If you’re sick of seeing those tiny white moisture bugs in your bathroom, it’s time to do something about it.
After all, they’re crawling in your towels, rugs, and even your toothbrush!
The last thing you need after a long day out is to find those mites all over your brush before you go to bed.
Although they’re annoying, they can be controlled by making a few changes and using a few different natural remedies.
In this guide, you’ll learn:
- Why your bathroom is infested with them
- What they’re eating and where they’re hiding
- How to get rid of psocid mites using DIY remedies you can do for cheap
- How to keep them out of your home permanently
- And more
If you have any questions, just ask me by leaving a comment- as usual!
Sounds good? Let’s get your bathroom back to the rightful owner. YOU.
What are the little tiny bugs in my bathroom?
These bugs are called psocid mites from the Psocoptera family. They’re commonly known as booklice and you’ll find them in homes all over the country.
Other related nicknames are backlice and barkflies.
Like many other mites, they love humid and wet environments.
So it’s not surprising that they’re showing up in your bathroom- where the sink and shower will raise the humidity by a huge percentage compared to the rest of your property.
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They may also be found in other high-humidity areas like the attic, garage, or basement.
Sometimes they’ll infest the garden or kitchen depending on the ambient humidity.
Do psocid mites bite? Are they dangerous?
Thankfully, these mites don’t bite us and are harmless to humans.
They don’t transmit any harmful vectors that are documented and they don’t infest our skin.
They’re just annoying at best. But if you have a ton of them, they can get on your nerves because they’ll be crawling everywhere all over your bathroom walls and counters.
They’re also harmless to pets and don’t infect dogs or cats.
What do mold mites look like?
These bugs are tiny and range anywhere from 1-10mm (less than 0.5 inches) in total.
Booklice will feed on old books by eating the paste in the binding. Barklice will eat algae and lichen. Other members of this group will eat mold spores in your bathroom shower.
A note on naming convention: The pest you’re dealing with may actually NOT be booklice in the bathroom. However, the control methods are similar to any other member of the Psocoptera family, so it shouldn’t matter too much.
Even if you’re dealing with something other than booklice, or something not even classified as a Psocid, some methods here will still work just fine (dish soap, etc.)
Why are they in my bathroom?
Psocid mites are common in new homes that have recently been built.
They may have infested the home already through the new lumber or plastic used during the construction of the property.
They may also get in through houseplants, cardboard, or from the outdoors from windows, doorways, or other cracks as entry points into your home.
These mites are tiny and can squeeze through window screens.
What are they eating?
Booklice eat mold.
Yup. That disgusting black, brown, or green mold that you see growing on your shower tiles? That’s their dinner.
This is why you commonly find them in areas that are extremely humid because that’s where mold grows.
So of course, they hang out where their food source is.
Wherever there’s mold, there may be psocids. Mold grows in poorly ventilated conditions with high ambient humidity.
Thus, your bathroom is a perfect location for these insects to infest.
No surprise, right?
Where are they hiding?
They don’t hide. They just come out and feed whenever they’re hungry.
You’ll find them crawling on your bathroom tiles, walls, drain, toilet, sink, countertops, and of course, on mold. Anywhere you see mold is a sure sign that these buggers are ready to eat.
How do I get rid of mold mites in my bathroom?
Getting rid of the moisture bugs in your bathroom isn’t too difficult if you put in some time and patience.
You can do it completely naturally using non-toxic means if you want. It’s all about reducing the moisture. Those tiny brown or white bugs in your bathroom can’t stand dry conditions. That’s why they’re there in the first place- because of moisture.
So these home remedies will focus on getting rid of moisture, then catching the remaining ones and preventing future pest problem
Be patient and do what you can with the materials you have lying around at home. It shouldn’t cost you much other than some time.
Turn up the heat
Heat will kill psocids quickly because these bugs rely on humidity to keep them going.
If you turn up the heat and dry out the room, they’ll be gone within a few hours.
Hot ambient temperatures with low moisture in the air will wipe them out. It also kills their food source- the molds they feed on.
So, you have two ways of accomplishing this:
- Set up a heater in the bathroom and let it run (safely)
- Turn up the heat in your whole house or apartment
You can use a space heater to just heat up the bathroom. Seal off any windows or doors to trap the heat.
