Definition of Dust Mites

Meaning of the Term as it Pertains to Mattresses

What are Dust Mites?

Dust mites are microscopic arthropods that commonly live in mattresses and feed on flakes of dead human skin. Though innocuous to most individuals, dust mites can cause allergic reactions in about 15% of the population. Their droppings contain a highly potent allergen called Der p 1, which can cause itching, sneezing, watery eyes, and chronic sinus problems. Individuals with asthma may experience heightened asthmatic symptoms in the presence of dust mites. The pests thrive in warm, humid environments and become problematic when temperatures climb above 75 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity levels reach 70% or greater.

Homeowners often look for ways to keep dust mites away from their mattresses. Natural latex and memory foam mattresses are inherently resilient to dust mites. The closed-cell structure of a memory foam mattress does not permit the arthropods to nest and breed. Innerspring mattresses need dust mite covers to cut down on dust mite breeding. Vacuuming an innerspring mattress can also curb the propagation of dust mites.

Dust Mite Covers

A cotton or polyester mattress encasement used to prevent dust mite breeding. Made for individuals with dust mite allergies, dust mite covers provide a barrier between dust mites and sleepers. Quality dust mite covers are breathable and allow for moisture to pass through, which keeps the sleep surface cool and comfortable.

Only individuals who own innerspring mattress and have dust mite allergies need dust mites covers. Memory foam and natural latex mattresses do not require dust mite covers, as the mattresses do not provide habitats for problematic levels of dust mites. Individuals living in cool or dry climates usually do not need dust mite covers either. Temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit or humidity levels under 50% naturally kill off the arthropods.