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How to get rid of dust mites naturally.

Last Updated: November 24, 2021

Dust mites are horrifying to look at — good thing you can’t see them! But they can do a number on your respiratory system. Here’s how to get rid of dust mites with natural products.

Dust mites are ubiquitous critters that thrive on every continent except Antarctica. While they’re not particularly harmful bugs — they don’t bite or transmit diseases — they’re the most common allergen in the home.

If you have year-round allergies or frequent asthma or eczema flare-ups, they may be related to dust mites. The best way to find long-term relief is to reduce the population of these tiny bugs in your home.

So, let’s get to it — here’s how to get rid of dust mites naturally.

First, what are dust mites?

Dust mites are microscopic members of the arachnid (spider!) family. Although many people assume that dust mites live in dust, that’s not exactly the case.

You can certainly find dust mites in household dust, which is made up of dead skin cells, pet dander, pollen, dirt, and other stuff. But these tiny scavengers have… other places where they much prefer to spend their time.

Where do dust mites live in your house?

Dust mites are attracted to moisture and food. And since their diet consists of the freshly shed, dead skin cells of humans and pets, the humid location dust mites love best is the place where you park your body for one-third of your life: Your bed.

Dust mites skulk around on and inside your mattress, blankets, pillows, and — don’t tell your kid this — the stuffed animals that hang out on the bed.

They live to nosh on the dead skin cells that slough off your body while you move around in your sleep. If your home is particularly humid, dust mites may find your couch, curtains, and carpets to be pretty sweet digs, too.

If you dare, check out this video to see what these little guys look like up-close and personal as they feast where you sleep:

How do you know if you have dust mites?

Illustration of a mattress with a ghost and bacteria

Let’s just say that it’s pretty darn likely you have dust mites — around four out of five homes in the U.S. have detectable levels of dust mite allergens in at least one bed.

But unless you’re allergic to them, you probably wouldn’t know whether you have dust mites or not — and in this case, it’s okay to pretend like you don’t have them.

You can’t feel dust mites crawling on you, because they’re just way too small for your nerve endings to register — and besides, they’re really not interested in your living flesh, anyway. They aren’t parasites or notable disease vectors, and dust mites don’t bite or burrow into your skin.

Grove Tip

Dust mites by the numbers

Experts estimate that your mattress could contain as many as 100,000 to two million dust mites, depending on various factors.

This means you may be looking at — brace yourself — 2 million to 40 million dust mite turds getting pooped onto your bed — Every. Single. Day.

If you have just a million dust mites in your bed, after a few months, those million dust mites will join millions of other dust mite corpses that came before.

Is it rare to be allergic to dust mites?

Not at all. Here’s why: Dust mites poop — a lot. A single dust mite poops out around 20 droppings each day, and despite the incredibly small size of dust mite feces, it’s a highly potent allergen for 25 percent of the population.

But it’s not just dust mite poop that can trigger allergies. Dust mites only live for one to three months, and once they die, their dried-up body parts are also highly allergenic.

Inhaling the dead bodies and dookie of dust mites may trigger mild or severe allergies, asthma attacks, and eczema flare-ups. People with long-term dust mite allergies may develop asthma.

How do you know if you’re allergic to dust mites?

If you suffer from allergies year-round, and they tend to be worse at home or in your bedroom, you could very well have a dust mite allergy. Likewise, if you experience skin reactions after sleeping.

Here are some of the more common dust mite allergy symptoms:

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Itchy, red, or watery eyes
  • Itchy nose, mouth, or throat
  • Postnasal drip
  • Skin rashes

Tackling your dust mite problem might offer the relief you’ve been searching for.

6 steps to get rid of dust mites naturally

Don’t use poison to kill dust mites — it’s completely pointless and will harm you more than your dust mite population. That’s because the truth is — brace yourself — there’s probably no getting rid of dust mites, not entirely.

But you can definitely reduce the dust mite population in your home — and thus your allergic, asthmatic, and skin reactions — with just a few simple steps.

1. Reduce home humidity

Keep your home humidity level at 50 percent or below.

If you live in a humid region, use your air conditioner to keep humidity down, or use a dehumidifier. An inexpensive hygrometer can measure your humidity level.

2. Get rid of carpet & drapes

Carpets and drapes are a favorite spot for dust mites — and for mold spores, pollen, and lots of other allergens.

If you can, pull up the carpet and refinish or install hard flooring. Washable area rugs are another great option so you can clean them more frequently.

If you can’t pull up your carpet, try sprinkling diatomaceous earth on the carpet every season to give your rugs a thorough dust-mite cleaning.

Replace fabric drapery with shades or another harder material.

3. De-dust-mite your mattress and bedding

To get rid of dust mites in your mattress, thoroughly vacuum it with a HEPA-filter vacuum cleaner, then encase it in a dust mite-proof mattress cover.

Wash your pillows in hot water — 130 degrees will kill dust mites — and slip those into a dust mite-proof case, too.

Wash your blankets and sheets in hot water once a week.

5. Dust and vacuum often

Vacuum at least twice weekly with a HEPA filter-equipped vacuum cleaner, and use a damp microfiber cloth to dust.

Turn the fan setting on your thermostat to the ON position while you dust and vacuum, and leave it on for 15 minutes afterwards. As air cycles through your HVAC system, the filter will remove dust mite allergens from the air.

6. Use an air purifier

If your allergies are worse in your bedroom, install a portable electronic air purifier to remove the microscopic droppings and dust mite corpses that get sent into the air when you fluff your pillows or roll around in bed.

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