What's Biting Me? Being Eaten by Invisible Bugs in Your Home

Updated on October 27, 2019
Layne Holmes profile image

I've cleaned houses and spaces professionally. Here are some of my expert tips.

Being Eaten by Invisible Bugs in Your Home
Being Eaten by Invisible Bugs in Your Home | Source

What's Biting Me? Solutions for Invisible Bugs in Your Home

Are you feeling paranoid and being driven mad by invisible biting bugs? Are you looking for immediate relief from the itching, scratching, discomfort, and rashes? Sometimes we think the bugs will go away on their own and sometimes we think we are simply imagining that they're even there, but every night you feel things crawling on you . . . on your legs, back, neck, hairline, face, and head. It never ends.

What Is Biting Me That I Can't See?

Maybe you've tried some expensive products to get rid of these invisible mites. Well let me tell you—I've seen it all: "invisible" flea infestations, bed bug infestations, and scabies infestations. Yes, it's gross, but the good news is there are ways to kill these bugs and finally have peace of mind. So what is the best way to deal with invisible biting mites? We will talk about trying the following:

Methods for Cleaning/Removing Mites

  1. Permethrin Cream or Nix
  2. Windex (Ammonia)
  3. Listerine (Bactericidal)
  4. Ivermectin
  5. Heat to Kill the Bugs on Bedding and Clothes
  6. Borax
  7. Natural Remedies
  8. Stay Healthy and Build Immunity

What is crawling on my skin?
What is crawling on my skin? | Source

Invisible Bugs That Bite and Cause Itching

The tough news is that you are either dealing with house mites or the scabies mite. Contrary to popular belief, scabies can strike households on any level—all it takes is sitting down on a piece of public furniture and suddenly these bugs are hitching a ride back into your home. The itching is INCREDIBLE. Burning, nonstop irritation. The reason these mites are so irritating is that the female will burrow/tunnel into the skin and lay eggs. It's probably the most irritating itching you can experience in your life.

The below methods will help you kill an infestation but it's always best to work with a doctor too as children and toddlers require special care and these methods may not be best for everyone.

1. Permethrin Cream or Nix

Permethrin cream kills the scabies mite and lice. Essentially, this medication/insecticide works by paralyzing and killing the adult mite and its eggs. It is reportedly safe for pregnant women and children/infants over 2 months of age, but absolutely check the product label and talk to your doctor before use. You can buy it over the counter.

To use this, simply apply it topically and leave it on for the designated amount of time. Do not over use it and keep it away from cats as it is toxic to cats. It is also toxic to aquatic life.

A Note About Permethrin Cream

Permethrin cream is toxic to cats so do not use this around your household cat or let them lick you if you have the cream on you.

Windex contains ammonia which can kill insects.
Windex contains ammonia which can kill insects. | Source

2. Windex

Windex is a general household cleaner, but it does effectively kill insects because it contains ammonia, which is deadly in high concentrations. If you are using windex heavily, you may want to purchase a respirator from Home Depot. I certainly wear one whenever I am cleaning with chemicals. I also wear disposable non-latex gloves like nitrile gloves but you can also buy reusable gloves just for cleaning.

To kill the bugs with ammonia, simply spray every surface—desk space, tables, book shelfs (use a soft, absorbant cloth just for dusting), your car, etc. If you can, get the ceilings and walls.

Caution: Never mix ammonia and bleach—this will produce toxic fumes.

Caution

Never mix ammonia (Windex) and bleach—this will produce toxic fumes.

3. Listerine (Bactericidal)

Hot water can actually make the biting worse, so some people have reported using Listerine in a spray bottle on the skin when showering. I simply used Dr. Bronner's peppermint oil and let it sit on my skin for a bit, but you may give Listerine a try, too.

The essential oils in Listerine tend to have a numbing effect. Basically, you'll want to spray it on your skin (turn off the water to save water) and let it sit on your skin for as long as you can stand (5 minutes +); don't forget to spray your feet. You will want to replenish the Listerine regularly to make sure it's still at full strength.

What are the active ingredients in Listerine?

Interestingly enough, listerine contains the essential oils thymol, methanol, and eucalyptol and methyl salicylate. This combination of ingredients kills bacteria in saliva (per clinical trials) and is, therefore, bactericidal. It is an insect deterrent as well.

