in carpet. If you must use carpet, try not to place it on concrete

because the warm space between a rug and concrete is a good place for mites

to live.

I don’t want to rip out my carpet. Is there anything I can do to treat it?

You can spray the rug with a solution of 3% tannic acid every 2 months to

make the dust mite waste less bothersome. However, tannic acid itself can be

irritating and it can’t help as much as removing the carpet. If your doctor

tells you to use this solution, he or she can tell you how to get it and

apply it.

What else can I do?

Vacuuming your carpets and upholstery every week can help. Vacuums with

high-efficiency filters pick up more dust mites, but even standard vacuums

work well enough. Plastic or wood furniture that doesn’t have much padding

can also help keep down the number of dust mites in your home. Because dust

mites love warm, humid places, keeping the humidity low by using a

dehumidifier and running your air conditioner makes a difference. Special

air filters can help reduce dust mites in the air.”

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