Most allergists agree there is no way to kill all the dust mites in your home. In fact, one expert recently said that you could put your bedding in boiling oil for 10 minutes but the dust mites would still be back the next day.
That being said, you can reduce the symptoms of dust mite alleries and many cases of asthma by reducing the dust mite population in your home. To do this, you must kill dust mites where you can and keep their numbers down by making your home a less hospitable environment.
Here are some practical tips for how to kill dust mites in your home.
Hot Water Will Kill Dust Mites
Washing items in water over 130 degrees F will kill dust mites. Since dust mites commonly infest bedding, you need to wash your sheets, pillowcases, blankets and other bedding weekly in very hot water. If the hot water in your house is not at least 130 degrees, you can have your bedding cleaned at the local laundromat.
A Hot Dryer Will Kill Dust Mites
If the water in your house is not at least 130 degrees, you can kill dust mites by drying your bedding in a hot dryer. After washing your bedding place it in a dryer for 30 minutes on the hot cycle.
Freezing Temperatures Will Kill Dust Mites
Another way you can kill dust mites is with freezing temperatures. You may have a small item that you can not wash in hot water or dry on the hot cycle, such as a child’s small stuffed animal. You can still kill dust mites on that item by placing it in a plastic bag and putting it in your freezer for 48 hours.
Chemicals Can Kill Dust Mites
There are some synthetic and naturally occurring chemicals you can use to kill dust mites. One synthetic chemical that has proven to kill dust mites is a popular food additive called benzyl benozoate. You can buy benzyl benozoate at specialty supply stores in spray or powder form.
There is also a name brand solution called The Ecology Works® DustMite and Flea Control. It has also proved to be very effective in killing almost all the dust mites in a treated area. In fact, many people have reported that you can dilute this chemical with water, spray it on your carpet and it will kill dust mites for up to six months.
How To Make Your Home Less Hospitable To Dust Mites
Unfortunately, there is only so much you can do to kill dust mites in your home. Beyond that, you can reduce dust mites and dust mite allergens by making your home a less welcoming place for dust mites to live. Here are some practical tips on making your home a less hospitable environment for dust mites.
Vacuuming Often Can Reduce Dust Mites
Rugs and carpets are also great places for dust mites and their allergens. This means you should vacuum regularly and thoroughly with a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter or a double-layer micro filter bag. Try to go over every section of the rugs or carpeting at least three or four times. In fact, the more times you vacuum the same section, the better.
If you’re the person in your household with the dust mite allergy or asthma, be sure to wear a mask when you vacuum or dust.
Removing Carpeting And Upholstered Furniture Can Reduce Dust Mites
Dust mites love wall-to-wall carpeting and overstuffed or fabric-covered furniture. If you have wall-to-wall carpeting in your bedroom, consider removing and replacing it with a hard surface floor covering such as linoleum, wood or tile. You might also replace upholstered furniture with wood, vinyl- or leather-covered furniture.
Bedding Dust Covers Can Reduce Dust Mites
If you do nothing else to control dust mites and dust mite allergens, buy a dust proof mattress cover and dust proof pillow covers. These covers do two things. First, they keep dust mites and dust mite allergens that may be in your pillow or mattress away from your face and body. Second, dust covers serve as a barrier that keeps the skin scales you shed every night from reaching the dust mites in your pillow or mattress – which deprives them of their number one source of food.
An alternative to mattress dust covers is to buy a natural latex mattress or an air mattress. Dust mites cannot infest either of these types of mattresses, so dust mites have fewer places to hide.
Reduce The Humidity In Your Home
Dust mites thrive in moist areas so another good way to control them is to reduce the relative humidity in your house to less than 50%. You can measure your home’s humidity with an instrument called a hygrometer which you should be able to buy at your nearest hardware store. If you find that the relative humidity in your house is consistently over 50%, you should be able to reduce it with either a dehumidifier or air conditioner.
As you can see, it takes some work to kill dust mites when you can and otherwise keeping their numbers down by making your home a less hospitable place. If the result is fewer allergy or asthma attacks, it is well worth the time and effort.