Controlling Dust, Dust Mites, and Other Allergens in Your Home - Topic Overview
Controlling dust mites
Dust mites are visible only through a microscope.
People are allergic to dust mite droppings, not the dust mites themselves.
Allergy to dust mites is a year-round problem.
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.