ou may not even realise it, but while you sleep, you could be sharing your space with tiny, invisible to the eye visitors called dust mites. The microscopic pests thrive in dark areas, making your bedroom the most infectious room in the house, ideal for dust mites.
These creatures can irritate those who suffer from allergies, inflame the skin and are highly unhygienic. This is why it’s so important that when you detect them, you kill the dust mites immediately for your health and wellbeing.
What Is A Dust Mite?
Dust mites get their name from the environment they thrive in: The dust. The tiny, microscopic creatures, which are the relatives of spiders and ticks, irritate your skin, cause rashes to form and trigger allergies. In fact, dust mites are one of the most common triggers to allergy sufferers that absolutely love humid, dark spaces where dust falls. They’re only millimetres in size and feed on dead skin cells, the primary ingredient in dust. Dust mites can even cause asthma and eczema to develop in young children.
The typical life span for a dust mite is only a couple of months. Males live for only 30 days, unlike females who can reside in your bed for up to three months. But even dead dust mites are extremely unhygienic and can reduce the air quality around your bedroom.
Fibre surfaces are their favourite, as well as moist environments like your mattress because of the sweat and air that traps humidity beneath your sheets. This is why it’s so important to protect your bed against them and why you need to kill them off right away. Their home will only grow if you don’t.
Difference between dust mites and bed bugs
Because they reside in the same area, people commonly confuse the dust mite with the bed
bug, but they’re actually very different. While you can’t see dust mites, you can see bed bugs which are longer visual bugs. Similarly, they both cause allergic reactions and are very unclean; however, unlike dust mites, bed bugs bite the skin and feed off blood.
Signs You Have Dust Mites
Although you can’t see them, there are many signs that make it relatively easy to determine if you have dust mites. Of course, if you have allergies, you’ll probably find them flaring up more frequently when you’re in your bedroom. Aside from that, the most common signs your bed contains dust mites are:
- Runny nose
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Sore throat
What makes them multiply and get worse
If you don’t treat your dust mite problem immediately, it could potentially get worse and cause more severe irritation to the skin. If your bed doesn’t offer the right amount of ventilation or absorb humidity, you could find your dust mite situation is dire, as this is their favourite type of environment. High temperatures and indoor smoking also contribute to their growth.
Simply dusting your area isn’t going to help; in fact, it could potentially just flare up your allergies more as they’ll be circulating airborne around you. Unwashed sheets and bedding have also proven to make the dust mite situation worse.
How To Kill Dust Mites
The great news is there are several helpful ways to treat dust mites and kill them off. This includes:
1. Cleaning: Strip all your bedding from your mattress and wash whatever you can on a warm wash. Hot water kills and removes any dust mites hiding in your bedding, meaning they can’t return. If you can’t wash your sheets and pillowcases on hot, then put them in the dryer for about ten minutes; the warmth in a dryer can kill them just as effectively as a washing machine can. However, if you don’t have access to a dryer, you can also steam clean them out as a last resort.
2. Vacuum: Using a vacuum cleaner is a fantastic way to eliminate dust mites completely. By running a cleaner along your mattress, it will pick up and remove all the mites living within the bed.
3. Use baking soda: This natural powder is perfect for collecting and trapping dust mites. Not only that, but it also cleans, absorbs moisture and removes odours that reside in the mattress. Leave it on for at least 15 minutes, and then use a vacuum to extract the powder and dust mites from the bed for a deep clean.
4. Declutter your bedroom: Things that take up space gather dust very quickly, so, therefore, you should remove as much of that clutter as possible to limit the amount of dust in your room and, therefore, dust mites. Do this regularly to ensure they stay away.
5. Spray tea tree and eucalyptus oil: These two natural oils are anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal, which means they can kill most things, including dust mites. They disinfect the area for a clean, hygienic finish. You can even make it yourself at home.
How to Avoid Them In The Future
Now that you’ve entirely removed your dust mite problem from your mattress, it’s essential to protect it from getting them again. The great news is it’s actually quite simple to do so, and there’s a number of effective prevention methods.
- Use allergen-proof bed protectors and toppers. These are specifically designed to keep out dust mites and your allergies at bay. They’re tightly woven to prevent any little creatures from gathering and spreading in your mattress.
- Buy a hypoallergenic mattress or anti-allergy. Like the toppers and protectors, these mattresses are a great solution to dust mites and causing allergy flare-ups. These hyperallergic mattresses, commonly made out of memory foam or latex, have a combat design that makes it almost impossible for dust mites to get into and irate your allergies.
- Wash your sheets regularly. This may seem like an obvious step, but it’s probably the most essential way to prevent dust mites. By washing all your bedding regularly on a hot wash, including your sheets, pillowcases, toppers and blankets, you’re ensuring that any dust mites you may have had been killed. If you can’t wash it, you can freeze your bedding if you have the space; freezing it does the same as adding hot water does; it ultimately kills them off.
- Keep the humidity levels down. Dust mites absolutely love hot, smoke ridden places, so it’s vital that to avoid them, you keep your humid levels below 50 per cent where they won’t thrive. You can do this with a dehumidifier or simply with your air conditioner.
- Pick the right bedding. This is crucial because some beds can trap heat or dust easier than others can. Read up about the mattress you have and see if it’s what’s causing your dust mites to thrive. Ideally, you want a bed that has excellent airflow and doesn’t absorb moisture.
- Clean and vacuum your mattress. By deep cleaning your mattress every few months, you lower the risk of getting dust mites. To find out more about how to properly clean your bed, check out MyDeal’s guide HERE.
- Buy covers and mattresses that come with zippers. Enclosed spaces make it hard for dust mites to get into, which makes mattresses that offer this feature a great way to counteract dust mites.
- Keep pets out of beds. Just like humans, our animals shed dead skin cells regularly and can contribute to the number of dust mites living in our beds. By removing them from the bed, there’s less chance you’ll develop dust mites.
While mainly harmless, dust mites are very unhygienic creatures that can affect not only allergy sufferers every year but people everywhere in the world. One single mattress can contain anywhere between 100,000 to 10 million dust mites, which is why it’s so important you deal with them immediately upon discovery for your health, wellbeing and safety.