Dust mites live wherever dust accumulates, this is because they feed on the tiny particles of our skin that make up a large percentage of house dust.
They don't bite but they can cause discomfort to around 10% of the population who are allergic to dust mites and their waste products.
This discomfort can come from a runny nose and red sore eyes to more serious respiratory issues that could require medical attention or the use of antihistamines and anti-inflammatory steroids as this allergic reaction can lead to asthma attacks. Dust mites can also cause itching of the skin and coughing and sneezing.
To avoid this you of course need to avoid contact with dust mites by minimising the numbers around you.
Start by taking a good long look around your bedroom, taking notes of the areas that dust can accumulate, you will soon see that it can be everywhere.
Your bed is the first area to deal with as this potentially has more dust mites in it than anywhere else in the room. As you sleep at night particles of skin are rubbed off your body and they slowly work their way down into your mattress settling a few centimetres below the surface. Moisture from perspiration and other bodily fluids also pass through to the mattress making the perfect eco system for dust mites to breed and to multiply. A mattress can contain many millions of these microscopic creatures and every time you toss and turn clouds of dust mite waste can puff out right into the space that you are sleeping in.
So you need to find a way to stop feeding them so that they starve and die out. You also need to find a way to stop any dust mites and in particular, their waste products from getting from the mattress to you.
The way to do this is to have a barrier in between you and where the dust mites are living. This barrier has to be capable of stopping moisture from passing through to the mattress, so it has to be waterproof. If it's not waterproof then moisture is going to pass through it and dust mites require this moisture to survive. If you can stop moisture from getting through then dust mites are unlikely to survive in the mattress.
This barrier also stops the dust mites waste products from coming back through to you as you sleep.
Some dust mite protection products are not waterproof, they are made by tighly weaving the fibres together to make the gaps between the fibres too tight for dust mites to physically pass between but over time as they are washed the fibres seperate to leave gaps, and of course they are not waterproof either.
Our Allergon dust mite proof mattress protector has a waterproof barrier on the underside that will not allow moisture or dust mite waste products to pass through. They are also comfortable in use and can be washed and dried at high temperatures for complete peace of mind. You can see Allergon here.
It is also worth bearing in mind that your pillow is also a location that can harbour a huge number of dust mites. The conditions here are very similar to your mattress with flakes of skin and perspiration passing through to create perfect conditions for dust mites to breed. It is said that anything up to 20% of the weight of a 2 year old unprotected pillow can be made up of dust mites and their waste products. To solve this we have our Allergon pillow protectors here.
Your duvet can also be home to dust mites but not as much as your mattress and pillow are. This is because your duvet moves around much more which can help reduce the number in it, but if you have a severe dust mite allergy we also have Allergon Duvet Protectors available here.
Once you have done as much with your bed as you can you need to look at other areas where you can reduce the amount of dust and with it the amount of dust mites. Look at places where dust builds up. Work from high up going down so that you aren't moving dust down onto areas that you have already dealt with.
Use a damp cloth to wipe down the tops of wardrobes, cupboards and door surrounds and any shelves or other dust magenets there are. Wipe down your bed frame and televisions and coffee tables.
Look at your soft furnishings. Try to get into the habit of washing your curtains every month or two to reduce the dust content held in them. Look at any soft toys in the room. Are they needed? If so can they be machine washed? If not take them outside and give them a good shake and a beating to remove as much dust as you can. Then if possible put them in a bag in the freezer for 25 hours, this will kill off the dust mites but won't physically remove them. Wash them if you can.
Now consider seating areas, do you have a sofa in the bedroom? Do you need it? If you can do without it in the bedroom move it somewhere else. If not you will need to careful vacuum it, take the cushions off and take them outside and give them a beating and then vaccum then. Vacuum the rest of the sofa including the back and arms and put the cushions back.
Now we should have done everywhere apart from the floor itself. The first thing to consider is whether it is carpeted or not. Carpets are home to dust mites, just not as many as your mattress as the pile is less than is available inside a mattress and your carpet doesn't get the same steady supply of moisture that your mattress does. But do you need a carpet, is there a nice wooden floor underneath? A wooden floor is so much easier to keep free from dust mites and can easily be sprayed and mopped and kept relatively dustmite free. If you need to keep your carpet then you need to carefully vacuum it every week, paying particular attention to the areas that dust accumulates. This is usually under things or behind things. Under your bed is usually a very dusty place, so pull the bed out and clean underneath it, try to reduce the number of things you store under there. Spare pillows and duvets kept under the bed will get dusty as will old shoes and slippers so get rid of anything under there that you absolutely don't need.
So in conclusion - dust mite proof your bed, wash your curtains, wipe down all dusty surfaces with a wet cloth, minimise fabrics and textiles where possible and reduce the clutter. Vacuum everywhere every week and your bedroom will be a relatively dust mite free place to relax and sleep.
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