Getting Rid of Dust Mites in Your Home

 In Air Quality, Spring Topics

Dust is everywhere in Tallahassee, from the corners of your carpet to the blades of your ceiling fan. While a little dust in your home might feel harmless, the real issue is what you can’t see: dust mites.

Dust mites are microscopic creatures, invisible to the human eye. They feed on the dead skin cells, dirt and other components that make up the dust you see in your home. While they don’t bite, dust mites can negatively impact the air quality in your home, and, consequently, your health.

When there’s too much dust in your home, it builds up in your HVAC unit. Your air filter catches and removes some of the dust particles, but still allows some to slip through. Dust buildup impacts the air flow, decreases efficiency and ultimately shortens the life of your unit.

In addition to damaging your unit and costing you money, dust mites negatively affect people with allergies and asthma. According to the American Lung Association, “chronic, ongoing exposure to dust mites at home can dramatically impact the health of people with asthma and those who are allergic or particularly sensitive to mites.” In milder cases, symptoms include a runny nose and sneezing, but in more severe instances, exposure to dust mites can trigger severe asthma attacks.

So, you’ve just learned that dust mites are lurking under the bed. Don’t panic! With a little strategic cleaning, you can greatly reduce the number of dust mites in your home.

Dust regularly. Dusting regularly is an important part of keeping your home (and air) clean. It’s best to use a damp cloth when wiping down surfaces, as traditional dusters can spread dust particles around in the air.

Mop floors weekly. Mopping the floors, or simply wiping them down with a damp cloth, is an efficient way to remove the dust as it collects there. Don’t forget to clean harder-to-reach places, such as baseboards and the space beneath the fridge.

Vacuum often. While vacuuming doesn’t kill dust mites, it can greatly reduce the amount of dust that’s settled in your carpet throughout the week. Make it part of your weekly, or even daily, routine to keep dust under control.

Steam the carpets. If possible, get your carpet steamed once or twice every year. Steam is hot enough to actually kill the dust mites themselves. You can also use this technique on certain furniture.

Wash bedding frequently. Wash sheets, pillows and blankets weekly, and in as hot of water as the fabrics will allow. Hot water kills dust mites – cold water does not. Comforters and bedspreads don’t need to be washed quite as often, but aim to wash them in hot water at least once a month.

Use allergy covers. Many stores sell “allergy-proof” covers for pillows and mattresses. These are typically thin, plastic or vinyl covers that zip closed and help block out dust mites and other dust particles.

Keep humidity under control. Dust mites thrive in humid environments, so controlling humidity is an effective strategy against them. A well-functioning HVAC unit is your first line of defense, but you can also purchase small, inexpensive dehumidifiers to place in certain rooms as a supplemental tool.

It’s nearly impossible to get rid of dust completely, but it’s worth taking steps to reduce dust mites wherever possible so you and your family can breathe easy. While these tasks may seem small, incorporating them into your weekly or monthly routine can have a huge impact on the air quality in your home.

Looking to get HVAC maintenance checked off your cleaning to-do list? Barineau Heating & Air Conditioning’s Total Comfort Service Program makes it easy. Click here or call 850.580.4029 to learn more today!

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Patrick Barineau