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Where Do Dust Mites Live?

Dust mites are microscopic insects too small to see with the naked eye that set up light housekeeping in homes across most areas of the United States. They feed on our dead skin cells, which naturally shed from our body (and our pets) throughout the day. While harmless, per se (they do not bite like bed bugs), dust mites can trigger allergy symptoms in sensitive individuals if their concentrations are high enough.

If you have pets, you’re more at risk of dust mites invading your house. Not only do your pets provide pet dander (dead skin cells) for the mites to feed on, your furry friends can also transport them around the house in their fur, or bring them in from outside.

Sneezing outside of allergy season? There may be something hiding in your home.

Since they feed on dead skin that people shed (gross, we know, but everyone does it!), you’ll find the highest concentrations in high-use areas – carpets, area rugs, pillows, mattresses, and couches are common dust mite hideouts. Unlike pet allergens, dust mites don’t remain airborne for very long, if disturbed they quickly settle.

But remember, just because you have dust mites doesn’t mean your house is infested or unclean. Anyone can have some amount of dust mites, regardless of how clean their home is. Only homes in dry, arid climates or at high altitudes will be completely free of dust mites.

How Can I Tell If I Have a Dust Mite Problem?

Since dust mites are so small, you’ll need to buy a dust mite test kit to measure dust mite concentrations to determine if you have excessive populations. Prices range from $40 – $100 and involve using your vacuum to collect a sample and either sending the sample to a labor using an at-home kit to determine results.

Getting Rid of Dust Mites

Dust mites prefer a temperature above 70 degrees with 70 – 80% humidity. This is usually about where our homes are, which is why they love it inside. So, your best line of defense against dust mites (and most natural) is extreme heat or cold.

  • Dry any suspect items in the dryer on high for about 20 minutes to kill mites. Washing your linens in very hot water (+130°) at least once a week will also kill dust mites.
  • You can also kill dust mites by moving infested items to a cold environment for at least 24 hours. Do you suspect your favorite couch might be a dust mite hotel? Put it outside in cold weather for a day.
  • Vacuuming can be helpful, but can’t get rid of dust mites entirely. They like to hide deep in the fabrics away from light. Vacuuming will still remove some mites and the dead skin they feed on.
  • There are also a variety of commercial powders and pesticides to use for dust mite control if your dust mites are out of control. Through preventative measures and keeping a dust-free home, you shouldn’t need to resort to this.

Dust Mite Prevention

Regular cleaning of upholstery, carpets, and linens will help reduce and control dust mite populations. Keep rooms uncluttered and dust free. Also, buying special dust mite covers for pillows and mattresses can prevent mites from getting comfortable by creating an impenetrable barrier so they can’t lay eggs or spread.

Dust mites also love moisture. Instead of making your bed right after you wake up, air your sheets out. Once they are completely dry, then you can go ahead and make your bed. There are also air filters that can keep dust mites from spreading. Special HEPA air filters in your HVAC system, on your vacuum cleaner and portable air filter unit effectively trap dust, skin cells and mites. Be sure to change these filters often if you’re experiencing dust mite allergy symptoms.

If you’re worried about dust mites becoming a problem in your home, Molly Maid can help. Vacuuming is part of our professional home cleaning services. If done regularly, it can help prevent the spread of dust mites and reduce allergy symptoms. Please contact your local Molly Maid or call us at (888) 583-6490 today for a free estimate! It’s the first step you can take to stop dust mites from spreading throughout your home!

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How to Clean White Grout

When you first moved into your house, you probably fell in love with the beautiful ceramic tiles in the shower or on the kitchen floor—either that or you knew the delicate white grout between the tiles wouldn’t last forever. It’s true—grout needs to be deep cleaned every four to six months to stay looking like new. However, by using a sealant and cleaning up spills quickly, you can keep white grout looking great with less time on your hands and knees scrubbing. If you haven’t kept up with grout maintenance, the once-white grout lines between your ceramic tiles may now appear gray,

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10 Reasons to Save Old Toothbrushes

Hold it right there. Before you toss that old toothbrush out for a replacement, consider what other purposes it can serve. In addition to making your teeth shine, it can also make your house shine. That little brush is handy for all sorts of cleaning tasks that involve cracks, crevices, and hard-to-reach places. We recommend keeping at least one old toothbrush with your cleaning supplies. You know, just in case… Top 10 Old Toothbrush Uses: Clean caked-on mud off shoes – Once mud dries on your shoes, use an old toothbrush to scrub the soles to remove stubborn dirt in

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How to Clean Flat Paint Walls

Dingy, scuffed walls are never attractive. Clean the walls along with other parts of your living room to make the space feel tidier and more appealing. Just remember, walls with flat paint need special treatment. Scrubbing flat paint too vigorously could cause the finish to wear down, making the sheen appear patchy in spots. So, how do you clean flat paint walls? Just follow these tips. Find Out if You Have Flat Paint Before you follow our cleaning techniques, make sure you have flat paint walls. This term doesn’t refer to the texture of the walls—instead, it means that the wall is

