What are dust mites and how do you avoid them
Dust mites are mentioned in relation to allergies and asthma, but how many of us actually know what they are or how to get rid of them? You might have an allergic reaction to dust mites and not even realize that they are the trigger. Here’s a guide to these small creatures and some tips on how you can avoid them in your home.
What are Dust Mites?
Dust mites are microscopic critters which measure around one-quarter to one-third of a millimeter in diameter. They’re too small to see with the human eye but they are similar to ticks or fleas – small white bugs which have eight legs, although they don’t jump or fly. There are actually as many as thirteen species of mites, but the most common are the American dust mite and the European dust mite. They breed and thrive in warm temperatures of between 20 to 25 degrees Celsius and humidity of between 70 to 80 percent. Dust mites don’t bite but they do feed on decaying human matter such as skin flakes – in fact, the average human sheds up to 1.5g of skin flakes every day which is enough to feed one million dust mites.
How to Get Rid of Dust Mites
There are several ways you can reduce the risk of developing dust mites in your home, including these ideas.
Install an Air Con Unit
Filter King say that a high-efficiency air conditioning unit is a great way of filtering your home and keeping impurities out of the air. Make sure you change the filters every three months to keep it running at its most efficient. An air conditioner will also help to keep the humidity low which will prevent dust mites.
Use Allergen-Proof Bedding
Dust mites thrive in bed sheets and mattresses, so keep these items in dust-proof or allergen-blocking covers which will prevent mites from escaping from the mattress or pillows and causing allergies to worsen. What’s more, remember to wash the bedding on a weekly basis in hot water to kill any dust mites that have managed to get through.
Use a Damp Cloth to Remove Dust
Using a dry cloth to dust your home can lead to the particles becoming airborne and simply resettling. Instead, using a damp or oiled rag to dust the surfaces of your property will trap the dust and prevent it from returning.
Minimize Dust Mite Habitats by Removing Carpet
Carpet provides a great environment for dust mites to breed, particularly if the carpet is over concrete as this holds moisture easily and provides the perfect humid environment for mites. If possible, consider replacing the carpet in your home with tiles, wood or vinyl flooring. Whatever surface of flooring you decide to have, remember to vacuum regularly to decrease the number of mites on surfaces and vacuum the upholstered furniture and curtains too. Alternatively, if you do decide to replace the carpet, use a damp mop to clean the surfaces of the floor several times a week to keep mites at bay.
Keep up with the top stories from Reader’s Digest by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.