Doc Wordinger lives and works in central Manchester. He has a fondness for golf, poker, fine literature, art, and film.
Mites Are Everywhere!
Dust mites are the scourge of allergy sufferers everywhere. They are microscopic insects, not detectable to the human eye, that feed on human and animal skin shedding. They breed prolifically, and there are literally millions of them living and feeding inside fabrics in your home, such as your bed, carpets, soft furnishings, clothes, and anywhere where dust tends to accumulate.
Over the course of its life, a dust mite can produce up to 200 times its own body weight in waste product. These droppings can trigger a range of health problems and allergic reactions, such as breathing difficulties, coughing, nasal congestion, itching, and watery eyes. These problems can also have a detrimental effect on your sleep, causing you to wake up several times during the night.
Although completely eliminating dust mites from your home is impossible, there are several precautions you can take to drastically reduce their numbers and neutralize their threat. Let's take a look at 12 of the most effective and natural ways to get rid of dust mites in your house using things you already have in your home.
How to Get Rid of Dust Mites Naturally
- Lower the temperature and humidity level
- Remove dust by wiping and vacuuming
- Wash fabrics in hot water at a minimum of 130°F (54°C)
- Steam clean carpets, rugs, and furniture
- Freeze items of clothing and stuffed animals
- Sprinkle diatomaceous earth (DE) on beds and carpeting
- Use a tea tree oil/eucalyptus spray
- Use a hypoallergenic mattress and pillow or an anti-allergy protector
- Replace carpets with hard flooring
- Don't make your bed in the morning
- Get rid of curtains, cushions, and soft furnishings
- Keep pets out of the bedroom
1. Lower the Temperature and Humidity Level
Ideal Temperature to Reduce Dust Mites
Dust mites love living in an environment where the temperature is between 75°F and 80°F (24°C and 27°C), and the relative humidity is around 70% to 80%. Anything outside this range won't necessarily kill them but will push them outside their comfort zone and slow down their breeding.
Set the temperature inside your house to no higher than 70°F (21°C). This is considered a normal and healthy environment for a human but is very slightly below optimal for a house dust mite. If you can comfortably live at a few degrees below this temperature, you'll not only save money on heating costs, but you'll make life tougher for dust mites as well.
Ideal Humidity Level for Reducing Dust Mites
Dust mites live comfortably at a temperature similar to humans, but they actually prefer higher humidity. Anything lower than 70% relative humidity reduces their reproductive rate, so try to keep the relative humidity in your bedroom and home to less than 50%.
You can test humidity in the home with an electronic humidity monitor. If you find that relative humidity levels are greater than 50%, try to get air circulating through your house by using vents and fans and by frequently opening windows. If this doesn't work, or if it is too inconvenient, it's also possible to control humidity with air conditioning units and dehumidifiers.
2. Clean and Remove Dust Regularly
If it isn't already obvious, dust mites dwell and feed on dust, which is made of dead skin cells. With the average human shedding enough dead skin each and every day to feed one million of these pesky critters, maintaining a frequent cleaning schedule is vital.
Wipe Down Dusty Areas
Make a note of all the places in your home where dust tends to accumulate and wipe these areas several times a week with a damp cloth or a microfiber duster. Make sure you are picking up the dust rather than just sweeping it off with a feather duster. You don't want the dust flying about the room and collecting in your carpets. By wiping down dusty cabinets and countertops, you can dispose of the dust by either washing away the cloth or shaking it out in a trash can outside.
Vacuum Rugs, Carpets, and Fabric Furniture
To actually capture dust, dander, and other airborne allergens, you must use a vacuum with a sealed HEPA filter. HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air, and it works by trapping small particles in the fine mesh, including pollen, dust, and even tobacco smoke! Regular vacuums will only suck up big pieces of dust but may send tiny microscopic particles flying right back out into the air. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, "HEPA filters can capture more than 99% of particles that are at least 0.3 microns in size and prevent them from being released back into the air." If you suffer from dust allergies, wear a dust mask and open the windows when you vacuum or ask someone else to do it.
3. Kill Dust Mites by Washing Fabrics in Hot Water
Fortunately, dust mites don't take too kindly to hot temperatures. Put your bed sheets, pillows cases, clothes, curtains, drapes, and other washable fabrics through a wash setting between 130° and 140°F (54° to 60°C) in order to kill them and remove their fecal matter and skin particles. Use a similar heat setting in the dryer, and let the cycle run until everything is fully dry. The heat from the dryer should take care of any mites that survived the wash. Try to do this on a weekly basis to keep the dust mite population to a minimum.
Note: Wash your bedding every week because a warm, dark, and humid bed is the perfect habitat for dust mites to prosper. Additionally, the flakes of dead skin that humans shed during the night become ideal food sources for these little pests. It's not a pretty thought.
4. Use a Steam Cleaner on Your Couch, Bed, and Carpeting
Steam cleaners are a great way to clean items and objects that aren't suitable for a washing machine. Most steam cleaners reach a temperature of 200° to 250° F (93° to 121° C). This is even hotter than the temperatures on washing machines and dryers.
Use a steam cleaner on carpets, curtains, cushions, kitchen/bathroom surfaces, and other hard-to-reach places. The steam not only kills dust mites, but it also disinfects by killing bacteria and mold spores. Remember that while the steam can kill 100% of dust mites, their droppings and dead bodies are what actually cause allergies, so after steaming, go over everything again with a vacuum.
5. Kill Dust Mites by Freezing Them
Dust mites can't survive hot temperatures, and luckily, they can't survive the extreme cold either. For more delicate fabrics or items that can't be washed, such as stuffed animals, silk, or lace, put them in a plastic bag and stick them in the freezer for 24 hours. This will kill every single dust mite, but it won't get rid of the allergen caused by their droppings, so be sure to take the items outside and vigorously shake them out.
6. Sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth (DE) on Beds, Furniture, and Carpets
Diatomaceous earth is a natural fine powder made from silica rock. DE literally pierces the exoskeleton of dust mites as they crawl through it, killing them instantly. The effect that diatomaceous earth has on dust mites is similar to them being grounded in a blender.
Sprinkle DE anywhere you think dust mites might reside, such as beds, pet beds, carpets, furniture, upholstery, etc. Leave the power there for as long as possible to allow all the dust mites to crawl through and die. Then vacuum it up with a vacuum that doesn't have a filter because the powder can clog the filter.
DE is perfectly safe for both humans and pets. It can also kill fleas and bed bugs! Use it as frequently as you need to control the dust mite population and prevent breeding.
7. Use a Tea Tree Oil and Eucalyptus Spray
Tea tree oil is a natural antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal oil that many homeowners, as well as beauty gurus, swear by for killing everything from acne bacteria and foot fungi to mold and mildew. It gets rid of dust mites and also disinfects and prevents viruses and fungi.
Mix two cups of distilled water with two tablespoons of tea tree oil and two tablespoons of eucalyptus oil (which repels most bugs, including dust mites). Pour the concoction into a dark spray bottle to prevent light from rendering the oils ineffective. Spray liberally on your bed, pillows, and furniture.
8. Use a Hypoallergenic Mattress and Pillow or an Anti-Allergy Protective Cover
Estimates as to how many dust mites actually live in an average mattress vary wildly, from 10,000 to over a million. Whatever the exact figure, one thing is certain: even the cleanest of mattresses are teeming with these microscopic vermin.
Sadly, it just isn't possible to make a mattress completely dust mite free. But a hypoallergenic mattress and pillow and/or a protective cover greatly reduce dust mites. Hypoallergenic bedding material uses tightly woven fabric that makes it nearly impossible for mites to penetrate through. The impermeable material also prevents moisture and dead skin from entering your pillows and mattress, which prevents dust mites from living and breeding in your bed.
Anti-allergen covers and protectors are cheaper than hypoallergenic mattresses and pillows, and in similar ways, act as an impenetrable barrier to prevent dust mites from burrowing and to keep your body moisture and skin from entering the mattress. Likewise, if there are dust mites or other allergens present, the mattress protector stops them from infiltrating your sleeping zone.
9. Replace Carpets With Hard Flooring
Like beds and soft furnishings, carpets are a paradise for dust mites. Carpets trap dead skin and pet dander that the mites feed on. Hard flooring, on the hand, eliminates their most fertile breeding ground.
If you can afford to do it, rip up the carpets in your bedroom—or ideally, throughout the whole house—and replace them with hard flooring such as linoleum, laminate, or tile.
If getting rid of your carpets is impractical or too costly, try to vacuum regularly—at least two or three times each week. You can also purchase carpet sprays and treatments that get rid of dust mites and other carpet allergens, but in the long term, it might actually be cheaper to install some hard flooring and throw your mite-infested carpets in the trash.
10. Don't Make Your Bed in the Morning
Here's some great news for anyone who hates making their bed first thing in the morning: Don't bother! Instead, give your duvet and bed cover a good airing. This allows the moisture that was excreted from our bodies during the nighttime to dry.
Dust mites love moisture because they can't drink water in the normal sense, so instead, they absorb it through the air. By reducing moisture and humidity within the bed, you make life very difficult for them.
11. Get Rid of Curtains, Cushions, and Soft Furnishings
Curtains and soft furnishings are a dust mite's paradise. Fabric traps the dust and moisture, which they feed on, and shields them from potential threats. Each time you drag open the curtains or sit down on a fabric couch, dust mite debris is discharged into the air. Get tough with dust mites by:
- Replacing curtains with easy-to-clean blinds.
- Throwing away fabric cushions or exchanging them for leather/artificial leather cushions.
- Trading fabric couches and armchairs for leather/artificial leather versions.
If you don't want to part with your soft furnishings, then you'll need a steam cleaner. Cuddly toys are another dust mite trap. Short of triggering a tantrum in your child, try to reduce cuddly toys on display in your house. If that beloved teddy bear really has to stay, give it a regular airing. Every so often, stick it in a plastic bag and place it in the freezer for 24 hours. This will kill the dust mites.
12. Keep Pets out of the Bedroom
Dust mites love pet dander, so keep them out of your bedroom and off your bed, if possible. Remember to bathe and groom your pets regularly. If you have a breed that sheds profusely, vacuum more often and clean their bedding once a week. Keep in mind that dogs and cats can also suffer from dust mite allergies, so reduce their discomfort by keeping their area clean and dust-free.
Can Dust Mites Bite You?
Unlike bed bugs, dust mites do not bite humans. They feed on dead human skin that has shed and become dust, hence their name. Some people develop mild to severe reactions to dust mites and their droppings, so a rash may form, but this rash is not a bite mark.
Should I Use Lysol or Natural Home Remedies to Eliminate Dust Mites?
Lysol can kill 99% of dust mites; however, the dead carcasses and droppings of dust mites are what causes allergens. Killing them will not be enough; you must also vacuum the area or shake out the bedding to remove them after you have killed them. While Lysol is effective, natural home remedies, such as using extreme hot and cold temperatures or using diatomaceous earth or tea tree oil is safer than store-bought sprays, much cheaper, and just as effective.
How to Prevent Dust Mites
- Regularly clean and vacuum the house. Cut down on clutter, and don't give dust a chance to collect.
- Regularly clean your vents to prevent allergens from spreading around the house.
- Wash bedding every week using high temperatures of at least 130°F (54°C).
- If you have house plants, don't overwater them. Clean up dead leaves on top of the soil.
- Use hypoallergenic bed and pillow covers, which are impenetrable to dust mites.
- Open windows regularly to lower humidity levels in the house.
