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Don’t let the bed bugs bite: How do you kill dust mites?

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By Ruth MacEachern

Product Manager

Aug 28, 2019

So, what are dust mites? 

They cannot be seen with the human eye
Mites thrive in warm and humid environments 
They do not bite 
They do, however, cause allergies to flare up 
Those who have asthma are more likely to have mite sensitivity. 

All property owners will know the pain of frantically trying to find quick solutions to remove dust mites from a bedroom when a bed becomes infested. Particularly, if you have already washed the sheets at a high temperature and the problem still seems to persist.

There are several ways to consider removing dust mites from your property, and which action you take will depend on the severity of the issue. 

Firstly, it is worth knowing exactly why dust mites are labelled as such a pest. For starters, there are plenty of people in the world who suffer from dust mite allergies, meaning all sorts of issues can flare up as a result of coming into contact with them. From consistent sneezing to struggling with breathing - such an affliction can make it imperative to kill house dust mites at the earliest opportunity.

One other key aspect to consider in this is who lives in the property. If you are a landlord, for example, it becomes your responsibility as the owner of the property to make sure the tenant is living in comfortable and acceptable conditions. And the need to ensure safe residence for whoever is renting the property from you means an appropriate response must be issued.

Similarly, if you have vulnerable people living in the house, including young children, the elderly, and those with pre-existing respiratory diseases, there is more of a chance of a problem developing from an infestation of dust mites than there is for the average healthy adult.

One of the reasons this always crops up during the summer months, and less in winter, is because dust mites thrive in an environment of around 20-25°C. Humid climates allow them to fester and breed at a faster rate. As dust mites will absorb water from the air around them, it means removing excess moisture from your home is one of the most important methods to help get rid of the problem.

Due to the fact that most soft furnishings - which includes all bedding, the most well-known source of the problem - tend to embed moisture, it therefore entails that you will have to look beyond just the bedsheets to remove dust mites from the home.

So let’s take a look at some of the ways you can remove dust mites from your property, and which action you take will depend on the severity of the issue.

Regularly wash your bedding

This is the first simple step to consider, and one of the easiest. Regularly washing your bedding is key to keeping the bed bugs at bay. Make sure you wash everything at a temperature of at least 60°C. Aside from the fact it will leave your bedroom smelling fresh and sweet during the summer months, it is an essential task if you want to keep dust mites from settling into your sheets. If you have bedding that cannot be washed at such a high temperature, you can throw them in the tumble dryer at the same heat and then pop everything back in the washing machine to wash as normal. Alternatively, if you just want to kill the mites, you can freeze the bedding (or anything else that collects dust and can fit in the freezer) for at least 24 hours, which will kill the dust mites. However, this won’t remove the allergens, so make sure to give them a good shake outside!

Get allergy-proof covers

It is now pretty easy to get hold of protectors and covers for your mattresses and pillows that will stop the dust mites from spreading and breeding in your bedroom. Once they have become that entrenched in some of your fabrics, they end up being a lot harder to remove, so getting there ahead of time with products such as allergen covers is a great way to ensure there is no significant buildup of dust mites. Alternately, you can get allergy-proof bedding such as mattress protectors, as well as, bedding covers and pillowcases which may be well worth the investment if your property is struggling with dust mites.

Look at materials such as silk

While we are on the topic, silk is an excellent material to use for general sheets and duvet covers, as it has thinner strands, making it harder for dust mites to latch onto them. The other significant benefit is that silk is naturally hypoallergenic, meaning those with an allergic reaction to dust mites or people who suffer from asthma. If you find you cannot kill the dust mites through all the usual methods as there are too many of them, switching to silk could be a great way to solve the issue.

Consider the fabrics in your home

If dust mites keep on coming back no matter what you do, and you either find it a health risk or lack of time to fix the issue, one of the quickest fixes is to pull out all the fabrics you can and replace them with an alternative. One of the most prominent surface areas of a house where dust mites can cause allergens, due to their droppings or dying, is your carpets, so removing these and using plain floorboards could be one of the most natural tricks if you need to do something fast on a tight schedule. 

If your children have any toys, such as teddy’s, it’s worth ensuring that they go into the washing machine or the freezer. The allergens that are caused by dust mites can not only harm your health, but your children’s too, and having a fresh environment that is free of dust mites greatly improves any other allergies you may be suffering with. 

Assessing the other furniture that you have in your property - such as what types of sofas and coverings are on them - is very worthwhile. Clean and hoover them as regularly as you can, and anything you can chuck in the washing machine, tumble dryer or freezer is great for keeping the pests at bay.

Remove all the dust

Naturally, dust mites survive on the dead skin produced by humans each day, and what collects as dust around each property is largely made up of similar material. Therefore, clearing out the clutter and trying to avoid having lots of unnecessary surfaces that only collect dust is a useful starting point for removing what attracts more dust mites in the first place. If you can, get hold of good dust cloths, which make it easier to remove daily dust, take care to ensure that you are not spreading the dust around and shake the duster outside!

Ventilate the property effectively

Opening windows is not always the best way to keep the air in your property fresh. For a start, it can only help in areas next to where you have windows, and if there is not enough airflow to get to where the dust mites are concentrated most, it will not have enough of an effect. 

On that basis, it is worth looking at ways to improve the ventilation in your home over the longer term, rather than just a quick fix on a day to day basis. If you have tenants in a property, it becomes even more important to provide a solution as a responsible landlord, and if you do not have enough time to keep on thoroughly cleaning your house from top to bottom when dust mites strike, proper ventilation is the way forward.

The right filtration can not only remove the dust mites once but stop them from coming back and building up again. You can regulate the temperature, ensure air quality and give yourself peace of mind that the problem is being dealt with. Positive Input Ventilation systems, such as ATMOS, are fantastic for reducing humidity and generally improving your homes air quality – which is great for those who have asthma, as this can help towards alleviating symptoms.

If you are not sure which solution is the best for you and your home, talk to a specialist at Envirovent today to get some advice on which ventilation system can help your dust mite issue. Getting the right ventilation system is an essential step towards making your home inhabitable for dust mites, as the systems can reduce humidity – which mites love, while also improving air quality.