Charlotteans! You have dust mites!

September 20, 2012 by

Do you have house dust mites in your carpet?

Dust mite on head of pin

Dust mite on head of pin
Photo courtesy School of Biological Sciences, UT Austin

That’s a trick question…yes, you do and so does everyone else! Dust mites live off of things like flakes of shed human skin and thus they live where people do.1 The American house dust mite (Dermatophagoides farinae) and its close cousin, the European house dust mite (Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus) is an arachnid (kin to spiders and ticks) and is found throughout homes not only in the US, but throughout the world—and beyond! Traces of house dust mites were even found on the Mir Space Station!2

Unfortunately, where house dust mites eat, they also procreate, defecate and die. So, if you shed your skin on your bed, house dust mites are there. If you shed your skin on the carpet, they are there, too. Although this is really disgusting if you stop to think about it, for most of us this goes unnoticed. Our bodies have strong immune systems which clear out anything foreign we may inhale or ingest. However, for a growing number of people, allergens like house dust mites can cause real problems. While there is nothing you can do to completely eliminate house dust mites, there are certainly measures you can take to keep allergens down in your home.

How to control house dust mites

The mites love moisture and they flock to bedding and pillows which trap the moisture from our bodies. So be sure to regularly wash bedspreads and pillowcases. In humid areas like Charlotte, NC, house dust mites can be especially numerous, so be sure to clean your bedding and upholstery on a regular basis, especially if someone in your home has allergies.

Be sure to vacuum regularly with a HEPA filtered vacuum cleaner. There are many on the market now, which means the cost has gone down, too. Vacuuming your carpets and rugs certainly helps, but to really kill house dust mites, a nice dose of steam will definitely do the trick! While you can rent a steam cleaner for your carpets, be sure to consider the consequences of renting carpet cleaning equipment. A professional carpet cleaner can do a thorough job of cleaning your carpets and upholstery and help get rid of those nasty house dust mites.


1. House Dust Mites  Wikipedia

2.  Australian Geographic; Apr-Jun 2010, Issue 98, p44-46

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