Dust mite is a terrible and sinister pest. They are not visible, but they are everywhere, almost in every house! You will never know that they live in your sheets until you get an allergy starting up. Do you suffer from nasal congestion and a runny nose but don’t have a cold? Have you got a body rash, watery eyes, and diathesis but you don’t have a food or pollen allergy? Perhaps house dust mites are to blame. How do you get rid of dust mites?
Here you’ll find a 5-step strategy to get rid of dust mites, based on entomologists’ advices. You can reduce the amount of dust mites in your house to a minimum so that they don’t cause an allergic reaction. To help you choose dust mites control products, we have studied the most effective ways to eliminate them.
Table of Contents:
- 5 Steps On How To Get Rid Of Dust Mites | In Brief.
- Why is an apparently harmless dust mite allergy nasal congestion actually dangerous?
- How to Tell if You Have Dust Mite Allergy?
- What Are Dust Mites
- How To Get Rid Of Dust Mites: 5 Steps Guideline
- Step 1. Throw Away Any Old Dust Collectors
- Step 2. Spring Cleaning: Wash Everything & Treat Your Carpet With the Best Dust Mite Insecticides
- Step 3. Use the Best HEPA Vacuum Cleaner for the Most Thorough Carpet Cleaning
- Step 4. Switch to Dust Mite Proof Bed Sheets and Dust Mite Covers
- Step 5. Purifying the Air – the Best Air Purifier for Dust Mite Allergies
So, you should devise a plan to successfully eradicate dust mites. What steps are to be taken?
- Dispose of old bedding items, especially those that are hard to clean. Primarily, this concerns pillows, plaid blankets, and mattress. You should not keep such items longer than three years or so while the lifespan of mattresses does not exceed ten years. Don’t be greedy and don’t even try to clean the items which are so old. This is also the case for old toys.
- Purchase anti-allergic bedding. Do not use duvets and feather pillows as they create a favorable environment d for dust mites. Instead, opt for anti-allergic ones filled with polyester that are commercially available. This is particularly relevant to mattresses that can be entirely anti-allergic or covered with an anti-allergic protector.
- Wash your bedding items and underwear thoroughly and regularly. Still, being diligent is not enough. Apart from conventional detergents, use anti-allergic washing additives. Apart from bedding, dust mites thrive in carpets as well as curtains. Curtains should be dry cleaned, whereas carpets require more thorough treatment. Clean carpets with acaricides containing such ingredients as tannic acid and bio-enzymes. These products typically come in the form of powders but are also available as ready-to-use sprays.
- Vacuum carpets and heavy curtains. Buy vacuums fitted with a HEPA filter type as they absorb the finest particles causing allergy, including dust mite feces. There are different classes of the efficiency of HEPA filters that depends on the percentage of particles returning to the air flow from the filter.
- Place air purifying devices where dust mites are suspected to be thriving. This is needed to control humidity indoors and eradicate them in the air. The best option should come without a humidifier as moisture is the favorable environment for mites.
Do you want to learn more? Read our detailed guide about the biology of dust mites and measures you should take to eradicate them in the house. A review of products will help you purchase the proper item.
Carelessness is one of the main problems, causing an initially harmless allergy to transform into chronic asthma.
Bronchial or chronic asthma in most cases is caused by the delayed treatment. The mutation and destruction of the respiratory tract begins. This can be observed once dyspnea appears.
Asthma attacks (even lethal ones) are instigated either when you interact with an allergen or are loaded with heavy physical activity. Why is this happening?
The most common reason for that is that everyone thinks that this will never happen to them. Many reckon that if they don’t eat spoonfuls of honey and piles of citrus fruits, they won’t have an allergy. But the disease can actually develop even if you do not come in contact with the allergens.
The second mistake occurs when people suspect that they have an allergy and begin treating its symptoms. They use splattered vasoconstrictor drops when they have stuffy nose and think that everything is in order. When they have too much of allergenic food, they drink antihistamines and feel excellent.
Eliminating the symptoms is not only useless for treating the disease itself, but is also a way to aggravate it to a point of no return.
Night nasal congestion at night, snot and sneezing are the main symptoms of such allergy. The main criterion is that they occur at night. If you notice that in the morning after waking up you have a stuffy nose, and in the afternoon you breathe freely, it is a clear sign of a dust mite allergy.
