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Dust Mites

John R; Abbotsford, British Columbia asks: Please tell me how to get rid of dust mites and not just neutralize the allergen?

Dear John: Chemical control will not have a lasting effect on dust mites although Acarosan and . Regular cleaning and vacuuming will produce the best results. Complete elimination of dust mites is nearly unobtainable in a normal home environment, but you can reduce populations.

Reducing humidity in the home with a dehumidifier is the most commonly recommended method of dust mite control. It provides some level of control, but remember that the fibers of your carpet, mattress and pillow actually have, what amounts to, separate climates, which may be unaffected by the dehumidifier.

Here are a few things you can do to reduce dust mites:

  • Wash pillow cases and sheets every week.
  • Wash blankets and mattress pads every other week in 130 degree hot water.
  • Vacuum often using a HEPA filter vacuum sweeper bag. Throw away the collection bag. Dust mites can escape from the bag.
  • Enclose mattresses, box springs and pillows in mattress covers labeled to for dust mite protection.
  • Remove pennants or other fabric wall hangings.
  • Curtains or drapes will harbor dust mites, so you may have to resort to using plastic shades.
  • Remove carpeting if absolutely necessary and live with wood or tile floors.
  • Wash all stuffed toys, if possible.
  • Upholstered furniture can harbor dust mites. Consider replacing with wooden or plastic furniture.

Many heating and air-conditioning contractors will recommend installing HEPA filters on heat and air conditioning vents, but doing so may actually increase dust mite problems. The small holes in HEPA filters builds up pressure and air is forced out at higher velocities than normal. This can actually stir up more dust than normal air vents.

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