- Replace carpets, curtains, and soft furnishing with hard flooring, blinds, and leather or pleather furniture.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
What are your most effective methods for getting rid of dust mites?
Mariahrocks on May 30, 2020:
Be careful with industrial diatomaceous earth (DE) (not to be confused with food grade DE). It may be a carcinogen.
James Burrough on May 12, 2020:
How do you kill these things? I’ve tried everything. They simply won’t go away and now my car is also infested so every time I clean I get into my car and it starts all over again I’ve had no appetite, cold chills, and my eyes are swollen shut. I’ve seen various doctors and they are totally clueless about
Reginald Thomas from Connecticut on December 21, 2019:
Great article! I do like the format you presented along with the information.
Patricia Wright on December 15, 2019:
PLEASE, anyone help me find out what's living on my head? What is eating all my HAIR down to 1/16 strands? I feel GROSS! I feel Dirty, & very depressed! I just had 3 MAJOR surgeries. Due to A Drunk-Diver, who died when he hit me, & put me in the hospital for 3 months! Then a was in a BODY-CAST for 6 months! My last cast came off a year after the accident. I worked very hard to stay in great shape for decades after that, Got in my 50's, & started needing surgeries, because of those old injuries.I just can't handle insects living in my hair too. HOW TO GET THEM OFF ME???
Matt on September 22, 2019:
I can confirm, this definitely works.
Bear on July 13, 2019:
Great info... Family been suffering from "dust" allergy responses, now dog has a type of "mange"..DE powder helps in carpeted areas,Also the Tea Tree solution sprayed works great..Big connection between the two!!Many thanks..
debbie donnelly on July 10, 2019:
How strong should I make the Tea Tree oil spray for dust mites.
Should I mix any other oils into it .
Does Vinegar help in any way ?
DAVE on July 05, 2019:
If you spray your bed with apple cider vinegar water will that help control dust mites ???
Carolinejp on June 21, 2019:
I don't have any effective methods; I just want to say thank you so much for this information!! One of my dogs has a severe dust mite allergy. It is awful just watching her scratching! Her skin is incredibly inflamed, greasy and smelly. She even lost one of her eyes through constant scratching near it, which caused luxation of her lens. I cannot drive so I could not get her to the vets in time to save it nor for the desensitisation injections which the vet recommended. I am going to try the diatomaceous earth and the spray. thanks again.
Frustrated in Oregon on May 31, 2019:
Lots of good info here, Doc, much of it just good common sense. I live with son & his lady, who recently had a dog (they don't anymore), the dog stayed in their room (carpeted) & livingroom. Rest of house is tile or laminate. I have dust & dust mite allergies. My son had dog allergy & one of his two little children appear to only have contact dermatitis. The lady washed pet bedding in washer and didn't sanitize washer afterwards and ever since, I have an increased intolerance to dust mites.
There was something in the first wash I did before I discovered washer was unsanitary, because I put my clothes away with all my other uncontaminated clothes. I first discovered it in my wool socks which were air dried after washing in cold water. I put them away with all my other clothes & whatever was in them contaminated all my other clothes, in closet & dresser. After researching I knew I had to wash everything in hot water & dry for extended period. I did this 3 times, vacuumed my room constantly, wouldn't let anyone else in my room. I came in only to get shower bag at end of day.
However, the room where dog lived is still carpeted--the mother of my grandkids lives in it. Now my baby grandson crawls on it. The 3-year walks in & out of regularly--the room is 3 feet away from my door. I vacuum every day.
Unfortunately, I am plagued with itching (especially at night), all my efforts at clean clothes appear to have no great effect, as as soon as I put them on the itching starts not long after.
I have tried to coat my skin with coconut oil, lots of lotions to come between my skin & irritants but the itchiness soon prevails.
My granddaughters room is almost a NO-zone for me, as her bed makes me itch, even though I have 3 layers of clothing on my back. Have to cover my hair, else when it touches my skin it itches.
I have talked to the lady about my allergies, but she doesn't get it. My son does, to a degree--he had allergies to dogs. But as for all the rest, it would be best if I could get them to understand.
On one good note, I start immunotherapy next week. I hope that helps, in addition to all the rest.
CindyinGa on May 22, 2019:
Well, the information i have read about dust mites has been helpful and i now believe these unseeable mites are real. At first, family thought i had major mental issue and was making this up. Nope, thank you for all the remedies.
Linda on May 12, 2019:
Yes we do have dust mites, and for it effects my feet. I've had scabies before, from sleeping in a hotel where the car broke down. It feels like your wearing a winter coat in the middle of summer. I had perscribed medicine, took a shower ever 10 hours. Reaply the medicine, and wait and see how your doing by the end of the week.
Now, my husband and I are taking care of my dad, and constanlty on the move, so our bed doesnt get changed as it should.
I've got dust mite irratation on both my feet. It about drove me nuts, until I went and put a whole new sheet on the bed, and poured alcohol on my itching red feet. Well, within 10 minutes, the itching has finally all gone away. Tomorrow the bedding has to come off and be cleaned. And today,do some more heavey duty cleaning.
Thank you sharing your information. I rubbed it on my feet and put a whole new sheet on. And now they have finally quit itching. I felt like a mad woman.
Judy Jetson on May 11, 2019:
@Ryan Verdant - You may have a water leak at your residence. If you are on the bottom floor of a building, there could be water pipes under the flooring, a crawl space, even in the walls. You may want to check it out, because you would not be able to dehumidify if this is the case. Also, check out your neighbors. Wherever your computer is set up is probably where they are coming from. Check the walls, under the flooring, talk to the owner and what is on the other side of the walls.
