Dust Mites

Houston, United States(Zone 9b)

I always wash in cold water figuring it keeps the fabrics newer longer, costs less to run it and does the job.

But I read in my magazine called Parenting that this will NOT kill dust mites. WHAT? It said washing in warm will only kill 7% of mites and to kill ALL the mites you must wash sheets in hot water. So I guess I'll switch to that.

But my first question is....and they won't drown in the wash? Wow those are hardy creatures.

Lafayette, NJ(Zone 6a)

I have always been told that you have to wash sheets in hot water but I don't. I agree that I would think they would drown. I wonder if washed with bleach if that would kill them.

After a long wash cycle they sure must be dizzy. LOL

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

If your sheets go through the dryer, the heat there will take care of them so you don't need to worry about what water you washed things in. I doubt if there are that many dust mites in your sheets in the first place--they mostly live in the mattress, pillows, carpet, etc. There are some on the sheets for sure, but you're not going to make much of a dent in the overall population by killing the ones on the sheets, so in my opinion it doesn't matter that much how you wash/dry them.

Houston, United States(Zone 9b)

LOL thank-you! You pretty much solved a problem that I didn't consider until I read that magazine. Guess the "experts" don't know all. :)

Ecrane...on that note I did see on Oprah they said you should vaccuum down your mattress every time you change the sheets.

Elsie....for years I bought colored and patterned sheets and finally wisened up---plain ol' white! I got tired of mystery bleach spots (I say mystery because I almost never use bleach) being on the colored sheets.

Okeechobee, FL(Zone 10a)

Yes, I think the vaccum on the mattress is by far the best. I also have some liquid seven I spray mattress with very lightly and let them air dry before putting my freshly laundered line-dried sheets on the bed.
I sleep so good.
;)

Houston, United States(Zone 9b)

Woah, isn't that dangerous?

central, NJ(Zone 6b)

I read you can lightly run a cottonball soaked with rubbing alcohol over the mattress and let dry before putting sheets on. If you have allergies, get rid of the bed skirt, famous for collecting dust.

Houston, United States(Zone 9b)

What about using a protective plastic cover on the mattress? Reduce mites?

Hillsboro, OH(Zone 6a)

If you get rid of the dust mites, who eats all that dead skin? ;)

central, NJ(Zone 6b)

You'll never get rid of them all but if you have allergies you need to control them.

Houston, United States(Zone 9b)

No allergies here. Just the idea of laying on bugs. LOL!

Hillsboro, OH(Zone 6a)

LOL I could not resist.

I have cousins that are severely allergic to any type of dust. They could never have pictures on the walls or stuffed animals the best I remember. I also remember their bedding had to be washed relentlessly. I feel so blessed that I don't have to deal with that!

Okeechobee, FL(Zone 10a)

Amen Chele!
One time I had a plastic lounger that had to do duty as a cot for my son 30 years ago.
He was gone for 2 months to visit his dad. I went to wash all the 'bed' clothes and when I removed the bottom layer there were little weevil like critters wiggling. I went beseerk!!!
I love my line dryed 600 thread count sheets and do believe a clean bed is luscious.
;)

Houston, United States(Zone 9b)

yep---love those high threadcounts!!!!!!!!!!

Mableton, GA(Zone 7a)

I'm glad ecrane3 mentioned the dryer. I've always relied on the dryer to kill them and as I was reading I started to wonder. I was glad to see confirmation. Wish it was "official" . I also put my pillows in the dryer for about 30 minutes each time I wash sheets too. I vacuum, but I must admit, only about every other time. I also wash the mattress pad each time and all matresses are in plastic covers! There! I've done my best. I think my mattresses are pretty safe, I just hope my drying the pillows is killing the mites there.

Mableton, GA(Zone 7a)

Here's a P.S.
All this really doesn't do the job though. My kids WILL NOT part with their stuffed animals and drying them makes the fur melt and feel like a Brillo pad. So, grown-up beds: good to go. Kids beds: All I can do is pray. It didn't kill me to have them.

Edited for spelling

This message was edited Nov 10, 2007 6:59 PM

Houston, United States(Zone 9b)

I know a lot of the now made stuffed toys say they are only surface washable. Still---I throw it in the wash. I figure if it can't be washed then I don't need to keep it.

I THINK I read somewhere that you can put them in the freezer for X amount of time to kill mites. You could ask around...

Mableton, GA(Zone 7a)

I've read that freezer thing too. Trouble is, some of them are as big as my bottom door freezer! I do wash some of the most used ones and line dry them...if they look like they can handle it.

