10 Tips to Get Rid of Dust Mites in Your House

Get Rid of House Dust Mites With These 10 Suggestions

Dust mites are the scourge of allergy sufferers everywhere. There are literally millions of them living and feeding inside your bed, carpets, soft furnishings, clothes and anywhere where dust tends to accumulate. Dust mites are tenacious little critters that breed prolifically: getting rid of them is no easy feat.

Over the course of its life, a dust mite can produce up to 200 times its own body weight in waste produce. This is bad news for us humans because dust mite debris can trigger a range of health complaints and allergic reactions such as breathing difficulties, coughing, nasal congestion, itching and watery eyes. They can also have a detrimental effect on your sleep, causing you to wake several times during the night.

Although completely eliminating dusts mites from your home is virtually impossible, there are several precautions you can take to drastically reduce their numbers and neutralize their threat. Let's take a look at ten of the best ways to get rid of dust mites in your house.

# 1. Wash Bedding Regularly

A bed is a warm, dark and humid place making it a perfect habitat for dust mites to prosper. Additionally, the flakes of dead skin which humans shed during the night become ideal food sources for these little pests. It's not a pretty thought.

Fortunately, dust mites don't take too kindly to hot temperatures. Putting your bed sheets through a 140°F (60°C) wash is usually enough to kill them and remove their fecal matter and skin particles. If you have a tumble dryer, put the sheets through a spin-cycle until they are 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 dust mite population to a minimum.

Eeek! It's a good job we can't actually see dust mites.
Eeek! It's a good job we can't actually see dust mites.

# 2. Use an Anti-Allergy Mattress and Mattress 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 you can take a few measures to ensure that mite populations are kept low, and their feces and decaying body matter are kept away from your body.

If you don't have one already, consider investing in a hypoallergenic mattress or, for a cheaper alternative, get yourself an anti-allergen mattress protector. A mattress protector acts as a barrier between yourself and the critters in the mattress, preventing your body moisture and skin from dropping into their feeding zone; likewise, the mattress protector stops dust mite allergens from infiltrating your sleeping zone.

# 3. 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 gives the moisture excreted from our bodies time to dry.

Dust mites love moisture. They can't drink water in the normal sense but instead they absorb it through the air. By reducing moisture and humidity within the bed, we're making life difficult for them.

# 4. Get Rid of Feather Pillows and Duvets

Considering that you'll probably spend eight hours each day with your face resting on it, your pillow needs to be soft, comfortable and free of allergens. Traditional feather pillows aren't really suited to the task. Not only are they lumpy and difficult to wash but they also provide an ideal home for dust mites. The same is true of duvets.

Try using hypoallergenic synthetic pillows and duvets instead. They provide a less cosy environment for dust mites and you can blast them through the wash at 140°F (60°C) which is the magic temperature for killing the mites.

To really help drive those mites out of your bed, buy a hypoallergenic pillow and duvet cover as well.


There is a growing body of scientific evidence challenging traditional beliefs about the relationship between dust mites and feather/synthetic pillows and duvets.

# 5. Replace Carpets with Hard Flooring

Like beds and soft furnishings, carpets are a paradise for dust mites. Carpets trap dead skin and pet dander which the mites feed on.

Rip up the carpets in your bedroom (or ideally, the whole house) and replace them with hard flooring such as linoleum, laminate or tile. This is one of the most effective ways of instantly getting rid of dust mites. Hard flooring eliminates their most fertile breeding ground.

If getting rid of your carpets is impractical or too costly, try to vacuum regularly - at least two or three times each week. If you suffer from dust allergies, wear a dust mask and open the windows when you vacuum, or ask someone else to do it. Using a vacuum with a High-Efficiency Particulate Arresting (HEPA) filter might help reduce your exposure to some airborne allergens when vacuuming, however, HEPA filters have been proven to be less effective against dust mites.

You can purchase carpet sprays and treatments that get rid of dust mites and other carpet allergens. But in the long term, it might actually work out cheaper to install some hard flooring and throw your mite-infested carpets in the trash.


# 6. Control Temperature and Humidity

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 your unwanted house guests.

Another way to control dust mite population through indoor climate control is to monitor the humidity in your house. Unfortunately, dust mites live comfortably in a temperature similar to humans but they actually prefer a higher humidity. Anything lower than 70% relative humidity reduces their reproductive rate. Try to keep 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 opening windows often. If this doesn't work, or is too inconvenient, It's also possible to control humidity with air conditioning units and dehumidifiers.

# 7. Keep Pets Out of the Bedroom

Dust mites love pet dander. Make pets sleep outside or in the garage if possible and limit their indoor freedom to one or two rooms. Make an extra effort to keep pets out of the bedroom.

# 8. Get Rid of Curtains, Cushions and Soft Furnishings

Curtains and soft furnishings are a dust mite's paradise. Fabric traps the dust and mositure 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. If you suffer from dust mite allergies then this is a scenario to avoid.

