13 + 1 Tricks to Dust the Mites Away

dusty piano

Boooooooooo. Your body gets scared too!

It’s the spookiest time of the year. Many are thrilled to dress up, visit haunted mansions or watch scary movies. It's fun to get scared every once in a while, but there are spooky creatures called "dust mites" that may be scaring your body all year round. That's not so fun. If you're allergic to dust mites you know what I'm talking about.

Some bodies prefer to avoid these spooky creatures at all costs. And if dust mites cross their paths, they can get really scared and overreact in different ways (like sneezing or wheezing). All this can be pretty uncomfortable and can make cleaning routines pretty difficult. 

What are dust mites?

Dust mites are very small creatures that are invisible to the eye. They have 8 legs, and their size can be around 1/10 the size of an ant.

Where do dust mites live?

Picture this: an old town and a cowboy stepping on a dusty wooden floor. With each step, dust begins to rise... It stays in the air for a while but then settles down. Are you familiar with a scene like this one? We don’t need to be cowboys to have seen some dust in the air after walking inside a dusty room.

But dust mites don’t live there. They don’t stay in the air for long periods of time. They don’t fly. The like to settle down comfortably on surfaces like:

  • Upholstered Furniture
  • Bed sheets
  • Pillows
  • Mattresses
  • Carpets
  • Curtains

They’ll always find their way to these cozy places, but sometimes you can also find them in other areas around the house.

     Fact: An average bed can have somewhere from 100,000 to 2,000,000 dust mites.~Sirena

    The climate they like: According to the American Asthma Association, they love high temperatures (68°F to 77°F) and high humidity levels (70% to 80%).

    How they survive

    They eat many things we find in the dust. Their preferred are:

    • Human skin flakes
    • Pet Dander

    What do they drink? They don’t drink water. They absorb moisture from the air, so they absolutely love humidity. Without it, they can’t survive.

     Fact: “4 out of 5 homes in the United States have detectable levels of dust mite allergen in at least one bed.” Lung.org

    Who they can harm and how

    Do dust mites bite? Contrary to what some people may think, they don’t bite. Some people’s bodies can be allergic to them or their droppings and, therefore, overreact when in their presence. Some can experience allergic rhinitis, asthma, or their skin can get affected too.

    When they can harm you

    If we talk about your respiratory system, allergies can be triggered:

    • After sweeping
    • After vacuuming
    • After dusting
    • When walking or moving around
    • While you’re sleeping

    If you have atopic dermatitis your skin can suffer when it comes in direct contact them, or better said, with their digestive enzymes (that's what they use to break down their food). 

    All this definitely doesn’t make cleaning easy. You may be thinking: "So, how do I clean dust if it makes me sneeze when I’m cleaning?" Here are some tricks you can use:

    13 + 1 Tricks to Scare the Mites Away

    Even if you don’t want to, sometimes you have to attend a spooky party with dust mites (you can’t avoid dust cleaning forever).

    Here are some tips to make dust cleaning a bit more enjoyable:

    1. Wear a mask: Protect your respiratory system by wearing an N95 mask while you're cleaning. This way you can prevent dust in the air from entering through your nose or mouth. 
    N95 mask
     
    2. Wear gloves. Do you have atopic allergic dermatitis? Your dermatologist may have told you to wear cotton gloves like these when being around dust (at least that’s what she told me and it’s been helpful):
    Gloves to clean dust
    You can also find gloves that are specifically designed for eczema.
    Additional tip: These gloves are also pretty helpful if you’re allergic to rubber gloves. Just wear them underneath!
    3. Use some moisturizer: Put some water on your cleaning cloth when dusting and moisten your mop before cleaning too. This will prevent some of the dust  and mites from reaching the air, and hence, your respiratory system. This makes trapping them way easier.
    4. Halloween Entertainment Party Allocation (HEPA): Separate yourself from dust mites as soon as you can. Let them enjoy their own party inside a vacuum with HEPA filter! This will prevent most of them from coming back to your room. Vacuum at least once per week.
    5. No feathers allowed: Dusting with a feather duster can be fun. It’s fun for dust mites too. Unfortunately, not recommended if you’re allergic. They only spread dust around.
    Feather duster
    6. Use microfiber costumes: The best material for cleaning dust is microfiber. Try using microfiber cloths instead of other kinds.
    7. Get some fresh air: It will take around 1-2 hours for dust mites left in the air to settle back down. So go outside for some fresh air after you clean. If you don’t want to go out, you can keep your mask on while they settle.
    8. Brooms are not allowed: If you’re planning on dressing up as a witch to scare them, please note that brooms will spread more dust than vacuums. On this occasion, they’re not allowed.
    dust cleaning
    9. Prepare your body: The better you prepare your body, the less this situation can affect you. In situations when you’ll be exposed to very high concentrations of dust (like unboxing old stuff), you may need an antihistamine. There are some over the counter ones, as well as natural alternatives. This will help you handle large quantities of dust and mites.    
    10. Clean ghost costumes: Look neat! Make sure to wash your sheets regularly (once per week) and also vacuum your duvets or comforters twice per week.
    Dust mite tips
    11. Ask someone else to take your place: If you’re allergic to dust mites, try asking someone else to give you a hand and help you with the cleaning every once in a while.
    12. Costumes with no shoes are great: If you don’t want so much dust around the house, try leaving your shoes at the door. This will prevent outside dust to come inside your place, so there will be less food available for the mites.
    13. Bring only the necessary. The less clutter you’ve got, the less the chances of dust accumulation. Try keeping it minimal and clutter free. Dust mites will feel uncomfortable.
    Pumpkin bucket
    14. Apply some “antiperspirant”: Dust mites can only survive when humidity levels are high, so keep your home moisture free. One of the best ways to do it is by using a dehumidifier. If you keep humidity levels below 50%  they won’t like partying around your place anymore. A dehumidifier not only helps you reduce moisture, but will also help with musty smells if there are any around.
    Basement Dehumidifier
    Now you’ll be able to feel better during these spooky encounters. Just prepare yourself, and you’ll enjoy while you scare them away! Besides, you’ll get long-term treats when you apply these tricks.

     

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    Use information at your own risk:  The information presented is intended for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never disregard professional medical or home improvement advice. The information and suggestions should be discussed with a professional.  You are responsible for independently verifying the information if you intend to rely upon or use it in any way. You use all information at your own risk.


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