So, you have a bunch of dust mites. And you want to get rid of them. Fast.
This comprehensive guide will go over the basics about dust mites and then give you a variety of proven methods to get rid of them for good.
Everything from natural, DIY home remedies to using more advanced countermeasures like bug spray and pesticides are all included.
By the end of this guide, you should have a newfound knowledge on getting rid of these pests and also a dust mite free home!
Sound good? Let’s get rid of these pesky mites once and for all!
Last updated: 8/29/19.
What are dust mites?
Dust mites are dust mites.
They’re pests that take over any type of home provided an adequate food source is provided. Contrary to the name, they don’t only inhabit homes with dust. Even the cleanest homes can have dust mites problems.
Dust mites are microscopic pests that can’t be seen with the naked eye. They’re relative of the distant spider and act like miniature ones that require a microscope to be seen. Every single home virtually has some degree of dust mites.
But they’re relatively harmless to humans, unless you or your family suffers from eczema, asthma, or have allergies to specific sensitivities. Dust mites can act as allergens and cause allergic reactions, which may cause symptoms of mite allergy.
They eat skin scales that have been “processed” for them by bacteria. They thrive in dark, humid, and warm conditions- typically like your bed, pillow, or furniture including chairs, sofas, carpets, and curtains.
All these materials are like magnets for skin scales and provide a soft, warm, and sheltered area for dust mites to thrive in your home.
Where do they come from?
Dust mites come from a variety of sources, but once they get into your home, there’s no real stopping them.
It’s nearly impossible to have a 100% house free of dust mites since they’re everywhere that humans, pets, and other animals are, but you can reduce and control the population pretty easily with patience and an aggressive approach.
They generally like to reside where there’s a plentiful source of dander or dust that are shed off by people and pets. They’re especially prominent in bedding, carpeting, curtains, floors, furniture, and mattresses/pillows.
Do dust mites bite humans?
They’re harmless to humans and don’t directly bite humans. They feed on skin that you shed off into your house everyday. Dogs, cats, and other pets also shed skin, so pretty much anything in your home that’s alive can contribute to dust mites.
So all you need to know is that dust mites will eat skin scales of people and pets, and this is all they need to survive. They break the skin down by bacteria and fungus that are commonplace in households, and the dust mites feed off the what’s leftover.
Here’s a video going over some fascinating facts about dust mites:
What do dust mite bites look like?
Dust mites are microscopic and can’t be seen with just your eye.
They’re extremely small and look like tiny spiders with 6 legs, a rounded ovular body with tiny hairs. You can’t see them anyway, so there’s no real way to ID them other than using a microscope.
But If you do happen to get a hold of some dust and there happens to be a dust mite on it, you’ll see basically a miniature spider with 8 legs and 2 capitula at the front.
They walk very slowly and feed on dust and shed skin. That’s about all you’ll notice.
Are dust mites in the air?
Dust mites are rarely airborne, so you don’t really need to worry about them traveling up your nose in the air.
But they do provide droppings and do break down into smaller pieces after they’re killed, which may affect your allergies because these pieces are microscopic and float around in the air.
They’re also small enough to enter your airways and can cause allergic reactions to those sensitive to dust mites.
This is why it’s important to get rid of dust mites, their debris, and clean up your air quality.
How to get rid of dust mites naturally
The following are some methods you can do at home, DIY style, that’ll help you get rid of dust mites without using harmful pesticides or sprays.
This is good if you have kids, pets, or just don’t want some nasty, artificial residues hanging around your home. Continue reading to get more techniques you can use to drive dust mites out of your home (and keep them out).
Dust mites and Lysol
You can use a bottle of Lysol spray to kill dust mites.
Lysol does indeed kill them on contact and proves to be a very effective spray to control their population. Lysol is also powerful when used in conjunction with another method on this resource: Anything that leaves water behind.
As you probably know, water may just get some mildew or mold to start sprouting from where you sprayed the solution.
For example, if you try the vinegar method listed here, you can spray it with some Lysol
This important if you spray the vinegar where it’s sheltered from the air as it can’t evaporate and may grow some mildew. Spray it with some Lysol after to kill the mildew and kill dust mites that could be hiding from you.
