Controlling Allergens: Dust Mites

Woman loading sheets into home washing machine.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 can help to lessen your exposure to dust mites.

Dust mite allergy

Dust mites are a common cause of nasal allergies. These mites are tiny organisms that live in bedding, upholstered furniture, and carpet. They live in warm, humid conditions. House-dust mites are almost impossible to get rid of. But you can keep them under control.

Make changes to your home

Some furniture, like sofas and chairs, hold dust mites. To lessen the problem:

  • Choose nonfabric upholstery, like leather or vinyl.

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

  • Use washable curtains instead of heavy drapes.

  • Have as little carpeting as possible.

  • Cover your mattress, box spring, and pillows in allergy-proof casings.


Here are some tips:

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

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

  • Dust your home every week with a damp cloth. Vacuum once a week. Use HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters or double-ply bags in the vacuum cleaner. Or, use a vacuum designed to lessen allergens.

  • If someone else can’t dust and vacuum for you, wearing a filter mask may help.

Reduce indoor humidity

Dust mites need moist air to live. Use a dehumidifier to reduce air moisture. Don’t use humidifiers, or vaporizers.

Talk with your healthcare provider about other ways to reduce dust in your home. Ask about medicines that can help with your allergy symptoms.