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Dust Mite Allergens


Dust mite allergen is commonly found in homes. The highest concentration of dust mite allergen can be found in mattresses (60%), followed by furnishings, such as upholstered furniture (20%), and then on the floor (20%). The key to preventing allergic reactions is containment and keeping allergens from becoming airborne and into the breathing zone. Only those allergens that are in the breathing zone affect the nasal passages.

As noted in a “Design Review on Carpets” published in Architectural Review, “…the fact that carpet may collect and hold more lint and dust than a smooth surface may be considered an advantage, as it is better to have dirt and bacteria-carrying particles held down in the carpet until it is vacuumed than to have it stirred up and airborne by continual shuffling of shoes – as is the case with smooth surfaces”.

Outside pollutants are tracked onto all types of floor covering, but carpet is the only floor covering with an effective method of “extraction” cleaning. Dust mites thrive in warm, humid conditions and feed upon dead skin flakes from humans. Most people with allergy to dust mites (only 10 to 15% of the population) are allergic to the airborne, respirable, dust mite feces and not the mite itself; therefore, regular, effective, cleaning is necessary. To minimize mite population and the generation of dust mite feces in the home, clean interior furnishings regularly and effectively; monitor and maintain humidity below 55%.

The most important element in maintaining good air quality in a home is to remove dust and soil often from all surfaces and to maintain a well-functioning heat and air system with effective, clean filters.

Regular carpet maintenance is essential to preserve the carpet’s initial appearance and for maintaining good indoor air quality. Regular, proper vacuum cleaning with an effective, well-functioning vacuum cleaner that has strong air flow, adjustable brushes, and an enclosed high-efficiency filtration bag removes and traps indoor contaminants.

Quick removal of spots and spills is important to avoid stains and fungal growth. Have carpet extraction cleaned professionally every 12 to 18 months. Clean more often in high-traffic, commercial areas. Ventilation during the cleaning process is recommended. If a wet method of cleaning is used, do not over-wet and be sure to dry quickly.

The EPA states: We spend 90% of our time indoors. Studies have shown that indoor air is 2 to 5 times, and as high as 100 times more hazardous to your health than outdoor air.

Dust Mites, Your Home and The Math Behind It:

  • 16 ounces equals one pound
  • 40 pounds of dust are in the average house
  • 42,000 dust mites are in one ounce of dust
  • 20 times a day a dust mite defecates
  • 520,000,000 fecal pellets can become airborne
  • from those 42,000 dust mites are in each ounce of dust
  • 18 lbs of skin that a human sheds each year
  • 400 square feet of duct in the average home

This means you have the equivalent of a 20×20 room in your home that has not been cleaned since your home was built. Here’s a cool fact: if left untended, your pillow would gain 2lbs every year from skin and dust mites and your mattress would double in weight in 10 years.

Shaw carpet manufacturer guide.
EPA Guidelines for Carpet Cleaning.
Carpet and Rug Institute, How Carpets Clean the Air.
Mayo Clinic, Dust Mite Allergy.