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How to control Dust Mites and what harm do they do?

Dustmite Control

As experts in the dehumidification we are regularly asked for advice on the link between keeping a house dry and reducing the effects of asthma, eczema and allergies.

There is a link and between the dust mite and higher levels of moisture in the house. Our aim is to help you understand a bit about the dust mite, reduce the level of moisture in your home, thereby reducing the number of dust mites and in turn easing your symptoms.

Dust Mite Facts

  • Dust Mites males are approximately 420 micrometres long and 245 micrometres wide, they cannot be seen by the human eye.
  • Female dust mites live on average for just 60 days, spending the last 30 days of their life laying eggs.
  • Males live on average for just 19-30 days.
  • Dust Mites feed on human skin
  • On average we each shed enough skin to feed 1.5 million dust mites per year.
  • Within 2 years 10% of the weight of your pillow is probably a mixture of dead and alive dust mites.
  • Your mattress holds as many as 10 million dead and alive dust mites.
  • About 80% of dust seen in a sunbeam is actually skin flakes.
  • Dust Mites are one of the most common causes of asthma and allergies. It is Dust Mite droppings that contains the allergen that we then breath in and sets off a reaction.
  • Dust Mites like the warm, humid conditions common in modern housing.
  • It is not possible to completely eradicate the Dust Mite.

Five Steps to Controlling Dust Mites

  1. Reduce the level of moisture in the house and the Dust Mites reproduction rate will drastically reduce.
  2. Clean all bedding and curtains at high temperature weekly, use an impervious cover for the mattress and pillows.
  3. Dust with a damp cloth, vacuum with a hoover with a HEPA filter, empty and clean your vacuum regularly. Vacuum soft furnishings as well as the carpet.
  4. Freeze children's cuddly toys for 24 hours to kill any Dust Mites in them.
  5. When selecting new carpets either buy short pile carpets or better still buy wooden floors or lino.

Steps two to five are easy to follow and self explanatory, but many people are confused about step one, how to reduce the level of moisture and where this comes from in the first place. This step is crucial though because if you can cut down on their reproduction you will feel the benefits.

Dustmite bug close up

Dust Mites like high levels of moisture, the higher the moisture levels the greater the reproduction. In the winter our homes tend to be warm and dry, in the spring and more so in the summer our homes are more likely to be warm and humid.

Where possible ventilate the house, this though does not provide a solution on its own. Dust Mites breed above 60% relative humidity (rh), the average humidity during the British summertime is 80%rh. Therefore by opening windows we are creating the perfect conditions for Dust Mites to flourish. The only way to effectively reduce the level of moisture in the home is via a dehumidifier.   Aim for a relative humidity below 50%rh to really slow down their reproduction rate.  Dehumidifiers are small, portable machines that take the excess moisture created by washing, bathing, cooking and drying clothes out of the air and turns it into water that can be used in an iron or poured away.

A dehumidifier like the Which? Best BuyMeaco 20L Low Energy Dehumidifierwith it's HEPA filter provides an effective combined approach to dealing with the Dust Mite issue.

Dehumidifier facts

  • Reduce moisture levels to prevent mould and reduce Dust Mite populations
  • Reduce heating bills by drying the air and making heating more efficient
  • Dries washing on a clothes horse in the absence of a tumble dryer
  • Protects fixtures and fittings from damp
  • Alleviate chest conditions brought on by damp air
  • Remove the sticky feeling from hot summer nights

For more information on Dust Mites try these external links

Wikipeadia

Asthma UK