House dust mites, also known as HDM or simply dust mites, are microscopic creatures that are uninvited guests in human habitation. These organisms feed on the dead skin cells of humans, pets, and microorganisms. At the same time, they also cause the majority of allergic reactions in humans.
If you are suffering from allergic reactions even if it is not the season to get them, chances are, you are allergic to dust mites. Dust mites can cause asthma, conjunctivitis (learn how to get rid of conjunctivitis), and dermatitis.
It is very hard to live with allergies all the time – some may even be life threatening or at least debilitating. Though it is impossible to completely get rid of dust mites, the best way to fight them is by controlling them.
Where Dust Mites Live: The Hot Spots
Before you can control the population of these allergy-causing creatures, you must know the places where they thrive in your home. Once you get to know where they live, getting rid of them is a lot easier.
- In your bed and pillows – Your bed and your pillows are some of the places you should check first. You spend several hours sleeping, so this area should be clean all the time. Your bed is a dust mite haven because of the quantity of dead skin you shed there.
- Chairs and couches – This is another favorite spot of dust mites. Your chairs and couches are a free-for-all food fest for these dust mites since you also spend a lot of time watching TV or lounging on them.
- Carpets– If you have lots of carpeting in your home, this is another dust mite hot spot. Unlike bare floors, carpets trap more dust, dirt, and other particulate matter that dust mites thrive on.
- Curtains and heavy drapes – These are another dust mite favorite. Though they may help beautify your home, these cloths, especially thick and heavy ones, collect a lot of dust, making them a feeding ground for these little pests.
- Stuffed toys
– These toys are another spot where dust mites live.
Getting Rid of Dust Mites
Your first step in effectively getting rid of these pests is to clean the feeding and breeding grounds. Often, conventional cleaning is not enough. Regular dusting only touches the surface, where only a few of these organisms live.
Start with your bed and pillows. First, start by dusting them until you’re satisfied. Then, proceed to vacuum the mattress and pillows. Your vacuum cleaner should have a HEPA filter. Otherwise, you will be just spreading dust mites further. (For proper way of using vacuum cleaner, read how to vacuum)
If you haven’t cleaned your bed or washed your pillows for a long time now, then you may want to consider washing everything. You may want to leave your mattress outside under direct sunlight for several hours. Direct sunlight is deadly to these pests. You may want to wash your pillows with hot water to kill every dust mite in them, since they cannot endure high temperatures.
Your chairs and couches may be troublesome, since cleaning them is quite difficult. You may not be able to wash them without causing damage to the material. The best you can do is to regularly vacuum them or, in the worst cases, get rid of this upholstered furniture. You can replace them with synthetic ones that don’t collect a lot of dust.
The same thing goes with carpets. Carpets are too heavy and large to be washed, and vacuuming can only do so much. Get rid of the carpets in your home to reduce the places where dust mites live. This does not apply to carpets on your floor only. If you have carpets on your walls, too, you might want to strip them off and just use paint or wallpaper instead.
Curtains and drapes may be attractive and elegant, but also problematic due to their unwanted ability to collect a lot of dust. Washing them is really difficult, so replace them with easy-to-clean alternatives like blinds or shades. Blinds function the same way as your curtains, except they are easy to clean and don’t collect dust. If you really want to get rid of dust mites, these drapes and curtains must go.
Lots of people love stuffed toys – both children and children at heart. If you are the sentimental type and you can’t get rid of them, then make sure you get them cleaned regularly. To avoid the hassle of washing or vacuuming them every now and then, it would be better if you sealed them in clear plastic bags or something similar. You not only prevent them from collecting dust, but you also preserve your beloved toys.
Other Ways to Rid Your Home of Dust Mites
Now that you know where to start cleaning, you must remember that you still have a whole house to clean. There are still several places in your home that may be overlooked where dust mites thrive. These places include the following:
- Attic and/or garage
- Under and between heavy furniture and other hard to reach areas
To effectively clean these places, don’t just rely on one cleaning tool like your vacuum or broom. Use a combination of both.
Cleaning dusty areas may cause another allergy attack, so make sure you wear a face mask and use a damp cloth to wipe surfaces like desks and shelves to prevent dust from scattering.
Protecting Your Home from Dust Mites
To avoid a stuffy nose (Tips on how to get rid of stuffy nose) or an itchy throat so early in the morning, you may want to install defenses against dust mites. You can use chemicals to kill these pests and install air filters, too.
Dust mites also feed on fecal matter of other animals and insects, so make sure to get rid of those, too.
Open up your house a bit and let fresh air and some sunlight enter. Dust mites hate sunlight – it automatically kills them.
You don’t have to do drastic changes to remove or reduce the population of the dust mites in your home. By simply cleaning your home regularly, especially those hot spots, you will never be bothered again by these little creatures. If you enjoyed learning from this article, might as well enjoy reading how to reduce allergens in your home.
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