Dustmites: Using UV light to kill them in the home
Using UV (Ultraviolet) Light to Kill Dust Mites
Ultraviolet (UV) light has been used for many years in
sterilization of medical instruments and in water purification systems.
UV light can bacteria, viruses, germs, dust mite eggs,
dust mites, molds, etc, but the effectiveness is depends upon the
strength of the light and the amount of time the microorganism is
exposed to it. Other factors affect the results:
If different microbes have differing levels
of resistance to the light, so the same length of exposure does not work
the same on all organisms.
The media to be cleaned and the ability
of the UV light to be penetrate to all areas of contamination.
In many air purification devices and vacuum cleaners,
the air is moving quickly past the UV light (75 to 700 cubic feet per
minute through a narrow pipe). This means there is little time for the
uv light to act.
Where UV light sanitizers are most effective in
killing , germs, dust mite eggs, dust mites, molds and other
microorganisms is where the light is shined on a filter that traps and
holds the bugs or where the light is shined on static surfaces
that are to be sanitized.
This means a wand UV light, used properly, can effectively clean
hard surfaces, like a baby changing tables, but won’t work on a pillow,
since the pillow will block the light and it won’t penetrate the center.
For most applications, washing in very hot water is
best for fabrics, pillows, bedding, curtains, etc.
HEPA air filtration can substantially reduce air borne
concentrations of dust mites, their eggs, bacteria, and other allergens.
HEPA vacuum cleaning can help pull the allergens out of carpets (while
it may temporarily increase the air borne levels).
A comprehensive approach to solving allergy problems at the source:
specific product recommendations and new developments
|Vacuuming Caution: The application of frequent vacuuming as a
dust control measure may aggravate allergic asthmatic conditions because
conventional (non-HEPA) vacuum cleaners are very "inefficient." - they blow
the dust through the cleaner's bag into the air. Vacuuming helps remove the
residue, as does washing, however vacuuming does not generally kill mites
because they cling to the surface. Dust collection by conventional vacuums
results in a significant increase in air borne dust concentrations.
Vacuuming is best accomplished by cleaners that entrain dust into a "liquid
medium" such as water (rather than a dust bag), which reduces the suspension
and dissemination of allergenic dust particles in the air or a true HEPA
filter vacuum. Note: we like the Hoover WindTunnel Premium with it's
powerful motor and true HEPA filtration - and Consumer Reports gave it a top
rating!) On the flip side, a
University of Manchester study claims that vacuuming, even with HEPA
vacuums, makes the airborne spore content worse. Common sense suggests that
a thorough HEPA vacuuming, followed by opening the windows to air out the
house for a few hours, is probably the best approach. Dust mite dander
accumulates indoors, not outside. Anyone allergic, should either not be
present during the vacuuming, or wear a particulate mask.
Where can I find a good air purifier / HEPA filter?
||Steam cleaning: Another approach is to use a carpet steamer to
steam clean the carpets and other surfaces. 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.
||New Anti-Dust Mite Washing Machines: The appliance manufacturer,
LG's next generation of front-loading steam washer/dryer sets (starting in
2008) has a new, 113-minute cycle LG calls “Allergine” which, they say, can
rid laundry of up to 95% of common house allergens like mites and dander.
The new wash cycle heats water to over 131 degrees, killing the mites and
their eggs, as well as washing and removing them. The larger size, 4.2 cubic
feet, will allow consumers to easily launder large allergen-harboring items
like area rugs, bedspreads, pillows, and dog-beds.
See this page for more information.
||What to do with fabrics that cannot be washed in hot water: Make
room in your freezer, and freeze the cloth. It can take as little 1 hour
for small items, or overnight for something big. Freezing is just as
effective as heat. Recent studies also indicate that even washwater that's
86 to 104 degrees, followed by 3 minute cold water rinse cycles is partially
effective in reducing the dustmite and allergen concentration. There are
also laundry detergents that are designed to kill dustmites and remove their
allergens, which can be used in all water temperatures. Look for De-Mite,
AllerTech Laundry Detergent and Allersearch Allergen Wash.
Get De-Mite, laundry additive to eliminate dustmites in cold or warm
water washes (click on the "Laundry" link on the left that, in the window
laundry additive eliminates dust mites in bedding and washable clothing that
laundering in regular detergent alone does not do. Until now the only way to
rid your clothing of dust mite allergens was to wash them in hot water. That
great if all your clothes were white. De-mite® is an additive that you can
add to your favorite detergent. This product works is just as effective in
cold water as it is in hot.
Easy application. Fill the plastic dosage cup 3/4 full and pour it in. each
8 oz bottle treats 12-13 loads of wash.
|De-mite - Laundry Additive
- 8 Ounce Size
This bottle of AllerTech laundry detergent is good for 64 washes.