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 arm chairs for leather/artificial leather versions.

Perhaps you don't want to part with your soft furnishings? Then you'll need a steam cleaner (see tip # 9.).

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 in the freezer for 24 hours. This will kill the dust mites.

# 9. Use a Steam Cleaner

Steam cleaners are a great way to clean items and objects that aren't suitable for a washing machine. You can use them on carpets, curtains, cushions, kitchen/bathroom surfaces and a thousand other places. The steam kills bacteria, dissolves dirt and yes, kills dust mites.

# 10. Clean Regularly

This might seem like an obvious tip but you should never underestimate the power of dust mites to colonize and breed in your home. 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.

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 - basically something that actually picks up and contains the dust rather than simply moving it about.

What are YOUR most effective methods for getting rid of dust mites?

Please share your suggestions and tips in the comments section below.

Comments 62 comments

Coding staff profile image

Coding staff 4 years ago from Belarus

# 3. Don't Make Your Bed in the Morning

Thanks! I will show this point to my girlfriend:) That I'm not lasy, I want to get rid of dust!

Doc Wordinger profile image

Doc Wordinger 4 years ago from Manchester, UK Author

I really like #3 as well Coding Staff. It's the only tip where you don't have to do any housework or spend money on new items. You need to be persistent and hardworking to get rid of dust mites. Airing the bed each morning is one step although by itself it won't achieve much.

jennifer titus profile image

jennifer titus 4 years ago from TN

#7 is a no go! And your descsription of dust mite poop isn't even going to make me put my dog outside! #8 is almost as imposible for me; no one actually enjoys sitting on leather, that's why it's always covered in blankets (attracting dust mites). I will, however, take into mind your other points of advice! Particularly #6, but I would freeze to death in the summer if I set my thermostat at 70 degrees, so I guess it's going to have to be really hot in my house! I will seriously consider #10, since I am a housekeeper and my own house "should" be as nice as the ones I clean for a paycheck, right?! Thanks for posting.

Doc Wordinger profile image

Doc Wordinger 4 years ago from Manchester, UK Author

Thanks for reading Jennifer and thanks for your comments too. I understand that some tips aren't practical for certain people: as you point out, pet-lovers will feel like ogres if they force the family dog to sleep outside.

jennifer titus profile image

jennifer titus 4 years ago from TN

I could banish my cat to the outside, so I guess I am half ogre! Thanks again - I've been telling my housekeeping clients about the temperature thing . . . many of them complain about dust allergies.

vibesites profile image

vibesites 4 years ago from United States

I've read a post somewhere (not here tho) that people with unmade beds will have a longer a life than people who do make their beds. I found that as nonsense. Now that I read this hub, there could be a reason why.

I've been itching recently, and I presently sleep in a room where it's dusty. But I have been too busy to tidy up my room. Now I will try to give time to that, cleaning the room... but leaving the bed as it is! Very helpful hub, thanks for posting. :)

Doc Wordinger profile image

Doc Wordinger 4 years ago from Manchester, UK Author

Hi Vibesites. That's an interesting stat about unkempt beds and lifespan. If that's true then my life expectancy must be about 120.

If you think you have a dust mite allergy then you really have to get your room dust free. Follow the tips above and hopefully you'll be itch-free in no time. Thanks for your comment.

Doc Wordinger profile image

Doc Wordinger 4 years ago from Manchester, UK Author

No, maybe a quarter ogre, Jennifer, probably less. Cats make a point of demonstrating how independent they are. They aren't quite as needy as dogs.

iguidenetwork profile image

iguidenetwork 4 years ago from Austin, TX

Thanks Doc for the tips. Mites (and bedbugs) are really major problems in every home. I have a question: are mothballs also effective in killing those pests? Thanks again. :)

KellyMediaBest profile image

KellyMediaBest 4 years ago from Tampa, Florida

That picture just gave me the shivers! It's crazy to think that microscopic little critters like that are living in our homes and even our beds. Gross. I've heard of some of these tips before like leaving your bed unmade.

Doc Wordinger profile image

Doc Wordinger 4 years ago from Manchester, UK Author

Thanks for stopping by iguidenetwork. Great question about the mothballs. I suffer badly from dust allergies and have spent years researching this topic but mothballs have never really featured in my findings or my own strategies. Scientifically speaking, it seems they do kill dust mites but just aren't an effective weapon against this type of pest due to the dust mites' size and widespread habitat (almost everywhere!). If you own wool clothes that are unsuitable for the washing machine, mothballs might be an option. But they won't get rid of the dust mite body matter which is what causes the allergic reaction. And let's not forget that mothballs are toxic. So, taking all that into account, I would rule out mothballs as a source of dust mite control.

