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How Many Dust Mites Are in Your Bed?

How many dust mites are living in your bed? None? Thirty? One hundred? Well, the truth is that there could be as many as ten million of them in your mattress and pillow at this very moment in time.

A dust mite is a microscopic creature that is smaller than a grain of sand and invisible to the naked eye. They live by eating the dead skin cells that we shed from our bodies; most people shed around 10 grams a week, this is a relative feast to a colony of dust mites. They thrive in humid conditions and breed quickly. Your warm, comfortable bed where you shed skin each night is a haven for them.

Tests have shown one quarter of the weight of a two year old pillow can be made up by dust mites and their feces. A typical mattress can have anywhere from 100,000 to ten million dust mites. The older a mattress is, the more that will be found living in it. We spend one third of our lives in bed, so it is easy to see how a dust mite can have a detrimental effect on health and well being.

The good news is that they are not harmful to humans, however their fecal matter contains a protein that many people are allergic to. A single dust mite can produce 20 droppings every day, which in turn can cause allergies in some people. Those who suffer from asthma may find that it is agitated by dust mites living in linen. As many as 80% of asthma sufferers have been shown to be effected by house dust, which a great portion of is made up by dust mite fecal matter.

Many people who suffer from these allergies spend much time and money treating the symptoms instead of the cause. A lot don’t even realize that it’s microscopic creatures that are causing their discomfort. They put their symptoms down to tiredness, hay fever or other illnesses. The trick to stop them from affecting your life is to treat the cause directly.

Dust mites cannot live in very hot or very cold conditions. Washing your bedding in hot water will kill the ones living on it, as will leaving any linen in your freezer for 48 hours. The downside of this method is that you cannot treat your mattress in this manner, which is where most of them thrive. Keeping the temperature low in your bedroom can slow breeding rates, but can also be very uncomfortable on cold winter nights and very expensive on warm South Florida nights. Air filtration systems do contribute to reducing fecal matter in the air, but will not help with your bedding.

One of the best ways to eliminate dust mites is to have your mattress and pillow cleaned once a year. The mattress sanitation process is a chemical free and natural way to get rid of the little critters. By cleaning the mattress, you are eliminating them at their source. The mites are killed and all matter is removed. A regular cleaning along with the use of mattress and pillow protectors has been shown to decrease the number of dust mites and allergen levels by 90%.

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