Is your sleep often disturbed? Do you wake up with a runny nose or itchy eyes? Are you scratching in bed or coughing in your sleep? You may have a dust mite allergy.

Dust mite allergy symptoms

Dust mites are everywhere, which is bad news if you are allergic. They live in carpets, sofas, soft furnishings, pillows and beds – anywhere where there is a warm, humid environment. Anywhere they can feed on their chosen foodstuff – fungus which has been created from flakes of human skin.

Many people have a dust mite allergy. This is an allergy to the proteins found in the dust mite droppings, and with each mite producing up to 20 droppings a day it can soon turn into a big problem. Common dust mite allergy symptoms include sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes and itchy skin at night. The allergy is often associated with asthma or eczema.

For sufferers, the one place where they are most susceptible is the bed – as this is a favourite haunt of the dust mite. This can lead to a disrupted night’s sleep, as you scratch, sneeze and cough throughout the night. The question is – how to get rid of dust mites? Good news is at hand. Follow our top tips to help prevent dust mites in your home and you’ll be sleeping through the night in no time.

How to get rid of dust mites

Dust mites like warm, moist environments. This is where they thrive, building colonies of tens of thousands. To reduce the amount of dust mites in your home, reduce the number of places where they can thrive. There are a number of steps you can take to do this, including:
  • Prefer 100% wool carpets or hard floors to synthetic carpets: Wool maintains a drier environment and hard floors help prevent an environment for the food source for dust mites.
  • Choose venetian blinds over fabric drapes: Again, the hard surface is less inviting for mites.
  • Reduce unnecessary soft furnishings: That doesn’t have to mean ditching all the scatter cushions – but reducing the number will make your home less mite-friendly.
  • Damp-wipe surfaces rather than dusting them: This traps the mites and removes them. And remember to pay attention to unseen surfaces too, such as pelmet tops, windowsills, and the tops of cupboards and doors. If there is dust, then there’s a good chance there’re dust mites too.
  • Vacuum all upholstered furniture, such as sofas and chairs, regularly: To keep colonies at bay
  • Keep your home well ventilated: This will help reduce humidity.

While these measures will help with reducing dust mites in your home, you’ll never be able to eradicate them completely. The good news is that you can take steps to make your home less pleasant to them – and improve your allergy symptoms in the process.

Eliminate dust mites from your bed

If night-time allergies keep you awake, then eliminating dust mites from your bedroom – and bedding – is the key to getting a better night’s sleep. If you’ve already taken the steps above and dealt with flooring and curtains, there are a few more things you can do to keep the mites away:
  • Choose wool bedding: Wool is a natural fibre that wicks moisture away from the body and then desorbs (releases) it from the bedding, creating an environment too dry for dust mites to survive in. This makes it the ideal hypoallergenic bedding for helping with night-time allergies. What’s more, unlike other bedding materials, wool bedding doesn’t need to be washed at extremely high temperatures to stay allergy-friendly. Its natural anti-bacterial properties mean that it doesn’t really need to be washed at all, but if there is a spill it can be washed at 30°C, making it kind to the environment too.
  • Hot wash teddies: Just like soft furnishings and cushions, toys can harbour dust mites too. Fortunately, dust mites don’t like hot water. So for children’s rooms, make sure that stuffed toys are washed frequently in water that is above 60°C.
  • Freeze favourite toys: If a favourite bear is unlikely to withstand a hot wash, then place it in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer for 12 hours. Dust mites don’t like extreme cold either!

Take these steps to reduce allergy symptoms at night – and sleep better.

Learn more about dust mites in your home. Watch our video with Dr. Christian Jessen and discover how you can overcome the little critters.