Dust mites are microscopic bugs that live off of dead skin cells and animal dander. Descendants of the common spider, dust mites have eight legs and live between 10-19 days. Even with a short life space, they are able to lay 60-80 eggs before they pass. Although they wreak havoc for those with allergies and asthma, they are not parasites and do not carry disease. Dust mite’s preferred place of residence is the mattress where skin cells are plentiful. The average person sheds over 1/3 of an ounce worth of skin cells per week proving a constant supply of food for dust mites.
The main issue with dust mites is their microscopic fecal matter left behind daily, which creates issues for those with allergies and asthma. Just one mattress can be home to over 10 million fecal matter producing dust mites. Cleaning your sheets often is not enough to keep dust mite populations down as they can also be found living on the surface of your mattress, which is seldom if ever cleaned. Some frequently vacuum the surface of their mattress, but the best way to reduce dust mite populations is through a bedding encasement or mattress protector. By applying a protection product, dust mites cannot penetrate into the mattress making it easier to remove dust mites. Periodically washing your protector or encasement with your sheets will kill the dust mites and remove their leftover fecal matter. Don’t forget pillow encasements, which protect the sleeper from their pillow and can offer great relief for those with allergies and asthma.
Reducing the amount of dust in your home, which is mostly made from skin cells, is a great way to reduce the adverse health effects of dust mites. Using vacuum cleaners equipped with HEPA filters regularly and installing quality air filters can also reduce the amount of airborne dust mite feces found in the home. Using dehumidifiers also works well as dust mites prefer humid environments.