By: Lizelle Verrall
None of us are sleeping alone. Unfortunately we all share our beds with millions of dust mites. And if that hasn’t gotten your skin crawling just yet, then the following most definitely will…
Your bed is the prime habitat of these minute creatures. A typical used mattress may have anywhere from 100 000 to 10 million mites inside! (Ten per cent of the weight of a two year old pillow can be composed of dead mites and their faeces!!)
Mites prefer warm, moist surroundings such as the inside of a mattress when someone is on it. Their favourite food is dander – both human and animal skin flakes. Humans shed about 5 grams of dander (dead skin) each week. About 80% of the material seen floating in a sunbeam is actually skin flakes! Also, bedroom carpeting and household upholstery support high mite populations.
Rid your mattress of dust mites
Dust mites can cause serious allergies and are not easy to eliminate, as simply killing them leaves their faeces behind and they are also impervious to chemical sanitisers.
Here are a few different methods of removing dust mites from your mattress:
1. Lower the humidity in your bedroom
Dust mites require relatively high levels of humidity to survive (around 80% humidity). By running a dehumidifier, such as the Meaco 12L or 20L Low-Energy Dehumidifiers with a HEPA filter, and taking the humidity down, you will make the conditions unfavourable for dust mites to survive. But keep in mind that while you sleep your perspiration will increase the amount of humidity on your bedding, which could make the conditions favourable again. Scientists recommend that counteract this, you don’t make your bed first thing when you get up in the morning, but rather to throw back the duvet and sheets so that the excess moisture evaporates.
2. Baking soda and vacuuming
To get rid of the faecal matter of the dust mites (as this is what is causing the allergies), you need to vacuum your mattress regularly! Baking soda and vacuuming can work for a mattress with a fabric surface, for example a spring coil mattress (do not try this directly on a latex or memory foam core). Mix one cup of baking soda with a few drops of essential oil of your choice. Then simply sprinkle baking soda on the mattress and let it sit for 15 minutes. Then vacuum it all off using the hose attachment to suck up all the baking soda fully. This will suck up the dust mites along with the baking soda. It’s best to use a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter, as this will be properly effective in picking up and containing the dust mites – ordinary vacuums will just spread the dust mites around further.
3. Wash your linen in hot water
Washing your linens in cold or warm water won’t do a thing to them. However, washing your sheets (and pillows) and other linens in water of 60˚C will be effective.
4. Vacuum and dust your home
It is important to remember that dust mites can be picked up from anywhere else in the home and wind up on an otherwise clean mattress and multiply. So even if you clean your mattress and sheets regularly, you’ll need to be just as vigilant to vacuum your carpets frequently to decrease dust mites there too. Wood, tile or linoleum floors are less friendly to dust mites than carpets – especially if they are mopped regularly.
5. Use an air purifier
While it is better to stop the dust mites at the source, reducing the dust levels in the air is a good secondary measure. The Airvax Air Purifier with its patented Static Electricity Film Filter (SEFF filter) traps particles in the air as small as 0.1 micron. It has been independently tested and scientifically proven to provide protection against fine dusts, exhaust gases from cars, VOCs, viruses, MRSA, moulds, bacteria, tobacco smoke, carbon monoxide and pet dander. Best of all, the Airvax does not create Ozone, is energy efficient and destroys bacteria and allergens in the filter!
6. Buy a new pillow
Pillows are traps for dust mites. So try buy new pillows every six months.
7. Wash stuffed toys!
Either wash stuffed toys often or place them in ziplock bags, tightly sealed in the freezer.
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