I have a pretty serious dust mite allergy. Out of the gazillion food, product ingredient, animal and environmental allergies I have, I'm confident my dust mite allergy causes a reaction for me. Earlier this year, I started getting reactions to my allergy injections, which contained dust mite substances. They were local reactions, meaning the injection area got swollen, itchy and felt hot; and the reaction lasted days. I've had a dust mite allergy for years, but never knew it was that serious.
Since then, I've done the whole de-dust mite thing: new mattress, no curtains, special bedding, dust mite spray, dust mite powder on upholstery and rugs, etc. Then I noticed that my clothing made me itchy. Sweaters that I didn't wear (or wash) often would make me itchy. Fluffy scarves would do the same. "Dust mites!" I thought.
There are a few options for minimizing dust mites on clothes and blankets:
1. Wash in hot water (at least 140 F). I used a thermometer to make sure my hot water was hot enough. The problem with this is the damage hot water does to clothing - your things won't last as long and will look faded.
2. Use a de-mite laundry additive or allergen wash laundry detergent. This sounds great and gets great reviews on Amazon, but it has tea tree oil and I'm worried I'll have a flare-up reaction because of my composite mix contact allergy (basically am allergy to lots of plants and trees). I still want to try it, though.
3. Freeze it! Both hot water and freezing temperatures kill dust mites. For example, you can put a teddy bear in the freezer to kill its dust mites. I don't have a teddy bear situation, but I do have items I don't want to wash that need to be treated. And this is why if you open my freezer at home, on the bottom shelf you'll see scarves, knit hats, sweaters, etc. I think it helps!
I just put a sweater in my freezer. I hadn't worn it in months (Houston is usually hot) and my arms became pretty itchy while I wore it. I'll take it out of the freezer in a few days and will see if it's better. I'll report back!