What to Buy to Get Rid of Household Bugs Like Dust Mites
Dust mites are microscopic relatives of the spider and dwell in the carpet, upholstery and bedding of most homes. They feed on the flakes of skin that naturally fall from the human body. Allergies to these creatures cause a range of symptoms, including runny nose, congestion, sneezing and watery eyes. Fortunately, a number of products are available to help control dust mites and other household bugs.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, roughly 20 million Americans suffer from dust mite allergies. Unfortunately, dust mites are well-adapted to the temperature and humidity found in most homes, and eliminating them entirely is typically not possible. Still, with a comprehensive approach, you can significantly reduce their numbers.
Begin by purchasing zippered, allergy-proof or dustproof covers for your pillows and mattresses. These products, which come in vinyl and micro-woven fabric, will block dust mites’ access to these common feeding sites and lower your exposure. Check your local bedding store for availability, or order these items from a specialized anti-allergy supply company. To add to your protection, purchase plastic or vinyl coverings for your box springs. The bedding you buy will also affect your exposure to dust mites. Wool and down bedding will generally cause you the most problems, since they are difficult to clean and trap significant quantities of dust.
Keeping the humidity in your house low will also reduce dust mites’ activity. Purchase one or more dehumidifiers for this purpose, and aim for an average inside humidity between 30 and 50 percent. Measure the humidity percentage with a device called a hygrometer, which you can find in most hardware stores. An efficient air conditioner can also help lower your household humidity.
Vacuums and Filters
Vacuum all carpets and upholstered furniture regularly to minimize dust on their surfaces. Water-filter vacuums may be best for this purpose, since they trap dust particles in a wide range of sizes. You can also purchase a more conventional vacuum cleaner that uses either a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter or a double-layered microfilter bag. If possible, leave vacuuming to someone who is not allergic to dust mites. If you must do the vacuuming yourself, purchase a filtering face mask from your local pharmacy or hardware store. Purchase or rent a steam cleaner for periodic thorough carpet cleanings. If you can afford the expense, consider replacing any thick carpeting or deeply upholstered furniture. Both linoleum and wood floors are easier to clean, as are washable throw rugs. If you have curtains or horizontal blinds in your house, consider replacing them with roll-type window shades.
You may also buy air purifiers to collect and control dust. Typically, these products are not the best option for eliminating dust mites, which are relatively heavy and not frequently airborne. Still, you may gain benefit from a purifier if you use it immediately after or in combination with other forms of cleaning that temporarily force dust mites into the air.