Dust, dust mites, and storage mites – and how to avoid them

Our doggos are kind of like our roommates. They’re always in our way in the kitchen, making ungodly smells, and hogging the sofa. But the difference is, with our pups, we wouldn’t have it any other way.

So we want them to be as comfortable at home as possible. We get them the comfiest beds (although sometimes they prefer ours), spoil them rotten, and treat them like royalty. And it’s heartbreaking when something irritates them or triggers a bad reaction.

There are many culprits around the house that do this, and some of them are near-invisible. As the title probably gave away, I’m talking about dust, dust mites, and storage mites. They aren’t great at the best of time, but when they’re aggravating our pooches, they’re a pain to get rid of.

Let’s look at what separates the three and our tips for eradicating them as best you can.

Dust

We’ll start with dust since most of us are familiar with what it is. A nuisance to clean, for a start.

It’s the accumulation of a lot of different little particles. Some of it comes from outside, such as the dirt we bring in when we come home. Or something like pollen, which might float in through an open window. The rest of it is a mix of our skin cells, hair, bits of clothing fluff, bacteria, microplastics, and anything else tiny enough to get caught up in it.

You need to know this because a reaction to dust might be in part a reaction to something else. If your pup reacts to tree pollen, it could be that specific element that’s causing their woes.

Dust mites

Mites can fit into two categories: dust mites and storage mites. Where you find them around the house is a little different. The clues are in the names. Dust mites are tiny, barely perceptible pests that live in our homes. They can cause issues for humans as well as dogs.

They’re the lodger you can’t get rid of. They embed themselves in our fabrics, so you’ll often find them (not literally, they’re too small) in beds, carpets, sofas, and curtains. But it’s not actually the dust mite our pups are reacting to. No, the reality is far grosser than that. It’s their poop that’s the trigger. Want to know another fun fact? A teaspoon of dust can have more than 250,000 dust mite droppings in it. Think about that when you’re doing your spring cleaning!

Given how common they are, it’s almost impossible to get rid of them. Don’t worry; there are steps you can take. And we’ll get to those soon enough…

Storage mites

The second kind of mite – storage mites – have a similarly obvious name. They like to hang out in places where you store food. Open cereal boxes, dog food bags, chealy manufactured containers – you name it.

Thankfully, they’re easier to manage. Storage mites are huge fans of cereals, so properly storing anything cereal-based can put a stop to that. Most of our tips are aimed at dust and dust mites, with some extra advice on storage mites at the end. So if you’re thinking about reorganising your cupboards, skip ahead.

But for now, let’s look at our top tips for taking care of these pesky problems.

dust mites 2

Extreme temperatures are your ally

Dust mites are picky with their environment. Like bacteria, they prefer it warm and moist. Their ideal temperature is around 21 degrees and a humid environment. As we’re in the UK, and we’re dependent on our overpriced heating, that puts us in an unfortunate position. 

However, we can use this against them. An easy suggestion would be to turn the heating off and wear a jumper, but that’s not always a comfortable way to live. Especially if you’re working from home. Instead, you could look for more direct heat sources, like an electric blanket.

Reducing humidity and increasing the ventilation in your house is the goal. Especially in the kitchen and bathroom. Try to keep the doors closed to avoid spreading dampness to the rest of the house. 

Then it comes to cleaning. You better believe we’ve got a lot of cleaning tips for you, and this is the first. Washing your pup’s bedding at a higher temperature is a great way to kill off those pesky mites. Just don’t let it dry around the house as they can jump back on. And preferably not outside, otherwise it’ll pick up pollen. Tumble dry if you can. For your furniture, consider a steam clean.

Colder temperatures can help you too. You could freeze your pup’s favourite toy for 24 hours to kill the mites (though only if you have a spare one), then wash them to remove the dead mites and droppings. 

Regularly clean bedding 

This one would all depend on where your pup sleeps. Of course, keeping on top of your pup’s bedding can prevent a build up of dust. But consider everywhere they sleep. Bedding and carpeting in the car are important, any blankets and pillows that you use across the house for your pup, and any beds in the house your dog has access to. So get into the habit of cleaning them often; perhaps weekly.

My G likes to share the love with everyone in the house, so he regularly chops and changes over five beds. And he also loves to sprawl over the carpet everywhere. Which leads nicely to the next point…

Minimise your pup’s access across the house

Of course, our pups are our babies, but if they’re triggered by dust and/or dust mites, you might not want to routinely change five beds, hoover five rooms, and strip the car and living room every couple of days. By simply shutting the door and limiting access to where your pup can go, you’re instantly making it a lot easier on yourself to minimise their triggers.

Opt for different materials where possible

I’m not suggesting you dart out and change your whole house overnight. But there are options you could consider to minimise dust mites. Choose lino or wooden flooring over carpet, or blinds or lightweight washable curtains over heavy curtains.