Another symptom is the skin reaction: it can itch or redden. You may also find that your eyes are red and watery.
According to CNN, not only you but also your cat or dog can be allergic to dust mites. Its manifestation is similar to human allergy, as the symptoms include scabies, skin redness and sneezing and last all year-round, peaking in spring.
In addition, few people know that if you let your pets sleep with you, it provokes an even greater increase in dust mites.
Dust mites (also called bed mites) are one of the most perilous allergens of the modern world as they are very insidious and invisible. And unfortunately, each and absolutely every single one of you has some at home. The only exceptions are rooms with no upholstered furniture, kept as clean as operating rooms.
It is almost impossible to notice it as the size of dust mites is just 0.1-0.5 mm. According the EPA, they live in pillows, blankets, mattresses, upholstered furniture and even children’s toys. Dust mites prefer highly humid areas with an average temperature of 18-25 degrees.
According to The Univercity of Nebraska-Linkoln, “House dust mites feed on human skin scales, pollen, fungi, bacteria and animal dander. Dust mites do not drink free water, but absorb water from the air and the environment”. This is why it is critical to reduce bedroom humidity (we’ll focus on that in the “Air Purifiers” section).
The scariest thing is that dust mites will always have something to feed on, as every human being disposes daily of about 1.5 grams of dead skin.
Mites leave behind some feces, which contain Der f1 and Der p1 proteins which the human skin. Contact with these feces can cause strong allergic reactions including eczema and dermatitis.
Sad as it is, you can’t get rid of dust mites fully. But, with an effort, you can reduce the amount of dust mites in your house to a minimum so that they don’t cause an allergic reaction.
Our friend and expert, an M.D. & Ph.D. in Medical sciences, a pathologist, who also suffers from dust mite allergy, shared with us his own experiences in dealing with these allergens which are literally “invisible” but are very scary.
In his experience the most important steps to Eliminate Dust Mites are throwing out all the old stuff, carpets, blankets (Step#1), and investing in a proper air purifier (Step#5). To help you choose the best control products, we have studied the most effective ways to kill dust mites.
You should always begin with radical measures. You might have your grandmother’s rug, or feather pillows, which have never been cleaned and your old childhood plaid, but you will have to throw them out despite everything!
There is no point in cleaning objects which have served their time, as you will not be able to remove the majority of mites, and the remaining ones will very quickly recover losses and increase their quantity. By the way, the lifespan of many objects is shorter than you think.
According to various sources, pillows are supposed to serve from 2 to 5 years, blankets serve 5 years, and a mattress can serve a maximum of 10 years. Therefore, you only have two options: either to use these “relics”, or to take care of your health and replace them in a timely manner.
Having got rid of all the old things, it’s high time you do the spring cleaning. There is no need to prolong the process. First, the mites will be less likely to move in somewhere, and second, you need to decide and do everything at once.
Cleaning, the second step, involves a lot of work, so be prepared for a thorough clean-up.
- Wash everything: bedding, clothing, and underwear. To kill dust mites for sure use a special washing additive for allergy patients, DeMite Laundry Additive, 8 Ounce, along with your regular detergent. It is suitable for any washing mode and water temperature and judging by the customers’ reviews, it does indeed reduce indoor allergy symptoms. A bottle will be enough for 11-12 washes at the price of only Check current price.
- If you don’t want to throw away old toys, dry-clean them. Kids love to play, sleep and spend time with them, and mites love to live and breed in warm plush objects. A simple wet cleaning with conventional detergents will not be enough for dealing with dust mites.
- This is when you begin the most crucial step which is cleaning the carpet.
According to the information from the entomologists from the Entomology and Nematology Department, UF/IFAS Extension, the most common habitat for the mites is in thick carpeting, heavy curtains, fabric covered furniture, beds, and pillows.
While the curtains and pillows can be dry cleaned, the mattresses can be covered with special encasements (see Step #4 for more details), what is there to be done with the carpet if you really don’t want to throw it out? You’ll have to thoroughly get rid of dust and house dust mites inhabiting it.
The scientists from different American universities agree that the best dust mite control for carpet is cleaning it with HEPA filter vacuum cleaner rather than a usual canister vacuum cleaner since the regular vacuums let the dust particles back out in the air while the HEPA filter ones retain the carpet contents within a container and only exude filtered air.
