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Bye Bye Dust Mites: Prevention Tips that Work

March 5, 2024

Bye Bye Dust Mites: Prevention Tips that Work

Dust mites are tiny microscopic creatures that feed on dead skin cells shed by humans and animals. They thrive in warm, humid environments like beds, carpets, upholstered furniture and stuffed toys. For most people, dust mites are harmless. But for others, their feces and decaying bodies can trigger allergic reactions and asthma. As someone susceptible to dust mite allergies, I’ve learned through trial and error how to reduce dust mites in my home. Here are my top tips for dust mite prevention that really work.

Why Reduce Dust Mites?

  • Dust mites are one of the most common indoor allergens. Allergic reactions to dust mites include itchy eyes, sneezing, runny nose and difficulty breathing
  • Dust mite allergies are estimated to affect 10-20% of the global population
  • Allergic reactions can disrupt sleep, work and daily activities, reducing quality of life
  • Severe dust mite allergies can trigger asthma attacks that may require hospitalization
  • Reducing exposure can lessen allergic reactions and need for medication
  • Simple changes to your home can significantly decrease dust mites

So if you suspect dust mite allergies are affecting you or your family’s health and comfort, it’s worth taking steps to control these microscopic pests.

Top 5 Dust Mite Prevention Tips

1. Encase Mattresses and Pillows

Mattresses and pillows provide the perfect dark, warm and humid environment for dust mites to thrive. Encase these items in dust mite covers made of tightly woven fabric to reduce numbers:

  • Block mites – Covers form a barrier that keeps out new mites and contains those inside
  • Easy to clean – Covers can be wiped down frequently to remove allergens
  • Hypoallergenic – Tightly woven fabric prevents dust mite particles escaping

Change bedding weekly and wash in hot 130°F (54°C) water to kill mites and remove allergens.

2. Wash Soft Furnishings

Dust mites hide in upholstered furniture, cushions, curtains and rugs. Frequently wash these items in hot water or use a steam cleaner to kill mites and remove allergens:

  • Weekly washing – Wash cushion covers, blankets etc weekly
  • Hot water – Use 130°F (54°C) water to kill mites
  • Steam clean – Steam cleaning kills mites without getting items wet
  • Dry cleaning – Chemicals used in dry cleaning also kill mites

Vacuum soft furnishings regularly before washing to remove more allergens.

3. Remove Clutter

A cluttered room provides more places for dust mites to inhabit and makes cleaning difficult. Minimize clutter to reduce mite habitats:

  • Less stuff – Have less soft toys, cushions and clutter
  • Clean surfaces – Dust mites can’t live on hard, clean surfaces
  • Open storage – Use open shelves and clear containers instead of drawers and boxes
  • Minimal soft furnishings – Limit use of curtains, rugs and fabric blinds

By having less stuff and surfaces to collect dust, you automatically reduce dust mite numbers!

4. Use Acaricides

Acaricides are special chemical products that kill dust mites. Several types can be used in the home:

  • Carpet powders – Common active ingredients are tannic acid or benzyl benzoate
  • Sprays – Either benzyl benzoate or essential oil based
  • Washing detergents – Look for acaricides as an active ingredient

Always follow label directions carefully. Repeat application regularly as mites repopulate.

5. Maintain Low Humidity

Dust mites thrive in humid environments above 50% relative humidity. Use these measures to maintain lower humidity:

  • Ventilate – Open windows to allow airflow and lower humidity
  • Dehumidifier – Use a dehumidifier to actively remove moisture
  • Air conditioner – Air conditioning lowers humidity as a side effect
  • Hygrometer – Use a hygrometer to monitor humidity levels

Aim for 30-50% relative humidity, the range where mites struggle to survive and breed.


Dust mites are a common cause of year-round allergic problems. But by taking active steps to reduce mites in your bedding, soft furnishings and living areas, you can lessen exposure and improve health. Test different prevention methods to find the combination that works best to minimize these irritating microscopic pests in your home. With some trial and error, you’ll be able to say bye bye to dust mites for good!

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