Battle of the Bugs

Keep germs and dust mites out of the cab and feel a whole lot better.

When is the last time you gave the interior of your truck a good vacuuming? Do you ever think about what may be lurking in your seats or in the air you breathe? The bad news – you most likely have germs, dust mites and other allergens in your cab. But the good news is, there are several steps you can take to prevent these unseen critters from aggravating you while on the road.

Microscopic dust mites thrive on moisture and live off human skin scales. We constantly slough off skin scales (pieces of peeling or flaking outer skin layers), and both the scales and the mites get into any adjoining soft surface that can easily retain them. That includes bedding, pillows, sofas, carpets – and the interior of your truck. Mites in high concentration can also cause allergies and can even be responsible for the onset of asthma.

If you have leather seats in your cab, you’re in luck, because mites have a much harder time living in leather than in upholstery. But dust mites in upholstered interiors can easily cling to clothing, bringing more allergens into the home, according to a study by Dr. Larry G. Arlian, a researcher at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. Arlian painstakingly evaluated dust mite counts of 144 new homes and found that the 77 percent of them that had high dust mite counts also had mites in the owners’ automobiles.

Regular vacuuming or steam cleaning of upholstery can go a long way toward controlling dust mites. In fact, vacuuming daily with HEPA filters – which pick up microparticles, especially dust mites – and using an air purifier can significantly decrease the amount of airborne allergens in your cab, according to a study by Dr. Nathan Rabinovitch of the National Jewish Medical and Research Center. Water trap vacuums are a good bet as well. They collect the dust in water, where it stays. After trapping 99.997 percent of dust, clear air is circulated back into the atmosphere through the exhaust vent of the vacuum.

Dry steam cleaning your cab can help kill germs, bacteria, mold spores, viruses and mites. Heat, in the form of dry steam vapor, has long been used to sterilize surgical instruments and equipment. The temperatures at which dry steam cleaning systems operate are higher than what is necessary to kill germs and mites. Fleas, flea eggs and flea larvae also are killed by short-term exposure to high temperature heat.

Another way to reduce allergies caused by mites in the cab is to spray your upholstery with a tannic acid solution. This deactivates the allergy-causing substance produced by dust mites, changing it to a form that no longer causes allergy.


Products to Eliminate Mites and Germs
Air Purifiers and odor eliminators

  • The Honeywell Enviracaire 15200 Car and Truck Odor Eliminator and The Sharper Image Ionic Breeze Dashboard Ionizer both plug into your vehicle’s cigarette lighter port.
  • The Sharper Image Ionic Breeze GP Car Air Purifier with Ultraviolet Germicidal Protection secures to the back of any car seat.

Vacuums

  • The DirtTamer Ultima Wet Dry Cordless HEPA Hand Held Vacuum Cleaner can be recharged and brought on the road.
  • Rainbow brand water trap vacuums have many attachments available, including pet brushes, the “wacky vac” tool and hoses.
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