The scientists also note that the most state-of-the-art and productive regular vacuum cleaners can compete with HEPA ones. We’ll elaborate on HEPA when we move on to Step#3, and now we’ll describe the acaricides, which are ready-to-use products for treating carpets.
How to Kill Dust Mites: Active Ingredients Used in Acaricides
Before picking the best items, let’s speak about the active ingredients used in acaricides, i.e. the insecticides aimed at killing the dust mites and the allergens they produce.
The scientists warn that their effect is temporary and claim that it is both regular vacuuming and other measure that are most useful. The products’ contents vary and so acaricides’ active ingredients may range and include:
- benzyl benzoate
- tannic acid
- disodium octaborate tetrahydrate (DOT)
We’ll give more detailed information about them, and will elaborate below on the products which contain these chemicals and the use of which has been approved by the scientists.
This chemical compound is widely used for killing different kinds of ticks: mange ones, dust mites etc. The entomologists claim that benzyl benzoate is one of the active ingredients used in the products registered for house dust mite control in U.S.
This fact is encouraging and gives an indication of the high efficiency of benzyl benzoate as a chemical with acaricidal properties.
Tannic acid is an organic acid, but no global research proves that tannic acid is 100% effective against dust mites. Certain scientists, however, assure that it is capable of reducing the number of dust mites and allergens.
There is, still, a disclaimer: it only denatures surface allergens, hence the temporary effect. Soon the weakened allergens are replaced with dust and new ticks from the depth of your carpet or mattress.
Disodium Octaborate Tetrahydrate (DOT)
Some of dust mite control products also contain such active ingredient, as disodium octaborate tetrahydrate (DOT), which is a boron compound.
According to the specialists, “DOT kills mites in carpets and sofas, and, combined with vacuuming, effectively reduces total mites in carpets and mite allergen levels in carpets and sofas”. DOT advantage is that the toxicity of this compound is so low that it can even be used in schools.
Most of the liquid carpet cleaners leading the Household Carpet Cleaners & Deodorizers category on vaguely mention such active ingredient, as bio-enzymes. In some cases, the formula isn’t even revealed. We haven’t been able to confirm with the specialist the kind of influence the enzymes which the cleaners contain have on dust mites, if any at all.
Dust mites are invisible to the naked eye, which is a significant complication. Therefore, only the allergy victims can rely on their perception after using such cleaners to judge their value.
One thing the scientists are unanimous about is that even if you use any kind of acaricide, you have to be cautious! They can further aggravate allergies for some of the patients!
The use of acaricides when eliminating dust mites alone won’t be satisfyingly fruitful. Vacuum cleaning is a must as the allergens are found in dust mites’ corpses and should there be removed.
It is only the combination of artificial chemical treatment and vacuuming that will help you reduce the amount of allergens in the carpet.
How to Clean the Dust Mites off the Carpet at Home?
Let us warn you beforehand that this is a difficult job to take up as the carpet will usually collect most of the dust at home. However, if you feel determined enough, here is the list of acaricides which are considered to be the most effective means of eliminating the mites.
We’ve listed several acaricides with truly active ingredients, as proven by the scientists. Most of them are powders which require subsequent vacuuming. Be warned, though, that the powders are not to be used with bagless vacuum cleaners.
According to the customer reviews, fine powder particles can clog all of the device filters. It is better to use such products combined with canister vacuuming and remember to insert a new bag inside right before carpet cleaning and dispose of it immediately after the process is finished.
Glade Carpet & Room, Clean Linen, 32-Ounce (Pack of 6)
The manufacturer is being very tight-lipped when listing the contents of this carpet powder for Check current price, but with the help of the U.S. National Library of Medicine Household Products Database information, we’ve been able to learn that the active ingredient is benzyl benzoate.
Glade universal powder is promised to remove any odors from the carpet and to refresh it. Benzyl benzoate is supposed to help combat the dust mites. As per the manual, you have to spray the powder over the carpet, wait a bit and carefully vacuum to remove any debris.
Price: Check current price
X-Mite Anti-Allergen Moist Powder Carpet Cleaner
Tannic acid-based powder for Check current price has become a real salvation for many patients with serious allergy cases. All that has to be done is to spray X-Mite over the carpet, ram it in a little with a brush and vacuum the carpet within 3 hours after application. The carpet won’t be wet all.
Even though tannic acid can only reduce dust mites and neutralize their allergic waste, X-Mite is capable of much when combined with other dust mite control.