And watch out for fire/electrical hazards. Don’t keep pets/people in there while you “fumigate” those booklice!
Get rid of mold
Mold is their food source and if you get rid of it, they can’t sustain themselves. Spend a weekend (or two) and clean up your bathroom.
Use a sponge with your favorite cleaning supplies and give your bathroom a thorough cleaning. Use soapy water to kill the mold, as water doesn’t “wash” it away.
You should be complete and detailed when cleaning, making sure to get all the cracks, crevices, and hard-to-reach areas in your bathroom so that the booklice has fewer spores to feed on.
This will quickly diminish their population and you should instantly see a great reduction in the number of mold mites you come across.
Wash your fabrics that attract mold
Your fabrics, clothing, rugs, and other fuzzy things in your bathroom grow mold and trap spores.
Wash them by laundering them to kill any mold mites and spores caught in them.
Borax will kill mold and get rid of their food supply. Borax is commonly sold in the laundry aisle at superstores and is relatively harmless when used properly.
Sprinkle it around areas that have a lot of visible molds. You can also line the perimeter of your bathroom with it to help dehydrate any mites that walk across it. It won’t kill them immediately but will kill them over time.
Borax can be applied around baseboards, sinks, tiles, and your shower window where mold builds up.
You can also use it to contain psocids to one room because they can’t walk across it. Read all warnings before usage and use as directed.
Keep pets and kids out of the area to avoid disturbance.
Borax quickly degrades when wet, so try to not put it somewhere where it’ll get splashed on or water will drip on it.
Use cleaning enzymes
A lot of commercial cleaners contain enzymes.
These will help get rid of mold and some have residues that keep it away. Opt for natural shower cleaners when possible.
Drop the humidity
Similar to raising the temperature of your bathroom to kill the psocids, keeping the humidity on the lower side will do the same.
Your primary goal is to get rid of any excess moisture in the bathroom. This keeps it free of mold and also free of pests. It’s almost a surefire guarantee that you’ll wipe out the booklice population.
You can control the humidity by doing any of the following DIY remedies:
- Use a dehumidifier in the bathroom
- Keep all windows and doors open
- Run the AC
- Take shorter showers, or use colder water
- Put the toilet cover down when not using it
- Use the sink as little as possible
- Don’t hang wet towels in the bathroom
- Put up fans to keep air circulating
Try to keep the overall humidity around 40%. This will make it hard for them to breed and therefore drop their population.
Use diatomaceous earth
Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a food-grade fine powder that can be sprinkled around your bathroom to keep it dry.
It’s a desiccant that rapidly dries out moisture.
So any booklice that come across it or excess water droplets will be soaked up.
Sprinkle it in areas that don’t have foot traffic so that you don’t disturb the powder.
Keep pets and people away from it.
Although it’s safe to use (people eat it as a supplement), they can ruin the powder and make you do extra work since you need to sprinkle it all over again.
Get the FOOD GRADE, organic DE. There’s also a pool grade one used for cleaning pools. Don’t get confused.
Do NOT use the pool grade DE for pest control!
Read all warnings and use as directed.
Keep it cold
Keeping your bathroom at a colder temperature will inhibit the activity of booklice. They become slow and stagnant is winter is here.
Although this wouldn’t be practical for most people, if you have a portable AC unit, you can run it just in the bathroom.
Don’t run your whole central unit for this because it’s a waste of energy. If you’re able to keep it near freezing (such as those people that live in colder regions), consider putting the AC in the bathroom.
Or just don’t hear the bathroom itself. This can kill the psocids instantly without you needing to spray any harsh compounds or use any poisonous/boats.
Then again, not everyone can do it. It’s easier to do in areas that are already cold.
Running the AC and bringing down the temperature just a few degrees won’t do much to get rid of them.
They’ll just move slower. You’ll need to bring it down to near 32F for it to work. So not everyone can do this remedy.
But for those that can, it’s an easy way to get rid of these pests.
How do I get rid of mites in my walls?
If you spot psocids on the walls of your house, the process is the same to eliminate them.
