Be sure to also see the
page on dust mites
, which also cause allergies. Allergan control measures for beds include enclosing the mattress top and sides with a plastic cover or other dust mite impervious covers
, thoroughly vacuuming mattress pillows and the base of the bed. Put an airtight plastic or polyurethane cover over your mattress.
A number of researchers, like those
the University of Nebraska, have studied control measuresand
have a set of recommendations that are proven to be effective. Recommendations focus on "dust control." One must reduce the concentration of dust borne allergens in the living environment by controlling both allergen production and the dust which serves to transport it. For the bedroom environment
you will want to use some or all of the following methods. Many dustmite measures also work well for cockroach allergans. We
have listed them in order of practicality combined with
Wash your sheets,
pillows and blankets in very hot water. Wash the
sheets and blankets at least every two weeks. Wash your pillow every week
or put a dust mite-proof cover
(available here) on it and wash once per year. Your pillowcase goes over the
dust mite cover.How hot is hot? The water used to wash your sheets and blankets should be at least 130 degrees F (54 degrees C). Set your washing machine to it's hottest setting. If the water doesn't seem to be coming out hot, you may want to check your hot water heater - you may not realize that most household hot water heaters have a knob that can adjust the temperature of the water it produces. For fabrics that may not be washed in hot water; just pop it into the freezer for 24 to 48 hours to kill dust mites.
Clean weekly: Weekly change pillowcases, sheets, and under blankets, and vacuum the bed base and around the covered mattress. Clean flooring: Use a damp mop or rag to remove dust. Never use a dry cloth or broom, since this just stirs up mite allergens.When
vacuuming, wear a dust mask to avoid inhaling allergens. Then
stay out of the vacuumed area for 20 minutes afterwards to allow
any dust and allergens to settle.
Clean daily: Daily damp dust the plastic mattress cover.
Frequently wash all bedding (blankets, mattress pads and comforters) in hot water (130 degrees F [or 60 degrees C] weekly).
Cold and warm water won't kill mites. Also wash curtains.
Steam clean surfaces and materials that cannot put put
through the washing machine: Using pure steam dissolves
dirt and grime, while removing germs and bacteria from the
surfaces that you're cleaning. Steam is also an economical and
environmentally friendly thing to do. There is no longer the
need to use harsh and toxic chemicals. It is also a great way to
kill dust mites and bed bugs. See this steam cleaner:
New Vapamore MR100 Primo Steam Cleaner.
install laminate flooring, wood, tile, linoleum, or vinyl floor covering. Remove cloth drapes and blinds. (If you have carpet, vacuum every day.) Vacuuming your carpets and upholstery every week can help.
See the caution about vacuuming below under tips. Vacuums with high-efficiency filters pick up more dust mites, but even standard vacuums work well enough.
Air Purifiers: While it is better to stop the dust mites
at the source, reducing the dust levels in the air is a good
secondary measure. Some pest control firms sell air purifiers to eliminate the food source of house dust mites. Although ozone air purifiers emit a low level of ozone (activated oxygen) that attaches to fungus, mold, and bacteria on skin flakes, EHSO does not recommend ozone generators (neither does the US Food and Drug Administration). The same ozone that is oxidizes the dust mites is bad for your health. Air purifiers that use HEPA
filtration are more effective and safe to use. Various types of air purifiers can be attached to the central air return to decrease irritants. Most filters remove 50 to 70 percent of material. HEPA filters will remove up to 99 percent of the material;
not just dust mite feces, but also all types of other allergens,
like animal dander, dust, pollen, cockroach feces, etc... See this page for
information about selecting an air purifier.