All you need to know about the house dust mite

Common questions about dust mites

Below are some frequently asked questions. As you can imaging we receive hundreds of questions about the house dust mite and while we are happy to help where possible, you should find most answers in this site for both home and academic purposes.

How to get rid of dust mites?

Avoidance

There are six different ways to kill house dust mites. You can freeze, boil, poison or microwave them on high for 5 minutes, dry up like a raisins, or put them in a hot tumble dryer for 20 minutes, but the best way is to prevent them from finding a hiding place. Uncluttered rooms and micro-porous covers help. For details look further into our site.

Can you see dust mites?

Avoidance

magnifyingglassNo, they are so small (0.3mm) that you need a magnifying glass to see them. If you do see mites without any magnification, they could be a different kind of mite!

Why are house dust mites so harmful?

Avoidance Health

House dust mites produce powerful enzymes that are strong enough to break down delicate cells, then go on to enter the body, a bit like an invasion. For some people this invasion causes a reaction, for others it's just unwanted dirt that gets cleaned up. Interestingly, doctors have found that some aggressive pollen seems to work in the same destructive way, but these are seasonal pollens, whereas house dust mites can be year-round pests in allergy.

How can I tell if there are mites in my bed?

Bedding

There is a dust mite test kit that can be purchased for this job. All you need is a vacuum cleaner and you can test at two different test areas in your home.

What is the best way to be sure that house dust mites will not come into my bed?

Avoidance Bedding

First is to understand how the mite lives and then take measures to make sure a mite is not welcomed in your bed. Cover your mattress, pillows and duvets with micro-porous material. Remove carpets and clutter. Do not make your bed in the morning, simply air it all day long to reduce moisture from sleep.

If I put micro-porous covers on a pillow, does it have to be new?

Bedding

It is best to have new pillows for new micro-porous covers. Or have expensive pillows dry cleaned before covering.

Do I have to cover all the bed and bedding? It's very expensive!

Bedding

If cost is an issue or more than one bed in a home needs anti-mite treatment consider replacing old bedding by shopping around on line looking for a quality mattress at reasonable prices. Clinically proven anti-mite sprays are available to help keep mattresses mite free.

Why isn't just vacuuming my mattress good enough to get rid of house dust mites?

Avoidance Bedding

House dust mites hide away from the light and burrow deep into the mattress clinging on with powerful hooks and suckers on each of their eight legs. However, vacuuming the mattress will reduce some of the dust that mites consider as food.

How old is an old mattress?

Bedding

Unless you have protected your mattress with a micro-porous cover, then a mattress is at risk of becoming a home for mites, old is a matter of hygiene. If the mattress has not been in humid conditions it may not be a home for dust mites. A simple dust mite test will give you an answer.

What diseases can dust mites cause?

Health

House dust mites can cause allergic rhinitis (hay fever), asthma, eczema and affect other associated diseases. They have also been linked with conjunctivitis, urticaria, dermatitis, anaphylaxis, hypersensitive pneumonia, angioedema, extrinsic allergic alveolitis, allergic and migraine headache, and certain gut disorders in which IgE is involved. Allergy testing is always recommended to confirm a clinical diagnosis of health problems caused by mite exposure.

Can mites live on top of covers?

Bedding

Yes, if left undisturbed with moisture and plenty of food mites will multiply on the top of a micro porous cover. It is important to dust the covers regularly to prevent this from happening.

What is skin prick testing?

Health

A skin prick test is a safe method of introducing a small amount of allergen into the body in order to measure the strength of any allergic reaction. Timing for reactions can start 5 minutes after the test and peak about 30 minutes later. Any red mark or 'wheal' is then measured and recorded as an allergy trigger if the patient has accompanying allergy symptoms. It is important to have this diagnostic tool administered by a doctor or allergy nurse.

By taking steps to cover the mattress, pillow and duvet how soon will I notice a difference in my child's health?

Bedding

This will depend upon your child's health and confirmed allergies. What you will be doing is practicing 'sleep hygiene', or creating a safer sleep environment recommended by doctors .

How old is an old mattress?

Bedding

Mattress makers say 'over 2 years old', but if the mattress is clean, mite free, and gives good support, it's up to you. A simple dust mite test will give you an answer.

How do house dust mites get into my bed in the first place?

Avoidance Bedding

Mites are able to travel about by clinging to material, fur, feathers or anything that will give them a place to hide and a ride to a new home. Socks, soft toys or night clothes can transport mites to a bed.

Do I have to treat all of the beds in my home?

Bedding

Doctors recommend that all beds be made anti-mite beds with dust mite proof allergy pillow cover and an allergy mattress cover.