How to Kill Dust Mites (And Why Killing Dust Mites Doesn’t Really Matter)

“There are bugs living in my house? Kill them! Kill them with fire!” Wanting to know how to kill dust mites immediately is an understandable reaction.

No one wants their home to become a breeding ground for tiny creatures that were never invited in. And in the case of dust mites, the harm they can cause is out of all proportion with their microscopic size. If you suffer from allergies, dust mites can significantly worsen your symptoms and even cause asthma.

But before you send for the attack dragons, it’s important to understand that merely killing dust mites won’t solve your problem.

These bugs produce allergens in the form of the proteins they release when they poop, and also in the skins that they shed. You could kill every dust mite in the world, but the allergens would still be present in the shed skins and, again, poop.

So, unfortunately, you may need to resist your homicidal urges. Or at least direct them in a more productive way. I’m not saying don’t kill these mites. These disgusting scavengers have to go. But we’ll need a more sophisticated approach if you want to actually solve the actual problem.

Is Killing Dust Mites Enough?

Nope. A dead dust mite can’t breed and produce more of its kind. And its days of going to the bathroom will be over. So in that sense, there’s nothing wrong with killing these nasty creatures.

But the allergic reaction that dust mites trigger in some people is caused by the proteins in their bodies. Even once the bugs are dead, their bodies still contain these proteins, and will still release particles into the air.

So in the battle against these bugs, it’s more important to remove them, the shed skins, and yes, that poop, than it is to kill the bugs.

What you need are products that will either remove the allergen or neutralize the protein it contains. Regular bug sprays may kill dust mites, but they are not going to solve your problem. You’ll need something a little more special for that.

How to Kill Dust Mites (And Remove The Evidence)

So what works, you ask?

Listen. No one’s saying don’t kill dust mites. Go ahead. Avenge every sniffle and sneeze on these mites if it makes you feel better.

Just don’t expect your murderous rage to solve the problem.

You need to think about removal rather than vengeance. You need to get rid of the shed skins and the droppings and the bugs, whether dead or alive, that cause your allergies.

For that, there are a few methods available to you – here’s how to go above and beyond killing and actually get rid of dust mites.

HEPA Vacuum

Investing in one of the best vacuums for dust mites tops the list as an all-natural and highly effective way of getting rid of dust mites.

But you want to make sure you don’t choose any old vacuum – nope, you want one with a HEPA filter. Why? A high-efficiency particulate air filter, or HEPA filter, purifies the air by removing tiny particles down to 0.3 microns in size.

In case you’re wondering, that’s really small. Far smaller than a dust mite, or even a dust mite dropping. In fact, HEPA filters can even trap cigarette smoke.

So vacuuming with a dust mite vacuum that contains a HEPA filter is a surefire way to remove not just dust mites, but also the allergens they leave behind.

Anti-Dust Mite Carpet Powder

Vacuuming with a HEPA-equipped machine is already one of the most effective ways to get rid of both mites and allergens.

But if you are looking for a more aggressive approach – and really, why wouldn’t you? – you could try combining vacuuming your carpet with an anti-allergen powder that will break down those pesky proteins and help reduce your allergic symptoms. 

This kind of combined approach is one of the most effective approaches to solving your mite problem.

Washer and Dryer

It may seem obvious, but it’s worth stating. Washing and drying clothes, and especially your bed sheets, blankets, and pillows, is a great way to remove not just the mites but also the allergens.

Wash in the hottest water you can – over 130°F is what you need to kill the mites quickly. By the same token, drying your fabrics will help to kill any dust mites that may have survived the wash.

Tip: Going the extra step of adding a laundry additive is a smart way to completely eliminate dust mite allergens from your bedding, clothes and fabrics – De-Mite works amazingly well.

Dusting

Seahorses aren’t actually horses. Kansas City isn’t in Kansas. Some things seem named with the deliberate intention of confusing us. But dust mites aren’t one of those things. They take their name from the fact that they are mites that eat dust.

More specifically, they eat the skin cells that every human sheds every day. This is a major component of the dust you find around your house. Yes, it’s an upsetting thought. But it’s the truth. If it makes you feel any better, some of the dust in your house comes from space and the residue of burned up meteorites. But mostly, it’s skin. And that means it’s dust mite food.

So wipe up dust wherever you find it – and be sure to wipe up, not simply spread the dust around. Removing the dust mite’s food source will reduce the size of the population and help to bring your allergies under control.

Not to mention, you’ll also end up wiping up – and killing – a bunch of dust mites in the process.

Tip: If you want to get the most dust mite-busting results from your dusting, use an enzyme cleaner like Kleen Free to wipe up with. This special formula contains enzymes that break down the allergens produced by dust mites, effectively neutralizing them.

Dust Mite Covers

Dust mites love bed. Who doesn’t? A bed provides everything a dust mite needs. Humidity. Darkness. Ready access to shed human skin. It’s a warm, soft, welcoming paradise for these creatures. So much so that a mattress can contain as many as 10 million of these tiny bugs.

