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Healthy Homes: Reduce Dust Mites

Step 1: Learn about dust mites

  • Dust mites are 8-legged microscopic bugs that are related to spiders and ticks.

  • Dust mites are not usually visible unless specially magnified. In fact, you could fit about four dust mites side-by-side on the head of a pin.

  • Dust mites’ primary food source is shed human skin. For this reason, the highest number of dust mites can usually be found on bedding material and pillows.

  • Dust mites and their droppings can make asthma symptoms worse for allergic children.


Step 2: Take action

  1. Install allergy control covers on mattresses and pillows in your child’s room. Wipe off these allergy covers once a month with a clean, damp rag.

  2. Keep the humidity level in the house below 50% relative humidity. In Colorado, if you regularly see moisture building up on the insides of your windows or if cold drinks collect moisture on the outside, the humidity in your home is too high.

  3. Wash bedding materials (sheets, pillowcases, blankets and bedspreads) at least weekly in hot water and dry on the hot cycle for at least 30 minutes.

  4. Wash “dust catchers” such as curtains and stuffed animals (again using hot water) at least monthly. Eliminate as many of these “dust catchers” as possible from your child’s room.

  5. Dust your child’s bedroom at least twice per week using dust spray and a soft rag.

  6. Vacuum your child’s room twice per week if carpeted – preferably when your child is not at home or is outside. If the room is not carpeted, damp mop twice per week.

  7. Remove carpets – especially in your child’s bedroom. Replace carpets with hard flooring and area rugs that can be put in the washing machine.

  8. Remove upholstered furniture from your child’s bedroom, replacing it with wood, vinyl or leather furniture. Vacuum remaining upholstered furniture at least weekly.