Are You a Dirty Person?
Dust Mites May Think So
having dust mites in your home mean you are a dirty
exactly. Dust mites are well adapted to most areas of
the world and, according to the Asthma & Allergy
Foundation of America, they are found on every continent
but Antarctica. There is no sense in selling off your
home and moving to the frozen tundra to prove you’re a
clean person to your mother-in-law.
The dust mite feeds off the tiny flakes of skin we shed
every single day. The average adult sheds about 1.5
grams of skin a day which feeds about 1 million dust
mites easily. The logical thought would be to just stop
ourselves from shedding or to exfoliate 24/7 to cut off
their food source.
However, shedding skin is natural. Humans have three
layers of skin: the epidermis, the dermis, and the
hypodermis. The epidermis is the thin outer layer that
produces new skin cells after the old ones have died.
The dermis is the middle layer that contains your pain
and touch receptors, as well as the blood vessels and
hair follicles. The innermost layer is a subcutaneous
fat layer that is made of collagen and fat to absorb
shock and protect the body and internal organs (Ohio
This skin can be considered our shield against the
environment and is constantly evolving to provide the
upmost protection to our vital organs. According to
National Geographic, we shed around 40,000 cells per a
minute to achieve this. Similar to snake, our skin
completely renews itself every 35 days and we don’t even
notice! (WebMD) Therefore, biologically there is nothing
we can do to stop feeding the skin cells these dust
mites feed on.
Just like biologically we cannot prevent dust mites form
inhabiting our home. Mom cannot complain when she visits
that you neglected to clean all the dust mites before
her arrival. Now dust on the other hand is a completely
different matter. To understand this, you must
understand the difference between millions of dust mites
living deep in your mattress and the dreaded forgotten
“dust bunny” your mother finds under the couch.
Household dust is made up of three main components:
1) Dead skin cells we shed.
2) Tiny fibers off clothes and upholstered items.
3) Dried feces and desiccated corpses of dust mites
Therefore, dust mite waste is a component of household
dust and, like the organism that created it, is
microscopic. So the awful gray bunny that you find
lurking in corners is visually a collection of household
fibers. Having dust mites doesn’t mean that you’re house
isn’t clean. They are in every house, no matter how
immaculate it is kept.
However, do not feel entirely hopeless! It is entirely
possible to contain the mites and reduce your exposure
to their irritating waste products.
Start by investing in special
dust mite covers,
zippered mattress, box spring, and pillow encasings that
either have a mean pore size too small to let their
bodies and waste through or have a special urethane
membrane fused to the inside that is
Using dust mite covers is considered to be the most
important step because studies have shown that mites
live in the bedroom more than any other place in a house
and the bed is their favorite place to live.
On a side
note, vacuuming your mattress does not remove the mites
- 95% remain afterwards because they live deep in the
stuffing not on the surface. Also, waving a UV wand over
your mattress will not kill dust mites either. They may
kill some bacteria but will not kill the mite.
After you cover the bedding with
dust mite covers,
remove all dust mite friendly items from the bedroom:
wall-to-wall carpeting, heaps of decorative pillows and
stuffed animals, and hard-to-clean window treatments. If
you love your carpet and upholstered furniture, treat it
with a denaturing spray like
Allersearch ADMS or X-Mite carpet
Preventing dust mites from dwelling in mass populations
will cut back on the amount of dust that accumulates
throughout your house. Even if you or your family
members are not sensitive to the dust mite proteins, it
is highly recommended by doctors that you treat your
Having dust mites doesn’t mean you are a dirty person
but they sure can make for a dirty, unhealthy home.
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