My Dust Mite Treatment Plan
Last updated: February 2023
One of Harry’s main triggers is dust mites. This allergy is a very difficult one to maintain but is achievable. I have spent a lot of time researching how to control this and a lot of money on trying different products.
But first, what are dust mites?
What are dust mites?
Dust mites are naked to the human eye measuring one-quarter to one-third of a millimeter long, and live for 10 weeks.1,2 A female can lay 1-6 eggs per day.2 It is actually the feces of the dust mites that cause a rash, not them biting. They thrive in temperatures of 68-77 degrees Fahrenheit or 20-25 degrees Celsius. They mainly live in carpets, beds, curtains, clothing, stuffed toys, fabric-covered furniture, and basically anything with material on it. They feed mostly on human skin flakes we shed daily.1
How can I control dust mites in my home?
The following is what I have found to help control dust mites:
- Have the humidity in your house less than 50%. Dust mites die when the humidity level is below 50%. Dehumidifiers are great for this. Damp Rid’s are good too, but need to be replaced often.
- Vacuum. This should be done daily. The vacuum needs to have a HEPA filter – that way it doesn’t just ‘push’ the dust mites around, and it actually sucks them all up. I have found Dyson to be the best brand.
- Steam Cleaning. Steam cleaning is the way to go, as heat is the best way to kill dust mites. It will get rid of the dust mites and their feces that the vacuum didn’t pick up. I have a CrossWave Cordless Max steam cleaner – it is quick, easy to use, vacuums as well, and also dries the floors rather than leaving them wet like mopping does.
- Regular washing.Bedding needs to be washed weekly in hot water (hot water kills dust mites). Dust mite bedding protectors are a must, they don’t need to be washed weekly (the time frame is advertised on the tags), but the sheets and covers do. The bedding also must be 100% cotton. Anything that has material on it needs to be washed every 8 weeks. This includes car seats, prams, curtains, toys, furniture, etc.
- Use dust mite covers for bedding. Mattress, blankets, and pillow covers prohibit the dust mites from getting to the inside of them. These have zippers and are made out of materials with pores so small they can’t get through. Allergend is a good brand.
- De-clutter. The fewer things there are, the fewer things dust mites can attract to. It also helps cleaning to be an easier process, as it is very time-consuming.
- Dust. This should be done with a damp hot cloth and definitely not a feather duster (as you’d just be moving the dust mites around, and the dust mites would be attracted to the material on the feather duster).
- Spray. I find that the dust mite sprays are pointless. As all the spray does is kill the dust mites. What people don’t realize is that the majority of the reactions caused by dust mites are from their feces, so even if they’re dead, they can still cause harm to the skin.
- Sunlight. It takes 3 hours in the sun for it to kill a dust mite. So the ideal room will need to be a bright, uncluttered and airy room.
What have I changed in my home?
Here's a list of what I changed to make the cleaning process easier:
- I replaced all curtains with blinds.
- I changed our material lounge to a leather lounge.
- I revamped the dining chairs (replaced the material seat with wood).
- Got rid of all toys with material on them (I found this hard for sentimental reasons).
- I traded in our car for one with leather seats.
- My family moved houses.
As I said previously, to make things easier for me, we changed our whole house as the other house was an older one. There was an improvement in Harry’s skin when we moved.
I understand that all of this is a lot physically, mentally, and financially. But this is what we’ve had to do for my son, who has a severe dust mite allergy. If we didn’t/don’t do this, his skin gets worse and ends up with infections.
What type of infection do you deal with most often?