If you’re a long time allergy sufferer, you might have got used to waking up in the night with itchiness or stuffiness, but achieving a peaceful deep sleep is still very much possible. There’s nothing worse than having your sleep interrupted by dust mite allergy symptoms that just won’t seem to let up. If you want to stop scratching and start sleeping, read our guide on how to get rid of dust mites below.
Dust mite allergy symptomsDust mites are everywhere, which is bad news if you’re allergic to them. They live in carpets, sofas, soft furnishings, pillows and beds – or pretty much anywhere where there is a warm, humid environment. Dust mites also choose environments where they can feed on their chosen foodstuff – fungus which has been created from flakes of human skin. And as nasty as it sounds, mattress dust mites are some of the worst culprits when it comes to those irritating allergy flare ups.
Many people have a dust mite allergy without even knowing. 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. It’s also worth noting that an allergy to dust mites is often associated with asthma or eczema, so if you suffer from either of these, you might also be prone to experiencing a disturbed sleep.
While it may be a bit of a gross thought that you’ve got dust mites in bed with you each night, it’s not down to your individual sleeping environment or hygiene. For dust mites, a bed is a dream destination, and it would be an impossible task to rid your home of them completely. So if you’re wondering how to get rid of dust mites, the simple answer is, you can’t. But it’s not all doom and gloom, as there are a few key things you can do to help prevent mattress dust mites and dust mites in bed from causing your sleep to suffer.
How to get rid of dust mitesDust 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, you need to reduce the number of places where they can thrive. There are a number of steps you can take to do this, including:
- Opt for wool carpets or hard floors over synthetic carpets: Wool maintains a drier environment and hard floors help to 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: This doesn’t 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 are dust mites lurking around 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.
Although you won’t be able to kick the dust mites to the kerb for good, these simple steps will make your home less pleasant to them – and improve your allergy symptoms in the process.
How to get rid of dust mites in bedIf 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 fiber 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, wool bedding doesn’t need to be washed at extremely high temperatures to stay allergy-friendly, unlike other bedding materials. Its natural anti-bacterial properties mean that it doesn’t really need to be washed at all, but if there is an accidental spill, it can be washed at 30°C, making it kinder 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!
Ready to stop scratching and start sleeping? Take a look at our wool bedding and change your relationship with sleep for good.
Learn more about dust mites in your home. Watch our video with Dr. Christian Jessen