So, you need to get rid of mold mites in your home. Naturally.
In this article, we’ll cover these topics:
- Why you have mold mites
- How to tell a mold mite apart from other mites (dust mites, spider mites, etc.)
- Natural ways to get rid of them
- How to get rid of them from your computer, bathroom, kitchen, etc.
- Techniques to repel mold mites and keep them out of your house
- And more
If you have questions, ask me by leaving a comment.
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Sound good? Let’s get rid of the mold mites from your home!
What are mold mites?
Mold mites are tiny, nearly microscopic pests that stem all the way back to the 1700s.
These bugs eat mold spores, which means they need a source of constant humidity and moisture to survive. Mold grows where the air is humid, and thus forms a symbiotic relationship with mold mites.
(They’re also often called cheese, flour, or meat mites.)
However, mold mites only eat mold. Thus, that’s the main way to tell them apart from other small mites. If you find a bunch of tiny crawling pests in a damp environment, chances are they’re mold mites.
These mites are usually harmless to humans, but the mold they feed on pose a real threat. They can cause allergic reactions in sensitive people such as a sore throat, sneezing, or coughing.
They can also be a major problem for electronics like laptop and computer towers. Mold mites can even be found in laptop screens.
There are a few other common names that mold mites go by:
- Mould mite
- Cheese mite
- Flour mite
- “Putrid cheese eater”
- Tyrophagus putrescentiae
- Computer mite
- Meat mite (ham, chicken, pork, beef)
These pests are also confused with other biting mites and similar sized bugs like booklice, house dust mite, spider mite, bulb mite, house mite, and clover mite.
What do they look like?
Mold mites are very difficult to see without a magnifying glass or microscope. This makes it very hard to tell exactly what kind of mite you have.
The easiest way to tell is to see what environment you find them crawling around in
Mold mites tend to hang out in areas that:
- Are humid, damp, dark, or moist
- They congrats in tiny cracks or crevices
- Areas with visible mold
- Within ceilings, walls, or attics that have trapped moisture, roof leaks, or plumbing leaks
- Inside electronics like laptops, screens, and computer towers
- Within bathrooms, kitchens, basements, or other areas with a source of water
If you find mites in these areas, they’re probably mold mites. You can notice them when there’s an entire accumulation of mites eating together.
The area that has a bunch of mites congregating? That’s probably where they’re feasting. The specific material may appear to be a duller color, peeling, or coarser than the surrounding areas.
Tip: You can also use your cellphone and zoom in with the camera. This can magnify the damage and you may even see a few mold mites.
Whenever you see mold, you may see mold mites. They look like tiny oval bugs that are transparent. They have visible legs on the antenna and look like small grains of rice.
Mold mite life cycle
Mold mites have a simple life cycle.
The mold mites will seek out an area where the humidity is above 85%, which gives way to mold spores. Fungi and mold need to be present for them to eat on. The mold mites then feed on the fungi and breed. Their entire lifecycle can be completed in just 3 weeks.
Adult females will deposit up to 500 eggs, which then hatch into 1 larval part, 2 nymphal parts, and then finally become an adult. Mold mite larvae only have 6 legs while nymphs and adults have 8 legs.
Don’t be ignorant to any obvious signs of mold mites in your home. These little buggers can really wreak havoc.
Signs of mold mites
The easiest way to tell if you’re dealing with mold mites is to check for the telltale signs:
- Mold or fungi patches with visible mites
- Gray or brown patches or dust next to a food product
- Visible mold on food with specs or patches of fungi around the area
- Visible mites migrating across a surface
- Disturbed mites quickly scattering across a surface
- Patches of mold moving by itself
Can you see mold mites?
You can use a magnifying glass, smartphone, or a microscope to see them.
They’re very small and almost transparent. You can use a bright light to shine on the food source and view the mold with a magnifying glass.
Your phone’s zoom function on the camera can also be used to see mold mites. Most mites tend to congregate in the middle of food packaging rather than the surface or edges.
So you’ll have to dig into food packages to check for mite problems.
Why do I have mold mites?
You have mold mites because your home or apartment offers them a favorable environment for them to thrive.
These mites are attracted to specific temperatures, humidity, and need a stable food source.
They likely found their way into your home through cracks and crevices around the home, window screens, and even imported goods that you bought from the store.
Everything from cheese to seeds to dog food can contain mold spores, which can then have mold mites.
