How Dust Mites Affect Your Indoor Air Quality

March 10, 2020

Maintaining your indoor air quality can be quite a challenge. With so many contaminants coming from so many different sources, you have to constantly be on your toes to keep your indoor air quality at an acceptable level.

In some cases, one of the biggest contributors to poor indoor air quality is dust mites. Keep reading to learn more about dust mites and to understand what role they play in the air quality of your Hudson home.

What Are Dust Mites?

Dust mites are microscopic organisms that can exist by the millions in any given home. Male and female dust mites are one-third of a millimeter long or less and look like a small, spidery animal when viewed under magnification.

With a maximum lifespan of approximately 90 days, dust mites have one purpose in life: to eat organic matter that is present in the dust in your home. The more they eat, the healthier they become, and the more they’re able to reproduce, leading to an endless cycle that can leave your home crawling with these creatures.

What Do They Eat?

As mentioned, dust mites eat any type of organic matter that is small enough to be suspended in dust. Some of their most common food items are your dead skin cells. Since you lose approximately 40,000 skin cells every day, which is enough for millions of these small organisms, it’s easy to see why your home is attractive to dust mites; it can serve as an all-you-can-eat buffet for a huge community of these tiny pests.

What Harm Do They Cause?

In and of themselves, dust mites are totally harmless. They don’t bite, pinch, or cause any other issues commonly associated with in-home pests. Unfortunately, the reason why we at Mario's AC want you to be aware of them is because of their feces. Just like other living organisms, when dust mites eat, they create excrement.

Since the dust mites are so small, their excrement is small enough to float. It eventually gets mixed in with the rest of the dust in your home. It is this excrement that can often cause temporary or chronic allergic reactions in people. This makes limiting the number of dust mites in your home an important task.

What Are the Symptoms?

Symptoms of allergies caused by dust mite feces are similar to those caused by other allergens. They can include a runny nose, watery eyes, a dry and scratchy throat, or skin irritation.

Since dust mites can be present in your home year-round, these symptoms may appear at any time, even when other allergens are low. Additionally, dust mite populations in your home can suddenly rise and fall, meaning the symptoms may come and go quickly without explanation.

How to Control Dust Mites

At Mario's AC, we recommend controlling the dust mite population in your home through a two-tiered approach that focuses on destruction and prevention. In other words, we recommend first removing and destroying as many dust mites as possible from your home and then taking steps to prevent a resurgence of dust mites, both now and in the future. To guide you in your crusade against dust mites, the following covers a few steps you can take.

Clean the Dust

The first step in eliminating dust mites from your home is reducing the availability of their main food source: dust. While it’s impossible to completely eliminate dust from your home, there are some things you can do to cut down on where it collects and make it easier to clean when it does collect.

First, it’s important to try and cover your mattress and pillows. Given their regular exposure to skin cells, these are prime locations for dust mites to eat and reproduce. Enclosing your mattress in a dust-proof cover can help eliminate a large number of dust mites and protect your mattress against stains.

You’ll also want to eliminate as much carpet as possible because the deep fibers of the carpet make a perfect collection point for dust and a perfect breeding ground for dust mites. Carpet that remains should be regularly vacuumed as well as shampooed a few times a year.

Finally, you’ll want to ensure to use a wet mop on hard floors instead of using a broom or dry dust cloth. Using a wet mop removes far more dust and provides a barrier against the dust spreading throughout the room, which can aggravate those with sensitive allergies.

Stop It at the Source

One of the most common sources of dust in many homes are the ducts that make up your HVAC system. Though your air filter does a great job of removing dust from the air that flows through your system, dust can still sneak in and accumulate at the bends and joints in your ducts. To help reduce the number of dust mites in your home, it’s important that you have your ducts cleaned by the professionals at Mario's AC.

A professional duct cleaning will scour your ducts, removing old and new dust alike, while capturing that dust before it has a chance to escape back into your home. With less dust blowing through your vents, it will be much easier to reduce the amount of dust in your home and thereby reduce the number of dust mites.

Control Humidity

When most people think of controlling humidity in their homes, they think of preventing the growth of mildew. While this is certainly a benefit you can receive from properly controlling humidity, this process can also influence how many dust mites take up residence in your home.

Dust mites can’t survive in a low-humidity environment. This is why dust mite allergies are rare in areas of the country that are dryer since the air inside homes in these areas tends to be less humid.

While you’re working to lower your humidity, it’s important to not lower it too much to prevent the ill effects of dry air. Common negative effects of low humidity include dry skin, cracks in wood and drywall, and the dust in your home becoming more easily airborne since it doesn’t have any humidity to hold it in place. By closely monitoring the relative humidity in your home, you can create an environment that’s welcoming for people and unwelcoming for dust mites.

The caring professionals at Mario's AC want to do all we can to help your family stay healthy. In addition to removing dust through duct cleaning, we can help you measure your indoor air quality to see which areas can be improved. Plus, we can repair your different HVAC components to ensure that your system is always performing well.

We’ve been proud to serve the area since 1997, employing NATE-certified technicians who have decades of experience in the business. We are also a HomeAdvisor Screened & Approved company, meaning you can have confidence that you’ll get exactly what you’re promised. With countless 5-star reviews to our name, we encourage you to give us a call today so that we can make you our next satisfied customer.

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