I know. After learning that, I thought I’d never feel safe in bed again.

But you get over it. Especially when you realize you can seal them in so they can’t access your delicious dead skin ever again.

How you do that is simple: dust mite covers. These enclose mattresses to keep dust mites trapped inside. They also trap the allergens, making for a better night’s sleep for you and everyone else in your home.

Of course, dust mites can live in places besides the mattress. So covering your bed won’t solve the problem by itself. But it will remove a major population center of these bugs and allow you a good night’s sleep.

HEPA air purifiers

A good quality air purifier, equipped with a HEPA filter, can strain dust mite particles out of the air. These devices can be expensive, but if you have an allergy, you may well find it’s worth it.

If you don’t want to spend your whole life sniffling and sneezing, a good air purifier can help you breathe easy and resist the effects of dust mite allergens. And you don’t even have to do anything apart from plugging it in.

Dust Mite Sprays

There are sprays and cleaners available that are specially labeled for use against dust mites. The best of these dust mite sprays will contain a substance that breaks down the proteins the creatures produce. This is far more effective than simply killing the bugs, since it addresses the problem at the source.

As well as spraying these products anywhere dust mites may congregate, you can use them to wipe up the dust that the bugs feed on.

That way, you’ll not only break down the allergy-producing proteins but also remove the food source for the mites, not to mention those pesky allergen-causing dead bodies.

What Kills Dust Mites?

Okay, the above ways to kill dust mites are the smartest ways to both kill dust mites and neutralize the allergy-causing proteins these little critters produce.

But there are also a bevy of ways to kill dust mites…and just leave them dead. We consider these less effective because again, all they do is kill. There’s still the element of the allergen-causing proteins left for you to clean deal with.

Still, if you want to continue on with your original intention of killing dust mites however you can, the following methods will do the trick.

Just remember to remove the allergen-causing dust mites particles from your living space afterwards!

Essential oils

If you’re looking for the most natural way to kill dust mites, you can use essential oils to make your own dust mite spray. Oils such as tea tree, eucalyptus, and clove have been found to be effective dust mite killers.

You can use essential oils to make your own dust mite spray by diluting the oil at a ratio of 10 mL of oil to 5 L of water. Spray this mixture around the house, paying special attention to the bed and upholstered furniture, but don’t neglect shelves, TV stands, countertops, and anywhere else dust can collect.

You can also use essential oils as an add-in with your laundry to help kill mites and destroy the allergens they produce.

Freezing

Placing items in the freezer will kill dust mites. And while it won’t remove the allergens, it will render them inactive for a while.

This can offer you some protection while you apply an anti-allergen spray to completely neutralize them.

Disinfectant

If it kills germs, it probably kills dust mites too, right? True. Disinfectants such as Lysol will kill dust mites on contact. However, that’s not going to help you. The dead bodies you leave in your wake can still emit the proteins that cause allergies.

You’ll need to remove the dead mites, along with their droppings and shed skins, before you see any difference in your allergic reaction. And if you’re going to go to the trouble of spraying Lysol everywhere, you may as well spray something that actually reduces the allergens, such as one of the anti-allergen sprays above.

UV lights

Because dust mites are so small, lightsabers are largely useless against them. For this reason, dust mites are extremely popular with Sith Lords. But as you search for dust mite remedies, you may find some ultraviolet ones that look like the next best thing to a Jedi weapon.

Now, UV light does kill dust mites. It does so by disrupting their DNA, which is great if you’re looking for that mad scientist vibe. But it’s not the quickest way to kill them. Besides, a fancy UV wand will do nothing to remove the allergens, and so it’s not going to help reduce your symptoms.

Boron, aka boric acid

What works on one pest doesn’t always work on another. Boron and boric acid are often used as insecticides against larger pests. Ants, for instance.

But although they are sometimes marketed for use against mites, they’re not particularly effective. Dust mites love humidity, and sprinkling boron on your carpet or other areas will dry up any moisture and kill the bugs.

But again, you’ll just be left with a bunch of dead bugs that can still trigger allergies. Thanks a lot, boron.

Killing Dust Mites: When Murder Isn’t the Answer

Even the most rabid animal rights activist probably wouldn’t object to you killing dust mites. After all, these creatures are literally everywhere. And they can cause significant discomfort to those who are allergic.

But don’t let your bloodlust take over. Killing dust mites isn’t going to solve a dust mite problem.

Instead, focus on removing the allergen that causes a reaction in your body. Often, this comes down to physically removing it, which can be difficult when you’re talking about something that’s invisible.

But vacuuming and air purifiers will help to clean the air you breathe and remove dust mite particles. So focus on these methods instead of merely killing the bugs. It’s the only way to breathe easy, whether these unwanted roommates bugger off or not.

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