Damp-mop hard floors (tile or hardwood, for
example) once a day.
Dust and vacuum once or twice a week to
remove the buildup of allergens. Use a dry cloth to wipe hard surfaces such as
countertops, tables, and other furniture.
Vacuum the carpets and
cloth-covered furniture to get rid of as much dust as you can.
a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter or a special double-thickness bag, which
collects dust-mite particles and pollen. Standard paper bag filters may allow
the stirred-up allergens to escape back into the room.
vacuuming stir up dust, making the air worse until the dust settles. Wear a
mask if you do the cleaning yourself. If possible, try to have someone without
allergies do the cleaning.
Consider wet-vacuum cleaning when
possible. This can help remove allergens from carpeting because it actually
washes the carpet. Also, consider steam cleaning carpets when possible. In
addition to cleaning the carpet, the heat of the steam kills dust mites.
Keep the house aired out and dry. Dust mites do
well where humidity is greater than 50% but do not do well in dry conditions.
Try to keep the moisture level (humidity) below 50%. This may be difficult in
some seasons and some climates. Plants and fish tanks add to humidity, so keep
these out of the bedroom.
Dry vacuuming doesn't pick up dust mites. Consider steam cleaning
carpets when possible. In addition to cleaning the carpet, the heat of the
steam kills dust mites.
You can buy chemicals (ascaricides) that
kill dust mites and that you can use on carpeting and furniture. But many
experts do not consider them effective enough to be worth the trouble and
expense of using them.
Wash bedding, including pillowcases and
mattress covers, in hot water [130 °F (54.4 °C)] every 1 to 2 weeks. You can also dry bedding at high
You can limit your contact with dust mites by using
allergen-proof covers on your mattress, box spring, and pillows, and washing
them regularly. This works well as part of an overall plan to reduce allergens
in your home. It is not enough to use mattress and pillow covers without some
of the other methods mentioned above.
Adults spend one-third of their time and children
spend half of their time in their bedrooms, so it is important that you take steps
to prevent allergens in this room.
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this