What Are Dust Mites? Allergic Symptoms and Eradication Tips

A dust mite is an insect-like pest that is too small for the human eye to see. You need a microscope to see it. It's in the same family as a spider, which might explain why it looks like a small, white spider under a microscope.

Dust mites live in warm, humid areas. Dust mites can be found in carpets, bedding, furniture, air ducts, and stuffed animal toys.

They don't burrow, bite, or sting your body, but they feed on your dead skin cells. A human sheds about 1.5 grams of dead skin cells daily. This amount can feed about one million mites. They also feed on house dust and other microscopic food sources, including fungal spores.

If you're allergic to dust mites, you can get allergic reactions, for example, when they thrive in your dusty air ducts. Dust mite urine and feces, and decaying bodies have proteins. If you're allergic, you may have a reaction when you inhale this protein.

close up look at what a dust mite is

What Causes Dust Mites?

High humidity levels cause dust mites, so any home with high humidity can be prone to infestations. Maintaining low humidity in your home or office is the best way to keep them away. Dust mites may also thrive in dusty bathrooms, kitchens, stores, and other areas of your home. Ensure that your home or office is clean, always.

Where Do Dust Mites Come From?

Dust may occur naturally in every home. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, dust mites are caused by high humidity levels. Dust mites need water to thrive, hence the reason for thriving in high humidity levels.

What Do Dust Mite Bites Look Like?

Dust mites don't bite. They only cause an allergic reaction, which results in red, itchy skin rashes. People who suffer from an allergic reaction and those who don't may suffer from allergic reactions if they inhale mites' fecal matter or/and skin.

Dust mites may have invaded the place if your allergic symptoms worsen during hot, humid summertime or when you're indoors or in the office.

man sneezing, wrapped in a blanket, as he deals with dust mite allergies

Do Dust Mites Cause Allergies?

Dust mites cause allergies. Anyone (people with allergic reactions and those without) can suffer from dust mite allergic reactions.

Dust mite allergies may worsen when you lie down at night or spend most of the time indoors (in the house or office).

Some of the symptoms of dust mite allergy are:

  • Itchy throat
  • Coughing
  • Congestion
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Postnasal drip
  • Sneezing
  • Red, itchy skin rashes
  • Swollen, bluish-like skin underneath your eyes

If you suffer from dust mite allergy and asthma, you may experience more symptoms, for example;

  • Talking and breathing challenges
  • Acute asthma attack
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness
  • Chest pains
  • Shortness of breath

What Kills Dust Mites/How to Get Rid of Them?

It's not easy getting rid of dust mites, but it's possible. Firstly, identify their thriving zones in your home or office.

Some areas dust mites thrive in include:

  • Dirty air ducts
  • Pillows
  • Carpets
  • Upholstered furniture
  • Bedding
  • Curtains and blinds
  • Pet furniture, toys, and bedding

AI image of a dehumidifier to combat dust mites in a home

How to get rid of dust mites:

  1. Keep humidity below 50%: Dust mites don't thrive in low humidity, so use dehumidifiers and air conditioners in your home and office. Opening the windows or blinds during the day helps keep your home properly ventilated, lowering humidity.
  2. Buy special pillowcases and mattresses: Zippered pillows and mattress covers create a barrier. You may also consider buying allergen-impermeable or dustproof covers.
  3. Clean your air ducts professionally: Dusty air ducts are a thriving place for dust mites. An expert cleaner can help to eliminate dust mites by offering professional air duct deep cleaning services.
  4. Wash the bedding weekly in hot water: Wash the bedding (pillowcases, bedsheets, comforters, and blankets) every 7 days using hot water. High water temperatures of about 130°F or more kill dust mites. Allow the bedding to dry completely before using them.
  5. Vacuum weekly or as needed: Use vacuums with HEPA filters to vacuum your home and office carpets. Hire carpet cleaner professionals to clean your carpet to eliminate dust mites completely. Alternatively, use hard-surfaced flooring in place of carpets. It's also important that you clean your upholstered furniture often.
  6. Buy washable toys: Buy washable toys to make it easy to keep them clean. Always ensure they've entirely dried before giving them to your pets or kid(s).
  7. Dust often: Since dust is a dust mite's thriving area, dust your home often, especially if you live near a dusty road. To completely remove dust, use a duster or a damp cloth that traps maximum dust.

male Zerorez technician cleaning a white upholstered sofa in a living room to eliminate dust mites

Seek Professional Help Against Dust Mites

Avoid cleaning your home if you suffer from allergies or are allergic to dust mites. It's better and healthier for you to hire an expert to clean your home or office. At Zerorez®, we offer professional, deep cleaning of multiple surfaces throughout your home and are only a call away!

Book a Cleaning with Zerorez® Today!