Dust mites can trigger asthma attacks and allergic reactions, particularly in babies and children. This can disrupt sleeping, as the individual is in direct contact with dust mites that trigger asthma attacks and allergies. Dust mites can be killed by washing linens in hot water (over 130 degrees), but it's not possible to wash a mattress or non-machine washable linens or stuffed toys. A simple remedy involves using cold air to kill the dust mites.
Things You'll Need
- Mattress bags
- Large Ziploc bags
- Comforter bags or plastic storage bags or heavy-duty trash bags
- Sheltered outdoor location (e.g., shed, covered deck, carport)
- Duct tape
Check the weather forecast on the television, radio or internet to find a period of time when outdoor temperatures will be at the freezing point or below for at least 48 hours. (This is only necessary for killing dust mites on large items that won't fit in the freezer).
Place the item containing dust mites inside a sealed plastic bag. Mattresses and box springs can be placed inside a mattress bag, available with moving supplies. Stuffed toys and other small items can be placed inside a large Ziploc bag. Big, bulky items like large stuffed toys and comforters can be placed inside a mattress bag, plastic storage bags or heavy-duty trash bags.
Seal the bag by closing the zipper (if present) and place duct tape over the zipper or other closure to ensure a tight seal.
Place small and medium bags inside the freezer for a period of 48 hours.
Place large bags and mattresses outside in freezing temperatures for 48 hours. The items should be placed in a covered area like a carport, unheated garage, shed, or similar to avoid exposure to the elements.
Bring all the items indoors, and remove them from the bags. The items are now dust mite-free, as the freezing temperatures kill the dust mites and eggs.
Tips & Warnings
- Freezers can be rented by the week at stores like Rent-a-Center and Rainbow Rentals. This is a good option if your home freezer is stuffed with food. Food items in your freezer will not suffer any harm from the dust-mite infested item, especially when it's properly sealed inside the plastic bag. This same method can be used to kill other organisms, like fleas and scabies mites. If you live in a tropical climate with no freezing temperatures, making it impossible to get rid of dust mites in a mattress by placing it outside, seal the mattress inside the mattress bag. The plastic bag will then serve as a barrier between the sleeper and the dust mites inside the mattress.
- If you are sensitive to dust mites, wear a face mask when performing steps two and three. It's best to freeze the mattress, linens, pillows and stuffed animals all at once. Otherwise, the mites will be transferred from the infested item to the mite-free item in just a few hours.
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