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How do I Kill Mites?

Nicole Madison
Updated May 16, 2024
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When a person wants to kill dust mites, one of the easiest ways to do so is by washing what they have infested. If they are on pillowcases, sheets, and other linens, a good washing in water that is hotter than 130° Fahrenheit (54.44° Celsius) can get the job done. Washing items in cooler water will not kill mites, no matter how often they are washed and what type of soap is used.

Often, discussions of ways to kill mites focus on one type of mite — the dust mite. These microscopic bugs take up residence on the dead skin cells people and animals shed. Since dead skin cells are often found in abundance on pillows, other bedding, furniture, and carpets, dust mites may be found in abundance in a typical home. While they aren't dangerous, they can trigger allergic reactions in many people.

Freezing can also help to kill mites. While washing may be easiest for bed linens, things like stuffed animals and pillows may be harder to launder. To kill mites in these things, you can place them in the freezer for a full day. After taking them back out again, it's best to wash them to remove any lingering allergens.

Long-term exposure to sunlight can sometimes kill mites too. For this reason, it might help to place mats, small rugs, and similar items outdoors on a hot, dry day. It's best to avoid placing them in even partial shade, however; the items have to be placed in direct sunlight for this to work.

It is estimated that dust mites spend at least one-third of their lives in beds. In fact, some experts think that the average used mattress is likely to have anywhere from hundreds of thousands of mites to up to 10 million of these creatures living in it. As such, it's a good idea to concentrate much of the effort there.

To help control the mite population in a bed, place a plastic or polyurethane cover over the mattress. This cover should enclose the whole mattress, so that any mites already in it cannot get out and any other mites cannot get in. Follow up by vacuuming the bed pillows or washing them.

There are some chemicals that kill mites. For example, benzyl benzoate, which is normally used as a food additive, can be used to kill them. This may be found as an ingredient in sprays or dusting powders. It can even be found as an ingredient in some detergents.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a HomeQuestionsAnswered writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.
Discussion Comments
By anon166331 — On Apr 07, 2011

What about bleach?

By anon166024 — On Apr 06, 2011

Because you can't bathe or shower in 130 degree water. Not that you can in 120 degree water either, but the cold water will balance the latter much easier than the previous. The electric bill is probably more of a concern for having a high temperature setting on the water heater.

By anon165898 — On Apr 06, 2011

If you launder the items at a lesser temperature and then dry them in a hot dryer, wouldn't that work?

By anon165891 — On Apr 06, 2011

anon79660 - good question! I like the very specific ideas in this article.

By anon165792 — On Apr 06, 2011

I have read something very interesting as to get rid of mites. The Prophet Mohammed mentioned it 1400 years ago that getting rid of mites can be done as easily as taping on the pillow or the mattress. A year ago I read that scientists discovered taping on the mattress and the pillow. I just wanted to share that with you just as an act to reciprocate the good deed of granting us always new information.

By anon79660 — On Apr 23, 2010

OK, if it takes 130 degrees to kill dust mites, why is the recommended temperature for water heaters 120 degrees?


Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a HomeQuestionsAnswered writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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