House Dust Mite
Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus, family Pyroglyphidae
House dust mites are about 0.008-0.012 inches and not visible to the naked eye. They may be visible through a magnifying glass
The house dust mite feed on skin flakes from humans and animals and on some mould. These mites do not bite people or pets. They are usually associated with allergies because the body parts from dead mites are so small they become airborne and get inhaled. The mites also produce powerful enzymes that are strong enough to break down delicate cells. They are known to cause hay fever, asthma, sinusitis, eczema, skin rashes, wheezing, sneezing, itching, watery eyes, allergic and migraine headaches, urticarial dermatitis, and certain gut disorders.
Home dust mites thrive in a warm and humid environment. In our homes, dust mites live in clothing, carpets, bedding and even our baking flour. They travel by attaching themselves to material, fur, feathers, socks, pyjamas, and soft toys. They prefer light material items, because they can hide in them.
Tips for Control
Keep your bedding clean. People spend a lot of time in their beds and lose a lot of dead skin while they’re there. Wash your bedding at least once a week and wash the bedding in hot water. Cold water will not kill every dust mite. Cover your mattress, pillows, box springs and duvet covers with micro-porous material. Remove clutter near your bed. Before making your bed in the morning, air it out to reduce moisture build-up. Make sure your mattress is made from latex. Freeze all stuffed toys that cannot be washed for about 48 hours to kill dust mites.
Also, get your pet its own bed. A dust mite is just as happy to eat pet dander as human. Remember to wash your pet’s blankets and bedding weekly too.
Carpeting is a dust mite magnet, because there are so many places to hide in it! Even when you vacuum, most dust mites stay alive by grabbing onto the carpet fibres. If possible, remove as much carpet as you can and switch to wood, linoleum or laminate flooring. If flooring is not an option, have your carpets steam cleaned on a regular basis.
Keep your home free of clutter as much as possible. Everything in the home should have a place. Clean your home; wearing a dust mask, start high and work your way down. With a dry microfiber cloth, dust walls, fan blades, tops of shelves, tops of picture frames and anything else that might collect dust. Don’t forget to clean the draperies.
When vacuuming, use a vacuum with a HEPA filter. Vacuum upholstered furniture, floors and carpets. Mop floors with a damp microfiber mop.
Since dust mites thrive in a warm and humid environment, lower the thermostat below 70 degrees and install some air conditioners. Air conditioners are really good at lowering the humidity levels of a home. So are dehumidifiers. Ideally, keep the humidity level below 35%.
Keeping a clean and clutter-free house is just one of the ways you can prevent house dust mites from taking over your home.