Dust mites are microscopic, insect-like pests. They thrive in warm and humid settings and live all over your house. From pillows and mattresses to soft toys, sofas and beyond dust mites are everywhere. And getting rid of dust mites entirely isn’t actually possible (1).
But there are some steps you can take to help minimise the number of dust mites present in your home. Read on to learn more.
What are dust mites?
Dust mites are common household pests. On average, dust mites live for up the three months and during their life cycle, they move through four different stages of development until progressing to adulthood (2). Their life cycle looks like this:
- Eggs: this stage lasts for approximately 10 days at which point, the larva appears (3).
- Larva: once the eggs hatch, a six-legged larva will appear.
- Protonymph: this is the first of the two key developmental stages of the dust mite life cycle.
- Tritonymph: this is the second key stage of development.
- Adulthood: when the dust mite reaches adulthood, it becomes an eight-legged nymph.
Typically, it takes approximately a month for an egg to progress to adulthood. And an adult dust mite will live 1-3 months once it has full emerged.
A female dust mite lays between 25 and 50 eggs approximately every 3 weeks. What ensues is a dust mite population of up to 1 million in one bed alone (4).
What do dust mites look like, and can you see them?
Dust mites are microscopic arthropods that are estimated to be between a quarter to a third of a millimetre in length. They actually look almost like a cross between a spider and a bug, and their translucent-white colouration makes them impossible to see with the unaided human eye (4).
Where do dust mites come from?
Dust mites are naturally occurring and are present in every home (6). The humidity levels in your home will give you a good sign of the prevalence of dust mites. This is largely because, unlike us dust mites do not drink water. Instead, they absorb moisture from the air. And so, homes with high levels of humidity are likely to have a greater dust mite population.
Do dust mites bite?
No, dust mites do not bite. Yes, you’ve read that right, dust mites don't actually bite your skin. What you may think is the result of a dust mite bite is actually likely to be an allergic reaction. Allergies to dust mites often induce a red and itchy rash.
What do dust mites eat?
Fresh skin flakes are not what dust mites are looking for. Instead, they prefer their skin flakes a little mouldier. Once it is swollen with water and carrying bacteria, the dust mites are in for a feast.
And, the perfect environment to decay our skin flakes is warm, damp and dark. This enables the mould to grow (7). So, as gross as it may sound, our beds really are the perfect environment for dust mites to thrive.
Do I have a dust mites’ allergy?
Unlike pet allergens, dust mite allergens aren’t air-borne. Instead, the allergens settle quickly into dust or fabrics. These allergens cling to bedding, mattresses, upholstered furniture, carpets, curtains, and even soft toys. These materials also serve as nests for dust mites as they provide them with the perfect breeding grounds.
The main time that most people are exposed to dust mite allergens is while they’re sleeping. And a dust mite allergy can present in a number of different ways. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you could also suffer from a dust mite allergy and should seek advice from your General Practioner (GP). Symptoms include:
- A runny nose
- Itchy, red, or watery eyes
- A blocked nose
- An itchy nose
- A cough
- Facial pressure and pain
- A swelling under your eyes
- A red and itchy rash (8)
True, all of these symptoms are typical symptoms of other allergies such as hay fever or animal-fur allergies. Your GP is your best port of call when trying to identify the cause of an allergy. They may arrange for you to have some allergy tests or could choose to refer you to a specialist allergy clinic to undergo the relevant tests (9).
How can we get rid of dust mites?
The bad news is that it’s almost impossible to completely eradicate the dust mite population from your home (1). The good news is there are some steps we can take to minimise numbers. Read on to learn how to effectively cull the number of dust mites in your space.
1. Clean bedding more often
Our beds offer the perfect breeding grounds for dust mites. This is mainly down to the generous food supplies offered by our beds. And so, frequently changing and cleaning your bedding sheets plays an important role in pest control where dust mites are concerned.
If you want to learn more about how to keep your bedding sheets clean, check out our guide here.
2. Choose sensible bedding
If you're looking to buy some new bedding, choose wisely. Items that are machine-washable are ideal. You should also look out for pillows that are machine-washable too.
And be sure to steer clear of bedding that is likely to trap dust. Ruffles and textured bedding sheets are far more likely to trap dust than ones made from smooth materials. You should also skip out on extra bedding items you don't actually need like throw pillows and bed skirts. These only offer the dust mites more places to hide.
3. Invest in a mattress cover
If you want to minimise the number dust mites in your home, a mattress cover is ideal. Our exclusive anti-allergy mattress protector has been designed to help in the preventions of dust mites and bed bugs building up. Plus, it’s machine washable too so you’ll be able to keep it clean, fresh, and dust-free along with your bedding.
4. Choose a reliable dust mite inhibitor
Our BedGuard™ Bed Care Kit is a great choice and is available both in-store and via our telesales team – 0808 144 6160. The BedGuard™ Bed Care Kit includes:
- 1 x Dust Mite Inhibitor 250ml
- 1 x Fabric Fresh 250ml
- 1 x Mattress & Pillow Refresher 250ml
- 1 x Spotting Solution 100ml
- 1 x Micro fibre Cloth
That’s literally everything you need to care for your mattress and minimise the numbers of dust mites in your bed.
The Dust Mite Inhibitor, included in the BedGuard™ kit, is an easy-to-use solution that helps prevent dust mites from forming and creating infestations in all areas of the bedroom. It reduces and prevents the growth of mould which renders the usual food source of dust mites inedible. By removing their food source, you’ll keep the numbers of dust mites hiding in your bedding and mattress to a minimum. The treatment is also suitable for rugs, duvets and pillows.
The Dust Mite Inhibitor is available to purchase as individual sprays in all our stores.
5. Clean your home more regularly
Consider cleaning your home more regularly. Run the hoover round a couple of times a week and, rather than cleaning surfaces and floors with dry clothes or mops, use damp ones. The dampness will attract and trap the dust, keeping the places dust mites can hide restricted.
- https://stanfordhealthcare.org/content/dam/SHC/clinics/menlo-medical-clinic/docs/Allergy/Dust Mite.pdf