Lysol can also be used on fabric and even just in the air if you suspect that debris or dust mites are floating about. You can use Lysol once a week safely to eliminate dust mites from your house and proves to be effective in doing so.
Baking soda is another natural and safe solution to getting rid of dust mites.
Baking soda can be used by prepping it as follows:
Step 1: Mix a cup of baking soda with some peppermint oil (or any other essential oil). Just add a few drops.
Step 2: Sprinkle the baking soda across anywhere you see an infestation of dust mites present. You can also sprinkle where you think they may be headed or where you have a lot of dust present.
Step 3: Leave it alone and let the dust mites dehydrate themselves over time upon contact. Don’t touch it for 7 days.
Step 4: Vacuum all of the used baking soda up.
This will prove to be effective in eliminating dust mites. They’ll simply dehydrate and get killed by touching the baking soda and will just sit there and until you vacuum them up.
Bleach will kill anything.
And dust mites are no exception.
If you want to bleach them, you can mix a solution of 1 part water and 1 part bleach and then pour it into a spray bottle.
Then just spray directly where you see dust and wipe. Use this as part of your regular cleaning routine for a powerful and potent way to kill dust mites right away.
Bleach should always be used with caution and always be wiped up completely afterward.
Vinegar will repel dust mites and also kill them on contact. Just mix 1 part vinegar with 1 part water into a spray bottle and use it as you clean dusty surfaces around your home.
Be sure to not use it on surfaces that may be damaged by vinegar and to also wipe afterward with a clean cloth using 100% water so soak up any residue the vinegar leaves behind.
This will also remove the vinegar smell from emanating from the surfaces you wipe.
This is a fast, safe, and DIY solution for getting rid of dust mites around the home. It’s vinegar. It’s basic. It works.
Vacuuming (super effective against dust mites)
Vacuuming is probably the best thing you could do to keep your house free from dust mites.
Vacuuming effectively reduces the dust mite population and also gets rid of debris, droppings, and can prevent many other pests like cigarette beetles and boxelder bugs.
Vacuum everywhere dust settles and keep it on a schedule. Since you can’t see dust mites, just assume wherever you see clumps of dust means that there are dust mites present. This is the easiest way to keep yourself motivated to vacuum on a routine.
You can also get ahold of a UV vacuum. This will instantly kill all bacteria and pests that enter through the chamber, so this way the dust mites don’t live inside your vacuum canister or vacuum bag because you’re just feeding them with a buffet of dust.
For extra cleaning, get a HEPA filter for your vacuum to trap the dust mites and lock them so they don’t make their way out of the vacuum.V
Vacuum on a
If you have an air purifier, turn it on during the cleaning process to suck up any dust you kick up. If you have no air purification systems, then use your home’s HVAC system’s air filter by turning the setting to “fan on” or similar setting.
You don’t need to run the AC or heat- just the fan. This will move air throughout your home and trap the dust mites when they get to the central filter. Use a mask if you have one handy.
Stay on a schedule and keep your house always vacuumed- once a week at the minimum. This will reduce the dust mite population and prevent them from breeding.
Be sure to vacuum your soft furnishing, carpet floors, and between cracks and crevices using your extender handle. Hard furniture can be wiped with a microfiber cloth or damp towel.
Get between the cracks and get all the dust that’s been sitting there for ages. If you see clumps, you should definitely take extra care to vacuum that area. Don’t skimp on it because dust mites don’t need much to start a colony.
When you’re done, let the air filter run for an hour to trap the remaining dust and let it settle.
For hardwood flooring, use a mop.
Launder your clothes, sheets, and fabrics
Launder your bed, sheets, and blankets weekly at 130 degrees or higher.
That’ll kill any dust mites and other pests guaranteed.
Every other week, do the same for your rugs and such that are machine-safe for washing.
The temperature will easily kill dust mites and you don’t have to spend any extra time or money doing so if you already have this as part of your routine.
Just be sure that the temperatures are high enough to kill them if you’ve been using “cool” or “cold” settings.
Other sites that you can’t throw in the water can be heat treated by leaving them in the sun or placed in the freezer overnight.
