The kids are sound asleep… you retire to your lavender-scented bedroom, your 400 thread count sheets, and you lay down on your Tempurpedic pillow, ready to fall soundly asleep on skin flakes and feces. Whoa… WHAT?!?!? Yes, your bed is filled with dust mites and their poop. They feed off your skin flakes and then produce waste. Ewwww!!!! I know I’ve totally grossed you out at this point, so today I’m sharing five steps to help banish dust mites in your bed so you can wake up not sniffling and sneezing as much.
Today I am going to share scientific information directly from the experts, and then give you a five-step process to HELP banish dust mites from your bed. According to the experts, they can never be completely eliminated, but a little diligence will go a long way in solving the problem.
What are Dust Mites and Why Should I Care?
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology:
“Dust mites are the most common cause of allergy from house dust. Dust mites live and multiply easily in warm, humid places. They prefer temperatures at or above 70 degrees Fahrenheit with humidity of 75 to 80 percent. They die when the humidity falls below 50 percent. Dust mite particles are often found in pillows, mattresses, carpeting and upholstered furniture.”
“Dust mites spend their lives moving about, eating, reproducing and eliminating waste products. A mite’s life cycle consists of several stages, from egg to adult. A female may lay as many as 100 eggs in her lifetime. Depending on the species, it takes anywhere from 2 to 5 weeks for an adult mite to develop from an egg. Adults may live for 2 to 4 months.”
“Dust mites thrive in temperatures of 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit and relative humidity levels of 70 percent to 80 percent, and are well adapted to the environment inside your home. They feed chiefly on the tiny flakes of human skin that people normally shed each day. These flakes work their way deep into the inner layers of furniture, carpets, bedding and even stuffed toys. These are the places where mites thrive. An average adult person may shed up to 1.5 grams of skin in a day, this is enough to feed 1 million dust mites!”
What Is Dust Mite Allergy?
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America:
“Dust mites may be the most common cause of year-round allergy and asthma. About 20 million Americans have dust mite allergy. Dust mites are well adapted to most areas of the world—they are found on every continent except Antarctica.”
“These waste products, not the mites themselves, are what cause allergic reactions. Dust mite waste contains a protein that is an allergen—a substance that provokes an allergic immune reaction—for many people. Throughout its life, a single dust mite may produce as much as 200 times its body weight in waste. Most dust mites die when exposed to low humidity levels or extreme temperatures. But they leave their waste behind, which continues to cause allergic reactions. In a warm, humid house, dust mites can easily survive year round.”
“Having dust mites doesn’t mean that your house isn’t clean. In most areas of the world, these creatures are in every house, no matter how immaculate. But it is true that keeping your home as free of dust as possible can lessen dust mite allergy.”
“Studies show that more dust mites live in the bedroom than anywhere else in the home. So to attack the problem of dust mite allergy, the bedroom is the best place to start.”
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The Chemical Method
There are many chemicals on the market which promise to help banish these little boogers. I love these warnings, and don’t they make you feel good about putting them on your bed where you and your children sleep?
“If [chemical gets on your] skin or clothing, take off contaminated clothing. Rinse skin immediately with plenty of water for 15-20 minutes. If Swallowed, call a poison control center or doctor immediately for treatment advice. Hazardous to humans and domestic animals. Harmful if absorbed through the skin. Avoid contact with eyes, skin or clothing. Wash hands before eating, drinking, chewing gum, using tobacco or using the toilet. In the home, all food/feed processing surfaces and utensils should be covered during treatment, or thoroughly washed before use. Remove pets, birds and cover fish aquarium before spraying. Vacate room after treatment and ventilate before reoccupying.”
5 All Natural Steps to Take
Or…. you can do a few things yourself which are much less hazardous to your health. After my research (including sites like www.medicinenet.com and www.aafa.org), I learned that there are many things you can do like remove the carpet from your bedroom, clean your drapes, and/or get allergy shots. The following five steps are much easier and less invasive and can be done monthly or quarterly, according to your allergy level and schedule.
1. Strip the bed.
Strip the bed completely, including the dust ruffle. All you want to be left is the mattress.
2. Use a homemade cleaning solution.
Mix equal parts of alcohol and vinegar in a glass spray bottle. Add 20-30 drops of Tea Tree Essential Oil. Tea Tree, also known as Melaleuca Alternifolia has many benefits, one of which being an insecticide. Spray down your mattress, and the areas around your headboard and foot board. Let completely dry.
3. Use a good quality mattress cover and pillow protectors.
You will want your mattress cover and pillow protectors to be allergen-impermeable zippered and dust-proof. The better ones will cost a little more, so you will need to weigh the quality of life factors in deciding which kind to purchase. A quality organic mattress is also a really good idea.
4. Wash sheets, blankets, comforter in hot water.
5. Place the pillows in the dryer for a few minutes on high heat.
The items that you can’t physically wash, such as your pillows, bolsters, or large comforters, simply place in the dryer on high heat for a few minutes.
And yes of course, after all of this, you do need to put your bed back together. It’s a bit of a process and does take some time, but it’s worth it to not use a bunch of harmful chemicals where you sleep.
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Love, hugs, and now I lay me down to sleep.
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