Taylor-Jones on April 15, 2019:
One thing that that helped me to get rid of dust mites/allergies is to purchase hypoallergenic sheets. I switched and it's amazing how much better my allergies are! Cotton sheets are actually pretty bad for dust mites. I'm really loving my bamboo lyocell sheets! Anyone who suffers from dust mites/allergies, try changing your sheets to hypoallergenic ones, I recommend bamboo lyocell!
Ryan Verdant on February 25, 2019:
Hi, I have never had any dust mites before in my room. Recently, a lot came, and in big amounts. They are all over my keyboard, mouse, televisions, screens, computer, desk, piano, chair, everywhere except on my bed. ( Or atleast, I haven't seen them there yet. ) They are in my bedroom and I have cleaned it all numerous times, sprayed, called the terminator and he told me to set up a dehumidifier. I have used the dehumidifier every single day for more than 12 hours a day for the past 3 weeks. The amount of dust mites reduced A LOT, however there are still some and they disgust me. I haven't used my room since day 1 of seeing them, and I usually study in it all day long, my finals are coming up in like 3 weeks. I need somebody to help ASAP because I literally can't do anything in my room and I can't even concentrate. Please help :(! Thank you so much. If you need more details PM me. Thanks. ( I know I might sound stupid but bugs are my biggest fear, no matter how big they are. )
Josh on February 22, 2019:
What about diluted vinager? Do u think that works in killing and cleaning up the mites?
topsteamer on February 06, 2019:
We steam clean mattresses utilizing hot water extraction commonly know as steam cleaning to help remove dust mites.
Vrssr on January 17, 2019:
There seems to be some confusion around parasites including dust mites. Identifying which parasites are your problem is vital.
Also, such parasites can invade every part of your environment, and can be passed from family, friends, and people you contact. People forget that cars and offices can harbor these pests too.
There are several human skin parasites.
for pictures and remedies
Brenda L on January 16, 2019:
@ Carol Ali, Permethrin and you can find it on Amazon.
Brooke on January 08, 2019:
If you want to be taken seriously make sure everything is accurate. Dust mite are NOT insects. They are arachnids. Misinformation like that does not do your site credit. Be accurate, give references to your sources. Be critical yourselves please.
Carol Ali on December 26, 2018:
I would like to know the name of a medication that i seen on this site that starts with a P and i believe Perstre something like that. You need a prescription for it and you just rub it on your skin. I wrote the name of it down but i cannot find it now. Please Help!
Adalberto Rodriguez on November 08, 2018:
I need to know how we rid of it dust mites in my living room and kitchen
Tony07960 on October 01, 2018:
I dont know know what what 2 believe.
Edna Pettit firstname.lastname@example.org on September 30, 2018:
More information than I have time to read, I just need a simple solution to, I think dust mites, and what the mites do to skin if anything. I have a few small red dots on my skin, very itchy but, my husband has not been bothered, help!
Chochombe on September 15, 2018:
What are the treatment of elimination of house dust mites
Gary on June 28, 2018:
I think freezing clothes kills Dust Mite.
Janea on May 25, 2018:
Christoff, if all you suffer with is some mucus you’re lucky. Not everyone is. Some of us have to resort to the above mentioned measures.
Farrukh Hussain on April 12, 2018:
Any chemical control on dust mites?
home care on April 10, 2018:
Well I don't think about you folks, however, I'm simply going to wash my sheets and cover and see what happens at that point ....are dryer is broken so would I be able to simply hang it out at stake??
Jesse on March 27, 2018:
Yeah Aubrey that’s nasty....you need help.
Batorski on March 13, 2018:
I wanted to comment on the post from Audrey Kelley. The bugs you have sound like bed bugs. Thats pretty gross that you would be spitting them out of your mouth daily and finding them in skin. That is definitly an issue. This sight is incorrect for what you are dealing. you need to look up bed bugs Spray them all down with tea tree oil. Apply pest control spray around the entire home, inside and out. To make this spray: Mix 18 oz of water with 18 drops of tea tree oil and spray the entire house with it––the carpets, beds, and furniture. Use wintergreen alcohol to kill bedbugs and their eggs instantly. you could also check a scabies website. Scabied burrow under the skin
Christoff on March 10, 2018:
@ Karen, move asap. Dont tolerate second best, life is too short.
Christoff on March 10, 2018:
Great, so all I have to do is replace most of my flooring, curtains purchase a HEPA vacuum, new mattress cover, pillow case, and AIR-conditioner and humidity monitor.
So that's at least $5,000, plus vacuuming an extra two times per week, washing sheets twice a week, monitoring my temperature and humidity and generally become obsessive about my room, all to kill some friggin mites!!@ ! You gotta be kidding me, Doc!! I'd rather suffer some slight mucus in the morning that turn my life upside down and have to freak out about everything, everywhere I go!! thanks for usless article!!
Karen on March 08, 2018:
I have had a problem for2 years now it all started when my housing gave the go ahead for wallcavity insulation the problem is I still haven't had conformation it is dust mites I have wooden flooring all through my house I have replaced my beds I have purchased a new leather sofa I have thrown out so much stuff it unbelievable. my poor chocolate Labrador has bald patches all over her pawsi have rash on my eyes under my nose and round the hair line of my head I called the council out but because I have never had a issue with any sort of mites I didn't know what it was I told them also I had samples of whatever it was to show them I also was spitting out little tiny white objects that must have invaded my mouth at night time when I go to put my clothes on i have to Hoover them as my flat is so dusty even though I damp dust every day my hands look like they belong to someone of the age of 90 any way I told the council this and this was the reply of the housing officer .she said at first I was hallucinating then she said do you have mental health issues then have you got O.C.D. she left me feeling so be litted that all I have done is cry I now hate if I have a problem with my house I hate phoning them It has got to the stage I feel like I want to end it all maybe i do have mental health issues but not that i know of has anyone else got tiny white or fawn bits of Wouldn't say insect more like a skin I have not got moths which I thought was the issue the council said dust mites don't attack your hands face and they dont bite I know there are much more going on in the world and this may sound over reacted but it is driving me insane please please help .
