Dust mites can be incredibly difficult to get rid of as they’re so small. But they’re one of the leading causes of allergies so it’s important that we tackle the issue.
As you may guess from their name, dust mites feed on dust so eradicating dust as much as possible is one of the best ways to keep them at bay. But that can often be an impossible mission because dust is everywhere and no matter how much you clean, it’ll always come back.
It’s been suggested that vinegar is a viable method of killing dust mites but is there any truth in this claim?
You can use vinegar to kill dust mites but it has to be the right concentration. Any less than 4% and the solution won’t be strong enough to kill the mites but use more than 10% and this could be dangerous.
In this guide, I’ll talk you through everything you need to know about using vinegar to kill dust mites as well as looking at some ways to keep those mites away.
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What Are Dust Mites And Why Are They A Problem?
Dust mites are actually closely related to spiders although thankfully, they’re much smaller than Incy Wincy that lives behind your sofa! These are actually microscopic creatures that are far too small to be seen with the naked eye.
However, they’re still there and often in extremely large numbers. These mites feed on dust which is often made up from dead human skin cells. That might sound scary but the good news is that they aren’t parasitic so they won’t attach to your or anything horrific like that.
The problem is that many people have a dust mite allergy. In fact, when you hear someone say that they have a dust allergy, the chances are that they’re actually allergic to the faeces, urine or dead bodies of dust mites found in homes all around the world. These allergies usually have mild symptoms such as a stuffy nose, coughing and breathing difficulties.
These tiny creatures thrive in warm and humid environments and can often be found in upholstery, bedding and carpets. If you do have them in your home, it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. In fact, it’s thought that as many as four out of five homes have a dust mite problem in at least one room.
Why Is Vinegar Good For Killing Dust Mites?
Vinegar is an organic method of killing dust mites so is ideal for those who don’t wish to use chemical treatments which come with certain risks. What’s more, it’s nowhere near as expensive and is something that most of us already have in our kitchen cupboards.
Unlike some mite killer products, vinegar is safe to use around the home. If you have children and pets, some pest sprays could be harmful to them. While you could use them, keeping your little ones out of the way can be a pest in itself.
What’s more, vinegar will thoroughly clean your home as it is a disinfectant and has antimicrobial properties. For this reason, a lot of people use it as a go to cleaning product.
Are There Any Downsides To Using Vinegar To Kill Dust Mites?
While vinegar is undoubtedly one of the best ways of killing dust mites, there are some downsides which you might like to consider.
Most obviously, vinegar has a very potent aroma that some people find too much in the home. Even using products like scented candles and wax melts may not be enough to cover the smell.
You also need to consider that vinegar can cause damage to come fabrics so you need to be really careful about which type you use and how strong it is. For example, things like apple cider vinegar are almost certain to leave a permanent mark on certain fabrics. If you’re in any doubt, I’d recommend doing a small patch test on an inconspicuous area first.
Bleach is another common household cleaner but using this with vinegar is incredibly dangerous as there will be a chemical reaction that’ll result in the release of chlorine gas. Inhaling this can cause all sorts of health problems.
Methods For Using Vinegar To Kill Dust Mites
Now that you’ve seen the pros and cons of using vinegar to kill dust mites, you may have decided that this is something you want to try. The good news is that there are several methods you can use so let’s take a look at some of them.
Method 1 – Mixing The Vinegar With Glycerin
You’ll need to start by mixing equal parts of glycerin and vinegar in a bowl. You can then directly soak your cloth with the solution, making sure that you squeeze out any excess.
Use the cloth to wipe down affected areas or, if you prefer, you can make a larger amount of solution and use your mop. Just make sure that you rinse the area thoroughly when you’re finished.
Whether you dry it with a clean cloth or allow it to air dry is up to you; either way is fine.
Method 2 – Undiluted Vinegar
While it is possible to dilute your vinegar for this method, you will have greater success if you leave it as it is. This is because it’ll be much stronger and therefore more effective.
You’ll simply need to add the vinegar to a spray bottle to make it easier to apply to the affected area. This is ideal for things like windows, tables, floors and other hard surfaces.
Spray a generous amount onto the surface and then allow it around 15 minutes to work its magic. Once the time has elapsed, you can take a clean cloth and wipe the area.
Don’t forget to rinse the surface with clean water when you’re done and then just allow it to dry naturally.
Method 3 – Using Essential Oils With Vinegar
There are certain essential oils that have been shown to deter dust mites so adding these to vinegar can really boost its effectiveness. The best oils are things like clove and eucalyptus and not only will they get rid of dust mites but they’ll also leave a much nicer aroma than vinegar alone.
You will only need a few drops of your chosen essential oil in a spray bottle filled with vinegar but make sure to mix the solution well.
As with the previous method, you’ll want to spray the area and then allow the mixture around 15 minutes before you wipe it away.
If you want to keep dust mites at bay then this is one of the best methods. However, it’ll only work if you are consistent and repeat at least once a week
Method 4 – Using Vinegar For Your Laundry
It isn’t as easy to just take a spray bottle and get rid of mites from the laundry but that doesn’t mean that vinegar isn’t still a brilliant solution. It works in exactly the same way but needs to be applied differently.
What’s more, if there is anyone in your home that suffers from a dust mite allergy then this is a great way to prevent symptoms before they’re given a chance to start.
Make sure that your washing machine is set to at least 50ºC and add in one cup of white distilled vinegar. You can then continue with your regular laundry cycle and dry the clothes as you usually would.
You may have some items that aren’t suitable for the washing machine in which case, it is possible to spray them with vinegar and simply allow them to air dry.
How To Prevent Dust Mites
Dust mites can be so difficult to get rid of but once you’ve conquered them, it’s worth taking steps to prevent them from coming back. What’s great is that the following things are much easier compared to getting rid of dust mites and can be included in your day to day life.
- Wash any cleaning cloths on a hot wash at least once per week.
- Purchase mite proof mattress covers for all the beds in your home.
- Where mites are present, freeze any cleaning cloths as this will kill them.
- Regularly use a dehumidifier in your home.
- Where possible, use hard flooring as opposed to carpet as this gives the mites fewer places to thrive.
- If you do have carpets, be sure to regularly wash it. Weekly cleans are preferable and daily vacuuming can also be helpful. Your vacuum should be fitted with a HEPA filter.
- You should also get into the habit of regularly vacuuming upholstery.
- Try not to overload your home with unnecessary items. The fewer things there are, the easier it will be to clean.
- Where possible, avoid having curtains and instead opt for things like track blinds or Roman shades.
Dust mites are tiny creatures that can cause an allergic reaction so it’s no wonder that people are so keen to get rid of them. While there are pest sprays and similar products you can use, a lot of homeowners are looking for organic methods.
Vinegar is a great organic solution as it’s totally harmless and is very effective in the fight against the mite! There are several methods you can use depending on what you wish to clean but it’s also important to make sure that you take steps to prevent dust mites so you don’t have to go through the hassle of killing them.