Untidy beds may "kill" dust mites

Up to 40% of the world's population has been diagnosed with an allergic disease. The most prevalent allergy is to house dust mites (http://buff.ly/1jSF5Y6). The average bed could be home to up to 1.5 million house dust mites.

The bugs, which are less than a millimetre long, feed on scales of human skin and produce allergens which are easily inhaled during sleep.

Something as simple as leaving a bed unmade during the day can remove moisture from the sheets and mattress so the mites will dehydrate and eventually die.

Responses from Twitter:

@DoctorMac: Dust mites don't survive unmade beds. Good luck with your allergic kids now. They have science on their side.

@doc_rob: So there! Ya Ya Ya - I was right an Mom was wrong!

@candydye: Moms - Don't tell your kids! RT @Allergy: Untidy beds may "kill" dust mites - goo.gl/qsDW

Dust mite allergen avoidance. The main allergen is in the dust mite feces. Use 3 control measures for 3-6 months to see an effect on the allergy symptoms (click to enlarge the image).

Where are highest concentrations of dust mites found in home? Pillows, stuffed animals, mattress, bedding? http://goo.gl/l6KtR -- A: Mattress.


BBC NEWS | Health | Untidy beds may keep us healthy

Indoor Allergen Avoidance

Dust mites: Lifestyle and home remedies - Excellent summary by Mayo Clinic.

Dust Mite Respiratory Allergy: current therapies http://buff.ly/1UwMMUJ - ALK PR company helped write the paper with 3 writers, open access.

Rhinitis and sleep - congestion decreases quality of life and productivity, increases daytime sleepiness http://goo.gl/Fym3B

House dust mite sensitization in toddlers predicts wheeze at age 12 years (JACI, 2011).

Millions suffer 'home fever' as allergy epidemic begins to bite - dust mites account for 58% of household allergies. The Independent, 2011.


  1. That's a good point. My daughter is very allergic to dust mites. We bought an ultraviolet vacuum to use on the bed, which kills dust mites and vacuums them up. It has been such an amazing tool and our daughter has improved greatly because of it!

  2. Anonymous6/22/2010

    Studies do not show consistent benefit from vacuum cleaning. See here for more details:


  3. That point is irrelevant in regards to a vacuum equipped with Ultra Violet Light. The article you pointed to is in regards to a HEPA filter. We use avacuum especially designed for those with dust mite allergies and other allergies. It has shown a significant improvement in our daughter's health since we used it- so that's all the proof I need!

  4. Anonymous6/22/2010

    Do you have a link to a study that examined the hypothesis by any chance? I'm glad you daughter feels better but clinical anecdotes (single cases) do not make good scientific evidence, generally speaking.

  5. Anonymous6/22/2010

    I was not able to find any evidence in PubMed that UV vacuum cleaner works to improve allergic symptoms in patients sensitized to dust mite.

    Centrally installed ultraviolet (UV) irradiation units were investigated to determine the potential health benefits in mold-sensitized asthmatic children:


    Again, there was nothing about UV vacuum cleaners in this abstract.

  6. Our daughter's doctor who specialises in children with allergies recommended that we purchase a vacuum equipped with Ultraviolet Light, so we researched it and found one that was designed specifically for the bed, Ray Cop.

    Obviously our daughter's case is not a single case, since they have designed these vacuums specifically for those suffering from dust mites allergies. Here is some information that may help answer your question in regard to scientific evidence. However, I don't usually look at trial research regarding a product.



    Contacting the manufacturers of these products may point you to some scientific evidence as well. There may not have been any studies done around UltraViolet Light vacuums and long term effects.

    They are also making air purifiers with UV Light.

  7. Anonymous6/22/2010

    This UV vacuum does not look like something a board-certified allergist would recommend - considering that there are no studies whatsoever to support its clinical use at this stage. Doctors are taught to base their recommendations on evidence. This does not apply to manufacturers.

  8. Another company that makes a UV vacuum is called Halo. I researched that a bit and found this:

    To test the efficacy of the Halo Ultraviolet Vacuum on dust mites, the team at Halo Technologies engaged Dr. Glen Needham, Ph.D., professor of Entomology and Acarology (the study of mites) at The Ohio State University. Dr. Needham is one of the leading experts on dust mites in the world. His team at The Ohio State University conducted tests using the Halo Ultraviolet Vacuum bulb chamber in December 2005, and he presented his findings to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology under the title Ultraviolet C Exposure is Fatal to House Dust Mite Eggs.The study concluded that: Even small doses of UVC from the Halo Ultraviolet Vacuum bulb chamber seem to have a fairly significant effect on the American house dust mite reproduction. We have found that as little as one second of UVC from the Halo Ultraviolet Vacuum bulb chamber results in the death of the American dust mite (AHD) eggs, and five seconds resulted in nearly 100 percent mortality.


  9. Michael10/02/2010

    Hi Heather: I'm not sure you're still checking this blog, but I wanted to see how continued use of your Raycop product is working to-date. I just purchased one myself and used it for the first time today. It looks like it should work based on some initial studies, etc. What's confusing is how long to use it per session. It has a timer, but I can't imagine you would use it on a mattress for 30 minutes and a pillow for the same length of time. Any advice? Thanks!