You've probably heard of dust mites – but how much do you really know about these tiny creatures? Read on to learn more about these little pests who like to hide in your carpet, sofas and mattresses, and how you can do a better job of getting rid of them.
What are dust mites?
Some people have the misconception that "dust mite" is just another term for "dust." This is not the case. While there are most certainly dust mites in any dust you sweep off a piece of furniture or vacuum up from the rug, dust mites are not the sole component of that dust. Rather, they are microscopic creatures (you cannot see them with your naked eyes) that feed on the flakes of skin and other organic matter in the dust. Their feces also comprise a certain portion of the dust in your home.
Male dust mites live for between 10 and 19 days, and females can live for as long as 70 days. They reproduce and thrive most easily in carpets and bedding, which is why keeping these items clean is the key to getting rid of dust mites.
How can you remove dust mites from carpeting?
Vacuuming regularly is very important. You do not want to let the dust accumulate too much, since the more dust there is, the more food there will be for the dust mites – and the faster they will reproduce. Use a powerful vacuum with brushes to help loosen any dust that has been ground in to the carpet.
Also, have your carpets professionally cleaned at least every 6 – 12 months. This will help kill any dust mites that have worked their way deeper into the carpet fibers where the vacuum can't reach. Ensure you open the windows and turn on fans to dry the carpet out as quickly as possible after the cleaning session. Dust mites like moist environments!
How can you remove dust mites from bedding?
Launder your sheets once per week, using hot water to ensure you kill all of the dust mites (along with any germs). Also make sure you vacuum your mattress every 6 months, as it tends to hold on to dust mites. Wash your bed pillows every six months, using the gentle cycle and hot water. This is extremely important, since the pillows are near your face, and you will be inhaling any dust mites found on or in them. Consider replacing your pillows once a year or every two years, especially if you're particularly allergic to dust mites.
If you find yourself sneezing and suffering from itchy eyes at home, then dust mites are likely to blame. Put the above information to use, and you're sure to feel more comfortable. To learn more, contact a cleaning service like Kathy's Quality Cleaning, Inc.