Allergic to dust? You’re not alone. Up to 130 million people are sneezing and wheezing due to dust allergies. But these allergies are really caused by the tiny particles, body fragments and waste from house dust mites. While it’s hard to get rid of these pests, there are measures you can take to get rid of dust mites living in your home textiles. Because dust mite particles often become airborne, using an air purifier with a high-efficiency particle air (HEPA) filter can also help remove these and other allergens from the air.
Air purifiers for dust mites
If you suffer from allergies and asthma, dust mites can be a major indoor trigger that make your symptoms worse. Fortunately, an air purifier is great for dust removal, including dust mite allergens, and can help you breathe easier. An air purifier also prevents sickness by killing harmful airborne germs.
Dust mites and health problems
Being exposed to dust mites at home on an ongoing basis can have a dramatic impact on your health. Dust mite allergies can range from mild to severe. Symptoms include a runny nose, watery eyes, and sneezing, also known as allergic rhinitis. In serious cases, the condition is ongoing or chronic, resulting in persistent sneezing, cough, congestion, facial pressure or severe asthma attacks. According to the American Lung Association, dust mite exposure can actually cause asthma.
What are dust mites?
Dust mites are microscopic, insect-like pests living in pillows, mattresses, blankets, carpets, clothing and other soft materials in nearly all homes. According to the American Lung Association, hundreds of thousands of dust mites can live in the bedding, mattresses, upholstered furniture, carpets or curtains in your home. Roughly four out of five homes in most parts of the United States have detectable levels of dust mite allergen in at least one bed.
Feeding on dead human skin cells found in dust, dust mites are not parasites, meaning they do not bite, sting or burrow into our bodies. While that is a plus, they do create harmful allergens from their fecal pellets and body fragments.
Dust mite removal
The best natural remedies center on preventing exposure to the critters. To limit exposure, start with your bedroom, where mite numbers are highest and where we all spend a third of our lives. It is helpful to wash your bedding in hot water once a week.
Humidity and high concentrations of dust mites go hand in hand. While they don’t drink water, dust mites absorb moisture from the air. If you live in a humid area, air conditioning and dehumidifiers can help. In areas with low humidity, like deserts, dust mites can simply not survive. So, one way to limit the dust mite population is to keep the humidity level in your home below 50%. On dry days, open windows for about one hour per day to help remove humidity from the house.
Using furniture with smooth surfaces, eliminating drapes and curtains, and encasing mattresses and pillows can dramatically reduce dust mites as well. If you are allergic to dust mites, it’s best not to have carpeting at all. If you prefer carpeting, be sure to use a vacuum cleaner with a high-efficiency filter or a central vacuum cleaner. When you dust, be sure to use a damp mop or damp cloth to reduce the amount of dust stirred up while cleaning.
To reduce dust mite allergy symptoms:
- Even if dust mites may be more common during the humid summer months, they often get stirred up into the air when you start up your indoor heating in the autumn. So, before you turn the central heating on for the first time after summer, clean the air vents throughout the house. Otherwise, allergens trapped in the vents will fill the air as soon as you start the furnace.
- Dust mites love bedrooms! Cover your mattress and pillows in dust-proof covers, and regularly wash all bedding in hot water.
- Dust and vacuum your home regularly. Be sure to wear a filtering mask while cleaning.
- Consider replacing wall-to-wall carpet with hardwood floors.
The best air purifier for dust removal
Most exposure to dust mite allergens happens while you are sleeping or when dust is disturbed while making your bed or when simply moving about the room. An air purifier in your bedroom can help trap these allergens before they have a chance to settle. And an air purifier with HEPASilent™ technology is so quiet that it won’t keep you awake.
When considering an air purifier, it's also best to avoid those that have an air outlet pointing towards the floor because the flow of clean air would disrupt particles settled on the floor and blow allergens back into the room. This is an especially big issue if you have carpet. Blueair purifiers with HEPASilent™ technology are designed to provide five air changes per hour to keep the air in the room clean.