Okeechobee, FL(Zone 10a)

Yes!
;)

Harveyville, KS

we have allergies, and we put the pillows, sheets and blanket in the dryer at night befor we go to bed for 20 min. it kills all the dust mites. i read it somewhere. in goodhouse keeping something like that.

Belleville , IL(Zone 6b)

Remember if you do have allergies not to line dry. It picks up all the pollen and anything else that is blowing in the wind.
We have pine trees in a woods nearby and get that yellow pollen that covers everything. I wish I could line dry since things smell so good and fresh.
Before dryers, people sanitized their pillows in the oven. Yummy!

Greenfield, IN(Zone 5b)

They make dust mite resistent pillow covers as well. My son is allergic to dust mites (I think I am also.) The low end pillow covers are plastic & rustle a lot. The high end are mostly cloth with a plastic barrier underneath. The middle of the road ones are a paper type covering with plastic barrier (which is what my son uses). They say that unprotected pillow actually become heavier over time, those buggers are microscopic so there must be an awful lot of them in there to make the pillow heavier! Yuck

Belleville , IL(Zone 6b)

I was in Lowe's and was looking at the vacuum cleaner area. They have dust mite killer there that you wither sprinkle or spray on a surface. I believe it is put out be Bissel.

Crozet, VA

For some reason I find the topic very interesting. ha-ha Sugarweed, I would have been tempted to burn every thing that was in the room. Anything that wiggles gives me the willies. I can imagine that the humidity that you must put up with in Florida is a big reason for having wigglies around.

Reading about the bed bug epidemic in hotels is almost reason enough to stop traveling. I guess that whoever said to pray before retiring is on to sometthing. There are so many things out there waiting to make us ill.

The idea of running pillows through the dryer is a good one that I have never thought of doing. Thanks whoever mentioned it. I bought new pillows for my son and myself at Christmas time. It felt good to be rid of the old ones. Now if I can make my hubby see the need to get rid of the old faithfuls that he uses, all will be well.

Thanks for the topic.

Ruby

Greenfield, IN(Zone 5b)

My hubby won't give up his old pillows either. I know there are also alergen reducers on the market, Bissel for carpet cleaners and Febreeze come to mind. I can only assume the Febreeze will leave a build up of some sort since it only helps the dust from becoming air born. Remember smacking the cushions on the couch as a child to watch the dust fly? I am too afraid to that now!

North West, OH(Zone 5b)

What an interesting thread. I am all about soft and thick in my bed, and I confess to giving dust mites very little thought. I guess I'm lucky to not have the allergies, etc. that make them a more pressing matter as most of my bed clothing cannot tolerate high heat. Here's the stack-up: a warm, firm waterbed mattress (I know....no one sleeps on waterbeds anymore, but I still love it), topped with a thick goose down feather bed, topped with silk sheets, topped with a goose down duvet. I often give my bed to overnight guests who have proclaimed they've had the "most delicious sleep" they've ever experienced the next morning.

The sheets get washed weekly in cool water then line dried ~ even in the winter months if at all possible. The mattress gets wiped down with a mild disinfectant at the time and that's about the extent of it. I've had the feather bed and the duvet cleaned once but I had to drive 60 miles to have it done as there is no place with a machine large enough to handle them locally.

My mom had a saying she used when she tucked me into bed as a little girl on Saturday nights (was it really Saturday or am I just using the old stigma that Saturday was wash and bath day?) She'd tuck me in and say, "clean bed, clean jammies, and clean girl," as if she'd just given me a ticket to dreamland. And she had! I often repeat that saying as an adult as there is nothing more scrumptious than a warm, clean, soft bed.

(Sorry if I strayed off topic with my little walk down memory lane, LOL.)

Crozet, VA

Hey Jane - you made slipping in to that bed sound awfully tempting. I guess it is too early to go to bed, so I will just go curl up on the couch and veg the afternoon away. I loved our water bed but had to get something different about ten years ago that was a higher height. I was having back problems and the waterbed was too low to floor for me to get in and out of. I slept better on it than I have with the mattress that we bought after that and after that one too.

Ruby

(Zone 5b)

dust mites can hold their breath for 9 minutes. Put your wash cycle on 12 minutes ;)

Crozet, VA

Cute...thanks for sharing.

(Zone 5b)

but seriously, though...

I realize that "bugs in your bed" is a disgusting topic for a marketing campaign, but do they even SELL something that you can spray on to your mattress to "kill & vacuum away?"

