Dust mites are microscopic pests that feed on dead human skin cells and live in humid, warm areas. Their feces (poop) is full of proteins that a lot of people are allergic to, as such, people who are allergic to “dust” are actually allergic to dust mite poop. (Source: lung.com)
Unfortunately for many people nowadays, there seems to be no effective way to get away from dust allergies. The best they can do is take antihistamines to lessen or eliminate the effects of their allergies.
But what if I told you that there actually were ways to get rid of the source of that pesky dust that causes your allergies to flare up?
Believe it or not, there is a way and it actually works super well! (On top of that, most of the things I’ll discuss today can help with other allergies as well!)
Machines like air purifiers, dehumidifiers, UV light sanitizers, and ozone generators can all kill dust mites, which are the root cause of dust allergies. These machines kill dust mites and remove their feces from the air, saving you from an allergy flare-up. On top of all of that, they aren’t prohibitively expensive too!
Something else that’s really cool about these machines is that they’re easy to use, even if they sound very fancy and technical! A lot of these machines only have to be turned on and they’ll take care of the rest for you! (However, there are some that will require a bit of know-how to use but can be more helpful. But those are for those who know a bit more about the units.)
What Are Dust Mites?
I know I already glossed over this, but I want to dig in a little deeper for those of you who want to learn a bit more. If you already know everything you want to about dust mites, then skip ahead to the next section!
Dust mites are microscopic insect-like creatures that survive and thrive in indoor areas like our homes. They live in our bedding, carpet, and couches, in addition to many other places. Dust mite feces are very small and, because of that, the feces are easily kicked up by air movement and other disturbances, causing it to become suspended in the air. Once the feces are airborne, they are breathed in by humans, which can cause peoples’ allergies to flare up.
Humidity is one of the most important things for dust mites, and they have to live in environments with humidity levels above 40 percent in order to survive and thrive. As such, if you have a dust mite problem, you will need to get your home’s humidity below 40 percent for an extended period of time. (Once the dust mites have been dealt with, you can allow your home’s humidity to rise, but try to keep it in the EPA’s recommended 30 to 50 percent range for humidity.) I’ll dive into that more later on in the dehumidifier section.
There is, of course, a lot more to dust mites than just this, but we’re not here to learn all about them, we’re here to talk about getting rid of them! So, with all of that said, let’s dive right on in.
What is the Best Way to Get Rid of Dust Mites?
While there are a lot of ways to get rid of dust mites, not all of them are easy, affordable, and/or convenient. On top of that, just one fix probably won’t eliminate your dust mite problem either. Sure, something like a dehumidifier can go a long way in taking care of the problem, but it doesn’t eliminate the need for you to clean your house from time to time.
However, there are some best practices when it comes to getting rid of dust mites.
In order to get rid of dust mites, you should wash your bed sheets, vacuum regularly, and get a dehumidifier. These three things will go a very long way in getting rid of the dust mites (and their allergens) in your home.
Further steps that you can take include investing in an air purifier, which can pull allergens out of the air while also reducing your home’s humidity slightly. This is probably one of the easier extra steps that you can take that won’t cost a ton. On top of that, air purifiers can capture other allergens from the air, plus a whole lot more than just that.
Other things that you can do to get rid of dust mites is hire an exterminator, buy a UV light, or an ozone generator. While these aren’t my personal favorites, they can work. The exterminator would be the best option of the above three, since they know what they’re doing, but there’s a good chance that they’ll either use a UV light or an ozone generator to kill the dust mites. (They may also use chemicals, which can be dangerous for humans, hence why I prefer air purifiers, dehumidifiers, and good house cleaning regiments. Those are a lot safer options, and they’re long-term fixes. There’s no guaranteeing that the exterminator’s work will be permanent and it’s likely that the dust mites will return once they leave!)
Now, with that said, let me dive into my recommendations. If you’d like to read up on my views for hiring exterminators for dust mites, check out this article: Should I Hire an Exterminator for Dust Mites? – The Five Best Ways to Get Rid of Dust Mites.
Do Dehumidifiers Help with Killing Dust Mites?
Dehumidifiers help to kill dust mites, thereby removing the source of dust allergies, by taking humidity out of the air of the space around them. Dust mites require humid areas in order to thrive and drier climates can, and do, kill them. Therefore, dehumidifiers are essential tools for eliminating dust mite problems.
