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Controlling Allergens: Dust Mites

Constant exposure to allergens means constant allergy symptoms. That’s why controlling or avoiding the allergens that cause your symptoms is an important part of your treatment. If you are allergic to dust mites, the tips below may help. The more you do to keep all allergens away from your nose, the better you’ll feel.

Dust Mite Allergy

Dust mites are perhaps the most common cause of nasal allergies. These mites are microscopic organisms that live in bedding, upholstered furniture, and carpets. They thrive in warm, humid conditions. Dust mites and their waste products are the main causes of an allergic reaction to dust. House-dust mites are almost impossible to get rid of. But you can keep them under control.

Man and woman putting laundry in washing machine.
Wash bedding in hot water (at least 130ºF) to kill house-dust mites. Warm or cold water won’t kill them.

Make Changes to Your Home

Some soft furnishings hold dust mites. To minimize the problem:

  • Choose nonfabric upholstery, like leather or vinyl.

  • Replace horizontal blinds with pull-down shades or vertical blinds.

  • Hang washable curtains instead of heavy drapes.

  • Have as little carpeting as possible.

  • Enclose your mattress, box spring, and pillows in allergy-proof casings. These are available by mail order and in some stores.


Ask your doctor about special products to control dust mites. Here are some other tips:

  • Wash sheets, blankets, and mattress pads every 1–2 weeks in hot water (at least 130°F).

  • Remove stuffed animals and things that collect dust, such as wall hangings, knickknacks, and books—especially in the bedroom.

  • Each week, have your home dusted with a damp cloth and vacuumed. Use HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters or double-ply bags in the vacuum cleaner.

  • If someone else can’t dust and vacuum for you, take your medication before doing these tasks. Wearing a filter mask may help.

Reduce Indoor Humidity

Dust mites need humid (damp) air to live. Use a dehumidifier to reduce air moisture by 50%. Don’t use humidifiers, vaporizers, or evaporative (swamp) coolers.

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 5/26/2010
Copyright © The StayWell Company, LLC. except where otherwise noted.
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