Does Steam Cleaning Kill Dust Mites
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Does Steam Cleaning Kill Dust Mites? [What You Need To Know About House Dust Mites]

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Dust mites are tiny translucent bugs that live mostly on soft furnishings, carpets, curtains, bedding, and mattresses. They are known for causing allergies in large numbers. The bugs themselves are not allergens, their droppings and body parts are causing allergic reactions. Although it is impossible to completely get rid of dust mites, one of the chemical-free and environmentally friendly ways of drastically reducing them is steam cleaning.

Related post: Does Steam Cleaning Kill Bed Bugs?

How Do You Know If You Have Dust Mites?

The average size of dust mites

The only way to see them is with the use of a microscope!

Even a cheaper version of a microscope will do as long as it has at least 10x magnification capability. You can find them in hobby or thrift stores.

There are also dust mite home test kits. Some test kits require sending to a laboratory for further testing, while some contain a solution that is used on a test strip for immediate results.

But before you freak out because of yet another expense, know this.

You DON’T have to go all scientific to determine whether dust mites are creeping and crawling all over your place.

Your nose, skin and lungs will tell you!

The reason why dust mites are prevalent in homes is that they feed off dead skin cells and pet dander.


One person may shed 1.5 grams of dead skin cells, which can feed around 1 million dust mites at a time.

Dust mites can cause allergy symptoms during the whole year, some of them are:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Wheezing
  • Red, itchy skin
  • Nasal congestion
  • Itchy and watery eyes
  • Postnasal drip
  • Itchy roof of mouth or throat
  • Trouble sleeping

Dust mites are not only a concern for people with dust mite allergy, but also for people with asthma. They don’t need to be allergic to dust mites to trigger asthma attacks. Allergy symptoms do not apply to humans only, as pets can show symptoms as well such as:

  • Hives
  • Excessive licking or scratching
  • Bald spots
  • Red and watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose

What Is The Fastest Way To Get Rid Of Dust Mites?

Dust mites can naturally appear in nearly all homes. They thrive on humidity and can be found in curtains, carpets, beddings, mattresses, pet beds, furniture, toys, clothes – basically, anywhere you look.

Man trying to look for dust mites on the carpet using a magnifier
Dust mites can only be seen under microscopes!

It’s recommended to wash clothes, sheets, pillowcases, curtains, toys, and other washable items around 130 degrees Fahrenheit to kill dust mites. 

Now, you can’t just shove your mattress into the washing machine. But that’s where a steam cleaner steps in!

Steam cleaners heat past boiling (220 degrees and up), which means it takes a few seconds to kill a whopping 99.99% of dust mites, mold, germs, and viruses!

Steam cleaning is a great way to clean and disinfect carpets, floors, tiles, cushions, mattresses, pet cages, car upholstery, furniture, doorknobs, and many other items and surfaces.

It’s also the FASTEST way to get rid of dust mites.

However, not every steam cleaner will have maximum efficiency. Those with high pressure and a higher boiler temperature clean faster and more effectively than lower pressure models.

Steamers with faster heat-up time, adjustable steam pressure to suit different surfaces, and swivel heads for easier cleaning around furniture are a good option for home use.

Alas, not everything is rainbow and sunshine, even with a steam cleaner. Some surfaces just can’t handle the heat, so you should NEVER use steam cleaners on water-based paint, freshly painted surfaces, cardboard, bricks, marble, delicate items such as thin plastic, silk, and velour upholstery.

What Humidity Level Kills Dust Mites?

What dust mites look like
What dust mites look like!

Dust mites absorb moisture from the air instead of drinking water like other animals.

They thrive at humidity levels of 75 to 80 percent, and they will even survive at 55 percent.

So the equation is simple: keep humidity levels below 50 percent to kill them.

But how do you know how humid the air in your home is?

The most accurate way for testing the humidity level in the house is by using an electronic humidity monitor.

There are many ways to reduce the humidity level in homes like growing plants to absorb humidity, avoiding drying clothes in homes, replacing carpets, using a dehumidifier, and air conditioning.

Humidity level needs to be kept this low for at least a few months to kill most of the dust mites.

What Cleaning Products Kill Dust Mites?

Many chemical products are on the market nowadays that can eliminate dust mites like sprays, powders, foggers, laundry detergents, and additives.

For example, Lysol disinfectant spray can kill up to 99.99% of dust mites, bacteria, and mold.

But the problem is, ALL of these products have harmful ingredients for humans and pets that can cause headaches, nausea, poisoning, skin irritation, even chemical burns. So it would be best to avoid using them often, or at all.

Woman cleaning green carpet with steam cleaner

On the other hand, steam cleaners only need water to function, which makes them a better and safer option for both humans and pets as well as the environment.

What Kills Dust Mites On Skin?

Even though dust mites feed primarily on dead skin flakes, and climb on clothing, they don’t live on people’s skin. Washing clothes at around 130 degrees kills dust mites and reduces the possibility of allergic reactions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does steam cleaning carpet kill dust mites?

Carpets can retain moisture, so they contain a lot of dust mites and allergens. Steam cleaning carpets kills dust mites, removes dirt, bacteria, mold, and it washes out pet dander and dust mites allergens.

(At least most of them! As we said above, nothing can kill off 100% of allergens.)

So the bottom line is, steam cleaning is one of the most effective ways to kill dust mites in carpets. It’s necessary to vacuum or wipe the surface after steam cleaning, to pick up the dead dust mites and their leftovers.

Does steam cleaning a mattress kill dust mites?

Person steam cleaning a mattress

People spend one-third of their life in bed, so the bedding and mattresses contain A LOT of human skin flakes which dust mites feed on. This is an optimal place for them to live and multiply because it’s a warm and humid place. Steam cleaning a mattress kills dust mites, bacteria, and fungus, so that is a good way to clean since mattresses can’t be laundered.

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