Doc Wordinger (author) from Manchester, UK on January 26, 2018:
Audrey - Everything in this article is accurate and can be verified. At roughly a quarter of a millimeter in size, dustmites are not visible to the naked eye under normal circumstances (eg on your bed covers or pillows). An isolated dustmite on, say, a piece of coloured paper may be perceivable to someone with good eyesight but you would need a microscope to actually identify it as a dustmite. What you are describing in your comment is almost certainly NOT dustmites. Bed bugs seem more plausible.
Audrey Kelley on January 26, 2018:
I don’t know what kind of mite is being discussed here. The kind I’m dealing with can certainly be seen. After dealing with them on my body for six months, they moved into my mouth. I spit hundred of them into my sink every day and have many samples. I even dug a black one out of my husband’s arm. So please don’t be spreading incorrect information.
Sally on January 25, 2018:
#7 is a joke right...keep your dogs outside to sleep you must not be an animal lover at all.....I can't say any animal lover would ever think of letting their furkids sleep in the garage let alone outside....SMH
kathy williams on January 08, 2018:
I have bought the mattress covers & pillow covers. Im also using a light sprinkling of diamateous earth inside the pillows & on mattresses & then covering them with the allerease covers. The D. Earth is suppose to dry up any living thing it touches. We used it to get rid of a small patch of bed bugs one year, it was quite easy to get rid of them that way. BUT BE CAREFUL, the D. Earth is very bad if you breathe it in so always wear a mask when using, its harmful to lungs. So when I use it Im always encasing it in something like the mattress or pillow. You cant just sprinkle it around like salt, it would harm any pets & you if inhaled. It dries up the skeleton of any pests, but only use it inside encased items!!
M Jenkins on December 24, 2017:
Found that inexpensive hydrogen peroxide helps! Spray furnishings, clothings, beddings and even itchy spots on body! This is a temporary fix though.
Robert on December 03, 2017:
Regarding dust mites: permethrin cream works very well to cure a red skin infestation.”Off” keeps mites away from arms, hair, sheets, and furniture. Vaseline stops the biting at nite and a lite coat on dog helps stop scratching. Leather furniture doesn’t help. Steroid pills, creams don’t help. To help breathing at nite, place pillow in dryer with dryer sheets and wet wash cloth once a week. Mites move upward towards head, shoulders, back of couch, and top of arms and legs. And, mites like moisture like eyes, nose, lips and private parts. Hope this helps.
Amanda on November 30, 2017:
You should NOT be encouraging people to have their pets put outside or in the garage fair sleeping and limiting their access to one or two rooms. Both are cruel. I understand that pets increase dust mite issue so report that! People can then make an educated decision about having pets but to advise treating them as you have in this article is horrible.
Reginald Thomas on September 19, 2017:
Very nice article with valuable information. I look forward to reading more.
Danny on September 19, 2017:
Can dust mites live on human body?
Marianne on July 23, 2017:
Does any one have a way to get rid of dust mites in paper? I have papers that needs to be sorted and are giving me allergy problems.
Suzy Q on July 13, 2017:
Thank you for all of the posts they have been so helpful to me. Unfortunately I can relate to everything.
I have a friend who has gone through the same thing and I will share what she shared. We bag up things in plastic with dryer sheets seal out as much air as possible. It truly does kill them.
I have filled up four dumpsters getting rid of stuff to thin out my house. Cardboard boxes seem to hold the most dust mites. I have some books that I wanted. I bagged them up with dryer sheets. I sucked out all the air from the bags and laid them in the sun. After several weeks the dust mites were definitely dead. My friend said she even did the same thing with her couch wrapped it totally in plastic with dryer sheets and after a while the dust mites or gone. I have not gotten that far yet. Although I have bagged up other things that I want with the dryer sheets and I am anxiously waiting for the dust mites to die.
In trying to keep these mites under some control I daily go through a half gallon of 91% alcohol just to kill some of the dust mites. This is not enough but it has helped until I can fog the house with Hot Shot flea spray, which my neighbor used and said it worked for her.
When I take a bath at night I get in the tub and then take my clothes off I rinse them off and put them in a bucket that I brought into the tub and soak them overnight and Lysol. I wash my hair first with Dr. Bonner's Tree Tea soap amped up with extra tree tea oil. Then I wash it again with Head and Shoulders. If this is not enough I wash it again. Sometimes I just can't get out all of the dust mites. Then finish my shower with the Dr B tree tea soap.
I wash my clothes minimum of two times in a sterilization load setting, first with Lysol, the one in the brown bottle with the yellow label. Then in DoTerra On Guard laundry soap Then I bag them up spay them with alcohol.
I even wear a mask when I vacuum.
But to be honest I can't wait to give the cats a flea bath rated for Dust mites and next on the same day fog the house. Then have the ductwork vacuumed, then steam clean the carpets. Then fog the house again.
It has already been 4 months and I am Tired!
The cats and I are waiting for this to be over.
Mary on June 07, 2017:
I live in the country in a small quaint cottege for a little over a yr., few months now. I recently planted a garden of various plants. Corn being one. I have never had a problem with mice until now, believing the corn has attracted them. Everything (food wise) is either in plastic or jars. I have a blow up mattress (I move alot). I just found out a few days ago that I have mice in my ceiling. I'm a cleaner and make my bed everyday (-don't make got it ). I have three bites. 2 on my ankle one on my thigh within a three day span. I've delt with bed bugs at a family members home so I know it's not them. The mice were bedding low near my kitchen. I used moth balls/flakes to humanly remove them. They resorted to my crawl space in the attic. As I distributed the mothballs around the house, I noticed pungent odor and saw many Nats and Flys once I distributed the mother balls. Most likely primary bed. Now they've moved as I said earlier to the ceiling. Will ( once the mice are exterminated) I be able to balm to rid myself of these pests including under the house and attic ?
