Dust Mite Allergy and Avoidance

dust-mite-pictureScientific names: Dermatophagoides farinae, Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus

House dust mites are microscopic bugs that live on dead skin cells regularly shed from humans and their animal pets.  They are relatives of spiders and ticks. Mites prefer warm (60-80° F), moist (humidity >50%) surroundings such as the inside of a mattress, pillow, carpet, stuffed animals, and other soft materials.  Allergens are contained in waste particles and body fragments.

Reduce the exposure to dust mites:

  • Encase mattresses, box springs, duvet, and pillows in allergen-proof woven microfiber fabric covers or airtight, zippered plastic covers.
  • Wash bedding weekly in hot water (130° F or 55–60° C) and dry in a hot dryer (maximum heat setting).
  • Remove non-washable items such as bedroom carpet, stuffed animals, throw pillows, curtains etc. Area rugs may be used if they are regularly washed or dry cleaned. Minimize upholstered furniture.
  • Reduce indoor humidity below 50%, ideally around 35%.
  • Use a vaccum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate) filter or a double-layered bag that entraps allergens, and wear a dust mask.