Mites are microscopic organisms that live on fabrics or similar surfaces.
They accumulate mainly in the bedroom (mattresses and pillows are their favourite places) and they can cause allergies and diseases.
That’s why we’ll tell you how to reduce them in this article.
What are mites?
Mites are a subclass of arachnids and don’t measure more than a few millimetres in length. They have diverse habitats and have colonized land and marine environments, and even extreme sites such as deserts, high mountains and hot springs.
Many mites feed on moss, leaves, ferns, stems and flowers, whilst others live on crops (pests).
Some cause allergies in people and others are animal parasites. Allergies are due to the mites’ excrement and dead specimens (which we don’t see, but which accumulate in the home).
Dust mites can be found in any environment and can be inhaled without realising it, triggering persistent allergies or asthma.
This type of mite is abundant in mattresses, blankets, sheets, pillows and sofas and can live up to 3 months. In that period they can lay up to 100 eggs.
Their favourite times for reproduction are autumn and spring.
Amongst dust mite allergy symptoms we can find:
- Runny nose
- Sneezing (especially in the morning)
- Nasal congestion
- Watery and itchy eyes
- Redness of the skin
- Whistling when breathing
How to reduce mites at home
Due to their tiny size and the fact that they can be found in any place that we usually use, such as the bed or the sofa, we often don’t realise that they’ve taken over our room or bedroom until the first symptoms begin.
Therefore, cleaning is essential for preventing of allergies or asthma caused by mites at home.
Here are some helpful tips to help reduce them:
1. Change bedding regularly
Mites mainly feed on dust and dead skin. When we sleep, we shed particles and the micro-organisms can feast.
Therefore try to change sheets and blankets every one or two weeks.
2. Washing at high temperatures
All bedding should be washed with water as hot as possible (55 ° C, approximately). You can program your washing machine to that temperature.
Don’t hesitate to use a powerful and good quality detergent. We recommend products that contain eucalyptus, tea tree, or cedar oil to increase effectiveness.
- If you use cold or warm water, you should also use some type of bleach that’s suitable for clothes.
- Don’t mix your bedding with other clothes to prevent the mites from passing from one object to the other.
- After washing, you can rinse the washing machine with hot water to get rid of the parasites completely.
- To dry your clothes, leave them in the sun all day after going through the dryer.
3. Vacuum weekly
Your vacuum cleaner is not only good for carpets, but can also be used for the sofa, curtains, chairs (depending on the upholstery), the bed, etc.
In other words, all furniture or places where people lie down and can leave dead skin cells.
- In order for the vacuum cleaner to do its job effectively, it should have a double-layer micro-filter bag which will trap dust particles and mites at the same time.
- Bear in mind that vacuuming surfaces is no guarantee that these pathogens and their allergens will disappear.
- The good thing is that the dust and the particles that they feed on will be greatly reduced. Don’t forget to maintain your vacuum cleaner so that it functions properly.
4. Steam clean
This is especially important if you have carpets on the floor. This option dissolves dirt and also kills germs and mites on both the surface and in the deeper parts of the fabric.
After cleaning, you’ll have to use a dryer or de-humidifier, since the humidity can create the ideal environment for bacteria to accumulate and call the attention of these micro-organisms.
Furthermore, we recommend that you don’t use dusters or dry rags, because they spread allergens in the air. Instead, it’s better to use a damp cloth or a mop for dry surfaces.
5. Wash your stored clothes
It’s quite common to store blankets and warm clothes when summer begins and then get them out as soon as winter begins.
- Before putting them on the bed or wearing them, we advise you to wash them first.
- During the time they were in a box or under the bed, mites will have multiplied and survived their confinement.
6. Cover with plastic covers
Dust-proof anti-allergy covers are available in stores and are made from well-woven cloth to prevent mites from settling.
Pillows are best if they’re made with synthetic padding. Also, the most suitable mattresses contain visco-elastic foam.
7. Say goodbye to stuffed animals and carpets
To prevent mites from wreaking havoc with your health, it’s best to reduce the areas where they can thrive, such as stuffed toys and carpeted floors.
We also recommend that you don’t sleep on the sofa to prevent them from accumulating there, and that you have as few objects as possible that can attract dust.
A minimalist decoration can be key. Plus, don’t forget to ventilate rooms at least once a week.