How to get rid of dust mites: 6 easy methods

Wipe 'em! Freeze 'em! Hoover them away! Here are some ways to get rid of dust mites in the home

washing machine
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Wondering how to get rid of dust mites? There are plenty of simple ways to kill off this common household pest, and we've put together this guide to walk you through your options. 

Dust mites are microscopic bugs that don't bite, sting or burrow into the skin, and they're are harmless to most people. However, dust mite allergies are very common, and if you – like me – suffer, it's a different story (interestingly, it's usually not the bugs themselves that cause the allergy, but their droppings). 

Dust mites live on the dead skin cells – animal or human – that you'll find around the house. Soft surfaces can like your mattress, carpets, clothing and soft furnishings are common hotspots. Symptoms of a dust mite allergy can include sneezing, a runny or stuffy nose, red or itchy eyes, an itchy mouth, nose or throat, and itchy red skin. Dust mite allergies are also commonly associated with asthma and eczema. So it makes sense you might want to know how to get rid of dust mites in your home. Here are 7 different ways to kill dust mites in your home.

1. Dust them away

We'll cover the most obvious method first: you can get rid of dust from hard surfaces by… dusting. One hot tip is to use a damp cloth, which collects the dust rather than just agitating it into the air, ready to drift back down elsewhere in the room. Once you've finished dusting, don't just leave the cloth out, but put it in the next wash (at 60C, as we'll get into below). 

2. Hoover them up

Another obvious one. For carpets or, if you have the right kind of attachment, hard floors, you can hoover those little suckers up. Head to our best vacuum cleaner guide for some tried-and-tested recommendations. Don't stop at your floors though! You can also vacuum the surface of upholstered furniture, and should do – at least twice a week.

To be doubly sure you're getting rid of dust mites, you should opt for a high-filtration vacuum cleaner (like one of these) – these are specially designed to retain a high proportion of the smallest particles.

3. Put them in the washing machine at 60C

To absolutely, definitely kill dust mites, you need to wash at 60C. Lower temperatures can dissolve the dust mite droppings that cause most people's reactions, fixing the issue temporarily, but the mites will survive, so it's not a long-term solution. It's recommended you wash bedding covers (sheets, duvet covers and pillowcases) weekly, and you should also wash soft furnishings, such as curtains, on a regular basis. 

4. Freeze them

If something cannot be washed at 60, head to the other end of the temperature scale: you can freeze dust mites to death. Put non-washable things like cuddly toys into a sealed bag and stick them in the freezer for 24 hours to kill the dust mites.

5. Turn the heating down

This one won't kill your dust mites, but it will slow their breeding. Dust mites thrive in temperatures between 24°C and 27°C. So if you've currently got your thermostat set higher than that, you're playing right into their hands. Cool it down a bit. 

6. Get a dehumidifier

Dust mites also very much like humid conditions – around 70% humidity is ideal. If your home is there or above, humidity-wise, consider investing in one of the best dehumidifiers to redress the balance. AllergyUK recommends an indoor humidity level between 30% and 50%.

Ruth Hamilton

Ruth is a lifestyle journalist specialising in sleep and wellbeing. She has tested more mattresses than her small flat can handle and will talk at length about them to anyone who shows even a passing interest, and has had to implement a one-in-one-out pillow policy for fear of getting smothered in the night. As well as following all the industry trends and advancements in the mattress and bedding world, she regularly speaks to certified experts to delve into the science behind a great night's sleep, and offer you advice to help you get there. She's currently Sleep Editor on Tom's Guide and TechRadar, and prior to that ran the Outdoors and Wellness channels on T3 (now covered by Matt Kollat and Beth Girdler-Maslen respectively).