What are they attracted to?
These bugs are attracted to only a few favorable conditions to thrive. The common household in America provides all the necessary requirements, which is why they’re such a common pest.
Mold mites are very simple creatures and only require a few things:
- Humidity levels above 85%
- A stable food source
- Temperatures above 86F
These conditions will favor mold mites, even if not ideal. They can sustain a variable and a wide range of moisture content in the air.
The ambient temperature also affects their development, with higher temperatures above 86F helping them grow faster.
As long as a constant humidity level is present with a steady source of mold for them to eat, then they’ll continually eat up the mold in the area. If you have mold mites, your home probably offers them all three of these conditions they’re attracted to.
What do they eat?
Mold mites feed on exactly what’s in their name- mold. They feed on mold that spawns inside your home and also feed on hay, grass, mushrooms, and even bee and duck nests naturally.
Mold mites will also eat common staple foods that contain high protein like cheese, nuts, dried eggs, seeds, fungi, grain, bulbs, straw, wallpaper, fruits, cereal, dog food, small animal food, bird feed, flour, powder, cereal, and various meat.
Their diet is similar to the pantry moth. Since most people deal with this pest inside the home, that’s where the problem stems. They’ve also been discovered in soil, flower pots, and leaves.
Do mold mites bite?
Mold mites don’t bite humans and are harmless to pets.
These mites don’t bite, sting, or use venom. They can transmit a variety of diseases such as copra itch, skin allergies, and respiratory allergies.
Dermatitis has also been found caused by mold mites.
However, an excess amount of them in your room can cause allergic reactions, make you sneeze, cough, or even trigger a sore throat. If you have mold mites in your room, that means you have a favorable environment that contains their food source- mold.
The mold itself is a dangerous substance as it can cause negative effects over an extended period of time.
There are some known problems mold can trigger to humans. You should be concerned about the presence of mold rather than the mold mites. If you have mold mites, then you have mold. Get rid of the mold to get rid of the mites.
It’s easy to get confused between mold mites and other tiny pests that do indeed bite. An example are spider mites.
These mites will bite humans, but can be confused with a mold mite or dust mite.
Sometimes mold mites can be mistaken for a bed bug, which does bite humans. A lot of this uncertainty leads to the belief that mold mites bite humans.
This is why you need to identify which type of mite you’re dealing with and the proper steps to get rid of the pest. The wrong approach proves to be inefficient and a waste of time and energy. So ID the pest first.
What does a mite bite look like on a human?
These mites don’t bite, so if you have a bite from a mite, it’s not from a mold mite. You may have been bitten by a similar-looking pest such as a bed bug or spider mite.
This is why you need to identify which type of pest you’re dealing with exactly so you can apply the proper techniques to get rid of them.
How do you kill mites naturally?
Here are some tips you can use to get rid of mold mites at home.
These are natural methods to eradicate them so you can limit damage from lingering poisons commonly found in pesticides that you buy from the store.
Always use natural or organic first when possible. Most of these are safe for pets and people, but ALWAYS do your research and due diligence first. Sensitive people and pets exist. Read the product label and use as directed.
You should never attempt to clean up any mold problems that cover more than 2.5 square feet. This can lead to the spread of spores in the air which can be detrimental to your health.
Contact a licensed professional for help with getting rid of large mold problems.
Remove the food source
The first thing you should do is to remove the food source.
A mold mite problem tends to magically disappear when they have nothing to feed on. If there’s mold on surfaces, you can safely clean it off, unless it’s a large mold problem.
This should remove the majority of the mites, but there may be some still wandering around so be sure to sanitize the area around the food source and dispose of any remaining food.
Check cracks and hiding places where the mites may be hidden. You can also dial down the humidity in the area. They need humidity to survive, so if you turn it down, they’re less prone to be attracted.
Keeping surfaces clean can help reduce the amount of mold mites crawling around.
This is especially true in rooms like the kitchen and bathroom, or other rooms where there’s running water. Mold mites only exist where there’s mold. So you need to find the area that’s growing mold and get rid of it first.
Keeping surfaces clean is just the start of a lengthy program. But this is something you should already be doing for best practice. Keep all your surfaces clean and dry at all times.
Reduce free water
You should be wiping up any excess water or spills. This means drying up around the sink, wet dishes, or other pools of water. It doesn’t matter how much water there is, all water contributes to moisture.