Doc Wordinger profile image

Doc Wordinger 4 years ago from Manchester, UK Author

Thank you for your comment Kelly. I totally agree with you. These minuscule beasts are nasty, unwanted and bad for our health. That's why it's so important that we try to limit their breeding. We'll never be able to get rid of them completely but we can still declare war against them and make it tough for them to survive.

tipstoretireearly profile image

tipstoretireearly 3 years ago from New York

Controlling temp and humidity is a great tip. I'll try it out!

Doc Wordinger profile image

Doc Wordinger 3 years ago from Manchester, UK Author

Thanks for your comment Tipstore

Thorkil E Hallas 3 years ago

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 profile image

Doc Wordinger 3 years ago from Manchester, UK Author

Hi Thorkil,

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.

Karen 3 years ago

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 profile image

Doc Wordinger 3 years ago from Manchester, UK Author

Thanks for reading Karen, Good luck getting the problem under control. I hope the tips in this article help.

janshares profile image

janshares 3 years ago from Washington, DC

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.

Express10 profile image

Express10 3 years ago from East Coast

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.

Doc Wordinger profile image

Doc Wordinger 3 years ago from Manchester, UK Author

Thanks for the feedback Janshares, I appreciate your kind words.

Doc Wordinger profile image

Doc Wordinger 3 years ago from Manchester, UK Author

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.

Hermine Hesse 3 years ago

Boooo. You have not read the scientific research on feather bedding. Get with it!

Express10 profile image

Express10 3 years ago from East Coast

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.

Doc Wordinger profile image

Doc Wordinger 2 years ago from Manchester, UK Author

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.

Kerrie 2 years ago

Hello, Thank you for the tips. What are your thoughts on Febreze's new Allergen Reducer?

Doc Wordinger profile image

Doc Wordinger 2 years ago from Manchester, UK Author

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.

LindaSarhan profile image

LindaSarhan 2 years ago

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 profile image

Doc Wordinger 2 years ago from Manchester, UK Author

Thanks Linda!

sara0129 profile image

sara0129 2 years ago from Texas

Thanks for this informative hub.

Doc Wordinger profile image

Doc Wordinger 2 years ago from Manchester, UK Author

Thanks for reading Sara

VJGSA profile image

VJGSA 22 months ago from Texas

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?

Karen 21 months ago

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?!?

Doc Wordinger profile image

Doc Wordinger 21 months ago from Manchester, UK Author

Hi VJGSA. Bedbugs are slightly off-topic but nevertheless, here's an interesting article in the NY Times:

Doc Wordinger profile image

Doc Wordinger 21 months ago from Manchester, UK Author

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.

DaphneDL profile image

DaphneDL 21 months ago from Saint Albans, West Virginia

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 profile image

Doc Wordinger 20 months ago from Manchester, UK Author

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.

DaphneDL profile image

DaphneDL 20 months ago from Saint Albans, West Virginia

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 profile image

Doc Wordinger 20 months ago from Manchester, UK Author

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.

Nancy 20 months ago

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.

aesta1 profile image

aesta1 20 months ago from Ontario, Canada

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.

Jean 19 months ago

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

Doc Wordinger profile image

Doc Wordinger 16 months ago from Manchester, UK Author

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 for information about bed bugs and/or alternative causes of itchy welts.

Doc Wordinger profile image

Doc Wordinger 16 months ago from Manchester, UK Author

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 profile image

Doc Wordinger 16 months ago from Manchester, UK Author

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 -

Becky Puetz profile image

Becky Puetz 16 months ago from Oklahoma

Good common sense advice. Thanks

Doc Wordinger profile image

Doc Wordinger 15 months ago from Manchester, UK Author

You're welcome Becky

Reginald Thomas profile image

Reginald Thomas 14 months ago from Connecticut

Cudos! You nailed this article with some great information and tips!

I enjoyed it very much. Great job!

Annie 12 months ago

Does air purifier works for dust mites at all...I would do anything to have a machine that grabs the dust

Raiden 12 months ago

Will a sub machine gun rid me of dust mites? 4,000 bullets into the bed? Grenade to the pillows?

Joe Realistic 11 months ago

Get rid of your bed. Buy a hammock. You'll sleep better and never have to think about bed bugs or dust mites.

Jeannette 10 months ago

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

Funsies4ever 8 months ago

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!

Niki 6 months ago

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

Lori 4 months ago

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?

alex 3 months ago

Readers conduct their own research? This is why I am here.

Destiny 2 months ago

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!

Answer Hunter 2 months ago

Doc Wordlinger~

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!

Jeanne 2 months ago


Sarah Smith 6 weeks ago

I have some dust mites in my house and want to get rid of them. Thanks for the advice about how you shouldn't make your bed as dust mites love the moisture that making your bed traps. It would also be smart to get an exterminator service to help you get rid of the pests.

Tom 6 weeks ago

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

Carla 5 weeks ago

I heard aq light general spraying of surfaces with isopropyl alcohol will kill bed bugs, but what about dust mites? A light spray over carpet, cushions and bedding evaporates quickly and does not harm fabric.

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