Send to

Choose Destination
J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2001 Jan;107(1):99-104.

Reducing relative humidity is a practical way to control dust mites and their allergens in homes in temperate climates.

Author information

Department of Biological Sciences, Wright State University, Dayton, OH 45435, USA.



Maintaining a relative humidity (RH) of less than 50% is one recommendation for reducing numbers of house dust mites and their allergens in homes.


The purpose of this study was to determine whether, in a humid temperate climate, indoor RH could be sufficiently lowered to control dust mites and their allergens.


During a period spanning 2 humid summers (May 1998 to October 1999), dust mite and allergen densities were determined in 3 groups of homes. One group (low RH group, n = 23) maintained an RH of less than 51%. Most of these homes used a high-efficiency dehumidifier and air conditioning. A second group of homes (group A) used air conditioning only (n = 19) or air conditioning and dehumidification (n = 5) but did not maintain an RH of less than 51%. A third group of homes (group C, n = 24) controlled climate by opening windows and had an RH of greater than 51%. Normal housecleaning was maintained in all homes during the study.


The low RH group homes started in June with a mean +/- SE of 401 +/- 124 live mites and 17 +/- 3 microg of total Der 1 allergen per gram of dust. After 17 months of maintaining an RH of less than 51%, these declined significantly to 8 +/- 3 live mites per gram (P =. 004) and 4 +/- 1 microg of Der 1 per gram of dust (P <.001). In contrast, group A and C homes exhibited seasonal peaks of 500 to 1000 mites and 40 to 70 microg of Der 1 per gram of dust. At all time points after the baseline sample, the low RH group homes had significantly less (P <.001) allergen than the group A and C homes. After 17 months, allergen levels were more than 10 times lower in low RH homes compared with humid homes.


This study showed that it is practical to maintain an indoor RH of less than 51% during the humid summer season in a temperate climate, and this resulted in significant reductions in mite and allergen levels.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center