ETA- I just did a little googling around, and it turns out that you can freeze the little b@stards if your fabric can't be washed. This seems like a logical approach for me, since I prefer to wash always in cold water, no matter the article. That having been said, I do have an unused box freezer in my basement that could certainly be used for bedding for a couple days before washing...I guess that could be a solution if you don't wanna run up your hot water bill, and clean it out regularly...yeah, that might work.

And I guess I'll look into a better vacuum cleaner since mine falls into the 'conventional' category, and they can escape from it. Sigh.

This message was edited Jan 25, 2008 4:26 PM

Missouri City, TX

A generation ago, I sold Rainbow Rexair vacuums. That was one of the things we would do in the demo.

Refresh the water in the tank and add a capful of Eucalyptus oil, then take a pillow from the bed and put it into a heavy clear plastic bag and compress it. Then blow it back into shape with the Eucalyptus air.

We asked the prospect to smell the pillow before and after the treatment.
Always smelled so much better after.

Then we would show the prospect what was in the water with a bright light.

Many of today's vacuums beat Rainbow in Consumers Reports, but trapping all the dirt and dust (mites) in the water meant that there was no dust coming out. It was just too expensive then (and still is).

DW insists that I get ours rebuilt anyway.

Always got comments and grimaces when they saw what came out.

Okeechobee, FL(Zone 10a)

Well Ruby burning wasn't an option, but scrubbing and line airing the mattress. We lived on the Albemarle Sound in NC at the time.
I also washed every piece of bedding in scalding water and line dried.
I wash as Lala does today.
Crawling into hat line dried bed is a luxury to me.
;)

Eastern, KS

Quoting:
What about using a protective plastic cover on the mattress?



I left the baby's mattress in the plastic wrap it came with. The baby still gets the comfort of a mattress but no worries about bed bugs. Since a baby doesn't know anything different, there aren't any worries about complaints there. And it makes it super easy to clean if the baby wets the bed. HAHA!

Crozet, VA

Good idea, taiquida.

Ruby

Belleville , IL(Zone 6b)

With an infant it might not be the best idea. I remember when my son was a baby how in the mornings sometimes the mattress would be exposed from squirming around all night. This could bring the babies face in contact with the plastic sheeting covering the mattress and possibly soffocate the infant. A older child might be able to move its head to avoid suffocation whereas an infant might sleep right through not knowing or able to move its head to a different position.
Just trying to keep baby safe. Dust mites are something we all live with and it is just part of life.If you could see under a microscope the world we come into contact with every day, there are a lot of crazy little microbes living beside and on us. LOL!

Eastern, KS

He's older. But it never was a problem when he was an infant. Perhaps this is because with most infants- if they're too young to move their head to prevent suffocation, they're probably also too young to squirm around.

Hughesville, MO(Zone 5a)

Dust mites are a bad allergy for me. When I had the lung biopsy, allergy tests, etc. about 13 years ago we got a lot of education on pulmonary disorders and how to treat them. We had to give up all carpets, drapes, curtains, upholstered furniture, etc. Now all the windows are bare except for a few shades, the hardwood floors are looking worse all the time from wear and tear, and the furniture is all vinyl covered. I hope to put new vinyl floor coverering down in a year or so.

Yes, there are products out that you can spray on your beds, furniture, etc. that will kill dust mites for months. We have heavy plastic covering all of our mattresses. I don't use pillows so that isn't a problem for me.

The primary food supply for dust mites is dry skin. That is a very good reason to keep your skin soft and not flaking off like it is snowing. Dandruff in on your scalp, dander is all over the rest of your body. It is why you may be allergic to some animals. But if you just wet the critter down good at least once a week and then towel dry it to remove the skin flakes you can probably live with the animal. Be sure to wash the towel well after using it on the animal.

I know they say it take 160* water to kill dust mites, but I figure soap and bleach will do them in too. The soap will dissolve the hard shell that protects them and bleach is known to kill many insects. I think it might take a HOT dryer setting to really do them in but I only use medium since I think they are dying if not dead by the time they get to the dryer.

I have used Rainbow sweepers for years. Absolutely love them. I buy rebuilt used ones. I have a bad habit of forgetting to take the motor off the water tank and rusting the motor. This is my third one. The last one didn't rust out, it just plain wore out and was such an old model that I upgraded to a newer one that a friend wanted to sell. He had been a dealer and had a couple extra almost new ones he didn't need. I don't even leave the motor over the water tank if I turn it off for more than long enough to move a piece of furniture any more.

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