Dust Mites are Everywhere!
While it is a most difficult topic to think about, the truth is, dust mites are virtually everywhere. If you can stomach it, read on and become one of the enlightened ones who faces this tough issue instead of pretending the tiny critters don’t exist.
Every human in your household sheds approximately 1.5 million skin flakes per hour, 24 hours a day. Skin flakes are the primary food source for dust mites, so it is us humans and our pets who keep that dust mite population thriving. Dust mites are approx 1/80th of an inch long and are not visible to the naked eye, and the average mattress has hundreds of thousands of them feeding on all those dead skin flakes we shed every night.
Your Bed and Pillows…
Since we shed skin cells every night, dust mites thrive in our beds and pillows, sometimes increasing the weight of a pillow by 10%. An older mattress can also increase it’s weight by up to 10% from the dead mites, their excrement, and dead skin cells – gross!
The Allergic Reaction
Ok, now the disgusting part; we are not allergic to the mites themselves, we are allergic to their poop. Skin cells are difficult to digest, so dust mites have an enzyme in their stomach that breaks down the skin. The dust mite dooty is loaded with this enzyme and this is what causes the sneezing, itchy eyes, sniffles and congestion. In some cases, people have skin rashes also. The most difficult part is that these bugs are not visible, so we tend to forget they are there- but you can bet on it, every bed has them.
The Solution: Use Waterproof / Dust Mite Proof Protectors
The solution is very simple, here is how it works – if your mattress and pillows are brand new (day one), start using a waterproof mattress protector and pillow protectors without fail, and dust mites will never begin growing in your pillows or mattresses. You will want to wash your pillow and mattress protectors at least every 2 weeks according to the manufacturer’s recommendation.
What About Older Mattresses?
If your pillows and mattress are older, don’t worry you can still wipe out the dust mites. Start by washing your pillows (if they are washable) in the hottest water possible. Also dry on high heat if the instructions allow. If not, you can also place your pillows outside in the sun on a hot day to dry, which will also kill off most of the mites that survived the wash. As for the mattress, give it a good, thorough vacuuming on both sides. Next, install your waterproof mattress protector and pillow protectors and make sure to wash them at least every 2 weeks. The washing will remove the dust mites and their poops, which will help with allergic reactions, sneezing and congestion.
Why it Works
It may take a few weeks, but eventually, the mites that were living in your mattress will starve and die. Dust mites can not travel thru the mattress protector, and your skin flakes can not get down to the mattress. All the dead skin cells that fall off at night are now able to be easily washed away to prevent any large dust mite populations. Be diligent about washing your protector to keep the mite population down.