Sherrie on June 07, 2017:
Thank you so much for these tips!! I'm on it!! Putting pets outside is a no go and cruel. Just bathe them in blue dawn or get them groomed. Use pet wet wipes to wipe them down or remove dander. But everything else is SO appreciated!!! Thank you SO MUCH!!!!
Zach on April 24, 2017:
Ripping up carpet doesn't help with allergies or dust. Carpet is better for those things than hardwood because it holds the particles until you vacuum (and does not create any dust or particles that can become air born itself). Hardwood allows everything to blow around a be stirred up into the air. Unless you just never vacuum your carpet, it's a better flooring for anything dust/allergy related.
Noelle on February 17, 2017:
Is pleather as effective as leather for keeping dust mites out of the inner cushions of a sofa?
Cj on February 07, 2017:
Don't let your pets outside, especially in the winter and without getting them fixed first.
Amanda Cumberland on January 13, 2017:
Great post! Will be buying humidifiers and fans.
pup on January 10, 2017:
Will have a go.
Cheri on January 06, 2017:
I HOPE THIS HELPS SOMEONE.......
Hi - I was in a battle with an unknown mite infestation from April to the end of November this past year, I'm pretty sure I know where I picked them up, but that doesn't matter at this point. I was first mis-diagnosed with eczema, that led to them just infesting my entire body before I saw a doctor 5 weeks later that knew what was embedded under my skin. He didn't know what type of mite and said that if I kept a strict hygiene routine that they should be gone in two weeks. Well, that didn't happen! Thousands of dollars later, it was a fluke that I found the answer at our local drug store! MY LIFE WAS TURNED UPSIDE DOWN!
I was laughed at, and brought to tears by a dermatologist. mis diagnosed, told that only scabies burrow - just not the case! Everyone just wants to throw permithrin cream at you and call it a day! I never used the cream because I new I didn't have scabies.
I tried everything from apple cider baths, to kleen green night and day, tea tree oil for hair, body, and everything in between! I did everything but tar and feather myself! But at a few points I was so desperate that I almost would have. I understand what it feels like to have them invade not only externally, but internally as well! My husband and I slept in separate rooms all those months, I only sat in one chair in our house, I did NON-STOP laundry - I was exhausted! We even pulled up our carpets and changed over to hard wood floors - that cost us a couple thousand dollars!
I threw away a bed, so much clothing, all linens and rugs, on and on........They even invaded my car and office! To rid these areas was another small fortune! For my floors and car I used both windex, and alcohol - not at the same time. But I had to have my car detailed and vacuumed from top to bottom by an expert,
I could go on, and on, but I know you want to know what I used. I read everything on mites, or so I had thought. I shared with one of my customers what I was going through and she came back to me and said I feel like I should share this with you...... "a few years ago I was diagnosed with a fungus over my whole body and my doctor told me to scrub my body from top to bottom with Head & Shoulders for a few weeks, so I did and that was that, it was over" I said "Ok, thank you" thinking this has nothing to do with mites.......well, a couple days later I was online and I ran across a paper a student had written about mites where they found that mites are attracted to people with fungus, it could be internally or externally. There was that "F" word again, then again for a third time something about fungus was presented to me! So I thought OK, I'll go buy some - why not? I've tried everything else!
So, I picked some up (the classic kind) and I scrubbed my whole body - head to toe! Before I did this they had seemed to invade my scalp, and I just could not rid them! Well, the next day I woke up and they had come down and embedded themselves into my face! It totally freaked me out! I was going to stop doing the Head & Shoulders, but my husband said "no, don't - they are probably dying off and trying to survive" so I kept it up. After a full week, there was such a difference that my life was totally changed - for the good this time!
It is now Jan. 6th, and I still jump at any itch or creepy crawly sensation, but I am happy to tell you that I am doing great! I still do the Head and Shoulders a few times per week, and I follow it up with aloe vera gel from Trader Joes (the green bottle) not only because it's a skin healant and the H&S can make your skin very dry, but the mites seem to hate it as well - so I never stopped using it.
I'm sorry for such a long post, but I hope it helps someone out there going through this crazy nightmare!!! I am so sorry that you are enduring this, I hope that all of your lives get back to normal again VERY SOON! I'm happy to say that my husband and I are not only sleeping in the same room again, but in the same bed again as well!
God Bless you all - Happy New Year - I pray that 2017 will be a bug free year for you!
Karen on October 29, 2016:
It is my DOG that is allergic to dust mites. She has suffered for months, itching and scratching constantly, gnawing away her fur in patches, getting open sores. She is unable to sleep well and is preventing me from sleeping well. I've spent a fortune on vet bills and allergy meds that DO NOT WORK. I am slowly but surely replacing the carpet with laminate and tile. Now I have to start replacing the bedding. To get rid of all the fabric-covered furniture cannot be done just yet. I figure the entire process will cost $5000 at the very least. THIS IS CRAZY! I'm trying essential oils and hoping that will help. It would be a tad more tolerable if any or all of the above would guarantee getting rid of dust mites, but there IS no guarantee. If my bed mite infestation is ever under control, I have to starting working on the yard because my dog is also allergic to GRASS and OAK TREES. Oh, I almost forgot, she's deathly allergic to MOLD as well. Good thing I love this little critter. She was a rescue puppy. Now I'm the one who needs to be rescued! Seriously, I will do whatever I can to make my sweet dog comfortable. Just reading everything here and seeing pics of dust mites is making ME itch! Good luck to all of you in your search for the closest thing to a cure you can find.
