Allergy-proofing your home isn't always easy, but if you have someone in the household who is one of the 20 million Americans with a severe dust mite allergy that is making his or her life difficult (and possibly endangering their health altogether), it's the best thing to do. Here are five ways to get more dust mites out of your home.
1.) Decide how much of the house you are going to change.
One good piece of news is that while dust mites are likely everywhere in your home, studies show that dust mites are found more in the bedroom than any other area. If you don't want to tackle the entire house at once, you can start by making changes to the afflicted person's bedroom and maybe the family room as well. If it isn't quite enough, you can expand your efforts to the other rooms in the house as necessary.
2.) Launder clothing, bedding, pillows, and especially stuffed animals effectively.
Any fabric in the bedroom of the person with the dust mite allergy has to be laundered frequently to remove dust mites—but you have to wash things right way to be effective. If you launder your items in hot water (140 F) you kill 100% of the dust mites in them. Drop the water temp to "warm" (104 F) instead, and only 6.5% of the dust mites are killed.
3.) Rip out the carpeting and embrace bare wood flooring instead.
Dust mites are very difficult to get out of carpets. Those microscopic insects work their way deep into the fibers of most carpets and ordinary vacuuming can't remove them all. In fact, vacuuming can sometimes end up tossing more of them in the air, which can make things worse for the allergy-afflicted.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America recommends that you get rid of wall-to-wall carpeting and stick with washable throw rugs. Wood floors still need to be regularly damp-mopped, but they provide less of a home for dust mites than carpet.
4.) Replace curtains with blinds or plantation shutters instead.
Window treatments are another problem because they're an excellent place for dust mites to collect. While you could take them all down and wash them every week, that becomes time-consuming. Consider switching to an alternative window covering instead, like blinds or shutters. Blinds are okay if you're looking for a quick fix, but plantation shutters offer a few advantages that blinds don't.
Plantation shutters are what most people think of when they think of indoor shutters: wide, horizontal wooden slats with a center bar that allows you to control how far open the shutters are kept or adjust the amount of light that's coming into the room at any given point. Aside from being easy to keep dust-mite free with just wet-wiping, they can be painted to match the interior design of your room and they provide an extra layer of insulation that you get with curtains but won't with just a blind. For more information, contact local professionals like AAA Blind & Shutter Factory.
5.) Use dust mite covers and switch to leather and wood furniture when possible.
There are commercial zip-on dust mite covers that are made for every size mattress and pillow. The tightly woven fabric makes it harder for dust mites to get deep into the mattress and pillows, and they're easy to pull off and wash every week. While vinyl covers will totally prevent dust mites from getting into the mattress, they aren't always comfortable to sleep on, so you might consider putting a vinyl cover on the mattress under several layers of other materials that can be washed instead, including the zip-on cloth covers.
You should also switch to leather (or simulated leather) and wood furniture wherever possible in the bedroom of the afflicted person and any family room where they frequently sit. Going to all-wood chairs in the dining room or kitchen can be attractive and leather furniture is beautiful and durable. If the allergic person is still fairly young, consider replacing any cloth chair in his or her room with a colorful bean bag chair with a plastic cover.