This Is Everything You Need To Know About Dust Mites - Home & Texture
Cleaning Dust Mites

This Is Everything You Need To Know About Dust Mites

Learn about the covert invaders causing allergies, plus simple and natural remedies for how to combat them effectively in your home.

January 22, 2024 at 8:10 PM PST

In the comfort of your home, lurking in the shadows, there exists an unseen threat that often escapes our notice—dust mites, also for whatever strange reason affectionately nicknamed “dust bunnies.” But they are a far cry from the fluffy, gentle, cotton-tailed critters you know and love. These creatures, albeit tiny and measuring just a quarter of a millimeter, may seem harmless at first glance, but beneath their exteriors lies the potential for some serious problems.

What are dust mites?

Dust mites are microscopic arachnids that thrive in warm and humid environments and are made up of dust particles along with dead skin cells, clothing fibers and hair. Unfortunately for us, our homes provide the ideal conditions for their proliferation. They have a particular fondness for dining on our discarded dead skin cells, which means they can be found in abundance in our bedding, carpets, upholstery, and even our cherished stuffed toys. In fact, just one gram of dust can contain thousands of dust mites.

The Allergy Connection

Dust mites are allergen factories. These pesky creatures produce proteins in their feces and body fragments that can instigate allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Common symptoms include incessant sneezing, a perpetually runny nose, itchy eyes, and skin rashes. So, those mysterious allergies you’ve been battling could have nothing to do with the shifting of the seasons and instead be caused by the unexpected culprit that is the dust mite.

Woman dusting
Photo Credit: Cottonbro Studio

Respiratory Troubles

For those with asthma, the presence of dust mites can be particularly problematic. Inhaling the allergens they produce can exacerbate asthma symptoms, leading to wheezing, persistent coughing, and difficulty in breathing. This can be especially distressing for children and the elderly who are more vulnerable to these respiratory woes.

Skin Woes

Even if you don’t suffer from respiratory issues, dust mites can still be a thorn in your side, literally. Their allergens have been known to irritate the skin, potentially triggering or worsening skin conditions like eczema. If you’ve been struggling with unexplained skin flare-ups, it might be time to consider the dust mite factor.

How can you stay on top of dust mites in your home?

If you’re looking for alternatives to chemical-laden solutions, these tips might be just what you need.

Cleanliness Is Key

The first line of defense against them is cleanliness. Regular cleaning and vacuuming of your home can significantly reduce their numbers. Pay special attention to areas like bedding, curtains, and upholstery where they tend to congregate. Also using allergen-proof covers for pillows and mattresses can create an effective barrier.

Yellow cleaning glove
Photo Credit: Karolina Grabowska

Humidity Control

Since dust mites thrive in humid conditions, taking control of your home’s humidity levels can make a huge difference. Getting a dehumidifier can help maintain the humidity level below their comfort zone, discouraging their reproduction.

Essential Oils

Certain essential oils like eucalyptus, tea tree, and lavender have natural properties that can repel dust mites. Mixing a few drops of these oils with water in a spray bottle and lightly misting your bedding and curtains can help keep these critters at bay while adding a pleasant aroma to your surroundings.

Freeze Your Bedding

Your best ally is knowing that dust mites can’t survive extreme temperatures. Placing your bedding, including pillows and stuffed animals, in the freezer for a few hours can effectively kill dust mites and their eggs. Just be sure to seal them in a plastic bag to prevent moisture buildup.

Wash with Hot Water

Washing your bedding, curtains, and other fabric items with hot water regularly can help eliminate dust mites. Heat is their natural enemy, and a high-temperature wash cycle can effectively eradicate them.



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