How to get rid of dust mites: not as easy as duck soup

Have you ever noticed that it is hard to breathe at home? Do you often sneeze or have a stuffy nose? Dry cough is irritating your throat? But it does not seem to be a common cold. What may cause such symptoms?

These are dust mites that are invisible to the naked eye. They are present almost in every home.

For years, you may treat ailments and visit doctors, but never suspect that the root cause of all troubles lies in your home, in your favorite soft slippers, in a warm blanket and even in a pillow!

In this article I will tell you how to find the signs of dust mites in your house and how to get rid of dust mites. While reading you will also wonder, do I have dust mites? And you will also find the answer to this question.

1. What are dust mites?

Dust mites are synanthropic organisms, that means they live near and benefit from humans. Can you see dust mites with the human eye? No. It is only possible to see them with a 30x-40x magnification microscope. There are about 150 types of these arachnids in the world.

If you could see dust mites with the naked eye, their appearance would seem dreadful and disgusting to you. The rounded body of the dust mite does not have a head, there are two claws instead of it, and 4 pairs of legs are equipped with suckers. The size of this arachnid is only 0,1-0,5 mm. That is why we do not see and do not feel dust mites. The body of the bug is covered with a water-repellent layer. This protects a dust mite from water and does not allow rinsing it without the soap solution.

Dust mites can be found all over the world. They live near humans, in the dwellings where the necessary conditions for their life are created. The dust mite prefers warm and humid places with a temperature of +23 – +26°C and humidity of more than 55%. In such case, it can live up to 75 days. During this time the female dust mite manages to lay up to three hundred eggs. The reproduction most often occurs from late August to early October.

Dust mites are social insects and live in colonies of 10 – 10 000 individuals in a gram of dust.

The highest density of dust mites can be found in down and feather pillows, in mattresses, in wool carpets, sofas and books. Dust mites in bed is the most common situation. More than 70% of the house arachnides are concentrated in a place where you sleep. But dust mites can also be found underneath the baseboards and in vacuum cleaner bags, where they feel very comfortable because it is warm, dusty and dark there.

Dust mites may as well live on your face and in your hair. This causes demodicosis – the disease which manifests itself on the skin of the forehead, cheeks, and eyelids.  It leads to hair loss, itching and inflammation. You can cure this disease caused by dust mites on skin within 2-3 months.

Some species of dust mites live in food products: in flour, cereals, dried fruits, and even in cheese and meat. Humans working with flour or cereals or those who eat these products can get allergic reaction to dust mites. In this case, an allergic reaction occurs in the gastrointestinal tract.

Dust mites live not only in houses and apartments. They feel great in libraries, hotels, and barbershops. Soft theatre armchairs, bus seats, train mattresses are their favorite places to be as well.

Dust mites benefit from humans without causing significant harm. These arthropods feed on dead skin cells. A person loses up to 1,5 g of epidermal scales each day. Dead skin particles are connected with each other and with house dust. They serve as a place of concentration of the colony of dust mites.

Dust mites live near and benefit from humans, but they do not cause direct harm.

They do not bite. They do not feed on blood or lymph cells. Even if they wanted to bite you, they would not succeed because of their very small size.

Dust mites cannot carry diseases. But their presence may cause many troubles and illnesses.

Dust mites have been living near humans for many centuries. The first specimens were presumably brought into the dwelling place with bird feathers, as well as with agricultural products.

In cities, most of the buildings are already infected with dust mites. Even in the construction of new apartments, dust mites are brought along with paper, clothing and dust.

Favorable conditions for life and reproduction allow the arachnids to spread indoors. Warm and moist air, secluded dusty places, fur and wool products are the best surroundings for mites. If dust mites are deprived of these facilities, the number of these bugs can be greatly reduced.

Lowered humidity (below 40%) and the air temperature below 10°С are unfavorable for them. But the most dangerous threat to dust mites is ultraviolet, which kills them within two hours.

2. Signs of dust mites in the house

It is impossible to visually detect the presence of dust mites. You may live with them for years not knowing about it. Dust mites themselves are harmless, but the products of their vital activity like the remains of molting and excrements can cause severe allergies and exacerbate bronchial asthma.

The following symptoms should put on your guard; they can verify the presence of dust mites in your house:

nasal congestion, frequent sneezing, nasal discharge (with no signs of a cold);

eye redness and irritation, conjunctivitis, lacrimation;

dry cough, wheezing;

shortness of breath, breathing difficulty, suffocation;

skin redness and irritation, rashes, hives;

bronchial asthma;

inflammatory processes in the nasal mucosa.

3. Why are dust mites harmful?

According to statistics, about 80% of patients with bronchial asthma are allergic to dust mites. And in large cities, every fourth resident has an allergic reaction to dust mites. Large amounts of paper are accumulating in offices. This is a favorable environment for dust mites. A person inhales dust with mites both at work and at home. All this has a negative effect on well-being.

If you do not fight with dust mites, they will quickly multiply and exceed the permissible harmless amount. And this will lead to inflammatory processes, as well as to seborrheic dermatitis, acne, eczema. The human body becomes weakened, because every day more than half of the immune system`s resources are spent to neutralize the effects of this dust.

