Where do dust mites hide? Here’s the really surprising places dust mites can live and cause health problems such as allergies and asthma attacks.
You have probably heard about dust mites living in a mattress. And how the insects can add tons of weight to a mattress over the course of 8 years. It’s kind of gross. And it makes you want to get rid of your mattress and buy a new healthy mattress.
But did you know that you don’t have to resort to getting rid of your furniture and spending lots of money in order to reduce dust mites in your home?
In fact, many of the places where dust mites live are all around your home. BUT, they can easily be cleaned up in a few minutes. Bonus points for most of these dust mite-killing remedies for being FREE, too!
So get ready to kill dust mites in your home naturally with these simple tips.
Where Do Dust Mites Hide?
It is not that dust mites actually hide from you. These tiny insects aren’t smart enough to be playing a never-ending game of hide and seek.
The problem with mites hiding in your home is that they are just insanely small. In fact, they are microscopic. You literally can’t see these allergy-causing mites unless you look at them through a microscope.
So when it comes to finding out where they hide, it is not about revealing their hiding spaces and they’ll disappear forever.
It’s more about learning where dust mites live and then controlling the situation so that they die naturally. (There’s five ways to kill dust mites.)
These tiny creatures thrive on humidity. Which is why they are so prevalent in your bed and bedding. There’s a lot of warmth and sweat that gets captured in a mattress.
Dust mites can hide in places other than the mattress, though.
As their name implies, dust mites live in dust.
When you find surprisingly dusty places, you will find dust mites. But you might also find a lot more. When chemicals off gas in your home, they settle into dust. Along with other bits of chemicals, allergens and shed skin.
It is possible to know what kind of toxins and allergens are in your dust by testing at home. We used a Home Air Check Surface Dust test kit to understand what was in the dust in our home and whether or not it had any toxins.
Weird Places Where Dust Mites Live
If you are wondering where can dust mites live, here are some of the places where dust mites live and thrive.
These are often over-looked items in your home or places that don’t get a lot of cleaning.
By properly cleaning or sanitizing these items, not only will you remove dust mites, but you will also remove anything that lingers in the dust, such as:
- Dirt and debris
So now that you are sufficiently grossed out and ready to clean everything in your house probably, be sure to pay attention to these sneaky places where dust mites live:
Dust piles up on lampshades unseen. Trust me, I know. The picture below is of our nasty lamp shade. I had NO IDEA that there was so much dust on the shade until I took a vacuum hose to it. Then I was absolutely disgusted!
It is hard to keep lamp shades clean unless you vacuum them. Because dusting with a rag often doesn’t work the fabric or rough textures of most lamp shades.
Vacuuming a lamp shade can lead to removing layers of dust that not only are dimming the light coming from your lamp, but also exposing you to dust mite dander while you read or watch TV.
Yes, you probably know that dust mites can live in your bedding. And that washing the bedding in hot water (or putting it out in the cold) will kill the dust mites.
However, do you have a guest bedroom that has a comforter or duvet on it?
Even if that bed is not being used, dust mites will still find a way to live in the bedding. Even if it’s not being used every night.
So before a guest comes to stay in your guest room with that beautiful bedding, be sure to get rid of allergens in the room. It can be as simple as leaving the comforter and pillows in the cold to kill dust mites.
Whether you use them or not, decorative pillows can be breeding grounds for dust mites. Especially pillows that you use behind your back or underneath your neck, where the sweat and heat of your body create a moist environment for dust mites to breed.
Toss the pillows in a hot dryer if possible to kill the dust mites. Or lay them outside in the hot sun or on a freezing cold day – both extremes in temperatures will kill the creatures.
Pay attention to the materials and fabric care instructions of your pillows though, so you don’t ruin them in the process. And always choose easy care items rather than dry-clean only, for ease in keeping a healthy home.
Curtains and Window Blinds
Just like lamp shades, curtains can have months and years of dust build up on the surface that is not visible to the naked eye.
That’s why you might start coughing or get a stuffy nose if you take down your curtains to change them out or to wash them.
The best solution to preventing dust mites living in your curtains is to wash your curtains regularly.
But that might be easier said than done.
I washed cotton curtains in hot water to kill dust mites and found that my cotton curtains shrank about a foot! So be careful and clean accordingly, so that you don’t ruin your belongings trying to keep them clean!
