The number of people who suffer from dust mite allergies continues to increase. For this reason, there is a need to find ways that are safe and affordable for use when getting rid of dust mites from the bedroom, living room, on skin, pets and stuffed animals
There are both natural home remedies and chemicals ways of killing and eliminating. This piece discusses both ways focusing more on how to deal with these mites in specific areas in your home.
Naturally (without chemicals)
There are several ways to get rid of dust mites without use of chemicals. Below are some of the ways that have been found to be very effective.
Low humidity and temperature
The environment and manner in which you keep your home determines the survival of dust mites.
You should keep your home dry with humidity lower than 50% to ensure dust mites do not thrive.
When the humidity is low, the existing dust mites die. You should always ensure there is fresh hair in your house especially when you suspect presence of dust mites.
Temperatures maintained in your house, most especially your bed room where most of the dust mites live, should be approximately 65 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
These temperatures make it hard for the dust mites to thrive and you will notice a reduction in their population within a short time.
Clean your house thoroughly and frequently
One of the easiest ways to eliminate dust mites is becoming a clean freak. You will need to wipe clean all the surfaces exposed to dust at least twice a week.
It is the dust that carries most of the dust mites to your house and not entertaining any dust at all means you will keep dust mites away.
To ensure you get rid of the dust mites rather than spreading them into the air, you should use a damp cloth. A damp cloth wipes off the surface and keeps the dust mites attached to it.
You should then heat the cloth at a very high temperature and dispose it off. This gives you an assurance that the dust mites are dead.
When cleaning your house, always consider adding a few drops of essential oils to the water you use to clean.
This ensures that you not only wipe off the dust but you also reduce the possibility of the dust mites return to your house.
Expose infested items to high temperatures
Expose your bedding and soft furnishing to high temperatures when washing them
In most cases, dust will find its way into your bedrooms and attach itself to the bedding. This dust, as already mentioned above carries the dust mites. For this reason, you will need to wash your bedding on a weekly basis.
However, you do not just wash the bedding and soft furnishing like any other clothes. To ensure you kill the dust mites, wash them at a temperatures greater than 130 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit since at this temperature, no dust mite can survive.
Examples of soft furnishings are throws, cushions, and rugs. You should wash them under the mentioned temperatures at least twice a month.
Always remember to clean wipe your mattress as well since putting back the clean bedding to a dusty mattress means you will yield nearly zero positive results.
There are some fabrics that when exposed to high temperatures, they will be damaged. They include stuffed toys and cushion covers.
To kill dust mites living on these items, you will need to seal them in a bag and place them in your freezer for at least 24 hours.
Dust mites cannot survive the very low temperatures in the freezer and they will die. However, you must remember that only the dust mites will be gotten rid of and not the allergen.
All the same, freezing the dust mites is an assurance that there will not be any more droppings in your home.
An alternative to the freezer is a low temperature wash. This will kill the dust mites as well.
In the case where you opt to freeze them, you must remember to shake the items well enough after getting them from the freezer to dispose as many dust mites as possible.
Vacuuming them is another way to ensure you remove all the dead dust mites from the fabric.
Use diatomaceous earth
Made from fossilized remains of aquatic organisms which are very tiny, diatomaceous earth is a very useful fine powder.
The aquatic organisms making up this powder are referred to as diatoms. The small creatures have razor like edges and a cylindrical shape.
They are not harmful to human beings but they are very dangerous to small insects and parasites, with dust mites included.
To kill dust mites and reduce their population, you are advised to dust your mattresses, bedding, carpets, and pet beds with diatomaceous earth. Allow the powder to settle on these items.
The powder should be left on these items for several hours. If possible leave it for a whole night as this will increase the success rate at which the powder eliminates the dust mites.
On the following morning, you can vacuum the items to get rid of both the powder and dead mites. You can repeat this procedure as often as possible to ensure no dust mite thrives.
You must be keen when purchasing the diatomaceous earth. You are required to buy the one which is food-grade variety as it is safe for you around people and animals.
Get rid of clutter
Embracing the habit of keeping your entire house surfaces clear is one way of reducing the dust mite population.
