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Eliminating Dust Mites

Summary: Totally eliminating dust mites is not possible. They thrive in bedrooms and other rooms that get high traffic, being found in carpets, upholstered furniture, drapes, clothing and nearly any place where humans have contact. The dust mite feces causes your allergy problems.

Dust mites are common and can be found in all homes. They are microscopic and cannot be seen with the naked eye. You would need a 10x magnifier to see them. To give you another idea of the size of a dust mite, three dust mites can and fit into the dot of this letter ā€œiā€.

Dust mites do not bite humans, but they do produce allergens that affect millions of people. Totally eliminating dust mites is simply not an option, but you can reduce their numbers. Here are some suggestions that will give you some control over the numbers of dust mites found in your home.


Washing your bedding weekly is essential. Dust mites thrive on the dead skin cells our bodies constantly shed, so finding a food source for a dust mite is no more difficult than locating a resting body. If you don't clean your bedding you could quickly be sharing your bed with up to 10 million dust mites over a six month period. Not a pretty thought and not something most normal people would have to face. But, two weeks without cleaning sheets could get you a dust mite population of 10,000. Still pretty creepy!

Dehumidifiers are great dust mite controllers. Dust mites thrive in high humidity, so simply reducing the humidity to below 50% will greatly reduce their ability to multiply. Now, there are humidifiers and there are humidifiers. You cannot successfully reduce your humidity by hanging those dehumidifying bags that you hang in clothes closets. You need to do your research and buy a unit that will do an effective job.

Consumer Reports rated a bunch of dehumidifiers by testing them in a 13' x 17' room. Their best rating went to the Danby DDR606 for large capacity units at a cost of $250. The LG LHD45EL won their praise for medium capacity units, while the Haier HD306 earned the best marks for the small capacity units, although none of the small capacity units did very well when it came to quiet operation.

With most houses operating with a central air system you definitely want to buy good furnace filters. Selecting the best one is the hardest part. There are electrostatic air filters, media air filters, pleated air filters, HEPA air filters and activated carbon air filters. What's a person to do? It's all a matter of money, my friend. Start low and move up the line. Personally, I avoided buying expensive filters. Then, one day on a whim I decide to upgrade and buy a more expensive disposable filter and was amazed at how much more efficient the filter was at trapping the dirt running through my central air system. So, I'll probably keep buying better and better filters now that I'm hooked. Buy what you can afford. You get what you pay for. For $17 per filter you can get a 3M Filtrete filter which is pretty good at removing pet dander and dust. My system needs two filters and I change them four times a year. That's an investment of $136 per year.

There are dust mite elimination sprays you can buy, many of these being available on line. There is a product appropriately names DustMite that is advertised to kill dust mites in carpets and fabrics for up to six months. There is also something called Allersearch X-Mite that cleans carpets and works on dust mites. I cannot vouch for any of these products because I have not read any lab reports on their effectiveness. Of course, if you don't want to do it yourself the phonebook is filled with companies claiming their can get rid of your dust mites. Better get their guarantee in writing and check out their reputation with the Better Business Bureau.

If the presence of dust mites really has you freaked out you can encase your mattress and box springs in dust mite covers. The whole idea of these covers is that the fabric weave is so tight that it locks the dust mites in so they cannot escape. Of course, it does nothing for the dust mites that have not been trapped inside and those dust mites can multiply, too. Back to square one.

IQAir HealthPro

For those of you who are very serious about your dust mite reduction you can always purchase an air purifier. These systems can run from $700 to $150, depending upon your needs. These systems have HEPA filters which, by definition, can trap 99.97% of 0.3-micrometer particles. Dust mites are 420 micrometers in size, so the HEPA filter can easily trap dust mites. A ConsumerSearch report on air purifiers recommends the IQAir HealthPro for people with severe allergies. It is the most expensive unit, but it is top of the line. The same report recommends the Alen A350 for smaller rooms at a cost of $400. Don't forget you will also need to spend about $80 per year for filter replacements with these units.

Of course, once you eliminate the dust mites you are going to need to think about doing a better job of cleaning up all those dead skin cells falling off your aging body. Life just isn't fair, is it?

Ask Rick A Question


26 Jul 2009, 00:02
Hi Rick,

I have air purifiers running trying to control my mite problem. Not dust mites but some fungi eating mites associated with cereals. There is a scientific report on controlling dust mites with ozone. A disinfection rate of 400 mg-min/L is required to achieve 100% mortallity rate. The average air purifiers with ozone function don't produce ozone at such high levels, but it is still possible to buy special purpose ozone generators on ebay that can achieve that. Of course ozone is a poison and buildings need to be vacated. Would you mind giving your opinion on this for dust mite / house mite / grain mite / fodder mite / mould mite control? It might be an interesting article. here is the link 344~db=all~order=page
09 Aug 2009, 02:30
Some stores are selling pillows and comforters that say they are "less likely to collect dust mites" inside them. I wonder if this is better than just buying the encasement covers. Does anyone know?? I saw some in Macy's by Martha Stewart....but that doesn't prove they work...
10 Aug 2009, 01:17
A Professional heat treatment might be worth trying. It might kill off the mites as well as their food supply.
26 Jul 2011, 16:47
I have a problem with things crawaliing on me and now I notice they are biting me.NO marks yet I had this 2005. It started with my dog than I got rid of the dog cause the vet said I had a allerg to somthing on him. Doctors said it was a allery to dust mites we have tryed every thing from ammia to a mite spray I bought in a catalog it also killed me. Now a bear come to our barn and my husband used the garden hose to clean up the mess the bear made and brought to the yard I went to water my flowers and these things started biting me . I came in and showered and the next day.There all over the porch the out side of my house I opened my kitchen window and now I am vacuming ever day and yesterday three times I mopped the kitchen and vacum three times with in six hours. Iam useing borix and soap with beach on the floor and vacuming and showering. WHAT Do YOU SUGGEST. I NEED HELP BAD PLEASE EMAIL SOON. You can not see these things Waiting Wanda...
Ask the Exterminator
26 Jul 2011, 16:58
Identification is the first step. If you can't see them, you can't ID them. If you can't ID them, you can't determine where they are breeding. If you can't figure out where they are breeding, you can't control them. Get the picture? If you tell people the insects are invisible I guarantee you will never get help. So, figure out a way to trap some insects to get them identified.
26 Jul 2011, 19:21
Hello Wanda, I sympathise with you on this. Some species of mites are microscopic, so they are invisible to the nakd eye. My problem with Fodder Mites which stemmed from stored grain and bird aviaries lasted 20 months, but it gradually went away (Feb 2010) with peaks and troughs along the way. It is possible to send your vacuuming samples to a medical entomologist to ID those mites. If it gets too bad to handle, go on a long vacation to get some mental relief from them.
28 Jul 2015, 16:03
I went through 3 years of this and overcame it. The Alen air purifiers did help tremendously. I have my arsenal but the air cleaners were catching the bulk of them in the air. Mine were collembola..the very worst of the Mighty Mites.
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