Tom on September 12, 2016:
I too am unclear on whether steaming a couch is good for riddance, as while it will kill the ones the steam touches, is it not making it a perfect breeding ground with the water it leaves behind? At the moment, I've been extreme and built a lego mindstorms robot that wanders around the floor, with a UVC LED shining on the carpet, pausing in each place for 30 seconds. The UVC light destroys the dust mites but I'm trying to measure the rate of come back
Answer Hunter on August 04, 2016:
I hope you will come back!
I have been itching uncontrollably for months. Ive been to 5 different dermatologists, have had extensive blood work done and NO ONE had any answers! My GP was going to send me to yet another Derm and I refused. I told her I needed to see an Allergist since I have tried almost everything under the sun without resolve. Fast forward to this past Monday (after doing both scratch test and injections) when I received my Allergy Results! (on a scale of 1 being mild & 5 being worst). The results for 2 different Dust Mites test came in at a 4! Which, was the worst of all that I did test positive for. I tested 2 for Dog and Horse Dander and 2's for various trees that are abundant where I live. The allergist handed me a brochure of misc. products, dust mite proof Mattress/Boxspring covers, duvet & pillow covers to Air Purifiers. purchasing all that she recommended is over $1000.00. Not to mention replacing upholstered furniture, down pillows etc. I have carpet though out my apartment and have actually started to looking for a new place to live. -This is how desperate I am! So my question is, do these products really work? Am I jumping the gun by moving? My arms are raw from scratching and it seems like there isn't enough Benadryl in the world to keep me asleep!
Destiny on July 28, 2016:
Funny about the temperature thing. I live in New Mexico, and in the winter, it's no problem, I rarely turn on my heater, keeping my bedroom about 50 degrees with nice warm soft fuzzy blankets... However in the summer, it's usually about 80-90 without the a/c or swamp cooler, both of which add humidity. However, I keep my bedroom window swamp cooler at about 60, but I still have trouble with mites. I'm going to try several of your helpful remedies though. Thanks!
alex on July 07, 2016:
Readers conduct their own research? This is why I am here.
Lori on June 09, 2016:
What about changing your house air conditioning filter to a MERV 11 rating to keep dust from flying all over your home through the return air?
Niki on April 26, 2016:
If you can't let your pet sleep indoors or have access to the rooms in your house you shouldn't have a pet. I read that out loud to my husband to make sure I wasn't the only one who found that tip to be ridiculous. That's just shitty
Funsies4ever on February 18, 2016:
Hi! Our poor 4 year old has very bad dust/dust mites allergies. We are finally getting rid of carpet in his room but wanted to know about cleaning the couch. We read somewhere that placing cushions out in the sun would help. I also wonder if we should steam the couches ourselves or hire someone. I would hate to create a bigger problem by not drying or properly cleaning!
Jeannette on December 06, 2015:
recently my ears was itchy i stayed at a hotel the pillows were horrible i believe the stuffing inside were the cause of my itchy ear problem 1 day later trying to take care thank u for all of the selection that u recommend
Joe Realistic on November 24, 2015:
Get rid of your bed. Buy a hammock. You'll sleep better and never have to think about bed bugs or dust mites.
Raiden on October 27, 2015:
Will a sub machine gun rid me of dust mites? 4,000 bullets into the bed? Grenade to the pillows?
Annie on October 24, 2015:
Does air purifier works for dust mites at all...I would do anything to have a machine that grabs the dust
Reginald Thomas from Connecticut on August 07, 2015:
Cudos! You nailed this article with some great information and tips!
I enjoyed it very much. Great job!
Doc Wordinger (author) from Manchester, UK on July 29, 2015:
You're welcome Becky
Becky from Oklahoma on June 19, 2015:
Good common sense advice. Thanks
Doc Wordinger (author) from Manchester, UK on June 09, 2015:
Hi Jean. Dust mites are tiny - a fraction of a millimetre in size - and are impossible to see without a magnifying device. Is it possible that you are mistaking dust mites for bed bugs (which can be visible to the naked eye)? It's impossible to eliminate dust mites completely. The best you can do is wash/dry bed linen on a high temperature on a regular basis and also follow some of the other strategies listed in this article. If you think you have bed bugs, this is a good website to look at - www.bedbugger.com
Doc Wordinger (author) from Manchester, UK on June 09, 2015:
Aesta1 - If it is part of an allergen reduction plan involving several strategies (including many that I listed in this article) then I think an air purifier can definitely help. By itself, without other precautions in place, the benefits will probably be minimal.
Doc Wordinger (author) from Manchester, UK on June 09, 2015:
Nancy - Although dust mites don't bite it is still possible for you to have an allergic reaction to their fecal matter. However, you described that you woke up with itchy welts which does sound more like bed bugs. Take a look at www.bedbugger.com for information about bed bugs and/or alternative causes of itchy welts.
Jean on March 30, 2015:
my husband has feather pillows and dust mites are on there I have dried them 4 times on 70 degrees and still have them and can't wash them help
Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on February 26, 2015:
We have an air cleaner in the room. I wonder if this really helps. We have no pets but we have dogs visit us everyday but they're not allowed in our bedrooms.
Nancy on February 17, 2015:
I have read that dust mites don't bite yet I recently wake up with itchy welts.I'm almost certain I don't have bed bugs .Can you explain to me what these could be? Thanks.
Doc Wordinger (author) from Manchester, UK on February 13, 2015:
Sometimes I feel like I'm fighting a battle I can't win. There's some truth in that because dust and mites will always be present in varying quantities. But removing their preferred habitat (carpets, pillows, curtains, cuddly toys, rugs etc) and making life uncomfortable for them (indoor climate control) can definitely tip the scales in our favour. I also find that opening doors/windows and wearing a dust mask while vacuuming helps to minimise my exposure to the allergens.
Daphne D. Lewis from Saint Albans, West Virginia on February 13, 2015:
All of those items do seem to collect more dust than can be imagined. I am constantly vacuuming and trying to remove as much as possible, but unfortunately, the dust seems to win in the end.
