If you have high levels of dust mite allergen, there are 3 (steps) processes that will help, vacuuming, treating with ultraviolet light, and vacuum again. It is necessary to follow the instructions for each process in order to assure successful results. 


Vacuuming, depending on the type of vacuum cleaner you have, may make the situation worse. 

There are basically two types of cleaners on the market. 

One is an airflow type, and the other is a vacuum type.  All vacuum cleaners have 3 things in common, a bag, a fan, and a motor.  The difference is where the bag is placed.  If the bag is in front of the fan and motor, then it is a vacuum cleaner.  If the bag is behind the fan and motor, then it is an airflow cleaner.

Most upright cleaners that have a soft outer bag that inflate when turned on, is an airflow cleaner.  All the dirt and dust goes into the intake side of the fans and is blown into the bag from the exhaust side of the fans.  This type cleaner has only one filter the exhaust bag. 

If you have this style cleaner you need to get rid of it!

This is a large part of your dust mites and respiratory problems! Basically you are sucking up all the dirt and blowing it into a porous paper or cloth filter bag.  The fine dirt, dust, dust mites dead and alive along with all of their waste products slipped through the paper bag, and are being blown into the air and throughout your house.  The one paper bag filter is just stopping the larger dirt particles. The next time you turn on this type of cleaner, hold a light next to the bag as it inflates.  Look at all the dirt and dust blowing into the air!


A true vacuum cleaner uses the fan and motor to create a vacuum within a chamber.  This chamber is where your bag is placed.  The bag is the first paper filter.  Next there is a second filter, usually foam or paper which protects the fan and motor, and last there is a third foam filter over the exhaust.  All canister style cleaners are vacuum type. There are new triple layer allergy filter bags available for most new cleaners. There are some upright cleaners like Panasonic, Kenmore and Sharp, which are upright canister vacuum cleaners.  Be careful some hard shell uprights look like the canister type but are airflow type. On some newer vacuum cleaners this exhaust filter uses a Hepa filter.   

This Hepa filter will block 99% of any particles, one micron in size and larger, that slipped through the first three filters.  Usually dead dust mite, their waste and dead follicles are small enough to slip through most 1st stage paper bag filters. 

Upright canister style vacuum cleaners will have a sealed compartment where the filter bags trap the dirt and dust before the motor and fan providing longer life to the motor and better cleaning performance.    

Houses with central vac systems need not worry, these are usually high-powered canister type vacuum cleaners that exhaust outside of the home.


Vacuuming Pillows and couch cushions:

Place pillows in a large plastic garbage/leaf bag (like a big plastic pillow case), then gather the opening together and place your vacuum hose with an upholstery tool attached inside the bag against the pillow. Next, turn on your vacuum while pinching the bag opening closed around the vacuum hose. This process will shrink a king size pillow down to the size of a small phone directory. Turning off the vacuum cleaner and opening the plastic bag the pillow will inflate to its original size. You can repeat this process several times to assure thorough removal of dead mites, droppings and skin follicles. This will not harm or deform the shape of your pillow. This process works well on couch cushions and pillows of all types.

Vacuuming Mattresses:

Again using your upholstery tool and hose, vigorously and thoroughly vacuum your mattress. Flip your mattress and vacuum both sides and edges. It may be necessary to move your mattress to the side and vacuum your box spring. As well as lifting your box springs so that you can vacuum the bottom and edges. It is a good idea to have someone help you in moving and lifting your mattress and springs. Another affective cleaning method is to take your mattress outside and beat it unmercifully with a sturdy tennis racket. You may need to wear a scarf or dust mask while doing the beating. This method is extremely beneficial if the outside temperature is below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10c). This was the most common method of mite control before mattresses became so large and heavy. 


Treating with ultraviolet light:

After a thorough vacuuming use your ultraviolet light to kill the living dust mites that were not removed by vacuuming. Within 20 seconds of exposure to UV light 99.9% of the dust mites will be dead. By placing the light against your pillows and mattress, slowly move the light back and forth overlapping the entire surface area. Changed directions and repeat. It is now necessary to vacuum again to remove the dead mites.