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Dear Annie

Tips to battle dust mites

Dear Readers: One of the more interesting letters we received recently concerned dust mites, which are always a problem but especially during summer months when temperatures and humidity rise. I thought you would find these tips, offered by David Chapman of Ultimate Mats, helpful for keeping your home free of dust mites this summer.

“Increase Sunlight and Ventilation

“If exposed to enough sunlight, dust mites will dehydrate and heat up simultaneously, creating a hostile environment. Dry conditions make it hard for dust mites to reproduce, and UV light can also damage their DNA, with prolonged exposure to sunlight eventually killing them.

“Ventilation works similarly. By allowing fresh air to circulate and removing moist air, it prevents the buildup of humidity that dust mites thrive in. You can ensure ventilation is adequate by keeping windows open this summer, which, in turn, will also allow natural sunlight to enter your home.

“Steam Clean Upholstery

“Dust mites thrive on dead skin cells, pollen and pet dander that often accumulate in upholstery fibers. Not only will steam cleaning upholstery remove hypoallergenic particles, it will also improve air quality.

“Regular cleaning, either through vacuuming or steam cleaning, helps to remove any particles, depriving dust mites of their food source and resulting in a disruption of their habitat.

“Keep Pets Groomed and Clean

“Regular grooming helps to remove loose fur, dander and skin flakes from your pet’s coat. These organic materials serve as a food source for dust mites, so minimizing shedding decreases the availability of nutrients that support dust mites’ population.

“Utilize Dehumidifiers

“Dust mites require a humid environment to survive and reproduce. Removing excess moisture from the air creates a less hospitable environment for dust mites.

“Declutter!

“Dust mites thrive in cluttered environments where there are plenty of hiding places, such as piles of clothing, stacks of books, and heaps of boxes. Decluttering removes these hiding spots, reducing the volume of dust mites.

“Invest in an Entrance Mat to Keep Floors Clean and Allergens at Bay

“Throughout summer, as we spend more time in the sun, entryway mats can act as a barrier, trapping outdoor allergens such as pollen, dust and dirt before they can be tracked into the home. By preventing these allergens from entering the living space, entryway mats help reduce the overall allergen load and minimize the risk of dust mite infestations.

“Use Dust Mite Repellents

“If you are looking for a more natural way to repel dust mites, you can use certain essential oils, such as eucalyptus, tea tree oil and lavender. These oils are often used in sprays or diffusers to create a scent that may discourage dust mites from settling in treated areas. Alongside your efforts to keep your house dust mite-free this summer, you can also diffuse pleasant smells around the home.

“Baking soda can also be used as a natural cleaning agent to absorb odors and remove surface dust. Sprinkle baking soda on surfaces and allow it to sit for a few hours, then vacuum thoroughly to remove dust mites and allergens.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: “How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?” is out now! Annie Lane’s second anthology — featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions to dearannie@creators.com.

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