I would suggest washing curtains in COLD WATER. Yes, I know that hot water kills dust mites. But you also don’t want to ruin everything trying to control those suckers. So washing in cold water and then letting air dry on a drying rack would be the absolute best idea. That is, IF your curtains are able to be washed. Many can’t be washed, so be sure to check the care tag.
What’s even easier than washing curtains? Vacuuming them!
By vacuuming curtains, you don’t have to worry about damage to the fabric. Or the hassle of taking them off of the curtain rod and putting them back on. It is not easy.
Using a hand vacuum (or a vacuum attachment), carefully vacuum every part of the curtain. From the top attached to the curtain rod down to the bottom hem. And make sure to do even rows all across the curtain width so that you don’t miss any fabric.
For window blinds, I like using this dusting glove to quickly and easily remove dust.
Stuffed Animals and Dust Mites
Whether just on display or actively used by children, stuffed animals can be a breeding ground for dust mites. So cleaning stuffed animals from dust mites is super important to your health.
Especially if the stuffed animals are snuggled by children or pets. Because drool, spit and sweat can build up on the fabric.
Like anything else, a good washing in hot water, or exposure to hot sun or freezing temperatures, will kill the allergy-causing dust mites.
Chances are, most stuffed animals can’t be subjected to hot water in a washing machine without falling apart. I know that.
Which is why using freezing temperatures can be GREAT for killing dust mites in stuffed animals.
You can put the stuffed animals outside in freezing cold temperatures. Or even put them in a plastic bag and place them in your freezer compartment for 24 hours.
But if you don’t have that much room in your kitchen’s freezer (most of us don’t), I’d wholeheartedly suggest getting a chest freezer.
This is an especially perfect solution for kids that have allergies or asthma. Parents have to be cleaning all the time to get rid of where dust mites live. And during temperate weather where it’s not too hot or too cold, you won’t be able to use the power of nature to naturally kill dust mites.
With a chest freezer, you can put stuffed animals inside any time you want. As well as comforters, bedding, pillows, etc.
Decorative Throw Blankets
Just like normal bedding on a mattress, decorative throw blankets can be a place where dust mites live, too!
Even if no one is curling up in the blanket, dust will accumulate and dust mites live in dust. So if you think that pretty throw across the back of the couch is harmless, think again!
Often, decorative throw blankets are just for show. They are made with materials that can’t stand up to hot water or even being washed at all. Which makes them extremely unhygienic.
Unless you put them out in the hot sun, freezing temperatures or a chest freezer.
Beds get all of the attention, but any upholstered furniture can harbor dust mites.
Think about it. Sitting on a couch or upholstered chair exposes the fabric to just as much heat, sweat, and flaked-off skin as lying in bed does. As you know by now, these are the elements that dust mites need to live in and breed.
Killing dust mites in upholstered furniture isn’t always easy. It’s kind of hard to clean a couch. You can’t throw it into a washing machine, like so many of the other places where dust mites hide.
If you’re wondering what kills the insect-like creatures on furniture, then answer is vacuuming. Using a vacuum made for upholstered furniture will suck up dust and therefore the dust mites that live in it.
For upholstered furniture, a hot steamer used for cleaning would work, too. But I caution you about using a steamer unless you have bad problems with allergies or asthma. Here’s why:
- You need to make sure that the upholstered fabric can handle hot steam and moisture. Many couches or furniture pieces can’t.
- The moisture must evaporate rapidly. Or be pulled out quickly. Otherwise, adding moisture to upholstered furniture just makes a better place for dust mites to live. And you DON’T want that!
- Don’t use chemical cleaners or fragrances with the steamer. Again, introducing more problems than you had before is not a good idea.
I would only use a steamer if you have a severe reaction to dust mites. Or you have to clean the furniture anyway from a spill or stain.
We often don’t think about our pet’s toys or products affecting OUR health. Yet pet bedding is the perfect place where dust mites live.
The heat, drool, hair and other things coming off of your pet onto the bed is a happy place for dust mites to live. And your pet can be suffering with allergies and health problems, too, because of this high concentration of dust mites.
Consider using a pet bed made with materials resistant to dust mites, such as organic latex or wool.
If you don’t have a dust mite-resistant bed for your pets, then clean the bed often. Place it outdoors in the hot sun or freezing cold regularly to get rid of dust mites. Or use a chest freezer. It’s the same ways as controlling dust mites throughout the home.
While washing your pet’s bedding, pay attention to the pet toys, too. Treat them just like a kid’s stuffed animals.