Dear Jonathan, Dust mites thrive on sloughed-off human and animal skin. Given that 70 percent of dust is human skin (now that is hard to believe, but humans shed 10 pounds of skin a year), they thrive around people. They also thrive and decline because of environmental factors, and these are worth knowing about, especially if you or a family member who suffers from asthma, as 80 percent of children and young adults with asthma are sensitive to dust mites.
Natural Dust Mite Control 101
Where do Dust Mites Flourish?
1. Temperatures of 68-84F
2. Places with human and pet skin cells (as in naturally sloughed off, we’re not talking morgues)
3. Humidity levels of 75-80 percent
4. Bedding, because there is lots of dead human skin for food
5. Polyester and other synthetic bedding, because it doesn’t breathe and traps moisture
6. Protein-based textiles, such as furs and feathers (again, lots of food for dust mites)
What Kills Dust Mites?
1. Direct sunlight
2. Humidity below 40 to 50 percent
3. Water temperature above 130 F or higher
4. Freezing them (put that stuffed animal in the freezer for a few days)
5. Steam-cleaning carpets
6. Vapor steam-cleaning
What Repels Dust Mites?
1. The natural lanolin in wool
2. The acid in vinegar
3. Laundering frequently
Have a question for Annie? Write to her at annie [@] thetruefind [dot] com
By Annie B. Bond, the best-selling and award-winning author of five healthy/green living books, including Better Basics for the Home (Three Rivers Press, 1999), Home Enlightenment, Clean & Green (1990), and most recently True Food (National Geographic, 2010 and winner of Gourmand Awards Best Health and Nutrition Cookbook in the World). She has authored literally thousands of articles and was named “the foremost expert on green living” by Body & Soul magazine (2009).