I Really Did NOT Want to Know This!

October 1, 2014

Recently I was very frustrated by the amount of dust in my house even with repeated dusting. So I thought the I would go to the internet to search for a more effective dusting technique. Every time I pulled up an article about dust, I found out information about what dust was made up of and, in particular, about dust mites. 

One such list read like this:

Constituents of House Dust-- synthetic, wool, cotton, paper and silk fibers; fingernail filings; food crumbs; glass particles; glue; graphite; hair, human and animal; insect fragments; oil soot; paint chips; plant parts; pollen; salt and sugar crystals; human skin scales; pet skin scales; soil; and the list goes on. 

Dust mites come under the insect fragments component. Dust mites are tiny microscopic relatives of the spider and live on mattresses, bedding, upholstered furniture, carpets and curtains.

Dust mites live in your pillow by the millions, eating your dead skin and hair. Beds are a prime habitat (where 1/3 of life occurs). A typical used mattress may have anywhere from 100,000 to 10 million mites inside. Ten percent of the weight of a two year old pillow can be composed of dead mites and their droppings. You probably shed enough skin a day to feed a million dust mites. 

They are a major cause of asthma and allergies especially in children and the elderly. Dust mites are not parasites; they don't bite, sting or burrow into our bodies. The harmful allergen they create comes from their fecal pellets and body fragments.

I warned you that you probably did not want to know this--but you should know it, especially if you have people in your home allergic to dust mites(dust). Dust mites (sometimes called bed mites) are the most common cause of allergy from house dust. 

Tips for reducing house dust allergens:

  1. Measure the indoor humidity and keep it below 55 percent. Do not use vaporizers or humidifiers. You may need a dehumidifier. Use vent fans in bathrooms and when cooking to remove moisture.
  2. Remove wall-to-wall carpets from the bedroom if possible. Use a central vacuum or a vacuum with a HEPA filter regularly. Remember, it takes over two hours for the dust to settle back down, so if possible clean when the allergic patient is away and don't clean the bedroom at night.
  3. Encase mattresses and pillows with "mite-proof" covers. Wash all bed linens regularly using hot water.
  4. Do not leave out uncovered food at night. Dispose of food wastes (including fast food wraps) in a tightly sealed garbage can.
  5. Install a high efficiency filter in the furnace and air-conditioning unit. Leave the fan on to create a "whole house" air filter that removes particulates. Change the filter at least every three months.
  6. Use a damp mop or rag to remove dust. Never use a dry cloth since this just stirs up mite allergens.
  7. Replace traditional stuffed animals with washable ones.

A dirty house can make a house dust allergy problem worse, but normal housekeeping may not be enough to get rid of house dust allergies. This is because many of the substances in dust cannot be removed by normal cleaning procedures. Vigorous cleaning methods can actually put more dust into the air making symptoms worse.

Typically, the best mattress and pillow sales are in January and August. My bet is that most of you will not wait for the sales.