House dust mites cannot be seen through naked eyes and might be a quite big hygiene problems. Your bed is their most favorite dwelling place, although some other parts of the house might also be susceptible. For some people, dust mites are harmless and give no visible effects, while for some other, this bug is the culprit for their allergies, asthma, and eczema diseases. Mites—since they stay in beddings, are often mistaken with bed bugs. However, close observation will differentiate the two, since mites are microscopic, while adult bed bugs are visible and can be encountered with naked eyes. The effects of mites and bed bugs bites are also different. The former causes allergies and other respiratory problems, while the latter causes red, itchy patches all over the skin.
Signs of mite infestation
Mites—dust mites cause allergy in many people. Thus, this allergy is an obvious sign that you have dust mite infestation in the house. Allergies caused by dust mites is shown by some signs, which can be easily observed. Note that the symptoms occur when persons undergoing dust mite allergy are wandering around susceptible spots, such as bedroom, and other dusty areas. The symptoms include:
- Frequent sneezing.
- Watery or bloodshot eyes, accompanied by itching around the lids.
- Itchy nose.
- Clear nasal discharge.
Bedclothes, pillow cases, and mattresses are the main habitats for dust mites, although they are also present in carpets, rugs, curtains, and other fabric materials. They present in most houses, but should not be a big nuisance when properly controlled. This bug feed on human and animal’s dander—skin cells, dandruff, and follicles. Dust mites are indeed disgusting and cause allergies which may lead to asthma. Hence, getting rid of these bugs is essential.
How to kill dust and bed mites
Mites are microscopic and thus, cannot be easily spotted. In order to eliminate existing infestation, you need to do a good, thorough housekeeping. Here are some methods which help you kill mites infesting certain spots and objects in the house.
Vacuuming beds, bed sheets, bed cover, mattresses, and pillow cases regularly are really helpful for getting rid existing mites. Thorough vacuuming does not only kill adult mites but also their laid eggs. Some tips on vacuuming to kill mites include:
- Vacuum regularly and often.
- Focus on the areas and objects which have a direct contact with your bodies, such as the beds, pillows, sheets, and other resting objects.
- If you prefer to wipe the areas and objects clean after vacuuming, only wipe those off with a wet cloth. A dry cloth will only scatter any left debris, causing mites to scatter all over other objects.
Wash beddings with hot water
Washing beddings regularly are also the key to eliminating dust mites. Use hot water to wash the beddings to kill existing mites and its eggs. When it comes to thick bedding, such as bed cover and mattress protector, you should make sure those are replaced more frequently to prevent dust mites from accumulating. To thoroughly wash the beddings to kill bed mites, do these actions:
- Wash beddings—include the curtains and blankets once every week or two weeks.
- Use hot water—ideal temperature for bedding washing is 54°C. Run the beddings in the washing machine for an hour.
- Add few drops of eucalyptus oil when machine-washing the bedding items. This oil will kill mites and leave a fresh scent on your washed items.
- Let the washed beddings under direct sunlight.
- Freeze bedding items which cannot be washed with washing machine. Put the items inside the freezer for 24 hours, making sure existing mites are dead by extremely low temperature.
Keep humidity low or average
Mites enjoy high humidity to breed because dry environment kills them. To discourage them and eventually kill them, keep the humidity below 50% using an air conditioner or dehumidifier.
Killing bed mites using heat
Heat kill bed mites as well. Hence, steaming or blow drying objects prone to mite infestation is one of the most effective ways of killing mites when done regularly. Heating methods which are able to kill bed mites include:
- Using steamer around beds, mattress, blankets, non-detachable carpets, and other susceptible items.
- Using a blow dryer to kill mites which can reside inside shoes, hats, or bags. Expose the items to the heat from the blow dryer for 15 to 20 minutes to kill existing mites and their eggs.
Put non-washable items under direct sunlight
With washable items, it is easier to kill inhabiting mites. However, non-washable items might need a little bit different treatment. Methods you can select for killing mites hiding in non-washable items, such as carpets and mattress protector, are:
- Put light rugs, carpets, and detachable mattress protector under direct sunlight in hot, sunny day for 1 to 2 hours.
- Spray thick or non-detachable carpets and mattress protector with mite spray which can be found in insect sprays section in hardware stores. Since the spray contains chemicals, it is better to consider some things when using it:
- Spray 20 cm from the treated surfaces to minimize residue.
- Keep the room empty for a minimum of 3 hours after spraying.
- Open ventilation and windows to let the residue evaporate.
Kill mites in carpets using boric acid and diatomaceous earth
Killing mites residing in carpets and rugs can also be done by applying natural ingredients, such as boric acid or food-grade diatomaceous earth. These two ingredients which can be used in lieu act as a drying agent for small insects, including mites.
When using diatomaceous earth, sprinkle it evenly over your mattress, carpets, or rugs and let it sit for an hour or more. Afterward, vacuum it up thoroughly. This will not only vacuum up dead mites and diatomaceous earth residue, but also mite’s droppings which are protein-like and causing allergy.
When using boric acid, mix the powder with essential oil which kills mites, such as eucalyptus, rosemary, clove, peppermint, or lavender. Mix a cup or boric acid with 10 drops of your chosen essential oil and sift over the items you want to treat. Let it sit for 1 to 2 hours and vacuum up.
Home remedies for getting rid of mites
To get rid of both dust and bed mites, there are some other preventive methods which can be considered. Some simple home remedies will keep your house away from dust mites which may be an allergen for some house members. Consider doing these things to deter mites from your beds and other susceptible spots and items.
- Replace draped curtains with window blinds which keep less dust. If you insist on using draped curtain and shades, wash those with hot water once a month, and wipe off the curtain railings with a wet cloth every three days.
- Change bed and pillow sheets once a week, and wash them in hot water to help killing mites.
- Iron pillow and bed sheets after washed.
- Use synthetic rather than feather pillows, which cannot be washed frequently.
- Minimize children soft toys on the bed, and wash them with hot water once a month. Regularly toss the toys in the freezer to help killing bed dust mites.
- Use furniture which can be easily cleaned, since non-porous furniture has a greater chance of keeping mites, which means a bigger chance of allergies, too.
- Choose throw rugs over wall-to-wall carpets, and expose them to direct sunlight once a week. Heat in a hot, sunny day will help killing mites and its eggs which can possibly reside in rugs and carpets.
- Use aromatherapy oils with eucalyptus, rosemary, lavender, and other mite-deterring aromas in the bedroom.
- Encase the mattress with a hypoallergenic cover to minimize mite infestation by keeping them from getting in and out.
- Sun pillows, bolsters, and blankets every two days to let the heat kill any existing bed dust mites.
- Do not let the house pets get into the bed since their dander is also fed by mites and thus, keep the, thriving around your bed. Do not forget to vacuum and sun your pet bed regularly, too, in order to remove all shed skin and other materials dust mites will feed on. Once in a month, you can sprinkle diatomaceous earth over the pet bed and vacuum it up to prevent dust mites from infesting and laying the eggs on it.