Dust mites don’t drink water, like you and me. Instead, they get the water they need to survive from the water (humidity) in the air. Because of that, one of the best things that you can do to get rid of dust mites is get rid of where they get the water that they need to survive.
Experts, including those at the Achoo Allergy Blog and the EPA, recommend that you keep your home’s humidity below 50 percent in order to mitigate your risk of dust mites and other moisture-related pests and problems that you are likely to have if your home’s humidity is higher than that.
But that’s only if you don’t have a dust mite problem right now. If you do have a problem with dust mites (which you probably do if you got to this article), then you will want to have your home’s humidity under 50 percent.
Studies have found that it is best to keep your home’s humidity level under 40 percent for an extended period of time if you have a dust mite problem in order to kill them off. Once the problem has dissipated you should keep your home’s humidity between 30 and 50 percent.
It is possible to get your home’s air drier than 30 percent humidity, but that is not advised. There is a litany of issues that can arise if your home’s air is too dry. On top of that, it’s pretty hard to actually get your home’s humidity consistently that low without investing a lot into dehumidifiers.
How Do I Know What My Home’s Humidity is?
I’m sure you’re wondering how to check your home’s humidity, so let me just tell you that there are some very cheap and easy to use sensors that you can get to test just that. On top of that, there are some tests that you can do to check your home’s humidity with things you have around the house, but they won’t give you accurate numbers, just a general idea of your home’s humidity.
If you would like to see what sensor I recommend for checking your home’s humidity, check out this article I wrote: How to (Accurately) Test Your Home’s Humidity. And if you’d like to see the at-home tests you can do, see this article: How to Easily Check if Your Home’s Humidity is Too High or Too Low. Both articles go over a lot of the same information, so, if you had to pick one, I’d recommend the first one.
One such sensor that you can buy to test your home’s humidity is the one I have pictured here. This is one that I’ve been using for a while and, as you can see, my home’s humidity is in the “safe zone” of 30 to 50 percent.
My current humidity is 46 percent which is higher than what I would need it to be if I were trying to get rid of dust mites, but I don’t have a dust mite problem currently. In fact, since I’ve started monitoring and taking care of my home’s air, I don’t have any real issues anymore.
Prior to my attending to my home’s humidity, we had mold issues, tons of pests like spiders, bugs, and even fleas, and lots of allergens. Since I’ve gotten air purifiers and gotten the humidity in the safe zone, those aren’t a problem anymore.
Summary on Dehumidifiers:
Dehumidifiers are the very best thing that you can get in order to fight off dust mites and they should be one of the first things you get in order to rid your home of dust mites.
Because dust mites have to have a certain level of humidity in order to survive, dehumidifiers are the best thing that you can get to take that away. Drier air means less dust mites. Less dust mites means less allergy flare-ups. At the end of the day, that’s what we’re after!
If you’re ready to get a dehumidifier to help in your fight against dust mites, check out this one on Amazon: Seavon Dehumidifier. This Seavon air dehumidifier is my favorite one by far of all the ones I’ve tested and used, so I strongly recommend it. It’s a workhorse and it’s not terribly expensive, so it’s a win-win. (It’s the one in the picture above the humidity sensor, by the way.)
Now, I’m quite serious about the impact of dehumidifiers on dust mites and I can’t stress that enough. And while this article does go on, let me just say that a dehumidifier will likely give you the best bang for your buck and be the easiest thing to implement in your fight against dust mites. So, please, be sure to get one of those. (And be sure to wash your sheets in hot water, which I’ll talk about later on in this article.)
Do Air Purifiers Help with Killing Dust Mites?
Air purifiers are the second thing that I would recommend if you have a dust mite allergy, but it’s not because of their ability to kill dust mites. In fact, air purifiers aren’t effective at killing dust mites!
However, what they are good at is cleaning the air.
If you have a dust mite allergy, then let’s face it, there’s always going to be at least some dust out there. An air purifier can work to limit the amount of dust that you’ll breathe in.
Air purifiers are not made directly kill dust mites, but they are known to slightly reduce the humidity in the room they are in, which means they can kill some dust mites. An air purifier’s true strength against dust mites is that it can capture the dust mites’ feces, which is what most people are allergic to. Air purifiers pull those allergens from the air, limiting the impact of a dust mite on the people in the room.
