Killing Dust Mites

Spring Cleaning Tips

Introduction

Killing dust mites should be of significant priority if you or any other household member suffers from allergies. Although these little critters are not especially visible to the naked eye they're literally everywhere in our homes and can have huge effect on your health.

The following tips will help you get rid of dust mites or at the very least control them, so they become less of a nuisance.

What are dust mites?

Dust mites are minute creatures that live within the home. They're very common due to the food they feed on, namely your dead skin cells. Although dust mites are abundent they don't really cause the associated health problems, it's their droppings they leave behind. Therefore the only way to get rid of the dropppings is to kill the dust mites.

Where do dust mites live?

Dust mites live in places that have a constant temperature of 20-25 degrees C with normal humidity levels, which makes the home a wonderful breeding ground for them. You'll usually find them living in and around soft furnishing, carpets, rugs, matresses, cuddly toys and clothes especially if they are in regualr contact with human skin.

What effects can dust mites have on my health?

Researchers have discovered that dust mites are one of the leading causes of asthma in the western world. This is down to the fact that their droppings contain an enzyme that irritates human airways, causing a whole host of respiratory problems. You'll also find that nighttime is when your breathing problems worsen, this is because the favourite breeding ground for these pests are matresses, pillows and bedding. Therefore killing dust mites should be high on the agenda.

How to kill dust mites

Dust mite control and elimination is of upmost importance if household members have respiratory problems. Although completely eliminating them may be an impossible task their numbers can be significantly controlled by adopting the following measures.

Clean bedding - As we spend on average 1/3 of our lives in bed, therefore losing a lot of dead skin there, it is important to change and wash bedding at least once a week. When you wash the bedding ensure you do on a hot wash, as doing so on cold cycle will not kill all the dust mites.

Throw away dust mite friendly bedding - Certain bedding like feather pillows and woolen blankets shouldn't be used if you have a dust mite problem. You're best off with Vellux or similar items as these are able to withstand hot washes, therefore killing dust mites.

Don't let pets lie on beds - Certain household pets such as cats can spend hours lying on a comfy bed. Although they may look cute and comfy, they're vastly increasing your dust mite problem by being there. This is because dust mites are as happy dining on dead animal skin as they are on the human equivalent. Therefore see to it that pets sleep in their own beds.

Plastic pet beds - Leading nicely on from the above tip, if you want your cat or dog to have it's own bed ensure that it's made from a material that dust mites can't set up home in, such as plastic cribs or ones covered by plastic. Here you can easily keep these kind of beds nice and clean. Finally if your pet has it's own blanket see to it that you wash it on hot cycle at least once a week.

Kill carpet dwelling dust mites - Carpets are a great place for dust mites to set up camp. Although this tip is going to sound a bit contraversial it will vastly decrease your workload when getting rid of dust mites. You should think about removing as much carpeting from your home as possible. If you have less places for the dust mites to hide, you'll end up with far fewer of the critters.

If you would rather not follow the above piece of advice.Then you'll need to see to it that you steam clean carpets and rugs on a regular basis. The red hot steam will kill dust mites in no time.

Clean more - I know - ironically - that cleaning for many people is a dirty word, but so are dust mites. You need to make sure that you dust at least twice a week, this is because a lot of what people think is household dust, is in fact dead skin - the prime food source for dust mites. So dust, dust, dust. I would use a static duster - which can be purchased in most hardware stores - as this will actually catch the dust rather than just disperse it.

Another good tip on killing dust mites is to use a mop to clean hardwood flooring rather than a broom, the latter cleaning implement, sends too much of the dust into the air,

Reduce your home's humidity levels - As is true of most household pests, dust mites prefer warm humid conditions to live in, Therefore by changing the parameters here you can turn the tables in your favour. Try turning the thermostat down a few notches. Use extractor fans, dehumidifiers and air conditioning to reduce humidity levels. In addition refrain from drying clothes on radiators, as this releases a lot of warm mositure into the air.

Cover matresses - Cover matresses and pillows with a plastic or rubber casing, this will prevent dust mites from setting up camp, plus will be easier to clean.

Rid your home of clutter - Having a lot of clutter in your home will make dusting a difficult task, therefore when killing dust mites, de-cluttering should be high on the agenda. Why not visit our Clutter Control page for some great tips?

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