Where there is dust around your home, unfortunately, there are almost always dust mites. These little guys are invisible to the naked eye, but they are generally harmless.
They don’t bite like head lice or bed bugs do, and they don’t spread disease, but they do leave droppings that can aggravate allergies and asthma. Luckily, there are actually several ways to get rid of dust mites in your clothes, carpets, and furniture.
It can be tricky to kill dust mites naturally and instantly, remember that getting rid of dust mites is going to be a never-ending process. So what can be done to help alleviate allergies and eliminate dust around the house? Keep reading to find out what tips and tricks you can put to use around your home.
#1: Clean Bedding Weekly
All of your washable bedding should be switched out and cleaned once per week in hot water, about 130℉ is best, to remove allergens and kill dust mites. Items that can’t be washed can be placed in a tumble dry cycle on the highest heat setting for at least 15 minutes.
Alternatively, you can kill the remaining mites by placing your bedding in a plastic bag in your freezer for about 24 hours.
In your kids’ rooms, we suggest collecting stuffed animals and toys that can be washed in hot water as well as limiting the number of stuffed toys in the bedroom at a time. If a toy can’t be washed, you can use the same freezer method from above.
#2: Shop for Easy-to-Clean Bedding
If you’re searching for new bedding, you can shop proactively to minimize dust mites by choosing items that can be washed in the washing machine.
For example, buying a quilt instead of a duvet would be best so as to avoid overloading your machine. You can also be on the lookout for pillows that are washable as well.
You should also try to avoid bedding that tends to trap dust, like ruffled bedcovers that can trap more dust within the fabric. You should also skip bedding you don’t need, such as extra throw pillows or bed skirts, so that dust mites have fewer places to take up residence.
#3: Protect Mattresses Properly
One of the simplest ways to get rid of and prevent dust mites naturally is to make sure there are protective coverings on your mattress, box spring, and pillows. There are a variety of zippered covers that are advertised as dust mite-proof. These covers create a barrier between you and the mattress or pillow, preventing mites from coming and going, plus existing mites will die off.
Even with protective coverings, your mattresses should be steam cleaned a few times every year to kill any dust mites hiding inside. Make sure to wash the protective coverings regularly along with the rest of your bedding!
#4: Ditch the Wall-to-Wall Carpeting
The wall-to-wall carpeting around your home is pretty much a playground for dust mites. Carpet fibers catch and hold onto dead skin cells, plus it can be a lot more difficult to clean thoroughly than hard flooring. Because of the amount of cleaning carpets require, it can take some serious effort to get rid of dust mites.
If you’re on a mission to get rid of as many dust mites as possible, it may be best to replace as much of the wall-to-wall carpeting in your home as you can with hardwood, vinyl, tile, or laminate. Any hard flooring that can be cleaned and mopped daily can be topped with washable area rugs for underfoot comfort.
#5: Vacuum Weekly
Vacuuming weekly should already be a part of your regular cleaning routine, but if your allergies have been acting up, you might want to make it more of a daily activity. Carpets around your home should be vacuumed pretty often, especially if you’re not able to wash them.
We suggest using a vacuum with a HEPA filter or one with a double-layered microfilter bag to contain the dust it picks up and ensure that the dust doesn’t escape.
You can also steam-clean carpets in order to kill dust mites, and this is especially effective if your steamer reaches at least 200℉. You can do this seasonally as long as you are also vacuuming regularly.
Upholstered furniture can also attract dust mites. Remember to vacuum the upholstery around your home weekly, and use a steam cleaner seasonally to kill dust mites. Test the steam cleaner in an inconspicuous spot to make sure it is safe to use on the upholstery.
#6: Keep Room Temperatures Low
Maintaining a cool temperature throughout your home doesn’t actually prevent dust mites, but it will keep them from getting too comfortable and multiplying quickly.
Dust mites thrive in temperatures between 68 and 77℉, so your solution is just under those temperatures.
To help minimize their effect on your health, try to set the temperature in your home to 68℉. You can also close the vents in rooms that aren’t regularly used to minimize the dust mite population.
#7: Manage Humidity in the Home
Dust mites thrive in higher humidity spaces. A steamy bathroom can usually be cleared quickly with a venting fan, but there are other factors that can contribute to the humidity level in a home. Things like leaky windows, damp crawl spaces, and improper ductwork can be major contributors to high humidity around the house.
You can use a hydrometer to determine the humidity level and adjust your surroundings as needed to keep your home below 50%.
Humidity can be reduced by using a dehumidifier, opening windows on dry, breezy days, installing moisture barriers, and making sure vents and fans are working properly.
#8: Avoid Heavy Window Coverings
If you’ve got heavy drapes or other window coverings that can’t be washed frequently around your house, you might want to consider removing them.
We suggest opting for curtains that can be machine washed or wooden blinds that can be dusted regularly. Many washable curtains have light-blocking lining and offer just as much privacy as heavy drapes, so you won’t be sacrificing style or function to minimize dust mites.
Bonus Tip: Much like you wash your curtains regularly, you should also wash any clothes that you don’t wear often to get rid of dust mites and store unworn or out-of-season clothing in airtight containers or garment bags to help minimize dust.
#9: Control the Clutter
Whether you have out-of-place items piling up or knickknacks on display, dust will accumulate on your clutter if you’re not cleaning each item often, allowing dust mites to make their new home. Try not to leave too much clutter on surfaces, so you can dust with ease regularly.
If you have a collection, consider displaying it within a glass-enclosed cabinet to keep the dust out. Or maybe rotate a few items for display to make dusting the collection easier.
#10: Keep Up with HVAC Filters
Your home’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system (HVAC) has a pretty big effect on the dust that’s circulating through the air and settling around the house. The system’s filter should be able to capture dust and keep dust mites under control, as long as it’s working properly.
You’ll want to remember to regularly clean and replace your air filter, and ensure that you are using the proper filter for your system.
If you don’t have a central HVAC system, we suggest using air purifiers to capture dust and dust mites around your home. Make sure to replace any filters in window units, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, range hoods, and vacuums.
#11: Natural Oils vs. Dust Mites?
Did you know that clove oil can help to get rid of dust mites, according to a 2014 study? Clove oil can be added to a diffuser or mixed with water and sprayed on mattresses, carpets, or fabric surfaces.
Another method you can try is to mix a few drops of oil with baking soda and sprinkle it over your carpet, leave it for at least an hour, and then vacuum it away. The effectiveness of the oil is usually based on the concentration used as well as the length of time it is left on the surface.
Note: Please exercise caution when using any essential oils, as some essential oils can irritate your skin. If you have any pets in your home, you should also check with your trusted veterinarian before using any oils as many essential oils are quite toxic to pets.
#12: Dust Floors with a Damp Mop
Dry mopping can stir up dust instead of capturing it, but sometimes fully mopping can be time-consuming. You can use a small amount of plain water or a multi-surface cleaning solution to your dry mop pad to keep dust from being swept around your home.
Avoid mopping or wiping too aggressively to avoid sending the dust particles airborne, and try to be methodical by avoiding clean surfaces once the mop pad is dirty. You may have to repeatedly take the pad outside to shake it out, or you can add it right to the wash if possible. Always remember to do so carefully, so you don’t accidentally bring any dust back into your home.
Did any of these tips work for you and your home? Let us know in the comments! For more tips, tricks, and cleaning guides from your favorite Boston house cleaning professionals, check out our blog.
Contact us today to find out how we can help you keep your home happy and healthy all year long.