While it would be great to say a permanent “good-bye” to dust mites, we can only ever say “so long”. No matter how many we eliminate, more of these microscopic organisms can always be found living in our mattresses, upholsteries and carpets.
Even though they are always present in our homes, we rarely give dust mites a second thought. However, for people with asthma, dust mite allergies or eczema, exposure to these tiny nuisances can cause re-occurring asthmas attacks, allergic reactions and eczema flare ups. Additionally, children who are exposed to high-levels of dust mites are more likely to develop a dust mite allergy later in life.
Now, just because you can’t completely eliminate every dust mite from your home doesn’t mean you can’t keep these tiny organisms at bay or that you have to make their stay in your home a comfortable one. Here is a list of our favourite, easy, and chemical free tactics for dealing with dust mites:
- Regularly Wash or Vacuum Your Fabrics
Dust mites thrive in warm and humid places like our bedding, curtains, throw rugs, carpets and upholstered furniture. An easy way to keep dust mites in check is to regularly wash and dry as many of these items as possible in at least 140 F temperatures. Since your body comes into close contact with your sheets for extended periods of time each day you should wash your bedding at least once a week to reduce asthma attacks and allergic reactions. All other washable fabrics should be laundered on a bi-weekly basis.
Items that cannot be washed, such as wall-to-wall carpet, area rugs and upholstery, should be professionally steam cleaned at least twice a year. The extreme heat from the cleaning will kill the mites and remove any of the debris left behind from deep within the carpets. In between steam cleanings, vacuuming your carpets and area rugs at least once a week can help remove some of the dust mite debris that can cause health issues for you or your loved ones.
- Freeze Them Out
If you can’t wash or professionally clean something, consider freezing it. Simply put the item(s) in a plastic bag and place them in your freezer for 8-10 hours. This deep freeze approach is especially useful for fabric toys and throw cushions.
- Make Your Own Repellent with Essential Oils
Luckily, the smells we tend to love are the same smells that deter dust mites. This means you can create a lovely scented “repellent” that not only dissuades dust mites from living in your fabrics, but also leaves your fabrics smelling quite nice.
To make your own dust mite repellent mix a few drops of clove, lavender, peppermint or eucalyptus into a bottle filled with water and then lightly spray your mattress, furniture and curtains.
Note: Before spraying your new repellant on any fabric for the first time, be sure to test your solution on a small corner of the fabric.
- Use Dust Mite Covers
Dust mite covers completely encase your mattress and/or pillow, keeping the mites inside and away from you and your loved ones. Assuming you wash your sheets every 7 days, your covers only need to be washed every 6-8 weeks.
- Clean with a Damp Cloth
When dust starts to accumulate many of us will reach for a dry cloth, an old sock or a feather duster to remove the build-up, but if you want to take on the dust mites, you will need to step-up your game. Instead of using a dry cloth or duster, use a damp cloth so that you can collect the mites instead of dispersing them into the air and allowing them to land somewhere else in your home. You’ll also want to start giving your home a thorough dusting each week to ensure excess dust and dust mites do not have time to build up.
If you want to take your dusting a step further, add a drop of one of the essential oils listed above into your damp cloth so that the smell of the oil is left behind as you dust.
By consistently following these 5 simple steps you will significantly decrease the number of dust mites in your home. However, if you need help with your dusting, vacuuming or steam cleaning the Steamwise team is here to help. Contact us to learn more about our home cleaning and steam cleaning services.