Practice using a sponge and soapy water to wipe off any mold spores.
They’re not always obvious to the naked eye, so you’ll want to wipe the areas on your walls that you see the moisture bugs present.
If you constantly see them in the same areas over and over, then that probably means there’s mold there that you can’t see. You can use a magic eraser or just a regular cleaner.
Even soap and water do the trick. Get rid of the mold and you’ll get rid of the psocids.
Other options include putting up sticky tape on the baseboards or ceiling joints. The mites will get stuck on it when they cross it.
Otherwise, you can try to keep the humidity down by providing plenty of light to evaporate water. Run the fan or AC. Open windows/doors. Repair damaged window screens that they could be using to get in, or get a finer grade.
Inspect new houseplants or quarantine them to make sure they’re free of pests before bringing them indoors.
If you do your laundry outdoors by hanging them, consider doing them through the machine during the summertime as pests are prevalent and will stick to your laundry before you bring them inside.
In essence, you’re smuggling the bugs into your home.
This is the NUMBER ONE reason why people encounter pests in their home.
When your house, condo, or apartment has a bunch of cracks and entry points (from poor maintenance, wear and tear, damage, etc.), bugs come in for the food, shelter, temperature, overwintering, or protection from predators.
Note that even if the psocids do get inside, they may not last long because the overall humidity is low. If you can keep it down, then they’ve got nothing to eat.
Once inside, they’ll migrate to high humidity areas like the laundry room, kitchen, bathroom, attic, basement, etc. They look for rooms that have plenty of food to munch on.
Getting rid of bathroom mites for good
For those that like to skim, here’s the summary of everything you need to know to control, manage, and eliminate psocids mites in the house:
- Keep the overall humidity of your home as low as possible
- Run the AC to help regulate temperature
- High heat kills psocids
- Clean mold to eliminate their food source
- Run fans to help eliminate excess water
- Keep showers short or don’t use hot water
- Clean up spills, drips, or other water immediately
- Use sticky traps in high activity areas
- Soapy water kills psocids instantly
- Use commercial cleaners when mold is resilient in the bathroom
- Borax or diatomaceous earth helps dry out excess humidity
- Cleanliness is key
- Repair any leaks in the house (roof or plumbing)
- Keep drains clear of debris
Still can’t get rid of those psocids?
If your home isn’t new and you’ve had these mites forever, then there may be mold hidden in areas you can’t see.
The mites could be feeding off these spores and breeding without ever showing up until they wander into your household’s living areas.
Consider hiring a mold inspector to do an evaluation of your home. They could be hiding in the roof, attic, or behind the walls but never come out unless it’s through some crack or vent.
Do some research and find a local inspection company. A lot will appreciate the business!
What kind of bugs come out of drains?
If you notice small flies or mites coming out of your shower or sink drain, it could be any of the following:
These feed on the sludge that builds up when you shower or wash your hands.
They come up during the warmer seasons and will eventually find their way into the bathroom. The slime protects their eggs and catches all their food.
Pretty disgusting, right?
Use each guide linked above to identify the bug to get rid of it. For good. It’s possible that you may not even have mites, but gnats or something else.
For instance, fungus gnats that were smuggled in when you bought that plant for your room. Now they’re in your shower feeding off the spores collecting on your ceiling.
Here are some references you may find useful:
- Dealing with Clover Mites in my bathroom – Reddit
- Psocoptera – Wikipedia
- Booklice – Penn State Extension
Did you get rid of the mites in your bathroom?
You should now have a solid plan to eradicate those pesky, nuisance moisture mites in your bathroom.
These bugs aren’t hard to get rid of, so you should be able to reduce their numbers with some basic changes to your property.
The point is that you control the humidity in your bathroom.
Keep it dry and hot and the psocid mites will naturally go away.
If you get rid of the mold, then they have nothing to feed on. Keeping it dry will eliminate both the mold and the psocid mites.
I know it sounds like a broken record, but keeping the humidity low and the air dry is all you need.
Do you have a unique situation? Or any tips to get rid of them? Leave a comment and let me know.
If you have any feedback on this guide, or if you got some value out of it, please share your thoughts as well.
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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.