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Old 12-03-2014, 03:20 PM
Location: Glenbogle
730 posts, read 1,120,976 times
Reputation: 1048


The long-established advice for dust mite control always includes the fact that washing bedding in HOT water will kill mites and remove their "detritus" which causes the allergy. Hot water being defined as between 130F and 140F (or approximately 50 to 55 degrees C). All well and good except that all these studies were done back in the day when washing machines could actually deliver water of that temperature (assuming that your house water could get that high, and/or the machine had an onboard heater that would kick in at the Hot cycle selection).

However, now with all the manufacturers desperate to be on the Energy Star bandwagon, machines now have a temperature regulator that doesn't allow the temp to go above 120F on the Hot setting -- which is not enough for dust mite control (FYI, "warm" is usually only about 78F nowadays... not even body temperature!).

On the other hand, machines that have a Sanitize cycle usually produce (via an onboard heater) approx 160F water -- but what that will do to your bedding is another question. Supposedly the Allergen cycle that the upper price machines have, produces 130F water (onboard heater again) but if your machine doesn't have that, your choice is between a too-cold "Hot" and a too-hot "Sanitize" (if the machine even has that).

Really frustrating for anyone who can't afford to upgrade to one of the pricier "Allergen cycle" machines. :-/

I did come across one study that was done in Korea back in the early 2000s that claimed that an alternative method of using the Warm wash setting followed by TWO additional Cold water rinses produced almost the same results as a Hot cycle. However, back then "Warm" water temperature was undoubtedly hotter than it is nowadays; probably closer to today's "Hot", LOL. If "hot" used to be 130-140, then "warm" in those days was probably 90-95F. Not 70-something like it is today.

This was a small study and was apparantly never done again afterward. However, assuming it has some validity, it's possible that one could achieve the same results in an Energy Star machine without an Allergen cycle (while not ruining the items with too-hot water) by using the Hot setting (which maxes at 120F but is more likely closer to 100F in reality) followed by 2 cold water rinses. What I don't know is whether the study counted the standard cold-water rinse which is part of a normal wash cycle as "Cold rinse #1" or not; if so, then a second cold water Rinse-and-spin would be sufficient. However, if the study format was "wash + rinse + extra rinse + extra rinse" then what it really needs is 3 rinses...not two.

I was also interested to discover that none of the so-called anti-mite or anti-allergy laundry products have ever been shown to reduce allergens more than the same level produced by just normal laundry detergents (in any independent tests that were not funded by a laundry product manufacturer).

ETA: Also most of the mite-killing temperature studies were done using washers in which the bedding was in contact with the hot water continuously for at least 4 minutes. With the small amount of water that today's HE machines utilize, it's debatable whether even the hottest water is contacting all of the bedding long enough to do its job. Studies really need to be done using the machines available nowadays rather than the ones that were in use several decades back.
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Old 12-03-2014, 06:13 PM
Location: stuck in the woods with bears and moose
23,112 posts, read 22,174,104 times
Reputation: 41491
I always thought the best way to kill dust mites was to put the bedding/clothing out in freezing temperatures overnight. That's one reason why it's somewhat healthy to live in a climate where you get a lot of sub freezing temperatures.
my posts as moderator will be in red. Moderator: Health&Wellness~Genealogy. The Rules--read here>>> TOS. If someone attacks you, do not reply. Hit REPORT.
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Old 07-10-2015, 06:30 PM
870 posts, read 702,750 times
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I've read that both heat and freezing are effective.

But I live in Japan, my washing machine is cold-water only, and it rarely freezes in the winter.
Here they put sheets and futons outside in the sun to kill the dust mites.
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Old 07-16-2015, 05:09 AM
6 posts, read 7,401 times
Reputation: 10
Never2L8, hi, I'm a junior member here, just signed up actually.
I'm searching for different causes of allergies and well aware of some caused by food and dust, pollution, etc.
Yes, I agree with in_newengland and tlarnla, because we have a similar situation at home. There are times when even if you have a weekly vacuuming schedule, seems like dust and pollen are everywhere in the house. I have to be careful because of my 2yrs 9month old daughter, who loves playing anywhere and everywhere in the house.

So, in case you're already seeing some signs of allergies, sneezing, coughing, etc, my advise, don't resort to pharmacy drugs at once or cold/cough medicine, how about some good old hot chicken soup or maybe much better to have rice porridge with a little salt to taste. I'm more in favor with something natural nowadays as opposed to drugs, specially for children. Have you heard of Natural Therapies? Dr. Sundardas, is a leading naturopathic doctor that I'm working for right now. In case you need some advice, I'll be happy to answer your questions.

Hope I was able to help.
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Old 07-16-2015, 05:26 AM
Location: Glasgow Scotland
15,637 posts, read 14,232,828 times
Reputation: 23150
This is taken from the Healthy House site.

The Bed

The most important place to start is with the bed as this is where we spend approximately one third of our time. Dust mite allergens can be released into the air every time we roll over or move the pillow. Although there are certain acaricides on the market that can be sprayed onto the mattress we strongly advise that you do not use these measures to combat mite population in the bedding. The active ingredients of insecticides of this kind are toxic and can off gas into the atmosphere while we sleep.

We recommend the use of dust mite proof barrier cases for the mattress, duvet and pillows, or alternatively choose a dust mite proof duvet and a dust mite proof pillow. (Again if buying elsewhere you need to be careful that these have not been treated with insecticides.)
Use bedding that can be washed at 60 degrees as this will kill the dust mites and dissolve the water soluble allergens.
Use non toxic allergy sprays to kill the dust mites and denature their allergens.
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Old 01-22-2021, 10:39 PM
2,958 posts, read 1,006,777 times
Reputation: 5143
Default Dust mite allergy from the Mayo Clinic

I know this thread is old, but here is some up to date and trusted information from the Mayo Clinic:

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Old 01-23-2021, 11:29 PM
Location: Sandy Eggo's North County
2,540 posts, read 833,779 times
Reputation: 3473
Dust mite eradication is one thing, but getting rid of dust bunnies, now THAT'S a tough assignment.
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