This, for instance, is one of the reviews: “My allergies have vastly improved since I have begun using this product in conjunction with full bedding encasements, weekly hot water bedding laundry with anti mite additive and rigorous dusting and vacuuming and an air purifier. I found just shaking the bag side to side did disperse fairly evenly, especially after “Brushing” in”. As you can see, the product is quite effective in conjunction with other methods.
Several consumers have noted that they used to have a specific kind of dust allergy, particularly the rush on their hands and feet which was gone after thorough cleaning using the powder. Read other customers’ reviews.
The manufacturer recommends conducting clean-up once in 90 days or more frequently if a high allergen concentration can be observed. Be guided by your well-being and your allergy reactions as the dust mites breed.
Price: Check current price
DustMitex Ready-To-Use Liquid
Finally, we present to you the least toxic item of all mentioned here carpet cleaner products, DustMitex spray for Check current price which is based on the DOT boron compound.
It is universal and will do for treating the entire house and removing fleas in house ans dust mites on the furniture, mattress, carpets and your pets’ beds. Its huge advantage is the double use of it:
- It can be used as a spray (it is unnecessary to wash it off or vacuum clean it after application).
- It can also be used in a carpet steamer.
The users claim that the product doesn’t begin working immediately, and the effect is instead cumulative, so make sure you have a treatment schedule, once in a fortnight, force instance.
The effect (quite a decent one, by the way) will show if you are patient enough. The good thing is that it is harmless for people and pets so you can use it whenever necessary.
Many allergy patients avoid acute asthma attacks instigated by the dust mites thanks to this product. We’ll remind you that DOT is a compound that is has such a low level of toxicity that is permitted for use in schools.
Price: Check current price
As we’ve explained earlier, the scientists reassure that HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter vacuum cleaner is the most appropriate vacuum cleaner for allergy patients. We agree with them as you deserve the strongest dust mite protection, don’t you?
That’s why below we’ll enlist the best selling vacuum cleaners with HEPA filter. but first, let’s figure out why is HEPA so effective? What is the idea behind it?
HEPA isn’t a brand, but a filter type. The main purpose of HEPA filters is to hold not only large and small, but also very fine particles of dust and other allergens away from the air stream. In other words, it does something with which ordinary vacuum cleaners do not cope, because their filters function differently from HEPA. Compare:
- Regular filters work much like sieves, i.e. the sieve filter has very small pores which prevent large and medium particles from getting through. That’s it. Small particles easily penetrate the obstacle and flow in the air before anchoring on the carpet pile.
- HEPA filters attract the particles and glue them together, i.e. the filter fibers attract even the tiniest dust particles, which overlay each other and are trapped in the filter for good.
The HEPA filters are not represented by a single type of filter, but 5 different ones which differ in accordance with their effectiveness. They are classified according to one and only criterion: the less fine particles manage to return back in the air flow after entering the filter, the higher the class is.
That’s why HEPA 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 (14 being the most powerful HEPA filter – see the chart below for more information) are distinguished. The international standards presume that fine particles about 0.3 microns in size are used for testing such filters.
% of fine particles of about 0.3 microns in size retained by the filter
up to 85%
up to 95%
up to 99.5%
up to 99.95%
up to 99.995%
Not all of the vacuum cleaner manufacturers specify HEPA filter class of a particular item, as it is the retention rate which is usually listed. With the help of our chart you’ll be able to determine the filter class on your own, or you can always ask the seller for the specifications on this aspect.
Naturally, the filter class affects the price of the vacuum cleaner: it is highly likely that more affordable models will be equipped with a HEPA filter of a lower class.
Despite being extremely effective, sooner or later, HEPA filters will require replacement as even though you can wash them, you won’t be able to wash away the finest dust particles from it.
Moreover, larger particles contribute significantly clogging the filter; in case the pre-HEPA filters in the vacuum cleaner omit them and they pass on to reach the HEPA filters.
That’s why timely filter replacement is not a waste of money but an investment into your health and cleanliness of the house and is definitely worth it.
The reviews of the customers which suffer from allergies and who are thus most sensitive to the dust level, dust mite or other allergens’ presence indoors, attest to this.
Most of them had no idea they were allergic to dust or dust mites until they replaced their regular vacuum cleaner with a HEPA one and noticed that such morning (and familiar for them) symptoms, as runny nose and sneezing are gone.