If you do have a dust allergy, then be sure to purchase an air purifier and have it run in your bedroom. Most of your time at home is usually spent in bed, so the positive impacts of clean air will be best felt if you do that. You may also want to get an air purifier for your living room, kitchen, and other rooms, but just your bedroom is a very good start.
But, again, air purifiers aren’t going to do a lot of killing of dust mites. All an air purifier is good at will be cleansing the air of the allergens that bother you. If I had to pick between an air purifier and a dehumidifier and I had a dust mite problem, I would go for the dehumidifier. (And then I’d get an air purifier as soon as I could after that.)
If you’d like to buy an air purifier, be sure to check out my list of favorites here: Air Purifier Essentials Top Picks: Best HEPA Air Purifiers on the Market. Not convinced that you need an air purifier? Check out this article: Are Air Purifiers a Waste of Money? | The Worth of a Good Air Purifier!
Do Ozone Generators Help with Killing Dust Mites?
Ozone generators are capable of killing dust mites and many other pests. Ozone is hazardous to one’s health, so it should be used sparingly and with great caution. Extended exposure to ozone can cause health issues and children should not be exposed to ozone.
Because of the potential risks of ozone, states like Killjoy-Cali (California) doesn’t allow individuals to use them. However, ozone generators are easy to use and they can be used safely if you treat them with the caution they warrant.
Ozone, for those of you who don’t know, is three molecules of oxygen, unlike the two oxygen molecules that we are accustomed to breathing.
Ozone (the molecule) itself is very reactive, which is why it is capable of killing small pests and harming larger creatures like pets and humans. Believe it or not, ozone can even kill plants and mold too! It’s so reactive that it can even hurt electronics.
However, that isn’t to say that ozone isn’t a very effective tool that can be really helpful if you use it correctly against the right stuff. In the right hands, ozone generators can get rid of lingering odors and so many other things. It can work great for exterminating stuff. For cleaning. For a lot of things. However, it isn’t for everyone, and I personally wouldn’t recommend it for fighting off dust mites, since there are so many other things that you can do to get rid of dust mites via other methods.
Do UV Lights Help with Killing Dust Mites?
UV lights have a long history of use in killing mold spores, bacteria, viruses, and a whole lot more. However, something that people may be less aware of is the use of UV lights in killing pests like dust mites.
Believe it or not, UV light can kill dust mites and even dust mite eggs, making them valuable tools for people who don’t want to use dangerous chemicals, ozone, and other methods of killing dust mites.
However, that does come at a cost.
Not only are UV light systems occasionally very expensive, but they can be a little difficult to use when you’re trying to get rid of dust mites.
Personally, I’ve just begun researching and using UV lights in my own house and I have to say that the results are compelling (plus they’re really cool), but I wouldn’t say that UV lights would be my first choice in trying to get rid of dust mites. Instead, I’d recommend using a dehumidifier as that would make for a longer-term fix that grants other benefits on top of that.
There are several different kinds of UV light and there are different systems that you can buy for them, all of which can get a bit complicated and I won’t be getting into that in this article because of that. Since a dehumidifier will be cheaper and easier to use as your fix, I’ll just leave it at that.
What Else Can I Do to Get Rid of Dust Mites?
The number one thing that you can do to get rid of dust mites is clean them out of your house. Cleaning dust mites is easy, in fact, all it takes is doing your laundry and vacuuming your home. Your bedding, mattress, curtains, and carpet are places that dust mites love living, so you have to be sure to clean often.
Ideally, using a dehumidifier while also having a good cleaning regiment is going to be one of the absolute best ways to rid your home of dust mites quickly.
Now, I’m sure you’ve got a few questions about the house cleaning, so let me say that you should wash your sheets with hot water in order to kill the dust mites and their eggs/larva.
Besides that, dusting and vacuuming regularly will ensure that the dust mites don’t have a lot of food sources and it will ensure that they can’t breed out of control.
And, as I said before, air purifiers will clean dust out of the air, so they can be a great addition to your anti-dust mite efforts.
With all that said, I hope this article really helped all of you! Thank you for the read, and be sure to check out one of my other articles!
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