4. How to get rid of dust mites

There are dust mites symptoms signaling about their presence. You must take all measures to prevent them from multiplying and spreading in your house. You will not manage to completely get rid of dust mites , but applying these extreme measures will decrease the amount of dust mites.

Get rid of down and feather pillows, old mattresses, carpets, soft toys without delay, because they are a source of house dust. Down pillows and comforters are best replaced with synthetic ones that are hypoallergenic.

Wash your bedding at temperatures above 65°C using anti-mite additives.

Perform wet cleaning once a day.

Use a washing vacuum cleaner adding anti-mite products.

Install an ultraviolet air purifier.

Do not take animals to your bed.

Store flour and cereals in hermetically sealed jars.

In addition to these urgent measures, it is necessary to carry out a number of changes in the house to prevent the emerging of dust mites. You cannot win with one single action – you have to struggle on all fronts. Otherwise, the arachnids will stay in your home and continue multiplying. It is necessary to imply home remedies to dust mites before it’s too late.

The majority of dust mites are concentrated in the bed, so pay special attention to your bedding.

Use eco-friendly pillows. They are highly hygienic and hypoallergenic. They do not become clogged with dust and are unfavorable for parasites.

Use a washing vacuum cleaner with a water filter. A normal vacuum cleaner will not be able to collect all the dust mites from soft fleecy surfaces, and it will spread them with a stream of air across the room.

Change pillows and blankets every 5-7 years.

Wash your clothes at temperatures above 65°C.

Perform a wet cleaning with saline solution (5-10 spoonfuls of salt per bucket of water).

In summer, hang your bedding in the sun. Ultraviolet is harmful to dust mites.

In winter, take pillows, blankets, carpets, and soft toys outdoors. Not only dust mites, but also their eggs die at low temperatures.

Use pillows with bamboo fibers. They prevent parasites and bacteria from multiplying, as well as create anti-static and antiseptic effects. These pillows will not lose their properties if you wash them.

Get plaids and other voluminous bedding dry-cleaned if necessary.

Use a steam cleaner to clean upholstered furniture and mattresses.

The main direction in the fight against parasites is the home hygiene. If this does not lead to the desired result, it is necessary to use special chemicals for killing dust mites.

Anti-allergenic spray to kill dust mites for the surface of upholstered furniture and carpets. The chemical will remain its effect for 1-2 months. It not only destroys parasites, but also neutralizes the products of their vital activity, feces, and chitinous scales. Use the spray strictly according to the instructions and with the observance of precautionary measures.

Washing suspensions with the effect of destroying allergens.

Products for the dry cleaning of carpets and furniture.

Anti-allergenic shampoos for washing floors and cleaning carpets.

All these chemicals are effective dust mites killers, but you must use them with caution, because they can also cause allergies.

If dust mites live on the face of a person and in the hair follicles, the treatment will take at least 2 months. The patient is subjected to anti-parasitic and exfoliating procedures, cryogenic exposure to liquid nitrogen, strong effect ointments are applied (5-10% sulfur ointment, sodium thiosulfate). It is good to wipe the skin with sulfur and tar alcohol.

5. How to prevent the occurrence of dust mites

The fight against parasites is complicated by the fact that they cannot be seen. And how to deal with something you do not see? Therefore, the prevention of the appearance and reproduction of dust mites should be constantly carried out.

If you follow certain rules, you can succeed in killing dust mites and exclude the occurrence of this invisible enemy. These rules are not complex and are based on the characteristics of the life of dust mites. If you create unsuitable conditions for their existence , the parasites will disappear.

How to create unsuitable conditions and to get rid of dust mites?

Dust mites require warmth, high humidity, dust and food to survive. Therefore, to get rid of dust mites use the following methods .

  1. Minimum carpets.
  2. Easily washable smooth floor.
  3. Upholstered furniture with easily washable upholstery (leather, artificial leather).
  4. Replace feather and down pillows.
  5. Get rid of soft toys or wash them more often.
  6. Replace heavy curtains with blinds or easily washable fabrics.
  7. Books and baubles should not be kept on open shelves.
  8. Do not store things under the bed or on the closet (they are not protected from dust).
  9. Do not keep your computer in the bedroom (dust accumulates quickly, and it is difficult to get rid of it).
  10. Dry your bed clothes outdoors, iron them with a hot iron and store them in a dry place.
  11. Pack all unnecessary things in sealed bags.
  12. Use a respirator or gauze dressing when cleaning.

How to get rid of dust mites naturally?

Plants may also contribute to fighting the dust mites. Plant flowers with large leaves or a great number of small leaves. Such plants collect dust and fight against microbes and mites.

The flowers like chlorophytum, chamaedorea (bamboo palm), ficus, geranium, and peace lily can help prevent dust allergies.

Even if you have no symptoms of dust mites allergy , this does not mean that you have no dust mites in your house. They live everywhere, but for now their number does not exceed the norm. To get rid of dust mites we must try to restrain their reproduction and keep  the house clean.

Preventing the appearance of parasites is much easier than dealing with them. Maintenance of cleanliness, regular wet cleaning, and proper hygiene – these simple rules will protect your house from dust mites.

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