Doc Wordinger (author) from Manchester, UK on February 12, 2015:
DaphneDL - I live in the UK where most houses have carpets, curtains and an abundance of soft furnishings. When I go on holiday to a warmer, more humid climate, I often find that my allergies are alleviated due to tiled flooring, window shutters and a welcome lack of soft furnishings.
Daphne D. Lewis from Saint Albans, West Virginia on January 17, 2015:
House dust is one of my allergies and having lived part-time in two different locations the last several years, I do have more allergy aggravation when at the house in a more humid climate.
Doc Wordinger (author) from Manchester, UK on January 07, 2015:
Hey Karen. Dust mites are among many possible causes of your symptoms. It would be wise to speak to your doctor about this as soon as possible.
Doc Wordinger (author) from Manchester, UK on January 07, 2015:
Hi VJGSA. Bedbugs are slightly off-topic but nevertheless, here's an interesting article in the NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/12/nyregion/12bedbu...
Karen on January 07, 2015:
I recently installed a new heating system in an older house , shortly after I started experiencing head aches and swollen glands when I stay in the house.Has any ever had these symptoms?? They tell me it Dust mites?!?
VJG from Texas on December 25, 2014:
No matter where we stay the night or the quality of the hotel - my wife checks for bed bugs. I have heard that there are dogs trained to ferret out mites and bed bugs. Anyone have information on this?
Doc Wordinger (author) from Manchester, UK on September 28, 2014:
Thanks for reading Sara
Shamim Rajabali from Texas on September 17, 2014:
Thanks for this informative hub.
Doc Wordinger (author) from Manchester, UK on August 14, 2014:
Linda Sarhan from Lexington KY USA on August 08, 2014:
Although I haven't had any experience with bed bugs, I know others who have. Very informative Hub. I am going to pass it along. Great job!
Doc Wordinger (author) from Manchester, UK on April 24, 2014:
This is a very new product Kerrie and I haven't tested it yet. I'll report back when I have. I'm glad you found the advice helpful.
Kerrie on April 12, 2014:
Hello, Thank you for the tips. What are your thoughts on Febreze's new Allergen Reducer?
Doc Wordinger (author) from Manchester, UK on March 24, 2014:
Express10 - Thank you for the additional info. Great advice.
Hermine Hesse - Thanks for pointing this out. It is worth mentioning to readers that traditional allergy advice about the relationship between dust mites and feather bedding may need reevaluating. I have updated the Hub to reflect this.
H C Palting from East Coast on October 24, 2013:
100% wool bedding, even mattresses and mattress toppers in addition to blankets, etc. is a good way to reduce dust mites in your home. Not everyone loves it, but it's naturally moisture resistant and eliminates the environment dust mites need to be comfortable in, thrive, and grow in numbers.
In addition, feather bedding often looks supportive but it is not supportive and sinks after just one use forcing the user to "fluff" constantly. Feather bedding is not machine washable which allows anything living within it or on it to grow exponentially. Bedding/pillows that you can't wash are not a good choice...period. Know that feather bedding is not supportive and requires a lot of extra care.
Hermine Hesse on October 24, 2013:
Boooo. You have not read the scientific research on feather bedding. Get with it!
Doc Wordinger (author) from Manchester, UK on July 10, 2013:
Thank you for describing your own experiences with dust mites and allergies, Express10. Although it's impossible to remove every last mite from your home, you can certainly employ a range of measures to lower your exposure to allergens. It sounds like you've had a lot of success doing this.
Doc Wordinger (author) from Manchester, UK on July 10, 2013:
Thanks for the feedback Janshares, I appreciate your kind words.
H C Palting from East Coast on April 16, 2013:
These are very useful tips. I am often surprised by the large numbers of otherwise smart people that I know who refuse to clean their homes or bedding regularly, have at least one if not multiple pets, and allow them not only into the bedroom, but the bed itself. I have put all these tips into use in my home except the steam cleaning but have whittled my allergy attacks down to either one or none in an entire year and that's usually because I visited the home of a not so aware friend rather than meeting them elsewhere.
Janis Leslie Evans from Washington, DC on March 11, 2013:
Very informative and well-done. I had a feeling dustmites were hanging around but I didn't realize to what magnitude. Thank you, voted up and useful.
Doc Wordinger (author) from Manchester, UK on March 10, 2013:
Thanks for reading Karen, Good luck getting the problem under control. I hope the tips in this article help.
Karen on March 02, 2013:
it all makes sense our dog just recently started goin down in the basement and everyone in the house is starting to itch one of us even has bites on his ankles! Thanks for the tips!
Doc Wordinger (author) from Manchester, UK on November 06, 2012:
Thank you for your comment and hypothesis. My experience of dust mites comes as an allergy sufferer and my article was written with fellow sufferers in mind. My interest lies in providing people with straightforward advice about reducing their exposure to dust mite allergens.
If your hypothesis is true then some of my tips would be rendered useless (as far as eliminating dust mites is concerned; of course, it is still advisable to control temperature and humidity indoors). But many of the tips, such as the ones that promote the elimination of dust mite detritus, would remain useful.
Regarding the biology of dust mites, and whether they thrive in an indoor environment, I think it is important for readers to conduct wider research and make their own conclusion from the evidence presented.
Again, thank you for dropping by and good luck with your continued research into this subject.
Thorkil E Hallas on November 06, 2012:
I am an entomologist with a good knowledge of house dust mites and I do not think, that the mites actually live in our beds and bedrooms. They are a contamination from the outside and are probably dead when they arrives. Therefore attempts to control the house dust mites in our homes by killing them will not work. They are already dead.
Doc Wordinger (author) from Manchester, UK on November 06, 2012:
Thanks for your comment Tipstore