Are There Eczema Triggers In Your Home?

You may think of your house as a safe place from eczema irritants, but believe it or not, many substances that cause eczema outbreaks can be found in the average home. From dust mites to the type of water in your pipes and the bedding you choose, let’s take a look at common eczema irritants that might be in your home and what you can do about them.

Dust Mites.

Dust mites are microscopic bugs that live in bedding, upholstered furniture, and carpets. They eat sloughed off dead skin cells and produce droppings that contain enzymes that can worsen eczema. It’s not possible to get rid of dust mites completely, but there are a few things you can do to reduce their impact.

  • Vacuum carpets and upholstery two or more times a week.
  • Wash bed sheets twice a week and pillows and bedspreads once a month in hot water.
  • Use a dehumidifier in the bedroom or open the windows to reduce humidity.
  • Wipe down hard surfaces daily with a damp cloth.
  • Consider replacing fabric upholstery with vinyl or leather.
  • Consider replacing carpets with tile, vinyl, or laminate flooring.


Molds inside the home are generally found in moist, warm places like bathrooms and kitchens. They can also thrive in damp clothing and towels. Molds reproduce by releasing spores into the environment. These spores, especially those released in fall and winter, have been known to trigger eczema and allergies.

What can you do to reduce mold inside your home?

  • Open windows to increase ventilation.
  • Fix leaks promptly to avoid dampness that can lead to mold growth.
  • Hang up towels and wet clothing right away or put them in a dryer.
  • Keep rooms from getting too hot and humid.

Hard Water.

If your tap water is hard (meaning it contains high levels of calcium and magnesium carbonates), it may make you or your child more prone to eczema outbreaks. This happens for a few reasons. First, the high mineral content of hard water causes damage to the skin barrier, making it more difficult for your skin to protect itself and stay moisturized. This leads to dry skin, redness, and inflammation, which can trigger eczema. In addition, studies have shown that calcium and magnesium ions will bond to surfactants in soap, making it more difficult to wash off. This results in a residue that remains on the skin after rinsing and can exacerbate irritation and eczema.

If you have hard water, what can you do to reduce its effect on eczema?

  • Invest in a whole house water softener, although these can be expensive.
  • Add a colloidal oatmeal soak to the bath.


Keeping bedding as dust mite free as possible and maintaining a comfortable temperature at night can help with eczema outbreaks. Cotton sheets are more breathable and less palatable to dust mites than synthetic sheets. For the same reason, duvets and blankets should be made of cotton as well.

To keep bedding from triggering eczema, do the following:

  • Replace synthetic sheets and bedding with cotton.
  • Wash bed sheets twice a week and pillows and bedspreads once a month in hot water.
  • Use a laundry detergent that is free of perfumes and dyes. Some people also do a double-rinse.
  • Skip the fabric softener. You can use dryer balls in the dryer instead to fluff up bedding when you wash it.


You love them, but their dander (shed skin cells), fur, and saliva can all be irritants. Here are some things you can do to minimize pet-related eczema outbreaks:

  • Vacuum and dust your home regularly.
  • Train cats and dogs to use their own bed rather than the sofa or other furniture.
  • Don’t let pets sleep with the eczema sufferer.
  • If you must let your pet on a sofa or chair, place a blanket down first, and shake it outside and clean it often.
  • Brush your animals to remove loose fur and pollen that they may bring in from the outside.

On top of these things, follow your dermatologist’s recommendations for skin care products, soaps, and shampoos that won’t irritate eczema. Keep up with your eczema treatments and let your doctor know if they aren’t working. Not every treatment works for every person and there are other treatments we can try.

With a combination of lifestyle changes and medical treatment, eczema is manageable! If eczema is getting in the way, give us a call today.