The right approach to deep carpet and furniture cleaning will help the allergy sufferers to reduce the frequency of asthma attacks, get rid of skin reactions etc.
Several best selling vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters compete for being the best one. Note that all of them are upright vacuum cleaners which are recommended by the scientists.
The reason for this is explained by the Texas A&M System specialists: “An upright cleaner or horizontally-discharging canister cleaner does not disturb settled dirt particles in the air discharge”.
To put it simply, such a HEPA-filter vacuum cleaner will ensure that the air remains pure after the cleaning and you won’t have to wait a couple of hours for the dust to settle in order to breathe easily in the room. This is an immense advantage for both allergy patients and healthy users of the product.
Upright Vacuum Cleaners Comparison Chart
NB: All the models are bag-less, so you’d better not combine them with carpet powders as small powder particles will clog these vacuums’ filters. That’s why you have two options:
- use bagless vacuum cleaner with HEPA + liquid carpet cleaner
- use horizontally-discharging canister cleaner with HEPA + powder carpet cleaner
Now that you’re familiar with the best selling bag-less HEPA models, you’ll also be able to pick a horizontally-discharging canister cleaner in the Household Vacuum Cleaners category.
Twin Size SafeRest Premium Hypoallergenic Waterproof Mattress Protector – Vinyl Free
At the moment this is the best mattress protector. It is made of hypoallergenic cotton and protects against dust mites, bacteria, fluid and allergens while it costs: Check current price.
It seems that in this case the manufacturers have taken into account everything that can possibly disturb anyone’s sleep, including the sleep of those who are allergic to dust mites (they claim that their “quality of life is much better now“) and those who suffer from asthma, eczema and other skin problems as well as those who sleep in the same bed with children, animals or like to eat there.
There is no point in praising it any more, as everything has already been mentioned in the feedback. You can get acquainted with nearly 10,000 customer reviews.
Hospitology Sleep Defense System Waterproof/Dust Mite Proof Pillow Encasement, Set of 2, 20-Inch by 26-Inch, Standard
This set of hypoallergenic pillow cases and covers for Check current price will be the perfect complement to the previous mattress cover. The pillowcases come in standard sizes (you can even find king size), and are fastened with a zipper.
It is made of special breathable polyester, which does not cause discomfort during sleep and will lock away all of the potential allergens. Allergy patients confirm that their night sleep has improved, and they give a lot of valuable tips, for example, regarding washing these covers. Read all of the tips.
Shredded Memory Foam Pillow with Bamboo Cover – Coop Home Goods – Made in USA – QUEEN
If you have followed our advice and decided to replace all the pillows in your home, then we recommend you this #1 Best Seller in the Neck & Cervical Pillows category which has already collected nearly 4,000 customers’ reviews.
The secret of this pillow that its filler is padded polyester, which is artificial and not fit for living to such an extent that even the mites do not inhabit it. Moreover, the pillow is pleasant to touch, because 40% of its coverage is a bamboo fiber.
Allergy patients are confirmed to feel noticeably better once they switch from a feather pillow to a padded polyester one. It costs Check current price.
Here we come to the last and most important step. Now that older dusters are thrown away, the rooms are cleaned, mites are poisoned, the bed is new and safe, you are able to do something that unfortunately, was impossible for our ancestors to fulfill.
With the help of modern engineering, you can reduce the humidity in the room, kill the dust mites in the air and purify the air you breathe.
Remember! It is very crucial to reduce high humidity, as it is in the humid air where dust mites multiply fastest. Therefore, choose an air purifier without a humidifier and with a UV lamp!
GermGuardian AC4825, 3-in-1 Air Cleaning System with True HEPA, UV-C and Odor Reduction, 22-Inch
Here is today’s best model, a #1 Best Seller in HEPA Filter Air Purifiers which complies with all of our requests. This purifier is equipped with powerful filters and a UV lamp which kills the germs around.
It can also remove a very wide range of odors and is quite compact. This model has already gathered over 4000 customers’ reviews. You can read the most helpful ones.
For more details on how to choose the right air purifier, refer to: “5 Best Air Purifiers for Allergies”.
Dust Mites Control Products Comparison Chart
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Allergies are no joke and you can’t ignore them. Disregarding them can lead to chronic issues. That’s why we recommend you to consult a doctor. Allergy lab tests will help diagnose you correctly.