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How to Disinfect Thrift Store Furniture

You scored a nice coffee table or couch at the thrift store, now what? Worried about what might linger on its surface? Or perhaps worried that the peculiar taint permeating each and every piece of thrift store furniture might overwhelm your home? Fear not, Molly Maid has you covered with a simple guide on how to clean furniture. Not only can we help you get rid of that funky smell, we’ll show you how to safely disinfect used furniture and ensure no critters score a free ride into your home. Use the Washing Machine If you’re lucky, the couch will

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How to Make the Perfect Bed

The bed is the centerpiece of your bedroom. To help yours look great, start with the right mattress and furniture. Then take the time to make your bed each day. Not sure how to make the perfect bed? Just follow these tips. Buy a Mattress & Bedroom Furniture It’s easy to see what sets magazine-quality bedrooms apart from the rest – they have all the right furniture! Make sure the focal point of your bedroom has the following parts to make it beautiful and functional: Bed frame to lift the bed off the floor Twin, Double, Queen, or King-size mattress

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How to Clean White Canvas Shoes

Canvas shoes sure are comfortable. Just slip them on or tie them up and you’re ready to rock – that is until you notice your once-white shoes are now a dingy gray. Luckily, we have two effective shoe cleaning methods that will take your kicks from grimy to gorgeous, blemished to bright, whack to white – you get the idea! How to Clean Your Favorite White Canvas Shoes How to Hand Wash Your White Canvas Shoes The hand-washing method requires a bucket, water, baking soda, laundry detergent and a scrub brush: Fill up your bucket or container with 1 gallon

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How to Clean a Stained Coffee Mug

If you drink a cup of Joe every morning, you’re well aware of the ugly brown coffee stains your favorite drink leaves behind in your mug. It seems that no amount of washing with soap and water can remove this stubborn discoloration, especially from white mugs. What’s a coffee lover to do? When the embarrassment of drinking coffee from a stained cup pushes you over the edge, there’s no need to resort to harsh chemicals like bleach. Odds are you have the necessary cleaning equipment in your pantry or medicine cabinet to remove those coffee stains once and for all. Simply follow these

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How to Clean the Sticky Cup Holder in Your Car

No one likes a dirty car interior. If you’re like many people, you spend hours in the car commuting to work each day. You want a tidy, clean-smelling vehicle to get you from point A to point B. So what do you do when you’re faced with a grimy, sticky cup holder?  Maybe you took a sharp turn, and some coffee spilled out the top of the lid. Or perhaps one of your kids left a paper cup half-filled with juice sitting in the cup holder for a whole week. Whatever the reason for the sticky mess, get your cup

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How to Clean & When to Replace Household Air Filters

Furnaces, refrigerators, kitchen range hoods and some other appliances in your home use air filters. A dirty filter can cause appliances to overheat, forcing them to work harder than they have to, or even lead to contaminated indoor air quality. Some filters are hard to access, easy to forget about, or both. I mean, how many of us actually thought to clean our stove hood fan filter last year?  But keeping air filters clean is great preventative maintenance, and it also helps maintain your indoor air quality. Read more to learn what common household appliances use an air filter, and

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The Best Way to Keep Your Cabinets Clean Inside & Out

Cabinets are vital for kitchen storage and organization, but they attract dust and food particles on the inside. Then, splattered oil and spills make cabinets look grimy on the outside. It doesn’t take long for new cabinets to start looking old. With your busy schedule, you may not have time to deep clean your cabinets every week. Fortunately, you can use these cleaning tips to keep your cabinets looking newer longer. Install Cabinet Hardware If your cabinet doors and drawers don’t already have knobs or handles, install them to help prevent greasy fingers from touching the wood surface. It’s much easier

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How to Remove Chocolate Stains

Chocolate is a wonderful part of life. Chocolate stains? Not so much. It’s wonderful that it comes in so many forms – chocolate ice cream, chocolate cookies, chocolate candy bars, chocolate syrup … you get the idea. Unfortunately, this means there are great odds of eventually getting chocolate stains on clothes and upholstery. The good news is that if you follow a few careful steps, chocolate stains are simple to remove! We’ve outlined how to remove chocolate stains for you below: How to Remove Chocolate Stains from Clothing How to go from, “Oh, no!” to “Oh, no problem!” Use a

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How to Pack a Neat & Tidy Suitcase

Are you cramming every last bit of clothing into your bag, only to arrive at your destination with wrinkled clothes and an unorganized mess? Packing a suitcase so it’s neat and tidy is easy with a few simple steps. Here are some valuable tips on how to pack a suitcase efficiently and neatly. How to Pack a Suitcase Eliminate Excess Do you unpack from a vacation and realize how much of the stuff you lugged around you didn’t even end up using? Overpacking is a tidy suitcase’s biggest enemy. Identify and eliminate excess items and clothing before you even begin

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