Reduce the dust mites in your home

Reduce the dust mites in your home

It is impossible to destroy your entire dust mite population, but you can dramatically reduce their numbers. Allergic reactions are dose-related, so the fewer dust mites you have in your home, the less you may be troubled by respiratory or dermatological symptoms. It is important to remember that the droppings of dead dust mites continue to provoke allergic reactions. You must not only reduce your dust mite population, but also take steps to remove their dead bodies and faeces from your home.

House dust mite

Tips to reduce house dust mites in your home

Strategies include:

• Cover mattresses, pillows and quilts with dust mite resistant covers.

The covers must be washed every two months.

• Wash sheets and pillowcases weekly in hot water < 55celcius, if washing in cold water, use a commercial product containing essential oils, like eucalyptus or tea tree oil.

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• Hot tumble dry (for half an hour after dry.) or dry clean household items-this will kill house dust mites, but not the allergen they produce.

• Wash blankets and non-encased doonas every two months.

• Use synthetic rather than feather pillows and doonas, as these tolerate regular washing.

• Damp dust or use electrostatic cloths to clean hard surfaces weekly, rather than a feather duster.

• Reduce humidity-have a dry and well-ventilated house. Have adequate floor and wall insulation and avoid evaporative coolers.

• Avoid upholstery furniture-Leather, vinyl, plastic and wood are best.

• Windows-Venetian blinds or flat blinds are better than heavy curtains. Washable curtains or external shutters are other options.

• Wash clothing before use if it has been stored for a long time.

• Remove carpets, rugs and mats (where practical and affordable.)

• Vinyl floors are preferable as they can be damp mopped or cleaned with electrostatic cloths. Wash rugs and mats regularly and dry them outside in full sunshine.

• Vacuum weekly, including the seams of mattresses and upholstery furniture. Vacuuming causes house dust mite allergens to become airborne for up to 20 minutes, so if you are allergic to dust mites, you should wear a mask or ask someone else to vacuum. You may air the house for an hour or so after vacuum cleaning to help clear the air.