No pesticides are currently labeled for house dust mites. However, two
non-pesticide products, Acarosan and Allergy Control Solution are available
for treatment of house dust mites and their allergens. The active ingredient
of each is benzyl benzoate and tannic acid. Benzoic acid esters, such as
benzyl benzoate, are very effective acaricides in both laboratory and field
evaluations. Health risks appear to be slight as benzoates are rapidly
metabolized in the body to hippuric acid, which is excreted in the urine.
Most acaricidal studies for house dust mite control have been done in
Europe. Before pesticide recommendations are made in the United States,
approval will be needed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). For
additional information, telephone 1-800-7ASTHMA. ( 800-727-8462)
Get dustmite proof bedding covers, special laundry detergent,
pillow cases, etc.. This is one of our partners, and one of
the few places we've found that carries a range of dustmite
proof covers and other materials:
Keep temperature under 70 and
humidity levels below 50 percent.
Dust mites as well as other allergens thrive on high
humidity. Homes with air conditioning constantly have lower
mite counts then non-air conditioned homes. This can be
accomplished with a couple of relatively inexpensive and
long-lasting dehumidifiers. These have the advantage of
making the air more comfortable in the summer, reducing the
need for air conditioning.
- Wash bedding, rugs,
children's soft toys and pet's bedding frequently
At least every two weeks in very hot
Keep the house clean Dust mites, pollens,
animal dander, and the allergy causing agents can be reduced,
although not eliminated through regular cleaning
- Use a good HEPA
Most non-HEPA vacuums actually cause the problem to worsen
because the filter bags in most models are not efficient and cause
allergen levels to rise. A good HEPA vacuum, like the Hoover Wind
Tunnel series will pick up at least some dust mites and their eggs
and trap all it picks up.
Some vacuums are now being designed to kill dust mites. Halo
Technologies says its uprights, including the $400 UVX, kill dust
mites, flea eggs, and germs using UV light. Consumer Reports hasn't
yet tested those claims because this model wasn't very good at the
basic tasks of cleaning carpets and picking up pet hair. Watch here
for future developments.
Use a good air filter
to remove airborne allergans
- Most store bought air
filters an not capable of trapping mites and their by-products.
One should also look for a filter that has anti-microbial
properties, to prevent the filter from becoming a breeding
ground for allergens. Filters that call themselves "washable"
should be avoided because it just is not possible to wash 100%
of the biological contaminants out of them and they will also
become a breeding ground. The Honeywell brand with inexpensive
replaceable prefilters and long-lasting HEPA filters work well
|March 3, 2008: Dust mites and cockroach feces and other gens
may make it harder for
skin to heal, news reports say South Korean researchers
report. Reported in
Reuters, the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, researchers
said it was important, especially for people with eczema, to protect
themselves from such microscopic bugs and filth. Dust mite and
cockroach allergens are particles of feces, saliva and other matter
found on the bodies of these insects.
||February 1, 2008: Dust Mite Resistant Car Seat Covers -
reports that Toyota has announced the development of the world’s
first car seat fabric agent that stops 98% of dust mites from
becoming active. Toyota intends to begin offering this new treatment
on vehicles sold in Japan in the next few years.t.
feeling queasy? Well, follow the links below for more information, but not near dinner (or bed) time!
A very useful website to tell you what is blooming when in your area! Works anywhere in the world.
Clemson University's fact sheet on controlling dust mites, which are second only to pollen in causing allergic reactions
|What is house dust mite allergy?
NetDoctor.co.uk: by Dr Paul Klenerman, specialist and Professor Brian Lipworth, professor of allergies and respiratory medicine
|Dust Mites in the Home
|House Dust Mites
National Jewish Hospital fact sheet about dust mites
|House Dust Mites
University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County factsheet and audio message on house dust mites (includes biology and control)
Sun Herald - Good housekeeping reduces dust mites
||Dust Mite Research
The Ohio State University Acarine Physiology Laboratory’s research agenda consists of basic and applied research on ticks and mites of medical importance. Our current mite research focuses on novel methods for controlling house mites.
|House dust mite facts.
Authoritative facts about the skin from the New Zealand Dermatological Society.
|Allergy and Asthma Prevention from Dust Mites
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
Cleaning the air in a sick house - Dust, mold, cleaning
agents, pet dander, chemicals and especially tobacco smoke can
keep you from breathing as easy as you should. from the
||Dust Mite Facts and Control Measures
Medical Entomology Department at ICPMR, Westmead Hospital.
|Mayo Clinic: Dust mites: Common cause of allergy symptoms
Dust mites cause allergy symptoms all year long. Get dust mite allergy relief.
|Dust Mites - Medical and Veterinary Entomology;
Medical Entomology Department at ICPMR, Westmead Hospital, Australia.
|Breast Milk May Inhibit Allergies in Infants
Ohio State University -
http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/2000/2157.html (much of the
scientific background comes from this study)