Pets, they often become the highlight of their owner’s lives. Some people hold a special compassion for all animals, whether large or small. Dust mites (and dust bunnies) do not, however, garner this same respect. Green Cleaning Products LLC here to help you understand the science of green cleaning and share with you some insight as to why it is important to dust.
House dust mites may seem to be omnipresent, especially indoors. Dust mites are microscopic arachnids (a joint-legged invertebrate animals with eight legs like a spider or scorpion), as shown in the picture. The primary food source for dust mites is dead human skin cells. On average, each person sheds 5-10 grams of dead skin cells every week. Unlike bed bugs, however, they do NOT live on or benefit from living people. They are also smaller than bed bugs, a nocturnal parasite that bite and live off of blood of warm blooded mammals.
House Dust Mite Facts
- They look nasty, but you cannot see them. None-the-less, they can be found nearly everywhere.
- Average length of a dust mite is only 280 microns or 0.28 mm. (In comparison a bed bug is 1-6 millimeters, about ¼ inch, long!)
- An adult dust mite life span is about 80 days.
- A female dust mite lays about 40 – 80 eggs.
- A single dust mite can produce up to 200 times its own weight in excrement during a lifetime.
Dust mites thrive where there are dead human skin cells located in humid, hot conditions, especially where it is above 70°F coupled with 75-80% humidity. Dust mites cannot survive in environments with less than 50% humidity. As outdoor temperatures decrease and indoor temperatures increase (fall and winter) dust mites tend to thrive because the windows are kept closed most of the time and inside temperatures are kept above 70°F.
Dust Mite Allergies May Trigger Asthma
Dust mites generally are not considered serious in themselves, but they can lead to conditions that cause discomfort. Positive tests for dust mite allergies are extremely common among people with asthma. Allergy symptoms include coughing & wheezing, difficulty in breathing, itchy skin & rashes, itch & red eyes, runny nose & nasal congestion, as well as tightness in the chest. Some facts:
- 45% of homes have dust mites.
- 50% of asthma sufferers experience symptoms from exposure to dust mites. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) estimates that is around 20 million Americans.
- 30% of people have been found to have an allergic reaction to the droppings from dust mites, not to the house dust mites themselves.
- 80% of children are allergic to dust mites. American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology says high levels of dust mite exposure is a significant factor in the development of asthma in children.
Dust mites and their feces and other allergens they produce are major constituents of household dust, but because they are so heavy they are not suspended for long in the air. They are generally found on the floor and other surfaces until disturbed (by walking, or using an ineffective duster for example). It could take somewhere between twenty minutes and two hours for dust mites and their droppings to settle back down out of the air. 1 gram of dust might contain as many as 1,000 dust mites and 250,000 fecal pellets.
Using a good dusting tool that actually picks up and removes the dust rather than a traditional feather duster that just relocates the dust is vital to reducing these microscopic allergens. A recommendation to consider is the Fluffy Microfiber Duster by Cleans Green™ from Green Cleaning Products LLC (available on Amazon in lime green (http://www.amazon.com/Microfiber-Bendable-Flexible-Washable-Extendable/dp/B00A3CQSKG/) or royal blue (http://www.amazon.com/Duster-Microfiber-Extendable-Extension-Replacement/dp/B00KD6J0RU/). The microfiber filaments pick up (and removes) these microscopic allergens from the area being dusted to ensure clean and healthy environment for all.