House dust mites are the most common trigger
of asthma. These are the mites that live in house dust. It is the
feces of the dust mite that is the actual allergen that causes breathing
problems. Dust mites produce feces about 20 times a day. Aside from
being an allergen, the feces of the dust mite is light enough to
float in the air, so it is easily inhaled by those of us who occupy
homes and buildings. Then, when you consider there are about 40,000
dust mites per speck of dust, you can imagine (even if you'd rather
not) just how many of these dust mite feces enter your respiratory
system every time you take a breath.
Your indoor environment is especially vulnerable
to dust mites if you live in a humid area, or if your home is subject
to humid conditions for whatever other reason. Humid environments
create the ideal habitation for dust mites, primarily since they
result in a greater food supply for dust mites. Staples of a dust
mites diet include plant materials, molds, and fungi, all of which
thrive in humid conditions. Dust mites also feed on a less commonly-known
but very prevalent airborne particulant: dead human skin, found
in every home.
That "dust" you see in a shaft of
sunlight coming through your window? Yep, mostly dead human skin,
and you just can't avoid it. And dust mites love the stuff.
Based on the facts mentioned above, you can
see why it is so critical to take action for the specific purpose
of minimizing dust mites in your home, particularly if someone in
your home suffers from asthma. In which case, we have compiled a
list of 6 ways you can reduce the dust mites that reside in your
6 ways to reduce house dust mites:
Bedding is the favorite home of
the dust mite. Half the weight of the average pillow is dust mites!
If you're allergy prone, you should encase your bedding and pillows
with impermeable rubber or vinyl plastic wrappings and clean them
You should wash clothes and bedding
regularly. Washing in 60oF water is effective, but 130oF water will
kill all dust mites. Washing in cold water kills about 90% of dust
3. Dry Cleaning
Dry cleaning kills all dust mites.
Any type of heat will help minimize
dust mites. Some examples include steam-cleaning carpets, tumble-drying
(drying machine), direct sunlight exposure, and electric blankets.
5. Air Conditioning
Air conditioning will dry out
your indoor environment, which will reduce the food supply for dust
mites, resulting in reduced dust mite populations. However, air
conditioning strips beneficial negative ions from the air.
6. Air Purification
In spite of your best efforts
to remove dust mites from your home or other indoor environment,
dust mites are simply too numerous and reproduce too frequently
to keep their numbers lowered without the aid of a quality air purifier.
It's important to know that an air purifier is MUCH different from
an air filter (e.g. HEPA). HEPA and other filtration-type air cleaners
will not make much of a difference. First of all, most dust mites
are too small to be captured by even the best of filters - even
a really good filter can only get particulates larger than .3 microns.
In addition, most dust mites will not even pass through the filter's
screen anyway. Despite manufacturer's claims that their units complete
so many air exchanges per hour, or filter so many square feet per
hour, these are mostly based on theoritical calculations. The reality
is that most pollutants in a given room or home will not pass through
a small, stationary filter.
You are better off with a negative ion and ozone
generator. Negative ions and ozone are much more effective at purifying
air than a filter, due to the fact that they can remove pollatants
from the air that are as much as 300 times smaller than the smallest
particle a filter can remove. Plus, they can be emitted throughout
your home, so they are more thorough in the area they cover. Negative
ions and ozone are also capable of penetrating walls, furnishings,
bedding, etc. to destroy dust mites and their feces.