If you suffer from allergy-like symptoms in your own home, these could be caused by dust mites. According to findings from the World Health Organization, 70% of all allergy symptoms are from dust mites in the home. The Allergy and Asthma Foundation revealed similar findings this year, with their studies ranking dust mites as the number one cause of allergies at home.

What can you do to minimize dust mites in your home? The following are some helpful tips to get rid of these allergen-producing pests and minimize the risk of allergy symptoms caused by dust mites.

Keep in mind that dust mites are going to be hiding just about anywhere there is dust. If you have dusty areas in your home, then you likely have dust mites.

Lower the Humidity

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You want to make your home a place where dust mites don’t feel welcome. Since they like humid environments, you can use a dehumidifier to change the humidity level in your home. If you can manage to get the humidity to 50% or less, then you can have a huge impact on how many dust mites hang out in your house and how long they stay there.

Make sure your home has proper ventilation, especially in areas where humidity can build up, like the bathroom or laundry room. Look for any areas of the home where water is seeping in, like your windows, basement, and air ducts. Address water leaks immediately before they create a humid environment, and you will be much more effective at keeping dust mites at bay.  

You can tell what your home’s humidity level is by using a hygrometer. Then, create a dry, low humidity environment by opening doors and windows when the weather is warm and dry and by keeping your fans and vents in good working order.

Clean Linens Frequently

Dust mites like to hide out in bed sheets because of the dust that builds up there. These tiny creatures are microscopic, so you will not be able to sight them without using magnifying equipment, like a microscope. However, if you have not washed your bedsheets, blankets, and pillowcases in a couple of weeks, you can be pretty sure that dust mites are hiding out there. The best way to get rid of them when they are hiding on the linens is to wash your bedding in hot water. This not only washes them off the sheets but also kills the dust mites.

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You should be washing your hand and bath towels as well, since they can hold in water and make your bathroom and other areas of the home more humid than they should be. Washing towels and bedding at least once a week will help to keep humidity levels low and get rid of dust mites and their droppings that cause allergic reactions. Dust mites can still cause sinus irritation, nasal blockages, and sleeplessness, according to the experts.

Wipe to Remove Dust

One of the biggest cleaning mistakes that people will make when tidying their homes is to use a dusting brush or feather duster to remove dust. This does not get rid of dust but instead pushes the dust into the air and spreads it around. That means the dust mites and their microscopic droppings will start floating through the air and potentially get into your sinuses. That causes more allergy aggravation and is especially harmful for people with asthma.

If you hire a professional home cleaning company to work in your home, find out about their dusting method. You will want to make sure they are not using dusting brushes or wiping with a dry cloth. It is best to wipe away dust with a wet cloth, as that collects the dust, dust mites, and their droppings and ensures they do not spread into the air or fall onto another surface in the house.

Anytime you are cleaning up dust, you want to be very careful about how you clean and ensure that you are not spreading the dust around.

Keep Your Home Organized

If you clean your home on a regular basis, you are already part way there to keeping dust mites from feeling welcome. Regular cleaning will eliminate dust and get rid of many of the dust mites’ favorite hiding spots. They don’t like to be disturbed.

It is helpful to keep your home tidy and organized, ensuring that everything is in its place and there is no clutter, if possible. An organized home gives dust mites fewer places to hide. That reduces dark areas of the home and places for dust to collect. You will also be able to see more easily which parts of your home need to be cleaned, sighting dust as it collects so it can be dealt with. By putting things where they belong and cleaning as you go, you will make your home much less welcoming for dust mites.

Clean and Replace Air Filters

Anywhere in your home where dust collects is potentially a hiding spot for dust mites. If you can see the dust, then the mites have likely already made their home there. Your air filters are an ideal spot for dust mites to take up residence, because these tend to collect dust over time.

You can clean out the filters by washing them in hot water (if your filters can handle that kind of cleaning) and wiping them down. Follow the cleaning directions for the kind of filters you have.

You should clean the filters regularly and then replace them as necessary. Home Depot says that pleated air filters should be changed out every 90 days, and fiberglass ones should be changed once a month. Keeping fresh filters in your HVAC system will ensure good air quality so that dust mites and their droppings are not being spread through the air as much. This also eliminates a lot of dust mites that may be collecting in the air filters and helps to prevent mold buildup that could lead to allergy symptoms as well.

Dust mites ought to be taken seriously. Even though you can’t see them, they are likely present in your home and could be causing allergy symptoms, even in people who do not have identified allergies. If you follow the tips provided here, though, you can reduce their presence and provide yourself with some allergy relief.


David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...

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