For instance, you should clear surfaces of unnecessary stacks of books, ornaments, piles of papers, and picture frames.
Another way to keep your house clear is to get rid of too many throws on beds and sofa. This should be done for the cushions too.
Swap padded and fabric head boards with wooden headboards to reduce the number of hiding places for dust mites.
Binds when used in place of curtains is also another way to keep your house clear of places dust mite can survive.
Minimize the number of houseplants
If you love having houseplants all around your house, you will need to be ready to wipe their leaves as often as possible so that any dust mites attached to the dust on those leaves are killed.
To make your work easier, you could simply reduce how many plants you grow around your house.
Another way to handle the problem of your houseplants being a home for dust mites is choosing specific types of houseplants.
There are plants that are air purifying and they include golden pothos, areca palm, peace lilies, philodendron, gerbera daisies, dracaena, and bamboo palm.
Use essential oils
There are many sprays in the market which kill dust mites. These sprays are however loaded with chemicals which have side effects.
To avoid spending so much on sprays with chemicals which are always very expensive, you can make your own spray using essential oil.
The oils are not only cheaper to acquire but they are also easy to access and very effective with minimal if any side effects.
When used well, these essential oil sprays yield the same results as with the use of chemical sprays, and sometimes, they offer a better outcome.
Most of the essential oils such as eucalyptus oil and tea tree oil have both antiviral and antifungal properties which enable them kill dust mites.
The procedure of applying the essential oils is also very easy. You will need to make a mixture of 2 teaspoons of the preferred essential oil (or even a combination) with a cup of distilled water.
The mixture is then put into a spray bottle and shaken well enough to ensure a uniform solution. You are then required to dust surfaces in your house.
You can also spray the mixture on your bedding, fabrics and carpets to kill the dust mites.
Further reading: Best Essential Oils for Dust mites Plus Recipes
Vacuum your house
Although vacuuming is not very effective in killing the dust mites, it is very helpful in reducing their population. Vacuuming is a great way to get rid of dust from surfaces in your home. Getting rid of dust, as already mentioned, is one way of reducing the number of dust mites in your home.
To ensure that vacuuming yields great results, there are several things you must ensure. Thy include the following;
- To prevent emissions of dust from the vacuum cleaner itself, choose a cleaner with a Hepa filter. This ensures all dust is driven away.
- Vacuuming should be done twice a week with focus being on areas that mostly accumulate too much dust. This is mostly near the door ways and under your bed.
- Wear a mask when vacuuming so that you do not expose yourself to the allergies that come with the dust which is stirred up.
- You are advised to stay away from the vacuumed room at least two hours after the vacuuming.
- You must ensure that you vacuum your carpet, sofas, rugs, curtains, and soft furnishings. Wet vacuuming is considered the best for rags and carpets since it removes both the mites and their droppings.
Use natural predators
More research is being done regarding the use of natural predators to kill dust mites. An example is the use of centipedes. Centipedes eat dust mites.
The only problem is you may not find it interesting to have these crawling creatures all around your home.
To be on the safe side, you could just keep the small centipedes and dispose any of them that overgrow.
The centipedes do not cause a serious harm and the worst they can do is scare you or bite slightly on your skin leaving a red ugly mark.
You can focus on the other methods above since they are easier and friendlier to use whenever you want to kill dust mites.
Killing them using chemicals
There several chemical containing products that effectively kill dust mites. They can be in form of gases, powders or sprays as discussed below;
Fumers and foggers
Here, insecticide smoke which kills dust mites is created. Two of the products are discussed below;
Pest Experts Formula ‘P’ Fumer
This is an influential bomb which releases insecticide gases. The bomb is made up of permethrin. Once released, this gas reaches all corners of your house and kills all dust mites.
However, You should be very careful when using the gas; wear gloves and a mask and stay away from your house after its use for 3 hours.
Hot Shot Bedbug and Flea Fogger
This fogger contains pyrethrins and chemicals that kill dust mites. It is usually contained in a tin which when opened releases chemicals that kill dust mites.