They can be slightly easier to keep clean and maintain too. A leather or a hard-wearing bed with easily detachable bedding could be less hassle to maintain for your pup than one that’s fabric all over and doesn’t fit in the machine. 

dust mites 3

Clean fabrics often

Where you can’t replace furniture (because there’s no way you’re ditching your brand new fabric corner sofa), it’s important to keep on top of these, knowing that dust mites love them. Anything in your home that’s fabric can be a hot zone, so try your best to keep these maintained regularly. Carpets, sofas, curtains, and beds are the biggest culprits.

Minimising clutter in your home

You don’t have to go full Marie Kondo and throw out all your worldly belongings, but it could be a good time for a spring clean. What better excuse to throw away or donate the belongings you don’t use or need. Clutter is a big magnet for dust, and when we’re cleaning on the fly, we tend to clean around these items than really get in the nooks and crannies that we’d need to if truly eliminating dust. 

Piles of books, toys, magazines, or anything else that could sit for weeks without attention are the main culprits. Do you really need that backlog of Radio Times that you haven’t opened since 2003? If not, getting rid might make your pup’s dust trigger more manageable. 

Clean from the top to the bottom

When cleaning, make sure to start at the top of the room and work your way down. This way, dust falls below and can easily be scooped up and cleaned. Otherwise you’re just moving dust to the areas you just cleaned. 

Aim to clean your floors daily

I told you there were a lot of cleaning tips! Combined with dusting, hoovering is one of the quickest and most effective ways to get rid of dust from your home. If you’re short on time, focussing on the areas where your dog spends the most time will help you stay on top of minimising dust. If you have wooden floors, wet mopping them will increase your chances of getting it all. 

Opt for microfibre cloths

“Not all dust cloths are equal” is a sentence I never thought I’d have to write in my career. But it’s true! Some just spread the dust around, especially feather dusters. Microfibres make the task so much easier as they’re literally designed to trap dust and hold onto it. 

Using a spray will help too as it wets the dust, making it a breeze to trap. Do be mindful which spray you use, as it might trigger your pooch in other ways. Those that use perfumes, for example. 

dust mites 4

Take off shoes at the door

We bring in so much crap with us when we come home. It sticks to our clothes and shoes, so taking them off as soon as possible is ideal. I’m sure many of you already have a “no shoes inside the house” policy, but if not, now might be the time to start.

By doing so, we keep the dirt we bring in firmly in the entrance. Rather than trekking it all through the house. Don’t be shy to ask guests to do the same. A simple shoe rack is about £10 from Home Bargains, and will make life so much easier. You can even go one step further and change your clothes too.

Keep your pup well-groomed

Sadly, our pups are part of the issue. Depending on the breed, they can shed dander and fur – and plenty of it sometimes! They can’t help it, but as their pawrents, it’s our responsibility to keep on top of things. 

That doesn’t mean you have to start parting with lots of cash by upping trips to the groomers. But when they’re having mad, unbrushed zoomies, and you’re stroking them and leaving fur behind in the living room, it can be making the issue worse.

Try normalising brushing your pup as part of your daily routine. It doesn’t even have to be for very long. My only advice is to do it in an open area, or somewhere easy to clean. A garden or yard is ideal, away from any open windows. But if you’re limited on space, grooming them in the bathroom is a good idea.

What about storage mites?

When it comes to storage mites, you’ll be thankful to know it involves a lot less cleaning. Still some cleaning, but hopefully not enough to pull your hair out. The first step is to look at your pup’s diet. Storage mites love cereal-based foods, so eliminate these where you can. In reality, they don’t have a place period, so take this opportunity to move to something better for them.

Of course, I’m biased, but I’d recommend our range of foods and treats as they’re much better for your pooch.

For everything else, you need to think about your storage:

  • If you don’t have resealable dog food – for example, it might be in a bag – transfer it to something you can seal.
  • When refilling your storage with more food, use the entirety of what’s left before adding anything new. And clean it thoroughly first.
  • Whatever you use to fill up your pup’s bowl – like a cup, jug, or scoop – clean this too. After every use. Along with their bowl. If they leave any scraps behind, clean it quickly and give it a good scrub.
  • Store all their food and treats in cool, dry conditions. Don’t leave them in the sun or next to something that generates heat.

So there you have it! Some quick and simple tips for tackling all your dust, dust mite, and storage mite woes. When your pup reacts to them regularly, it can be distressing. Believe us, we know. But with this advice, you can both rest easy and live a happy and healthy life.

Are you concerned about your pooch’s sensitivities? Don’t worry; we’re here to help. Take one of our fur tests today to find out what could be triggering them. It’s quick, pain-free, and you get results in 72 hours. Buy yours today.

When we send you your results, you’ll also receive a personalised guide on how to avoid their triggers. Along with this, we’ll let you know which of the Swagwags meals are perfect for your pup. In the meantime, why not take a look at our range? It’s sure to become their new favourite meal!