What Will Kill Dust Mites?

If you’ve got dust mite allergies, you don’t want dust mites. But how do you kill dust mites if they are too small to be seen or felt? There are just a few ways to kill dust mites.

freezing kills dust mites
Dust Mite Magnified

Freezing temperatures kills dust mites

Dust mites can’t stand temperatures below freezing. You can kill dust mites by placing them in freezing cold. Put pillows in the freezer overnight and any dust mites in the pillow die. Of course, your freezer wasn’t really made for storing bed linens. The chicken parts and ice cream might object.

boiling water will kill dust mitesBoiling water kills dust mites

You can kill dust mites by boiling them in hot water.  Actually, exposure to water above 140 degrees Fahrenheit will kill mites. You could try boiling your sheets and blankets. Of course you need to find a pot large enough first.

Desiccants kill dust mites

Dust mites don’t drink water. They absorb moisture form the environment around them. It’s why they like areas that are damp. Keeps them from feeling “thirsty”. Desiccants remove humidity and moisture from the environment. Common household desiccants  are borax, calcium chloride, and silica gel.

Borax is the traditional washing additive found in 20 Mule Team Borax. Find it in the laundry aisle of the grocery store. Calcium chloride is the stuff you add to pickles to make them crunchy. Just read the label on a jar of Claussen pickles. Buy it where you find canning supplies. Ball sells it as “pickle crisp granules”. Silica gel is used by crafters to dry out flowers. You can find it at a craft shop.

Spread desiccants where you want to kill dust mites.

What really gets rid of dust mite allergies?

The problem with all this dust mite killing is it doesn’t help dust mite allergies. The allergens from dust mites are found in the body and feces. Killing dust mites doesn’t stop the allergen. It actually hastens the release of the allergen. Dead dust mites make you just as sick as living mites. It doesn’t help to kill them.

Zippered mattress covers control dust mites
Zippered mattress covers control dust mites

So what does help control dust mites?

Removing dust and dust catchers. Wipe down all hard surfaces at least every 7 days with a damp rag. This removes allergens. Keep dust catching items like knickknacks and books to a minimum.

Replace rugs and carpets where dust mites live and die with hard surface floors.

Don’t stick the pillows in the freezer or boil your sheets. Encase your pillows, mattress and boxspring in zippered dust mite proof covers.  Wash sheets every 7 days with De-Mite Laundry Additive, Allergen Wash, or 140°F water.

So forget killing dust mites, it doesn’t provide allergy relief. Instead, focus on controlling dust mite allergen in the home. You will sleep better and feel better.


How Do You Get Eczema?

Eczema is a group of skin conditions that cause the skin to be inflamed and irritated. Doctors call eczema dermatitis and atopic eczema. The word atopic means it usually develops along with something else and dermatitis means it deals with the skin. The word atopic is a clue to how you get eczema, it is usually the result of something else.

Eczema and Allergies

eczema is related to allergies

The reason doctors refer to this condition as “atopic” is because it usually happens as a result of allergies. So, even if hay fever doesn’t have you sneezing or asthma doesn’t have you wheezing, your skin problem is probably a symptom of allergy.

Eczema begins with itching and a rash. Even before the rash shows up, the itching starts. The skin becomes dry. Then the dry skin becomes very thick and comes off in flakes or scales. It shows up on the face or behind the knees or even the wrists and hands. The more it flakes, the more the skin grows back with even thicker flakes. It seems like an endless cycle and it itches. This skin condition occurs in infants and adults.

Your skin is telling you that you are having an allergic reaction. Eczema tends to run in families with a history of asthma or allergies. Eczema is not contagious. If more than one person in the family has it; they didn’t catch it from another family member; they inherited it.

Treating Eczema

Since this is an allergy-related condition, it can’t be cured; but it can be controlled. Avoiding triggers like dust or pollen can help. In small children and infants, eczema is commonly caused by food allergies or allergies to soaps or laundry detergents.

Talk to the doctor about allergy-testing. You may have developed new allergies since your last test. Since avoidance is always key to controlling allergies, it pays to periodically update your allergy testing.

Your doctor may prescribe antihistamines or steroidal creams. Don’t use a hydrocortisone cream without talking to the doctor or pharmacist first. Some of these creams can irritate eczema and make it worse.

paraben free moisturizer relieves eczema

Be Kind to Your Skin

Don’t forget to be kind to your skin. It’s the largest organ in your body.  Don’t wash in very hot water and gently pat skin dry when you are finished. Don’t rub and don’t scrub with the towel. Dermatologists recommend that you apply moisturizer while skin is still damp. Always use a paraben free moisturizer without any fragrance or dye. Parabens, formaldehydes, dyes and fragrances can all irritate your skin or cause an allergic reaction.

During a flare, cold compresses or a soak in a colloidal oatmeal bath are two ways to be especially kind to your skin.

Remember, you don’t get eczema from friends or roommates. This skin condition is not contagious; it is related to allergies and it can run in families.





12 Tips to Reduce Dust Mites in Your Bedroom

Do you wake up in the morning and feel like you never went to sleep? Got a stopped up nose and puffy eyes?  That’s what you get for sleeping with dust mites.

Sleeping With Dust Mites is a Bad Idea

Reduce Dust Mites
Dust Mite

Whether they are dead or alive, sleeping with dust mites is a bad idea. The dead ones can make you just as sick as the living ones.  It’s the feces and body parts from the dust mites that are the allergens. Just killing the mites won’t remove the allergen although reducing populations is always a good thing. Reduce your dust mite populations and associated allergens by making some changes to your bedroom and your cleaning routine. Even if you can’t do everything,  just do a few of these things to reduce the number of dust mites in the bedroom.

Tips to Reduce Dust Mites

  1. Wash all bed linens once a week in hot water that is 140°F or hotter. Unfortunately most of the hot water in your  home is 105°F to 107°F. Good news is that there are very effective products that make up for your lack of temperature.
  2. Cover your mattress, pillows and box springs with zippered allergy proof covers. Higher quality ones will last you for years so don’t waste money on cheap ones. The cheap ones won’t last but a year or two.
  3. Hang your comforters, bedspreads and blankets outside in the sunlight (especially if you have wool or silk). The sun will kill the mites. The downside to this tip is that bedding may pick up pollen, not good if you have seasonal allergies.
  4. Toss comforters, bedspreads and blankets in the dryer for 15 minutes on the fluff setting every 2 to 3 weeks. It will knock out some dust without fading your colors.
  5. Freeze stuffed toys overnight and toss them in the dryer in the morning.  Freezing kills the mites and tumbling in the dryer loosens the allergens.
  6. Keep the humidity below 40%.
  7. Steam clean chairs, sofas, couches and carpets.
  8. Steam clean carpets and rugs on a regular basis. Make sure that the company or equipment you use has a good extraction system. Trading mold for dust mites is a bad thing.
  9. Get rid of carpeting if you can and eliminate the need for steam cleaning.
  10. Replace your pillows every six to eight months unless they are protected with a zippered dust mite proof pillow cover.
  11. Clean early in the day.  All the dust you stir up will have a change to settle before bedtime. Don’t forget to clean the ceiling fan.
  12. Last but not least – get rid of the excess clutter and dust catchers in the bedroom. Do you really need 12 pillows on the bed? We have not had curtains in our bedroom for 20 years. I still remember the day we took them down. What a dust cloud that caused!

Wishing you the best of health.