Both of these will kill dust mites. Using extreme temperatures will kill dust mites and is an easy and free DIY home remedy to naturally get rid of them.
Adjust your home to prevent dust mites
There’s no such thing as a dust mite free home, but you can greatly reduce the population that resides in your home and also lessen allergies and other reactions to dust mites by decorating your house.
You can do the following to make your home less attractive to dust mites:
- Replace fabric items with other alternatives
- Donate, throw away, or store fabrics that aren’t being used or are unnecessary
- Regularly heat your fabrics to 130 degrees
- Use tight-weave fabrics
- Replace carpet with hardwood flooring, tiles, or stone
- Remove rugs, plush, and shags
- Use air purifiers in high-traffic areas (consider using UV air purifiers and always get HEPA filters)
- Get rid of curtains/drapes to vinyl shades
- Use wood or plastic to cover furniture
- Use allergen-proof mattress and pillow covers
- Clean regularly
- Vacuum regularly
- Keep the house as dust-free as possible
Diatomaceous earth is a natural and non-toxic product mined from the planet.
This stuff works on any bug with an exoskeleton, like roaches and dust mites. What’s nice about DE is that it’s just as effective as those harmful sprays you may find at the hardware store, but it’s completely non-toxic and a safer alternative.
Be sure to use food-grade DE and in a form that rated for bugs.
Once you buy some, here’s how you can apply it around your home to eliminate dust mites:
Step 1: Get a small container and a pair of gloves
Step 2: Grab a small pinch of DE
Step 3: Sprinkle it where you see dust mite activity
Step 4: Leave it alone for 3 days to allow all the dust mites to contact the DE
After initial contact with the exoskeleton of the dust mite, the DE will slowly dehydrate them. You can set this stuff around your house in a perimeter as if it were a barrier or fence.
They have to cross it in order to get into your home, so any dust mite that makes its way in will come into contact with the diatomaceous earth. Think of it like an invisible fence that extends from the surface you apply the DE all the way up to the ceiling.
Dust mites on skin
This doesn’t really happen because they’re far too small to be seen with the naked eye anyway, so if you see something on your skin, it’s likely not a dust mite.
But if you have a dusty home or you happen to wear dusty clothing or hang around in dusty furniture, then you may have some get onto your skin and you’ll act as a moving vessel to transport them around your place.
Be sure to keep yourself clean by washing your hands or taking a shower after
Dust mites in the couch and bed
Dust mites will easily thrive in your couch and bed because the fabric provides a place for them to nestle up to warmth and also have a constant source of food due to dead skin coming from the people that use that furniture.
That’s why you often find them inhabiting beds, couches, chairs, sofas, and other various furniture around the house. Dust mites can be prevented from infesting your furniture by keeping it well-vacuumed, laundering it often, and using protective plastic covers.
But what happens if you already have a ton of dust mites in your furniture? You’ll have to take a few steps to get rid of them in your couch and bed.
Clean your sheets
The first step is to keep it clean. Constantly wash the pillows, sheets, furniture pads, and various other objects weekly with a water temperature of at least 130 degrees, and also change the pillows/sheets/etc. Every few months to eliminate colonies that have already started.
Try keeping your decor simple. Don’t use fancy stuff like dolls, stuffed animals, knitted throws, or textile artwork because this stuff can’t be easily washed without damage and are magnets to dust mites.
You can also use a steam cleaner once in a while to kill dust mites that are already inhabiting your furniture. This will also clean and reduce any further infestation because the skin that’s been seeded will also become inedible as a food source to dust mites.
Using temperature and humidity
Humidity is pretty much a requirement for dust mites to survive, so if you reduce the humidity level in your home, they’ll start to struggle.
You can buy a dehumidifier for those purchase and leave it running 24/7 until it gets very dry. But be sure to read usage directions and that there’s proper ventilation if you’re going to use it to the extremes.
Dust mites prefer humidity levels around 75%, but can live just fine with any level over 50%. Lower the overall humidity to 40% and this should have them being killed from lack of water. Water is present in humid air (that’s basically the definition of humidity- to measure the amount of water in the air).
