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Decreasing Dust Mite Exposure

Decreasing Dust Mite Exposure <br>

What to do first?

Start in the bedroom, since this is where most of the dust mites in your house live. This is likely also the place you spend the most time in your home. We have listed below the steps you should take, and have placed it in an order that we believe will be the best path to success in creating an allergen free home:

1. Enclose mattresses, box springs and pillows in zippered allergen-proof covers. Right before encasing the mattresses, spend a few moments to vacuum the mattress first.

2. Wash bedding materials, including pillow cases, sheets, blankets and mattress pads every other week in hot water (130F), using anti-dust mite additives.

3. Eliminate or reduce fabric wall hangings such as tapestries or pennants. Avoid using curtains, drapes or blinds on windows - where possible, use plastic (or wood) shades and blinds instead.

4. Your bedroom should have a hardwood, tile or linoleum floor instead of carpet as dust mites can multiply rapidly in carpet. If you must use carpet, then we suggest you try not to place the carpet directly on concrete and add a vapor barrier when having carpet installed so as to reduce the moisture level. Tannic acid-based chemicals can neutralize the dust mite proteins that cause allergic reactions. They are spray based and should be used at least every other month. This is inferior to removing the carpet altogether, but is a great alternative. The major drawback in using tannic acid-based chemicals is that some people are allergic to the tannic acid itself! Also, tannic acid can stain some of the materials it is sprayed upon. To prevent this from happening, we offer an anti-dust mite carpet spray that does not contain tannic acid (though it has to be reapplied more frequently). While tannic acid neutralizes dust mite allergens, it does not kill them. A chemical called benzyl benzoate comes in a form of an anti-dust mite powder does just that, and should be used in combination with tannic acid spray for a knockout punch.

5. If possible, replace upholstered furniture with wooden, plastic, or leather furniture. Just like your mattress, upholstered furniture makes a perfect habitat for dust mites. Of course, if you prefer to keep your upholstered furniture, you can use either anti-dust mite powder (which you would apply and then vacuum away), or anti-dust mite carpet spray both of which were suggested earlier in dealing with carpets.

What to do next?

1. Use a HEPA Air Cleaner to reduce the quantity of dust mite allergens in the air. Just like with vacuums, air cleaners with HEPA filters work best. Whether a person has allergies or not, air cleaners will leave you with a cleaner home and have a general health benefit as well. You will breathe in cleaner dust-free air which will help you live a healthier lifestyle. If you have allergies, settle for nothing less than a HEPA Air Cleaner. There are non-HEPA units available, but for a person who suffers from dust mite allergies, only a HEPA unit will filter out all the allergens that are in the air.

2. Vacuum often with a vacuum cleaner that utilizes a high efficiency (HEPA) filtration system. Throw away vacuum bags after use because dust mites can leave the bag. Regular vacuuming greatly reduces the dust mite population. It is highly recommended to use a HEPA vacuum that uses a bag as opposed to a bagless unit. Bagless units tend to let dust particles re-enter the air when the dust canister is emptied.

3. Because dust mites love warm, humid places, keeping the humidity low by using a dehumidifier or air conditioner makes a difference. Certain models even have air filters to help further reduce dust mites in the air.

Page last modified: 08/23/13
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