House dust is a mixture
of many things. There are two kinds of dust, organic
dust and inorganic dust that make up house dust.
Organic components contain dust mites, insect
debris, animal dander, bacteria, mold and fungus
spores, food particles and human skin flakes.
Inorganic components contain fabric fibers, roadway
dust, etc. The most important allergens in house
dust are dust mites and pet dander. Dust mites
are microscopic bugs that cannot be seen. They
live in places that collect dust. Pillows, mattresses
and carpets usually have thousands of dust mites
living in them. They thrive in humid and warm
conditions. Their diet consists of human skin
scales, which we shed everyday.
House dust cannot be eliminated,
but can be reduced by controlling the source.
Here are some ways to reduce dust exposure in
- Encase pillows, mattresses,
box springs and comforters in mite-proof encasings.
They are made of impermeable fabric. Once in
place, the encasings do not need to be washed.
- Wash all your linens
and covers weekly in the hot cycle (130°F)
and dry for 30 minutes on high heat to kill
dust mites. Blankets should be encased or washed
- Vacuum carpets at least
once a week. Wear a dust mask when cleaning.
Use a high quality vacuum cleaner that uses
a HEPA filter.
- Clutter in the bedroom
must be avoided, especially under the bed and
closets. Eliminate dust collector such as upholstered
furniture, decorative pillows, heavy draperies
and fabric wall coverings. Limit the number
of stuffed or soft toys and wash or freeze overnight
every two weeks.
- House dust is stirred
by air blowing from heating/air-conditioning
vents. Maintain your heating and air conditioning
system regularly. Change filters once a month
and clean permanent filters at least every 3
months. Unless your ventilation system is very
dirty from neglect or age, air ducts is not
- Remove carpeting, especially
in bedrooms. Throw rugs should be washable.
- Dust frequently with
a damp or oiled cloth.
- Keep houseplants out
of the bedroom and limit the number of plants
you have inside the house.
- Wash curtains once
- Keep ceiling fans off.
They can stir up dust, which may cause higher
amounts of dust mites to become airborne.
- Avoid lying or sleeping
on upholstered furniture.
- Clean uncarpeted floors
with a wet mop every week.
- Reduce indoor humidity
to 50% or lower.