How to Remove Dust Mites From Your Mattress

by Max Stevens

Have you realised, to your dismay, that you have dust mites on your mattress?

If you’re wondering how to remove dust mites from your mattress and you’re suffering from allergic reactions like sneezing, then know you’re not alone.

An estimated 65 to 130 million people worldwide are allergic to house dust mites which are considered the most common trigger of year-round allergies and asthma.

Unlike bed bugs or lice that can be visually noticed, dust mites are microscopic in size, so you can’t actually see them with your own eyes.

This blog will give you a deeper understanding of dust mites, how they survive, what makes us allergic, and how to get rid of dust mites, especially on your mattress.

What are dust mites?

dust mite on a carpet

Dust mites can only be seen under a microscope, measuring only 300 to 400 microns.

Unlike lice and bed bugs, they are not parasites and only feed on dead skin flakes from humans and animals. With people shedding skin cells at an average rate of 500 million cells every day, dust mites will never starve with human presence.

Dust mites can thrive for up to three months in favourable conditions, temperatures of 20 to 25 ℃ and humidity levels of 70 to 80%.

Since their bodies are 75% water by weight, they survive by absorbing moisture from the water vapour in the air.

What does this actually mean? Well, it means relative humidity in your bedroom is a critical factor for dust mite survival.

Considering the environmental conditions where dust mites thrive, dust mites are found in areas where dead skin cells accumulate and in warm, humid places like:

  • Mattresses
  • Bedding
  • Upholstered furniture
  • Carpets
  • Curtains
  • Stuffed toys

But did you know? According to American Lung Association, people are not allergic to dust mites themselves but to the proteins in dust mites’ faeces, urine, and decaying bodies.

These particles are so small that they can be airborne, ranging from 20 to 50 microns. It is estimated that house dust mites can produce 20 faecal droppings per day.

So if you have a million dust mites in your bed, that’s 20 million droppings!

woman on a bed sneezing
Image: Pexels

For people sensitised to dust mites allergens, they can experience symptoms like:

  • sneezing
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • feeling weak and tired
  • itchy and watery eyes
  • swollen eyelids
  • coughing
  • wheezing
  • shortness of breath

Suppose you’re experiencing one or multiple symptoms, especially when you’re in bed. It might signify that your mattress has dust mites and you’re allergic to dust mites.

How to get rid of dust mites from your mattress naturally?

Now that we know how what the ideal environment is for dust mites to thrive, that is, temperatures of 20 to 25 ℃ and humidity levels of 70 to 80%, let’s wrap up what kills dust mites:

  • Extreme hot and cold temperatures
  • Humidity below 70%
  • Lack of moisture

Here are the following ways to get rid of dust mites from your mattress.

Regular washing of beddings

person operating laundry machine
Image: Pexels

If you’re wondering what laundry detergent kills dust mites, the answer is that most can do the job.

What matters is the water temperature used in washing.

In a study conducted, dust mites were killed by water temperatures 55 ℃ or greater. It was also proven that varying detergents did not affect the dust mites killings.

Regular washing of beddings, at least once a week, will help remove dead skin cells accumulated during the week. This takes away a vital food source so that the remaining dust mites won’t have anything to feed on.

Using baking soda and vacuum

Baking soda is a powerful ingredient in mattress cleaning. Whether you’ve dealt with how to get pee out of a mattress or get cigarette smell out of a mattress, I’m sure you’ll encounter baking soda.

But how does baking soda kill dust mites?

Baking soda is a hygroscopic substance, which means it will absorb moisture from the air or any surface it is applied to.

This makes baking soda a natural dehumidifier. When used on a mattress, it will remove the moisture in the mattress surface, making it unfavourable for dust mites to survive.

To do this method,

  • Sprinkle baking soda all over the surface of your mattress.
  • Let it sit for at least 4 hours to let it absorb any moisture.
  • Remove the baking soda using a vacuum.

Vacuuming will also remove the dead skin cells, dust mites, dead dust mites, and dust mite droppings on the mattress surface. We recommend using a vacuum with HEPA filter, like this one from Dyson, to get rid of dust mites.

HEPA is an acronym for “high-efficiency particulate air”. A type of air filter can theoretically remove at least 99.97% of dust, pollen, mould, bacteria, and any airborne particles with a size of 0.3 microns.

Remember that dust mites are as small as 300 microns, and droppings are as small as 20 microns? This means that they will be filtered using HEPA.

Reducing bedroom humidity

globe plant and lamp by the window
Image: Pexels

As mentioned, relative humidity is a critical factor for dust mites.

To kill dust mites, relative humidity should be reduced to less than 50%, which should be a good sleeping humidity level, according to a study.

This humidity level can be achieved using dehumidifiers or an air conditioner in the bedroom. The difference between the two is their cooling function, but both work in reducing moisture in the air.

  • If you live in a hot weather area where you need cooling, use an air conditioner.
  • Use a dehumidifier if you live in a cool-weather area where you don’t need cooling.

FAQ: Does Lysol kill dust mites?

Yes, Lysol kills dust mites. They claim that, too, as Lysol contains chemicals like benzalkonium chloride that is toxic to dust mites. But remember, dust mites themselves are not the cause of allergies but also the droppings and their dead bodies.

You might have effectively killed dust mites with Lysol, but you did not completely eliminate the allergens. To do this properly,

  • Spray Lysol all over your mattress to remove all the dust mites.
  • Allow it to dry.
  • Vacuum the area to remove the dead dust mites and droppings.

Dust Mites Prevention Tips

To wrap up, dust mites allergens can be eliminated on a mattress by

  • Washing beddings weekly using high temperature
  • Removing mattress moisture using baking soda
  • Removing dust mites, dust mite droppings, and dead dust mites using a vacuum
  • Reducing bedroom humidity using air conditioning or dehumidifier

Aside from the steps above, here are some other precautions you can do to prevent dust mites from pestering your mattress in the first place:


Photo of author


Max Stevens

Chief Editor here at The Sleep Checklist. Suffered from a seemingly infinite knot in my thoracic area (between the spine and shoulder blade) due to my lifelong side sleeping habits. With my girlfriend, we look to provide the most relevant and best mattress advice.