The Dirt on Dust Mites
No matter how often you clean, it can seem like a film of dust bunnies springs up the next day. But there are easy ways to help diminish dust mites—and the dust allergy symptoms that come with them.
Tips for Dust Allergy Sufferers
Dust mites are eight-legged, microscopic bugs that live off of dead human skin and pet dander in dust particles. They’re found lurking wherever dust collects—in household fabrics like pillows and blankets, on top of the fridge, under the oven, on knickknacks, and in virtually every nook and cranny of your home.
Keep Dust Bunnies at Bay
Put hypoallergenic dust-mite covers on your beds, mattresses, box springs and especially the pillows.
Wash all bedding and blankets once a week in hot water (at least 130°F/55°C). Be sure to always check the washing instructions first.
Vacuum every week with a HEPA filter or double bag. And be sure to stay out of the vacuumed area for 20 minutes to allow any dust you didn’t catch to settle.1
Dust with a damp sponge or mop regularly. A dry cloth just stirs up dust mites. Wear a dust mask and gloves while cleaning to help reduce your exposure to dust allergens.
Replace wall-to-wall carpets with a hard-surface floor, if possible.
DID YOU KNOW?
In a single gram of dust, there may be hundreds of microscopic dust mites.2
Keep the relative humidity in your home below 50 percent.
Get an inexpensive hygrometer (humidity monitor) at the hardware store to measure your home’s humidity, so you can make adjustments when needed.
Place a dehumidifier in damp areas to keep humidity in check.
DID YOU KNOW?
Dust mites don’t drink water. Instead, they absorb water from the humidity in the air.3 That’s why dust mites are more common in humid areas of your home, during the summer and in humid climates year-round. However, some people find their dust allergy symptoms worsen during the winter when they spend more time indoors.
Filter Out Dust4
Put a HEPA filter with a MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) rating of 11 or 12 in your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) unit. You can find the rating listed on the packaging.
Be sure to change the filter and have your HVAC unit inspected and serviced regularly.
Dust Mites.National Institute of Environmental Health Services. Accessed December 26, 2017.
CINTEZA, M., & DAIAN, C. (2014). House Dust Mite – the Paradox. Mædica, 9(4), 313–315. Accessed January 13, 2018.
Dust Mite Allergy. Mayo Clinic. Accessed September 10, 2017.
Should You Have the Air Ducts in Your Home Cleaned? United States Environmental Protection Agency. Accessed December 26, 2017.