Managing Dust Mites in Your Home

They're in your bed, sofas and blankets, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try to keep dust mites numbers under control

If your allergies are acting up, it could be due to a build up of dust mite droppings in your home

There will always be dust mites in your home, but you can take steps to keep their numbers down

Tiny dust mites are present in every home. They don’t bite or transmit disease, but they can pose a health problem if you have an allergy.

Dust mites are found on mattresses, curtains, pillows, blankets, sofas and carpets where they eat the dead skin that you (and any pets) naturally shed daily.

They like to live in the dark, in an environment with at least 50% humidity, which is why your bed is so appealing. Allergic reactions (runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, coughing, nasal congestion and especially asthma) are not caused by the mites but by their microscopic droppings. Of course, wherever there are dust mites, there is mite waste, which is why it’s important to control them.

Reducing the Number of Dust Mites in Your Home

Dust mites can never been totally eliminated, but you can dramatically reduce their numbers and your bedroom is the best place to start:

  • Encase your mattress, box spring and pillows in zippered anti-allergenic covers.
  • Wash your bed linen once a week in hot water.
  • Remove all items that can collect dust (e.g., books and stuffed animals).
  • If possible, remove carpets. If you can’t, vigorously vacuum them at least once a week using a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter.
  • Clean the floor once a week using a damp mop.
  • Clean or vacuum drapes or blinds regularly.
  • Keep the humidity in your home under 50%.

You can follow the same guidelines for the rest of the house, especially in rooms where you spend most of your time. For more cleaning tips, read How to Maximize Your Spring Cleaning: 8 Spots that Need a Good Scrub.

Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.