Having been in the air purifier business for more than 14 years we have talked with a lot of people about dust. And this often leads to dust mites.
What we have learned is that dust comes in a variety of forms and sizes. And it varies by geography. For example, someone in Phoenix may be dealing with dust from the desert. A family in Bakersfield, CA may be dealing with dust that contains air pollution. Pet owners have their own dust challenges. It’s amazing how much feather dust can come from birds.
What are Dust Mites?
So, how is this related to dust mites? Well, dust is a primary source of allergies. The most common source of the allergic reaction is the dust mite. A dust mite is a tiny insect that often lives in household dust.
Dust mites are too small to see with the naked eye. You need to use a microscope to see them.
Dust mite allergies show up as a runny nose or sneezing. It’s also common to have signs of asthma with difficulty breathing and wheezing. Some people have symptoms of being itchy.
Dust mites are different than bed bugs. Dust mites do not bite. They just feed off things like dead skin and the problem they cause is allergies and asthma.
Where does dust come from?
Dust consists of a variety of particles found in your local environment. This may be from soil, pollen, hair, dead skin, paper fibers, and your pets. Surprising, it could also contain “burnt meteorite particles” also known as meteor dust. Who knew?
Anyways, dust is a combination of all of this stuff and dust mites make their home there. They need proper conditions to thrive and do best in places that are dark, humid and warm.
They also need a food source. Besides water or a humid environment they need dust which exists in every home. It’s impossible to completely rid your home of dust and therefore is not possible to have a dust mite free home. The goal is to minimize dust and therefore dust mites and your allergic reactions to them.
Dust mites are most commonly found in or around bedding, carpets, fibers from clothing or in the air especially after vacuuming or dusting.
Dust with dust mites can be suspended in the air for hours and when you inhale it it leads to the breathing issues.
The good folks at the University of Kentucky Entomology Department have shared this: “Microscopic dust mite particles (especially feces) can remain suspended in the air for hours and be inhaled. To help remove these allergens, HEPA-grade filters can be installed in the central air conditioning and heating system of the home. HEPA filters can also be used within portable air cleaners, placed in bedrooms and other critical areas of the house.”
How to get rid of dust mites in a room
There are several things you can do to remove dust mites for you to breathe and feel better. Again, you are not going to remove 100% of them but can significantly reduce the numbers to feel better.
- I mentioned earlier that dust mites need a water source. With the use of a dehumidifier or air conditioner keep the relative humidity below 50%. This is relevant to the summer months of if you live in a warmer climate. Learn more at how humidifiers, dehumidifiers and air purifiers compare.
- Dust mites also need a food source so try to get rid of their food sources or places where they can thrive. A good example is to remove carpeting and replace with a hard floor. It’s also important to keep things clean. But, this presents a problem. When you vacuum you tend to kick up the dust mites which then stay suspended in the air. So, in cleaning you expose yourself to the very things are you trying to stay away from. A HEPA filter in your vacuum cleaner can help although from our testing we have shown these to be only minimally effective. Wearing a mask or getting someone else that does not suffer from dust allergies to vacuum for you is better. Yes, an excuse to get out of vacuuming. If you have a family member that suffers from dust allergies, it’s best for them to be away from the room being cleaned.
- Use a HEPA air purifier for dust removal. You need a high quality HEPA filter with sufficient air flow to effectively clean your room so you are not breathing in the dust mites and whatnot.
- Cover your pillows and mattress in an allergen cover. Wash all bedding and blankets atleast weekly in hot water to kill the dust mites. Yes, these are living organisms and can be better controlled with frequent washing.
- When dusting, use a damp cloth. Dusting with a dry cloth just sends the dreaded dust and dust mite allergens into the air.
Have more questions?
Please contact us and our knowledgeable and helpful customer service team would be happy to help.