What Are Mattress Dust Mites?
Dust mites are microscopic creatures that live by the millions in your bed. They are only about 0.4 millimeters long, so you won’t be able to see them with the naked eye. The average bed provides the ideal amount of warmth, humidity and food they need to grow and reproduce. Adult mattress mites usually live for one to three months, feeding on a variety of foods, but mostly they love to dine on our dead skin. The allergens produced by the mattress dust mites, in the form of waste particles, cause allergic reactions, aggravate asthma and exacerbate the symptoms of child eczema.
How to Know if You Have Dust Mites
The easiest way to know that you are dealing with dust mites is to recognize the allergic symptoms you are experiencing. Symptoms of a mattress dust mite allergy can include a runny or itchy nose, sneezing and nasal congestion. For those with asthma, dust mites can cause you to wheeze more than normal and require more asthma medicine, especially at night.
Do All Beds Have Dust Mites?
Nearly every bed will have dust mites. However, there are several factors that can influence how likely you are to have issues with mattress mites. Dust mites thrive in humidity, so the more humid your home or area where you live is, the more likely you are to have dust mites.
Also important is the fabric used to make your mattress. Mattress dust mites love polyurethane foam, the product most mattress manufacturers use. It has an open-cell honeycomb structure that provides a perfect apartment complex for mites to live in. At FloBeds, we don’t use any polyfoam in our natural latex mattresses. Instead, we use wool on top of Talalay latex. Wool doesn’t provide dust mites a place to live as its dry, porous nature prevents mattress dust mites and other allergens from settling in. Likewise, latex is naturally resistant to mattress mites and does not provide a hospitable place for them to live. So, can dust mites live in latex mattresses? It’s possible, but much less likely. Simply put, if you are sleeping on a latex mattress, dust mites are much less of a concern. If you’re not, switch to a latex mattress and dust mites won’t be keeping you up all night sneezing.
How to Kill Dust Mites in Mattresses
One of the best ways to kill mattress dust mites is using baking soda and a vacuum cleaner. Start by adding a few drops of an essential oil to a cup of baking soda. After you sprinkle the baking soda across the top of the mattress, allow it to sit for 15 minutes and then vacuum up all of it. Flip your mattress and repeat these steps for the other side.
When you are removing dust mites from your mattress, remember that they can also live in your sheets and pillow. However, much like with your bed, if you’re using a latex pillow, dust mites are less likely to thrive. To completely eliminate mattress dust mites, always wash and dry your sheets on the “hot” setting, and don’t forget to replace your pillow if it is more than two years old.
How to Prevent Dust Mites
While there is no way to entirely rid your bed of mattress dust mites, there are some steps you can take to help cut down on your exposure and keep more from returning. As mentioned previously, if you sleep on a latex mattress, dust mites are less likely to be an issue for you. Other important steps you can take include:
- Keep the bedroom as free of dust as possible.
- Use a vacuum cleaner in your bedroom frequently.
- Cover any bedding, whether it’s a mattress, pillow, box spring or duvet, with dust mite proof covers.
- Wash your sheets weekly in hot water.
- Use a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from your bedroom.