Your doctor can prescribe ivermectin.
Your doctor can prescribe ivermectin. | Source

4. Ivermectin

Ivermectin is also another antiparasitic that is used in veterinary medicine and can be prescribed orally (to be taken by mouth) by a doctor. You will definitely want to see a doctor before using this medication as they will also calculate the correct dosing by weight. It also treats other internal parasites besides external infestations. This is one of the most effective treatments for sarcoptic mites (scabies).

Caution: Don't drink alcohol while on invermectin and talk to your doctor before taking any other medications.

Use heat to kill bugs. You can throw your bedding in the dryer.
Use heat to kill bugs. You can throw your bedding in the dryer. | Source

5. Use Heat to Kill the Bugs on Bedding and Clothes

Another thing that works for flea infestations and mite infestations is to kill them with heat. You have to reach a certain temperature, however, to really kill them. I would take all of my bedding and throw it in the dryer and cook it dry for 20 minutes. This really killed the mites. You can also put your bedding in huge hefty bags/trash bags and suffocate them.

Some companies offer a service where they will heat up your house to over 130 degrees and kill the mites—this can be expensive, however.

Caution: Please use extreme caution while drying out your bedding, etc. You can even throw a moist hand towel into the dryer to prevent burns and reduce fire risk. Dry bedding that gets too hot is a fire hazard.

How to "Quarantine" Infested Clothes

Whether you are dealing with mites, fleas, or bed bugs, follow this advice to prevent transference from clothing into your house:

  1. seal all dirty clothes in a plastic hefty bag (to suffocate the bugs)
  2. use bleach (when appropriate) and detergent when washing; you can also use essential oils
  3. when washing clothes, place them immediately into the washing machine and don't drag them across the machine or house—mites can escape this way
  4. get rid of the used trash bag and don't let it sit around the home as mites will likely be inside this bag (as will eggs)
  5. consider drying your clothes longer than normal

SafeRest Full Size Premium Hypoallergenic Waterproof Mattress Protector - Vinyl Free
SafeRest Full Size Premium Hypoallergenic Waterproof Mattress Protector - Vinyl Free

I purchased this both for a double-size bed and a king-size bed to protect them from liquids AND dust mites. For the price, these are great and help reduce allergies.

 

Tips for Protecting Mattresses

  • Mite-proof cover: I purchased a mite-proof mattress cover that was fairly inexpensive but works wonders. It breaths well, is definitely waterproof (my cat peed on it), and it keeps my mattresses dust-mite free. Consider this.
  • Wrapping the mattress: If you are dealing with an active infestation, you can wrap your mattress in plastic bags (cut them open with scissors and tape the seems), hose-vacuum the mattress, and flea bomb the house if you so desire.
  • Inflatable bed: If you are dealing with a really bad infestation, you may need to get rid of your mattress and use a blow-up/inflatable mattress that can be cleaned off with something like windex every other day before the mites are completely gone.
  • Wash your sheets daily: You may want to wash your sheets daily. This will prevent the mites from cycling and hatching. You can also spray your sheets with a peppermint-based essential oil blend.

You can treat your carpet with Borax, but if you have animals, you will want to use pet-friendly products.
You can treat your carpet with Borax, but if you have animals, you will want to use pet-friendly products. | Source

6. Borax

Borax is great for removing mites from carpets, shoes, and can be used in laundry. Do not use borax in laundry if you have sensitive skin. Simply sprinkle your carpet with borax (it can even be used in the car, too). After 24 hours, vacuum it up. I would not use it if you have pets that like to go on your carpet.

You can also put borax in your shoes and let it sit for 24-hours, then vacuum it out or simply wash your shoes in cold water and let them dry outside in warm weather. Baking soda is also a great alternative for households with pets or children.

(NOT A CASE) Tea Tree Oil
(NOT A CASE) Tea Tree Oil

This is my favorite antiseptic tea tree oil that I've applied full-strength on cuts and abrasions but have also used diluted in topicals (like lotions, oils) to put on my skin. Tea tree is extremely good at killing fungus and one such scientific article (linked below) states that tea tree is even effective against mites.

 

Outside of the body, a 5 percent solution of tea tree oil was more effective at killing the mites than traditional treatments.

— Healthline.com
Consider natural methods of pest management.
Consider natural methods of pest management. | Source

7. Natural Remedies for Invisible Insects

There are some natural remedies you can try. When diluted properly in a carrier oil, citronella, peppermint, and tea tree essential oils do well to kill insects on the skin. One such study even states that "Outside of the body, a 5 percent solution of tea tree oil was more effective at killing the mites than traditional treatments." Make sure to follow any necessary safety precautions especially with children and pets. You may also want to consider the following:

1. Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is a unique, chalky-white powder that is made of fossilized aquatic organisms (diatoms) or phytoplankton. DE is great for killing bugs because it causes them to dry out—it absorbs the oils and fats from the insect's exoskeleton. DE is great for dust mites, too. You can sprinkle it on carpets, furniture, and bedding. Be sure to wear a dust mask.