You should release this gas after ensuring no people or pets are in that room. You should away from the room for at least two hours.
Powders for dust mites
In this case, you are required to mix insecticide powder with water then apply it on the area suspected to be having dust mites. One of the most effective powders is dust mite and flea control.
This powder contains borate which offers long lasting effects once used. It can last up to 6 weeks following application. It is colorless and odorless.
It is safe to use around humans or pets. You simply need to mix a cup of this powder with half a gallon of water then apply it on the affected area.
Use of sprays
This method uses spray bottles containing chemicals that kill dust mites. The most common spray is the DustMitex Ready-To-Use Liquid.
This liquid contains natural boron compound. You are required to spray twice a year. It is safe for use around pets and humans. It has a natural pH level making it safe for any colored fabric.
More Control Methods
Dust mites dehumidifier
As discussed earlier, dehumidifiers reduce the levels of humidity in your house making the environment unsuitable for survival of dust mites.
When you run a dehumidifier all around your house, it reduces the dust levels in your home and you will not have to clean your house all the time in order to keep dust mites away.
Uv light for dust mites
From the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, it was clear that the study carried out confirmed the ability of UV light to destroy both dust mites and their eggs.
Even though this light kills the dust mites, you must vacuum your room to remove the dead dust mites and any debris that may lead to dust mite allergy.
Dust mite trap
The most common trap that is effective in eliminating dust mites is the Ninja ROBO trap which is designed to exterminate dust mites without use of any insecticides.
Dust mite vaccine
The University of Lowa Researchers came up with a vaccine which switches the body’s immune system when you are attacked by dust mites such that you do not get dust mite allergies. What the vaccine does is that it alters the inflammatory response of your body to dust mite allergens.
Use of Chemicals in sprays
You can opt to use sprays to kill dust mites, either natural or chemical sprays. The natural sprays that kill dust mites are made using essential oils as mentioned earlier above in the ways of getting rid of dust mites naturally.
You can also use chemical sprays as mentioned under chemical methods of getting rid of dust mites. There are various sprays in the market that have been found to be effective and they include;
- Steri Fab
- Essentria Broadcast Insecticide
- Pronto spray.
Dealing with Dust mites in bed/mattress/pillows
Dust mite proof bedding
Doctors who specialize in treating allergies advice you to use allergy proof bedding to cover pillows, mattress, feather bed, and comforters so as to keep dust mites away.
It is estimated that 99.95% of the allergens that result from dust mites are trapped by these dust mite proof bedding covers. These covers relieve you of dust mite allergies and they keep your bed clean and fresh as well.
Dust mite mattress & pillow cover
There are dust mite proof covers that are designed to prevent survival of dust mites on your mattress and in your pillow.
It is the density of these covers that prevents dust mites from making a home in the mattresses and pillows. These covers need to be washed frequently to ensure they are dust mite free.
Other ways of getting rid of dust mites in bedding include the following;
- Lowering the humidity in your bedroom as earlier discussed will eliminate dust mites from your bedding.
- Baking soda and vacuuming is another way to get rid of dust mites from your mattress. This should however be used only in the case of a spring coil mattress. You are required to sprinkle a mixture of baking soda and an essential oil on the mattress and leave it for fifteen minutes. You will then need to vacuum using a hose attachment so as to suck up dust mites together with the baking soda.
- Washing your bedding under high heat, as discussed above, also helps get rid of dust mites.
As already discussed above, the carpet is one of the best homes for dust mites. Frequently vacuuming the carpet is one of the ways to keep your carpet free from dust mites.
As it will be discussed below under the preventive measures, disposing the carpet and keeping the floor wooden or tiled is the long term solution if you wish to do away with dust mites.
Dust mites are also likely to make a home in your clothes. It is advisable that you keep your closet free from dust all times. Wiping it at an interval of 1 day may be very helpful if you are prone to allergies.
You should also wash your clothes under high heat to ensure the dust mites living in your clothes are killed.
When you feel crawling on your skin but you cannot actually see what it is that is on your skin, it is most likely you have dust mites.
