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Dust Mites and What You Need to Know

Illustration showing anatomy of a dust mite

     In today's article I'll be discussing everything you want, or should I say NEED, to know about those pesky little creatures known as dust mites.  If you have ever seen a photo of one, you know they can be pretty scary looking.  As everyone knows, knowledge is power. It's no different in the battle against allergens.  The more you know, the better your chances are in combating them. Fortunately, mites are tiny enough that we can't see them. We just need to know that they are pretty much everywhere and contribute immensely to our respiratory grief.  It's impossible to completely eliminate them, but their great numbers can indeed be kept to a minimum.  It's not even the dust mite itself causing the reactions, but their excretions.  If you ever find yourself waking up between 3 to 5 hours of falling asleep with a fit of sneezing or coughing or even a headache, it's possibly the result of dust mites causing obstruction of your airways.

     Sometimes dust mites actually form great colonies in certain areas not dusted or treated over a period of time.  Vacuuming and dusting will certainly help, but doesn't always make a dent in established colonies.  Part of the reason for this is when you vacuum carpets, mattresses, pillows etc., dust mites are equipped with tiny little grips on their feet preventing the majority of them from being sucked into the vacuum.

     Today's tip is going to show you how to treat your carpet and any upholstered furnishings in your free zone.  What you need to do is take a spray bottle and add 8 oz. of ordinary tap water to it. Next add 1/2 tsp. of vodka or witch hazel and 32 drops of eucalyptus essential oil.  (It must be pure essential oil only.)  The vodka or witch hazel allows the oil to mix with the water. Next, do a sample test.  Shake it up and spray a hidden area of carpet, if you desire, to make sure there is no discoloration. You may want to wait 24 hours to be sure.  Now you can spray your carpet including under the bed (most important) and allow to dry before thoroughly vacuuming.  In the beginning it's best to spray again after vacuuming.  If you follow this routine weekly at first, even for just three weeks or so, it will eliminate some of the established colonies.  You will breathe easier at night and will only need to do this monthly or bimonthly after a few treatments.  Of course, a weekly vacuuming is very beneficial as well.  If you are very sensitive you might want to wear a dust mask while vacuuming, or better yet, have someone do the vacuuming for you.

     If you are fortunate enough to have wood floors then you only need to dust mop frequently and preferably with a slightly damp mop to remove all the dust.  You can even lightly spray the dust mop with the eucalyptus spray to kill them immediately and prevent scattering more contaminated dust around the room.  You may want to use the above treatment recipe to treat upholstery and throw rugs or pillows after doing a sample test.  Be sure to check the Quick Reminder Chart at the top of the page for helpful hints.

Happy Breathing!!!

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