Can Dust Mites Be Completely Eliminated?
For people who are extremely sensitive, the following measures should be taken:
- Enclose mattresses, box springs and pillows in zippered allergen- and dust-proof covers.
- Wash bedding materials, including pillow cases, sheets, blankets and mattress pads every other week in hot water (130 °F).
- Eliminate or reduce fabric wall hangings such as tapestries or pennants.
- Purchase stuffed toys that are machine washable.
- Avoid using curtains, drapes or blinds on windows. Use plastic shades instead.
- Remove carpeting from the bedroom of the allergic person and replace it with tile or wooden floors.
- Replace upholstered furniture with wooden or plastic furniture.
- Vacuum often with a vacuum cleaner provided with a high efficiency purifying air (HEPA) filtration system. Throw away vacuum bags after use because dust mites can leave the bag.
- Installing HEPA filters on air conditioner or heater vents is not practical or necessary, and may actually increase mite problems. Remember, dust mites cannot survive on the dust in the ducts, and the small holes of the filters will force air out of vents at a higher velocity, stirring up more dust than without filters.
Reducing populations is the only likely way to reduce allergens in the air. Reducing humidity in the home by using a dehumidifier may help reduce populations, but reducing humidity levels in microclimates, such as in bed fibers or carpet fibers, is impossible.
Chemical control is not necessary, nor will it have a lasting effect on dust mite populations. Regular cleaning and vacuuming will have a greater impact.