Are You Allergic to Dust, or Dust Mites?

Indoor dust and dander are common problems for those who suffer from dust allergies or asthma. They are two of the most common allergens inside your home, which include dust mites that live in your bedding and upholstered furniture. These dust mites thrive in warm, humid places, like your bed, and are not usually found in dry climates.

People often get the wrong idea that having dust problems is a sign of a dirty house. This is false. While having a dirty house may aggravate the problem, people who thoroughly clean their homes regularly may still be surprised to find indoor dust and dander lingering in their homes. Standard cleaning products and procedures alone cannot easily remove substances that are present in dust. Most allergy sufferers will find that regardless of how clean or dirty a house is, the presence of even a small amount of indoor dust can still trigger symptoms.

However, let’s clear something up. Some people are allergic to dust, and others are allergic to dust mites. Read on to find which one you need to remove.

What Allergens Are In Dust?

When people say “dust” most people think of “dust bunnies” in their home. These clumps of dust that settle on your countertops and behind your furniture is often more than just dust and debris that comes from outdoors. Much of it is actually produced indoors in your home!

Dust is a combination of irritants, including dust mites, dust mite fecal matter, cockroach body parts, cockroach droppings, fibers, hair, shedded skin cells, mold spores, pollen, bacteria, and pet dander. In metropolitan areas, dust in the home may also contain particles of smoke and soot from the atmosphere. The reality is that the size of dust and its potential to irritate you varies greatly depending upon the source of the dust, composition of the dust, and even your geographical location.

Learn how you can reduce dust in your home.

Where do Dust Mites Come From?

Dust mites are nest-building, spider-like, eight-legged creatures that thrive on discarded skin cells in damp, dark places like mattresses, pillows, carpets, and upholstered furniture. They are not the dust particles themselves; dust mites can only be seen with a magnifying instrument, like a microscope. Indoor dust and dander can contain as many as 19,000 dust mites in one gram of dust.

Dust mites eat particles of dead skin and dander, which is why they thrive in places where animals and people are present. Fortunately, dust mites don’t live on people, nor do they spread diseases or bite. They are only harmful when present around people who are allergic to them. It’s actually the enzymes in the dust mite fecal matter that trigger allergy symptoms in people, and one dust mite averages about 20 droppings per day.

High levels of exposure to dust mites may lead to numerous health problems. This is particularly true in children who can become asthma sufferers as a result of exposure to dust mites. Many allergy and asthma physicians acknowledge that dust mites may lead to many allergy symptoms, such as a runny or stuffy nose, watery/itchy eyes, and sneezing.

Do Air Purifiers Remove Dust Mites?

Because dust mites dwell in places with a lot of human traffic, they easily become airborne. They can become aggravated and float into the air when people vacuum, sit down on couches or bedding, and walk on carpeting. When airborne, they can be inhaled or come in contact with your eyes and skin, producing further irritation.

Thus, air purifiers designed specifically for dust play a critical role in preventing allergic reactions to dust mites, by trapping the airborne mites in their powerful filters. High-performance HEPA air purifiers are designed specifically to remove airborne allergens and dust from the air, including dust mites. See our collection of the best air purifiers for dust to see our favorites at removing dust and dust mites.

Shop All Dust Air Purifiers 

Air purifiers are efficient and powerful tools for removing dust mites and their droppings while they’re airborne, but ultimately, if dust mites are on your furniture, bed, upholstery, an air purifier will have limited effectiveness at removing them.

Removing dust mites in any form can pose a challenge, because the insects are so tiny, making it hard to see the damage they cause. But in order to remove dust mites that aren’t just airborne, start by measuring the temperature and humidity inside your home. Since dust mites enjoy warmer, humid temperatures (70-80% humidity and 68 to 77°F), it’s important to keep your indoor humidity levels to below 55-percent. Dehumidifiers and vent fans can be used to control the humidity inside your home and kill dust mites.


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