The Dust Mite & Their Habitat

Dust Mite Habitat

In order to thrive, dust mites require food (flakes of human skin), moisture (in the presence of some species of mould such as Aspergillus Penicilloides) and a dark warm habitat. Dust Mites need a narrow range of high temperature and humidity conditions to thrive. Dust mites populations show optimal growth at conditions between 18oC to 25oC and 60% to 70% relative humidity. Furthermore, when the relative humidity falls below 50% the dust mites desiccate and die.

The dust mites feed on the dead scales of skin, which the human body constantly sheds at a rate of 5g per day. The scales are too dry and horny when they flake off the human body for the mites to eat and they need to condition in a moist atmosphere for a few days to absorb water from the air, and to promote the growth of miniature surface moulds, before they are suitable as mite food. Since water is not readily available in carpet the mites depend upon the absorbed moisture for their entire water needs. Since the dust mites require such an extreme range of conditions to survive it is common to find carpet completely free of mites or with very low concentrations.

Bedding

Bedding offers ideal conditions for dust mites to live and thrive which are not dependent upon the ambient relative humidity of the bedroom. We spend approximately one third of our lives in bed during which time the body loses approximately one litre of water each night through perspiration and breathing. During this period the body continues to shed skin scales which are concentrated in a relatively confined area and so the bed provides a dark, warm, humid and food rich environment for the dust mite with long periods of intimate contact between bedding nose and throat.

The real key to controlling dust mite populations is to control the temperature and relative humidity indoors to prevent the warm, humid conditions that dust mites need to live. The easiest way to achieve this is to ensure good ventilation in the home, particularly in bedrooms, which is the critical zone, and also avoid excessive temperatures.

The physical action of vacuum cleaning will probably provide sufficient agitation of the carpet surface to allow allergen particles to be stirred up into the atmosphere.

The action of opening windows during and, for a period after, vacuum cleaning will ventilate the room and effectively remove the allergen from the air.

One additional benefit of regular vacuum cleaning is the removal of skin flakes from the surface of the carpet before they condition (i.e. absorb moisture) to the point that they become edible for the dust mite. This reduction in available food supply will reduce mite populations.
Occasional wet extraction cleaning of the carpet is also to be recommended to reduce deep seated dusts and steam cleaning has also been found to be particularly efficient at removing a high proportion of allergen and completely killing the dust mite population.

Summary

When a household is ventilated and vacuum cleaning of a normal frequency and intensity is carried out, carpet in homes:

  • Will not hold sufficient food for dust mites to survive,
  • Will contain minimal allergen loads on the surface waiting to become airborne.
  • Will not provide an indoor environment for dust mites to live.

ARE YOU SEEING SPOTS?

Pets can be a great source of joy and happiness. They can also be a source of accidents and odour! That’s where we come in. We can undo the damage your beloved pet may have caused.

Urine, faeces, vomit, and other organic spots require professional attention. The “do it yourself” products simply don’t have the power to completely remove and sanitise those things. In fact, many of the products you would buy at the grocery or department store not only won’t work as well, they actually make it harder for us to remove the spot!

WHAT’S THAT SMELL?

Ever worry that your home may smell when people come to visit? If you have pets you can be almost certain it does. It comes with having animals. It doesn’t have to be that way though. First let’s consider where the odour resides.

Try to think of what your laundry would smell like if you never washed it. Pretty bad huh? Your carpet is basically clothing for your floors. It’s made of fibres just like your clothes. What do you do when your laundry starts to smell? Sprinkle them with some deodorant powder? Spray it with Febreeze? Of course not! You would WASH them. Why wouldn’t you wash your carpet then?

Too many people are under the impression that cleaning your carpet ruins it. That’s just not true. In fact it’s a lie that WILL RUIN your carpet. The carpet manufacturers recommend cleaning your carpet at least once a year by hot water extraction. Many will not even honour their wear and stain warranties unless you can PROVE that you have hot water extracted and reapplied carpet protector at least once a year!

The reason is because your carpet acts as a filter trapping dirt, dust, dust mites and their faeces, dander, pollens, allergens, smoke, pollution, bacteria, etc. This is good since it keeps those things on the ground and out of your breathing air. However, like any filter it needs to be cleaned regularly to continue to work. When your carpet gets full of these things it develops an odour, just like your clothes would.

Compound this with urine, faeces, and vomit or hairballs and you should want your carpet cleaned yesterday!

THE TRUTH ABOUT STORE BOUGHT CARPET CLEANING SOLUTIONS

To be perfectly blunt, none of these products will remove and deodorise pet stains. Most of these products only treat the surface. Secondly, they don’t break down the proteins in urine. Thus, you will still have urine under your carpet yarns and soaked into your backing and padding (and most likely in the wood under all that too).

This might surprise you, but most, if not all, store bought carpet cleaning solutions actually cause more problems with carpet than they fix. We’ve been in some homes where the homeowner had a urine stain that they tried to clean with a store bought solution and then they had a urine stain that they weren’t aware of. We were able to remove the urine stain that had gone unnoticed. We were not able to completely remove the stain that had been treated with the store bought solution.

WE SPECIALISE IN PET STAIN AND ODOUR REMOVAL

We are experts on carpet care and we specialise in pet problems. We carry a full line of professional carpet cleaning products made especially for pet accidents. These products work! We wouldn’t use them if they didn’t.

DID YOU KNOW …..

  • Urine in carpet never really dries out. It seeps into the backing and stays wet for a very long time. When it gets humid, urine will pull the moisture from the air reactivating the odour. That’s why urine can smell years later.
  • A visible urine spot the size of a baseball may actually be the size of a dinner plate under the surface.
  • Our Spot and Odour Removal Program breaks down the chemical makeup of urine leaving nothing but carbon dioxide and water! How great is that!
  • Proteins in urine work like glue bonding the yellow pigment to carpet fibres. Our processes liquefy and break down these proteins which release the stain from these fibres.
  • Of course, as with any stain, timing is critical. The longer a spot is on your carpet, the higher the risk of colour loss or permanent discolouration.
  • If your pets have urinated in you home, you can be sure visitors can smell it, even if you can’t! That’s why you need to call a specialist today.