Dust mites can be a nuisance in your home. Surprisingly, these tiny critters can cause a wide range of allergy symptoms and respiratory issues. They may be small but they can pack a punch. When it comes to dust mites, many people have the same questions: “How to know if you have dust mites?” and “Can you see dust mites?”
Our home is suppose to be the most comfortable place that we reside, but if it is infested with bugs then this comfort may be ruined. One of the best way to know if you have dust mites is to understand the symptoms that come along with them. These symptoms are laid out below.
Before answering these questions we need to cover some quick basics.
What are Dust Mites?
Dust mites are essentially microscopic spiders. The reason we say, “essentially microscopic spiders”, is because they are a close relative of not web spinning spiders.
They live warm and humid areas (where dust settles) such as your clothing, beds, closets, carpets, and furniture fabric. They feed on flakes of dead skin that people and pets shed every day.
The real problem with dust mites is the fact that they don’t need to move from one place to another. Considering the fact that we shed skin cells every single day, they have an endless supply of food that isn’t going to run short anytime soon.
Can You See Dust Mites?
Dust mites cannot be seen by the naked eye. Dust mites range from .2 to .3 millimeters in size, and the human eye can only see objects that are at least 20 mm in size. As explained above, the best way to see a dust mite is to use a microscope offers at least 10x magnification.
How to Know if You Have Dust Mites in Your Home
Dust mites are actually present in all homes as they are almost impossible to completely remove. There several effective ways to see if you have dust mites.
First of all, if you are suffering from unexplained allergy symptoms in your home, this could be a strong indicator of either dust mites or mold growth. Both issues cause similar allergy-like symptoms.
#1. Use a Microscope or Strong Magnifying Glass
The best way to see if dust mites are in your home is to test for them using a microscope. As long as the microscope that you own offers at least 10x magnification, then you should be good.
The first step is to grab a clear piece of tape and stick it to a dusty surface such as a table, shelf, or floor. After sticking the tape to a dusty surface, carry it by its sides and bring it under light.
Use the microscope to search for tiny bugs that are crawling around. If you see them, these are dust mites.
#2. Invest in a testing kit
If using a microscope does not work, then there are other ways to test for dust mites. One of the most effective methods is to use a dust mite testing kit. Dust mite screening kits can be purchased on amazon.
These kits will require a sample using a test strip. Dust mite collecting kits normally come with a dust collecting strip or container that will attach to a a vacuum cleaner.
After attaching the collecting mechanism to your vacuum, then vacuum dust from many separate areas of your home including shelves, carpets, floors, tables, beds, etc.
After acquiring an adequate amount of dust for you sample, the next step it to test the dust for mites. Use the dropper that comes with the screener to drop the specified amount of solution into your testing sample.
Results should appear in your sample after a few minutes. These results will appear as either a letter, symbol, or color. The directions on the screener should indicate how to read the results.
#3. Be Aware of Dust Mite Allergy Symptoms
One of the best ways to sense the presence of mites is to keep a close eye on your health.
As stated above, dust mites often cause allergy symptoms for many people. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Itchy eyes
- Runny Nose
- Itchy nose
Sure, a little bit of sneezing and coughing can be thought of as a minor cold, but keep track of more severe symptoms like chest tightness and itching skin.
If you are experiencing these allergy symptoms and have seen signs of dust mites in your home, then you may need to take steps to remove or reduce them.
How to Remove Dust Mites From Your Home - Preventative Strategies
There are many ways to remove dust mites from you home. Below are a few of the most effective ones.
- Use a Dehumidifier
- Dehumidifiers can be used to keep the humidity in your home at a level of 50%. Dust mites thrive in humid environments, so it is important to maintain low humidity levels in your house.
- Vacuum Regularly
- Because dust mites live in couches, carpet, bedding and more, it is important to consistently vacuum your home. Vacuums will suck up dust mites. Using a vacuum with a HEPA filter will produce the best results for eliminating dust mites. HEPA filter vacuums can be found on amazon.
- Use an Air Purifier
- Air Purifiers are extremely effective for removing dust mites from your home. Using an air purifier that offers a HEPA filter will produce the best results. Also, the best way to be sure your purifier is removing dust mites is to buy one with UV light technology. UV light technology will zap any living organism with intense amount of UV-C light (enough to easily eliminate dust mites).
- Encase mattresses, pillows, and closet clothing with dust and allergy covers to prevent dust mites from intruding into your home
- Consistently mop and dust your home surfaces
- Lower the temperature of the entire house. Mites can’t survive a cold environment.
- Wash all beddings and fabrics in hot water.
- Clean your house thoroughly and frequently.
- Sprinkle diatomaceous earth (DE) on beds and carpets.
- Keep pets off furniture and beds.
If the information provided above was not adequate for teaching you how to know if you have dust mites in your home, then you can always call a pest inspector.
Also experiencing black dust from your air vents? Learn what to do with this black dust coming from AC air vents.
And also find out the best air purifier for dust.
Frank is the chief editor and director at Specialty Air, where he oversees testing, research, and editing for all air quality-related articles. Frank is an expert in the air quality space with extensive experience testing, researching, and reviewing air purifiers, air conditioners, air filters, air fresheners, fans, and more. He also has over 4 years of experience with issues surrounding mold remediation, radon mitigation, moisture management, air duct systems, HVAC, and insulation.