Stopping Allergies: Places Dust Mites Like to Hide

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You might not realize it, but dust mites are already living within your house! These insect-like pests are microscopic and live in dust. They feed off flakes of dead skin and dander. And despite how tiny they are, they can worsen allergies and asthma.

Dealing with indoor allergies is never any fun; common allergens within the home include mold spores, pet dander, pollen, dust, and pests such as dust mites.

While it is impossible to eliminate dust mites, there are certain steps homeowners should take to ensure that dust mites do not get out of control. Routine cleaning of the following areas can help reduce dust mites.

Bedding

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We shed skin cells in our sleep, which is one of the reasons dust mites thrive in bedding. To get rid of dust mites in your bedding, change and wash your linens once a week. Completely remove any sheets and blankets that regularly come in contact with your skin and wash them in hot water. Store washed sheets in a linen closet.

When it comes to comforters, look for a hypoallergenic comforter. You can also use a duvet cover on top of your comforter; this way, you only have to wash the cover instead of the comforter.

Carpet

Dust mites are one of the allergens that can become embedded within the fibers of carpet. If your allergies are particularly bad, you should consider removing your carpet completely and replacing it with laminate or hardwood floor.

If you do have carpet, make sure to vacuum it at least once a week. If your house is particularly dusty or if you have pets, you might want to vacuum twice a week to help keep dust mites under control.

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To reach deeply-embedded dust mites and other allergens, you should also have your carpets steam cleaned once a year.

Mattresses and pillows

Mattresses and pillows are other places where dust mites can become embedded. Having dust-proof covers on them can help make the cleaning process easy. All you need to do is slip the cover off and throw it in the wash.

You should also get into the habit of regularly deep cleaning your mattress; this helps get rid of dust mites and other allergens. Sprinkle your mattress with baking soda, let it sit for 10 minutes, and then vacuum. Flip the mattress and repeat. If possible, you should also open the windows and let the mattress air out.

Upholstery and curtains

Dust mites can also embed themselves deep within the fibers of upholstered furniture and curtains. Furniture and curtains are often areas homeowners forget about cleaning until they start looking dingy and dirty.

Curtains need to be washed every three to six months. Most curtains can simply be taken down and thrown into the washing machine, though more delicate fabrics might need to be hand-washed.

To remove dust mites from upholstered furniture, vacuum the furniture once a week. Every so often, you might need to do a deep upholstery cleaning with a steam cleaner or other equipment.

Hardwood floors

Many people assume that if they have hardwood floors instead of carpet, they won’t have to deal with dust mites. However, dust mites can also thrive in the cracks of hardwood floors.

Regular vacuuming and mopping can help get rid of any dust mites that might be living in the cracks of floors. Sweeping hardwood floors isn’t enough; brooms force dust mites further into the cracks. Instead, vacuum or dry mop floors at least once a week. About once a month, wet mop the floor to pick up lingering dust mites and to make the floor shine!

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Dusty surfaces

Any surface where dust collections (end tables, ceiling fans, window sills, etc) has the potential to become a home to dust mite. As part of your weekly cleaning routine, dust off all surfaces with a rag dampened with a cleaning solution.

Try not to overlook any surface; for example, many people forgot to dust their ceiling fans. This results in dust and dust mites circulating throughout the room whenever the fan is turned on.

Dust mites also thrive in humid areas, such as the basement; to cut down on dust mites from taking over your basement, run a dehumidifier.

Final thoughts

Dust mites, like many other allergens, can be found all over your home. The best way to get rid of dust mites and keep those allergies under control is to create a weekly cleaning schedule. Cleaning your home weekly helps eliminate allergens so that you can breathe easier.

 

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