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 is important.
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 fight dust and dust mites, your home’s indoor humidity 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 they are easier to clean and cannot circulate throughout your home and cause problems.
Does Humidity Control Help With Dust Mites?
When a home’s humidity level is between 40% and 60%, dust mites cannot thrive. 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 extremely dry, dust mites are unable to absorb the moisture necessary to survive. This is the equivalent of dogs drinking water to avoid dehydration.
If dust mites cannot survive in dry atmospheres, 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?
The ideal humidity range for home quality and human health is between 40% and 60%. This is good news because dust mites die when indoor humidity levels are roughly below 50%. Choosing the right IAQ humidity control solution for your space will depend on climate and other humidity issues you might notice.
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, you will use a dehumidifier to decrease the air’s moisture. You can check out these articles to learn more about what signs to watch out for:
This range will ensure 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.