2. MSM Cream

MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) is a natural form of organic sulfur which can help to protect the skin. It contains vitamins E and ginkgo. Note that it is for topical use only. You can mix MSM cream with tea tree oil or peppermint oil and use it on the skin to kill the invisible bugs. You can also blend the MSM cream with hand lotion and a powerful essential oil (try for a 1 part MSM: 10 parts hand lotion blend or higher; essential oils should also be diluted according to instructions). This can be used all over your body.

Ozone Generators: What are they used for?

Ozone can be used to kill mold, get rid of second-hand smoke, and can kill bed bugs and other insects. You can buy ozone generators from various companies and for under 100 dollars and just switch them around each room. Make sure to air every room out because you should not breathe in the ozone.

Carpet Cleaning With Enzyme Cleaners

Some people may choose to use an enzyme cleaner in a humidifier or in a carpet-cleaning machine (for home-use or rented/commercial) to treat the carpets and control dust mites and other mights. You may consider using a good enzyme cleaner like Kleen Free. (Always read product directions.)

3M 8511 Respirator, N95, Cool Flow Valve (10-Pack)
3M 8511 Respirator, N95, Cool Flow Valve (10-Pack)

I use these masks for changing out cat litter (clay-based) and for cleaning dusty surfaces. They are good for protecting you from diatomaceous earth (DE) and products that produce a lot of dust that can be irritating and that you shouldn't be inhaling. You can also use these if you live in a state with wildfires. They are helpful to keep around.

 
Practice good hygiene.
Practice good hygiene. | Source

8. Additional Tips to Stay Healthy and Build Immunity

People who deal with immunosuppression are particularly susceptible to infestations. That's why it's super important to eat well, exercise, practice good hygiene, keep stress low, take vitamins, and get your sleep. You may even want to consider changing your diet.

Candida Diets

Some people adopt a candida diet which means giving up sugar, alcohol, gluten-containing foods, high-starch vegetables, some fruit, dairy, and carb-rich vegetables. Basically avoid eating processed foods and foods that are high in sugar. Candida diets target yeast overgrowth, but it is all too common for yeast infections to encourage bacterial infections which also allow for parasites to easily affect our skin barriers.

Safety With Children and Pets

Always follow directions if you are treating your house or fogging your house. Pets are extremely sensitive to chemicals as are children. Even natural essential oils like peppermint and citronella can be toxic to pets, so if you really have to, consider sending your kids or pets away for a short period of time.

Consider having your kids stay with family or only treat the house when the kids are at school. Air the house out well after. If you have pets, consider boarding them while you have to treat the house to keep them safe (or keep them in a spare room that is carpet-less). Also be sure they are on preventatives and free of parasites—you'll want to bathe them before bringing them back into the house.

Are You Dealing With Bird Mites?

You may also want to consider whether or not what you are dealing with is from bird mites. This could be possible if you have birds in your household. Talk to your vet for animal-safe treatments. Bird mights generally don't cross-over species. You can get exposed, however, from second-hand furniture, working in areas with animals, or working with animals.

Scabies: Signs and Symptoms

You Are Not Imagining It

When you say that you feel like something is crawling on you and biting you but you don't see anything, some people may treat you like your crazy. Sadly, you're not, and they are just unaware of the reality of the situation. People who deal with mites in the household and on the body experience a drop in their quality of life.

The good news, however, is with enough resources and diligence, you can get rid of the problem once and for all. Also know that you are not alone, and many people have dealt with this trouble, too. Please share your tips and advice below and I hope this article helps.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Layne Holmes

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      • Layne Holmes profile imageAUTHOR

        Layne Holmes 

        2 weeks ago from Bend, Oregon

        Hi Dora, thank you for the read. I generally like to go for all natural remedies. I do think sometimes that infestations can get so bad we have to resort to other means. Hopefully, people can start with the natural stuff first and then move on until they have to call a professional. Take care.

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 

        2 weeks ago from The Caribbean

        Very helpful article. Thanks for researching and compiling this list. It usually cost hundreds of dollars for professionals to rid the house of pesticides.

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