These creatures are microscopic; explaining why you can’t see them with your naked eyes. When you suspect there are some of these mites on your skin, use any essential oil or their combination to apply on your skin.
Dogs & Cats (pets)
Pets you keep in your home such dogs are also likely to be attacked by dust mites. You should clean your pets frequently but that should always be done outdoors as will be discussed below under preventive measures. You also need to keep your pet’s bedding very neat. Wash them frequently under high heat.
Just like the carpet, you will need to vacuum your couch as often as possible. Using a damp cloth to wipe your couch is also another way to keep the dust and hence dust mites away.
How to prevent dust mites in your home
There are several ways to prevent entry and survival of dust mites in your home. They include the following;
Use special bedding
An average mattress is a home for hundreds of thousands of dust mites with millions of droppings being left behind. To fight against dust mites, therefore, you must start from your bedroom.
The methods discussed above will effectively eliminate dust mites but investing in special bedding is a better long term solution.
You are advised to buy covers that have allergen proof fabric. These covers are used to encase your mattress, pillows, and box springs. When these special covers are used, you reduce the possibility of dust mites making a home in your bedroom.
Taking extra precaution on pets
If the pets you are keeping in your home are covered with feathers or fur, they contribute to dander. Dander encourages the survival of dust mites by increasing their food supply. Dander can stay on your mattress for years and on your carpet for up to 20 weeks.
If you must keep pets, you should always groom them far away from your house to prevent possible circulation of dander into your house.
The pet bedding should also be washed frequently at high heat levels. If you have the money to purchase allergen proof fabric covers, it is best you go for them since they offer a lasting solution.
The aim is not only to prevent the pets from bringing dust mites into your home, but also to ensure the pets do not suffer the dust mite allergies which they are also prone to.
You are also advised to keep pets away from your bedroom as they may bring in more dust mites into your bedding.
Use a dehumidifier
To prevent survival of dust mites, you should use a dehumidifier to ensure the humidity remains below 50 percent.
It should be used mostly in the bedroom and your living room as well as the kitchen. This is because, dust mites spend most of their time in the areas you are also spend your time as they wait for you to shed off the dead skin.
Clean your house and all the items prone to dust mites attack regularly
As already mentioned under natural ways of getting rid of dust mites, cleaning is one of the easiest methods of keeping away dust mites.
Cleaning not only kills dust mites but it also keeps them away. It is therefore not only a way of getting rid of them but a preventive measure as well.
Replace old pillows
At the time you wish to cover your pillows with special covers, you are advised to dispose your old pillows and use new pillows instead. This prevents the possibility of existing dust mites from surviving even after using the new covers.
Avoid use of carpets
Carpets make your house beautiful but you must keep in mind that they attract so much dust. This means that carpets are a very good home for dust mites. The wall to wall carpets in your bedroom should be gotten rid of.
If you have already realized that you or one of your family members is allergic to dust mites, you should go for bare wooden floor or a floor with tiles. Dust mites do not live on such surfaces.
Open your windows frequently
Even if you have air conditioner in your home, it is advisable that you keep your windows open. Allowing free flow of air all over your house controls humidity levels in your home as well as reducing the amount of dust that stays in your house.
Replace soft furnishings
Dust mites enjoy making a home in soft furnishing. To prevent their survival in your home, you may want to consider replacing the soft furnishings with hard furnishing.
This is however very difficult and it may not only take you a lot of time but you may have to spend a lot of money too.
Steaming the soft furnishing when you cannot replace them is one way to keep the dust mites and clean out their debris as well.
Avoid making your bed
You must have grown up with the knowledge that your bed must be well spread. However, in the case where you wish to prevent survival of dust mites, you may have to go against the spreading bed requirement.
When you wake up and just fold your bedding neatly, you reduce the chances of dust mites making a home in your bedding since not spreading the bed prevents possible moisture and humidity accumulation.
More about Dust Mites
- Facts about dust mites, how they look like in pictures, signs and frequently asked questions
- Dealing with dust mites bites
- Dealing with Dust Mite Allergy