Check for signs of condensation on the windows or mold growing around areas with sinks or water, like your shower. If you see this, the humidity is too high and dust mites will drink the water from the air.
Use colder water during your showers and cut the length of them to prevent humidity buildup. You can also use fans around the house when you shower or cook, and turn the oven fan on after you cook to get rid of the excess moisture.
If you have houseplants, limit the number of them as they raise humidity levels.
Control your humidity, temperatures, and ventilation
By having proper humidity and a well-ventilated home, this will lower the amount of dust floating around and also will get rid of dust mites naturally without needing to use sprays or excessive cleaning.
You can also lower the overall temperature in your home to around 68 to lower the humidity. This will stop mold, dust mites, and maybe even keep your electrical bills down.
If you can’t measure it by ear, then use a hygrometer to find out what the exact level is in your home.
Dust mites in the car
Dust mites take over the car just like the home. Keep the same level of cleanliness and you’ll reduce their population amazingly.
They’re relentless and if you have a dirty car, they’ll gladly eat off the shed skin from you or your pets that taxi with you.
This is why it’s to keep your car clean from stuff like:
- Food scraps
- Sugary drinks
You can always vacuum your car thoroughly and keep the windows rolled up at night or whenever you park your car. This way, dust mites don’t have any easy to get into your car.
Be sure to keep it clean at all times and to get all the nooks and crannies in your car. This means cleaning up the wheel, dash, mats, seats, trunk, and even visors.
Anywhere that houses dust is an easy place for dust mites to replicate. Get all the places that are hard to clean in your car to prevent them from taking over your vehicle.
Dust mites on dogs
As with the rest of the list, the best way to remove dust mites is to keep them clean. Give your dog regular showers, grooming, and use potent but safe shampoos.
Dust mites easily come off your dog, unlike fleas, and don’t require any special shampoos to remove. The only difficult part is when they congregate on your dog’s coat because of poor hygiene or cleaning. This may have them reproduce and grow all over your dog’s coat, which will shed into your home and therefore shed the bugs.
Keep your dog and cats clean, and they’ll be dust mite-free. But you also need to keep your household clean so they don’t pick them up from the dust around your home. Be super clean and you’ll be fine.
Dust mite bites
Dust mites don’t bite.
They don’t bite humans, pets, or anything else- not even plants. If you think you’re getting bites from dust mites, it’s likely another bug like a spider or other pest.
Dust mites don’t cause skin irritation due to bites but may transmit diseases and trigger allergic reactions from dust to sensitive skin.
Dust mites eat dander and skin from people and pets that have shed onto surfaces. They never eat directly off your skin and only live in warm, sheltered areas with plenty of food like carpet, upholstered furniture, and beds.
There are other
Getting rid of them permanently
The best way to get rid of dust mites permanently is to simply keep your cleaning habits in check.
You need to constantly vacuum, wipe, and sanitize your household at all times if you want to keep the dust mite population to minimum levels. Remember, it’s impossible to have a home without dust mites.
You’ll always have a small population of them and it varies depending on how clean your home currently is.
Practice good hygiene
By keeping a good housekeeping habit, you can control the population. Here are some general tips on keeping a dust mite-free home:
- Vacuum dust as soon as you see it
- Have a regular cleaning schedule
- Launder your sheets weekly
- Don’t use any fabrics that are unnecessary
- Store all unused clothing and furniture
- Clean with a natural solution like rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or vinegar
- Don’t skimp on cleaning!
That’s about it. Just follow the procedures and make a habit out of it and you’ll keep the dust mites out- permanently.
Did you get rid of the dust mites?
Well, that’s about it.
Did you clear out your house from dust mites? If you’re having problems, leave a comment and I’ll try to help you out. If you’ve dealt with dust mites in the past and have successfully get rid of them, let me know some tips if you have any! Post them in the comments.
And if you’ve found this guide to be helpful, let me know also!
Thanks for reading.
Currently an active researcher in the pest control industry for the past 8 years- with a focus on using natural and organic methods to eliminate pest problems.
I share handy DIY pest techniques I come across here to help out others (and possibly save them from a mental breakdown).
Fight nature with nature.