house dust mite

Last reviewed 01/2018

The house dust mite Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus is an important organism, not because it is a direct pathogen but because of the allergenicity of its faeces.

  • hypersensitivity of individuals to the faeces can cause asthma
  • the mites live off human skin scales
  • found in bedding, furniture, carpets and soft toys
  • thrive best in warm, damp conditions (1)

The following measures could be carried out to control the house-dust mites:

  • regular vacuuming
  • use of materials which are impermeable to mites for covers  of mattresses and soft furnishings
  • use of hard flooring rather than carpets
  • keeping away soft toys from the bedroom
  • acaricides applied regularly to soft furnishings
  • wash bedding at high temperatures
  • damp dusting
  • dehumidification


  • although these measures will reduce the number of dust mites, it is not sufficient to have an effect in the control of asthma. Hence these cannot be recommended as a useful, cost-effective strategy based on current evidence (1).