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The Surprising Relationship Between Dust and Indoor Humidity

You may be unaware of the relationship between dust, dust mites and indoor moisture levels. Regulating indoor humidity, or humidity control helps.

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Dust is a combination of skin cells, pollen, dead bugs, bacteria, soil, dander and various fibers. Dust mites are microscopic organisms that feed on dust. We don’t like thinking about the pests and organisms creeping around our living spaces either, but it’s important for IAQ.

Particularly because both dust and dust mites can affect the health of your household. Symptoms include sneezing, watery eyes, runny nose, cough and congestion. In order to better fight dust and dust mites, your home’s indoor humidity level must be just right.

Does Humidity Reduce Dust?

The answer to this question is yes and no. Technically, humidity does not reduce the literal amount of dust in your home. Instead, humidity causes dust particles to adhere to one another, making them too heavy to travel through the air. Thus, dust particles are still present in your home, but the ideal humidity level makes dust particles quicker to settle and easier to clean.

Does Humidity Control Help With Dust Mites?

When the indoor humidity level is between 40 and 60%, dust mites are unable to thrive and spread. This is because dust mites prefer extremely humid atmospheres. Why? Dust mites absorb moisture from the air in order to survive. If the atmosphere is dry, dust mites are unable to absorb the moisture necessary to survive. This is the equivalent of dogs drinking water to avoid dehydration.

Indoor Sources: Everything you never knew you needed to know about dust and dust mites. None of us want to really think about what dust actually is and how prevalent dust mites are, but this is one pollutant that is everywhere indoors →

If dust mites cannot survive in dry air, why does your home’s humidity level need to be as high as 40–60%? Why can’t home humidity levels be lower, say 20 or 30%? Surely that would prevent dust mites from coming anywhere near your home!

While maintaining a dry indoor atmosphere may sound like a good idea, it can also be detrimental to your health. In order to avoid allergens, viruses, bacteria and other pollutants, indoor air needs to retain moisture. For good air quality and health, indoor humidity levels should fall in the ideal 40-60% range. It truly is the sweet spot.

Should You Use a Humidifier or Dehumidifier for Dust?

Choosing the right IAQ humidity control solution for your space will depend on climate and other humidity issues you might notice.

Ideal Indoor Humidity Range: So 40–60% is the ideal indoor humidity range … but why? What is it about this mid-range that ensures a healthy and comfortable indoor living space? Read more →

Obviously if your house averages below 40% humidity, you will need a humidifier to increase the air’s moisture. And if your home is above 60% humidity, then a dehumidifier will help decrease the air’s moisture.

This range ensures that dust does not freely float around your home, and that dust mites cannot live and reproduce. If you do not know what your home’s humidity level is, another option is using an indoor air quality monitor which provides that information.

The bottom line: Humidity control is absolutely essential to prevent the circulation of dust and eliminate dust mites. Doing so will result in better indoor air quality, allowing you and your family to breathe right.

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Indoor air quality matters. Indoor air quality control solutions work. We are the homeowner’s advocate. Our goal is to help you create a healthier indoor space through education, awareness and action. We support clean air for all and we know it’s possible for every single indoor space.

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