Here are some tips to keep the mold mites out of your home:
- Dry up any spills right away
- Clean up your water spillage after using the sink
- Dry up your shower curtains and tiles
- Never let standing water sit anywhere inside or outside your home, as stagnant water attracts pests like water boatmen and mosquitoes.
- Use box fans to blow out air and evaporate any room with moisture in the air
- Set up dehumidifiers in rooms that are constantly humid
This won’t help completely get rid of the mites, but will reduce the possibility of mold from growing. This takes care of the indoors only.
But there are plenty of crawl spaces, wall voids, and leaky plumbing in areas you can’t see.
This also attracts mold, which in turn will attract mold mites.
That’s why it’s important to get your entire house inspected annually for leaks and water damage. Mold often grows in the attic, above the ceiling, and hidden behind walls where you don’t notice.
Out of sight, out of mind. This can harbor large colonies of mites over time. For these areas, you’ll have to contact a professional if you don’t know what to look for.
The outside of your home can also be a source of water.
Check these areas for backed up water or mold damage:
- Attic beams
- Crawl spaces
- Ceiling beams
- Fountains or water features
- Basement leaks
- Roof leaks
- Foundation cracks
- Basement and laundry rooms
- Air ducts
All of these allow moisture into your home, which will then attract mites.
You can often caulk, seal, or repair those damaged structures to prevent any further water from getting in your home. This will reduce the amount of mold overall, which will then make your home less attractive to mites.
Contact a professional for large projects or if you’re unsure about how to proceed.
Vinegar can be used as a household cleaner. Dilute white vinegar and water in equal parts and spray it on various surfaces.
Scrub and dry to keep them clean. This can be used to kill small patches of mold mites that have congregated together. Spray plenty of vinegar and let it sit for a few minutes. Then scrub it clean to kill off the mold mites.
Some surfaces are sensitive to the acidity of vinegar, so do your research first before applying. You can adjust the concentration and power of the spray by using more or less vinegar. This is a safe and all-natural way to get rid of mold mites.
You can use a mixture of 1 cup bleach and a gallon of water to kill off mold mites that are present on solid surfaces. This should be used on solid materials that are non-porous, such as stainless steel.
Don’t use bleach on porous objects like plastic, wood, or drywall. The bleach will soak into the material and remain there, which can be hazardous.
You can use borax to get rid of mold stuck on drywall. This only works for painted drywall that has small visible mold damage. Mix 1 cup of pure borax and 1 gallon of water.
Dissolve the borax completely by shaking the gallon. Then pour some into a spray bottle and spray directly on the visible mold. This will kill the mold after a few minutes.
Clean it off with a dry cloth. If you have paint that may be damaged, try it somewhere non-obvious first and check for any damage. Don’t use borax on non-painted drywall.
Dish soap and vinegar
You can make your own mixture of dish soap, vinegar, and water.
This is best used for wooden surfaces to remove visible mold. Mix water and vinegar together in equal parts, then add a few drops of dish soap. Get a single-use sponge and put on some gloves, mask, and goggles
Spray the mixture onto the mold and scrub away. This should remove the mold within a few minutes from wooden surfaces. Wood that hasn’t been treated may be damaged, so test in a small area first.
Use a HEPA filter
Mold can be airborne and you can use an air filter to help reduce the amount of mold spores floating around.
Use a true HEPA filter to capture the smallest of spores and clean up your air. There are hundreds of air purifiers on the market, but you’ll want to make sure you get one that’s truly HEPA and not “HEPA like,” as these never passed the certification.
Depending on your room size and air quality, you can choose from small to large purifiers that are built for different rooms in the house. A good filter can help you get rid of mold mites that are floating around on clumps of airborne mold.
Ever wonder why mold mites tend to show up in the bathroom and kitchen? Yup. It’s obvious. It’s the running water from the sink and shower that leads to the moisture in the air and increased humidity.
Since mold mites are attracted to moisture, they tend to congregate and end up investing those rooms in the house.
You can use a dehumidifier if you can’t keep the room dry. If you don’t have time to clean up after yourself every time you wash your hands, consider placing a small dehumidifier in the room.
This will suck up all the water floating around in the air and reduce the moisture and humidity. Thus, mold mites will be less attracted to the room.
