Yuck! Dust Mites in Your Apartment

in Health & Safety on by

Doing research for this week’s article, I notice that I am probably living with more roommates than I knew was imaginable. Even worse, I am sleeping with most of them. So, as I highlight the nasty story and prevention methods, I am comforted by the sound of the washing machine and the thought of the book I will be reading tonight while I am unable to sleep in my own bed.

Dust mites are bugs. They are not parasites as I had thought. They do not live off anything living and they do not want to get onto your body. They like to be in nice, warm, moist environments that have dead skin cells. (Dead skin cells and dander from people or pets are a dust mite’s delicacy.) There is no better place to find this than your bed and pillow where you spend one-third of your life. Not to say that they also wouldn’t make do with furniture, carpet, curtains, and any other great places that can accommodate such a great living environment.

Do you have dust mites? If you have them are you a dirty person? Well, sad but true, yes, you most likely have them. You would have to check for them microscopically since they cannot be seen with the naked eye. Any test could possibly cost you money and give you probable results: you have dust mites. Does it mean you are dirty? No. It means you are normal.

You probably wonder how these dust mites moved in with you in the first place. Some could have been in your carpet before you moved in. (If the apartment was steam cleaned with hot water, after all furniture and curtains were removed, the population would be significantly reduced.) Odds are most moved in with you. They attach to any material, hair, fur, feathers or any other nice hiding spot doubling as a mode of transportation to your home. Once in your home, dust mites can spread out easily by transfer to carpet, your socks, furniture, pajamas and into your bed.

The most harmful result of dust mites is the effect from allergies. The body parts and fecal matter from dust mites is the second most common allergen. The dust mites multiply like mad in a good living environment and produce a lot of fecal matter when they are eating well in this wonderful environment.

As we all know the best way to get roommates to move out voluntarily is to make the environment unpleasant. Not surprisingly, it is the same with these little unwanted roommates. The first thing you want to do is lower the population as much as possible and take measures to keep them from moving back in.

I reviewed a few websites and they really don’t vary in their guidelines on how to handle dust mites. Environmental, Health and Safety Online was probably the most precautionary. For me, I’m not running out to buy all new wooden furniture, replacing my curtains with plastic shades and pulling up all my carpet. I will be doing what I can to stay as dust free as possible. I will be cleaning my linens in hot water from now on. I will also be ensuring that my pillows are thrown in the washer more often.

The University of Nebraska’s website had basically the same preventative information as the other website but much more information on the dust mite’s life cycle, the necessary living conditions, and allergens produced. They also provide an attractive, blown up picture of your cozy little bedmates.

I calculated how many loads of laundry I have to do this week; sorry if my next blog entry is late.

4 Responses to “Yuck! Dust Mites in Your Apartment”

  1. July 14, 2008 at 2:39 pm, Guest said:

    Absolutely I agree that the laundering in hot water is necessary. And that pillows should be treated either by giving them 20 – 30 minutes in the dryer at high heat or washing them. But these things that are unseen and don’t feast on my blood/skin do not bother me as I have no allergic response. I speak rather as if I’m above it all, Why? Because I’ve just conquered by use of massive effort and losses the most insidious, invidious, vilest of all creatures: bedbugs, hence the dust mite takes on a benign aspect. Thank you for listening.


  2. August 24, 2008 at 3:14 am, Guest said:

    I have read that a steam cleaner is extremely efficient at killing them. You can get a small handheld one for relatively inexpensive. Not a carpet cleaner, but the kind that blows a jet of hot steam out. Dust mites are at the surface of pillows and blankets and just a quick steam should kill them.. I’m just going off recollection though, can anyone verify this?


  3. March 30, 2009 at 10:35 am, Lawrence said:

    At Al’s Cleaning Service we have special Hypo Allergenic soap, a four part procces just for bed bugs and dust mites. This procces should be done every six months for optimal termination of dust mites. You may be able to hot vac some bed bugs but you need something special for the mites.


  4. March 31, 2009 at 12:34 am, Kellie said:

    Why not use a water filtrated cleaning system (The Rainbow) this new system is great we absolutely love ours! It runs as an air purifier all day every day 24/7 for less than the cost of a 40watt bulb AND sucks all that icky stuff (like dust mite waste) floating around in your air, while your at work or cooking dinner, whatever your doing…it works for you!

    In addition, when you vacuum your bed, furniture, floors, etc. you are actually sucking these nasty mites into the water trap container and DROWNING them…not simply sucking them into a dry container and blowing them back out in the other room. (If your not sure what I am trying to say…look at your dry vacuum system if you can write your name on the topside of the unit thats because it is simply blowing dust, dirt and all those icky allergens and mites right back out into the air you are breathing).

    Many studies show dustmites can only be killed two ways…either by BURNING them (not very practical) OR by DROWNING them…so why use chemicals to burn/kill them and expose your home and yourselves to things (chemicals) you dont have too.

    Visit the website and request a free in-home demonstration if you truely want to get to the root of the problem. Rainbow has been in business since the 1930’s they are a solid company and are worldwide so no matter where you live, someone would be happy to come show you the fabulous new 2 speed Rainbow.


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