How to Combat Dust Mites
The last thing you want in your house!
Fight Dust Mites and Allergies all at Once!
Have you ever stayed somewhere that the sleeping arrangements looked alright until you looked very closely? I did once and now every time I sleep in a bed I didn't clean I check to make sure it's clean before sleeping in it. Chances are if you don't keep up on the dusting, and let's face it no one likes dusting, then you probably have dust mites.
Dust mites love living with us but we definitely don't want them coming into our homes. The mites are drawn to us because they feed on dead skin cells and dander. They are drawn to our beds, couches, carpets and pillows. They love pillows the most as that is where the majority of our dead skin cells and dander land. They cause asthma and terrible allergies, especially in young children. You want to nip this in the bud before things get out of control and they begin effecting your health.
I have terrible indoor allergies, as soon as the doors and windows are closed for the season my allergies get worse. As soon as my allergies get worse I begin attacking the problem at it's source. Always work from the top to bottom, this routine works for me.
First I start with the bedding, if you have curtains you would start there as well. Strip the beds once a week to have them laundered. The life cycle of the male dust mite is about 10-19 days while the female life cycle can last up to 90 days. So doing it this frequently can halt the life cycle without going overboard with laundry. Be sure to wash the laundry in warm to hot water to get a jump on these guys. Washing helps remove any dander and dead cells that attract the dust mites along with removing dust mites debris, which is the main cause of our allergy woes. The most important thing is to make sure you use the dryer since the dust mites can't survive the high heat.
If this is your first attempt at dust mite control you want to be sure to get covers for your mattress and pillows. I have provided links to some very affordable options that can be purchased on amazon.com with free shipping. You want to create a barrier that is washable and durable. The items I listed below also help reduce other allergens, which is just another added bonus!
Now that takes care of the bed and curtains!
Next you want to treat your carpets. Aside from just simply vacuuming, you can use a carpet cleaning powder to increase your success. I was using something that I bought in the store but have found several very easy recipes that save time and money and still gets the job done every time! Sprinkle a little of either of the following recipes on your carpet and you'll be winning the war in no time!
Recipe 1 (For REALLY bad infestations)
Mix equal parts of borax and baking soda together and then sprinkle this on the carpet. Let it sit for about 10 minutes and then vacuum up. Be careful not to inhale the dust or get it in your eyes as borax can be quite nasty. This is also very effective on fleas, which I'll cover on another day.
Mix two cups of baking soda with two cups of cornstarch. If you want a nice scent you can add essential oils or dried herbs. If you have a lighter colored carpet you want to avoid adding dried herbs and opt for just the oils. I have a tan carpet and like using cloves since they also help keep moths out of the closets. If you use essential oils you will want to fluff the mixture with a fork before using to break up any clumps. This recipe does a better job if you can leave it sit longer, around an hour is best. Then you vacuum it up and move on with your day.
Another thing that will help if you have some spare cash sitting around is a dehumidifier. Dust mites begin having difficulty surviving once the relative humidity drops to 50 percent. So if you combine this with all your other efforts you should be able to combat these little nasties quite easily.
So remember start at the top. Curtains and bedding then move to cleaning the carpeting. Throw in a little humidity control and you've got an effective dust mite fighting routine!
This is the best rated, low-cost pillow cover.
13.5 lbs of baking soda. Time to fight those dust mites before the heat turns on and they stay all winter!
Great little book to add to your housekeeping library! Just over three bucks and free shipping!
A cheaper alternative to remove the extra humidity from the air.