Don’t have a dehumidifier? Then use a box fan. Or even a regular fan pointed at the floor. This will help evaporate the water.
How to prevent mold mites
You can naturally repel and keep mold mites out by doing some basic TLC within the household.
Similar to what was stated above, there are a few things you can do:
- Always keep your bathrooms, kitchen, and basement DRY
- When you notice a patch of mold, use the proper clean up method to kill it
- Keep windows open in rooms with lots of moisture
- Check for leaky roofs
- Keep the outdoor gutters, drains, and downspouts clog free and clean
- Repair any crevices in your home’s foundation
- Seal up any cracks or entry points for water
- Use box fans for high humidity areas
- Check attics and basements for moisture and mold
- Hire a professional to check your home for leaks or water damage
With basic practices, you can keep your home relatively dry and free of mold. This will then repel and keep mold mites out by default.
For large mold stained areas, call a professional for assistance as they can pose a health problem and can’t be contained by DIY home remedies.
Mold mites in hair
Mold bugs have been speculated to live in human hair, but this doesn’t happen unless you never wash your hair.
Any material that has a source of food can be considered “uninhabitable” by mold mites.
And if your ambient temperatures are warm and the humidity is high, then it’s possible, but not likely. They’d rather eat the mold growing on the hair stuck in your shower or sink drain rather than your own hair.
Can they get in your hair? Yes, but it’s not likely to be an environment that they’ll stay in. They need a constant source of food and humidity.
So unless your hair is always wet and filled with dirt, you probably won’t have mold mites. They’re probably some other type of mite that you’re dealing with.
Mold mites in wardrobe
If you have mold mites in your dresser or wardrobe, wash all your clothing in that compartment.
Do a thorough cleaning of the unit and use a mixture of vinegar and water. If you’re dealing with wood surfaces, you’ll need to be careful because water stuck in wood may contribute to just more mold.
Consider sealing up the wood with a wood sealant.
Will a dehumidifier kill mold mites?
A dehumidifier can help decrease pests in your room. As you may know, these mites need a steady source of mold to thrive, and mold tends to grow in humid conditions.
A dehumidifier helps dry up the air, which then dries up spores.
This makes the overall percentage of humidity lower in the room which can help get rid of mold mites.
Pair a good humidifier with an air purifier for best effect. The purifier removes mold spores and the dehumidifier helps get rid of the current problem.
How to get rid of mold mites on computer
Mold mites favor electronics because they provide warmth and a steady source of food.
Computers and laptops are both devices that mold mites will tend to infest because they’re the perfect environment. The heat from the components combined with food favors the mites to infest the cracks and crevices.
Your fingers, crumbs, other food that slip between the keys provide them a constant source of food. And the natural fingers that collect on your keyboard also have particles of food that they feast on.
Spilled drinks and overall humidity in the room can provide them an environment to breed and eat. Mold mites have been reported to be found in laptops, computers, game consoles (PS4, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, etc.), LED/LCD TVs, and more.
The easiest method is to do a deep clean of your device and keep it clean.
You can see this article to get rid of the bugs in your electronics.
How do I get rid of mites in my bathroom and kitchen?
Just like any other room in your home, the bathroom and kitchen can be infested with mold mites because of the high moisture content.
You can start by cleaning up any mold producing food. Clean all surfaces with a natural disinfectant (you can use baking soda and vinegar with some lemon to do this). Find the mold source and eliminate it.
Then start cleaning up your entire kitchen and bathroom. And practice good housekeeping habits like wiping up spills right away and drying up the sink after you use it.
This will keep the humidity low and the mites away. Use a dehumidifier to help. Keep your patio doors open to allow air exchange. Use a box fan to blow out stale moisture. Keep it CLEAN and DRY.
Here are some references you can check out for more details about these mites:
Did you get rid of all the mold mites?
By now, you should have all the basic knowledge you need to get these mold mites eradicated.
You should have a solid foundation to go ahead and control, eliminate, and repel them.
As with any other household pest, it’ll take patience and persistence to pull it off and completely get rid of them.
And to keep them out for good? That’s difficult. One mold mite infestation probably means that your area is prone to them. So you’ll have to practice routine checkups around your home for mites.
If you have any questions, please drop a comment below or use the contact form and I’ll help you out.
Or if you found this page useful, let me know also. It’s the most you can do =]. Tell a friend who may get some use out of it.
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.