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Dust mites can be tough to eradicate in the laundry. They can survive being washed and live in more places than just your bedding. They likely live in your dirty clothes and stuffed animals too. If you’re looking for the best way to wash bedding, look no further.
Maybe you’ve recently been diagnosed with a dust mite allergy, maybe you’re experiencing dust allergy symptoms or just trying to improve your sleep environment. In any case, washing your bedding on a regular basis is an essential step to get rid of dust mites and the allergies they provoke.
In this article we’ll discuss the following topics:
- Best Way To Wash Bedding, Clothes, and Stuffed Animals
- Can Dust Mites Live In Clothes
- Can Dust Mites Live In Wool
- Laundry Detergent That Kills Dust Mites
- Will Dust Mites Die In The Dryer
Knowing where dust mites live will help you manage them properly. There are a few steps to learn but once you finish this article you’ll be well-prepared to sleep well at night knowing that you won’t experience dust mite allergies. I no longer wake up with watery eyes caused by allergy.
The following methods are all natural so you don’t have to use strong chemicals.
Where Can Dust Mites Live
With little research, it’s easy to learn that dust mites prefer living in beds. They thrive in our pillows, blankets, and mattresses because they can find 4 important things: 1) warmth, 2) moisture, 3) dead skin (food), and 4) hiding places.
But did you know that dust mites can thrive in other places too (read more about where dust mites live)?
Dust mites also live in dirty clothes, stuffed animals, and in our carpets. It’s no coincidence that our bedrooms include all of these items. We shed our skin 24 hours a day so there is certainly enough of it spread around our home to keep dust mites healthy.
Washing To Eradicate Dust Mites
There are 3 main ways to do laundry for dust mites. These methods are easy to implement but require a twist on doing laundry. The first option requires essential oils, the second is high temperatures, and the third is freezing before washing.
#1 Wash With Essential Oils
Using essential oils is my preferred method of washing my bedding and clothes. Essential oils are 100% natural and relatively inexpensive.
What I like most about using essential oils to wash bedding is they smell great and you can mix and match oils. The preferred essential oil is eucalyptus oil because it’s strongly scented, but peppermint, tea tree, and lavender essential oils also work great.
It’s easy to add essential oils to the wash and it only takes a couple drops. Once water begins filling the washing machine, add about 10 drops of the essential oil of your choice. Apply the oil to the water and not onto clothes as the oils can stain if it’s left to dry.
When using essential oils water temperature doesn’t matter, nor does the length of time washing. With essential oils, you can do your normal wash routine.
#2 Wash With High Temperatures
To eradicate dust mites you can also wash with high temperatures. Studies show that temperatures greater than 130 degrees Fahrenheit or 54 degrees Celsius will effectively kill 100% of dust mites and their larvae.
Interestingly, dry cleaning did not kill any dust mites or larvae and doing laundry with cold temperatures were effective but not 100% (no more than 90%).
Using hot water requires more energy which could cost more money. Doing laundry that includes colored fabrics might not be ideal for hot temperatures.
#3 Freezing Laundry Before Washing
Another approach that works to eradicate dust mites is freezing laundry before washing. The freezing method is primarily recommended for pillows and stuffed animals because they are smaller and more easily fit in a freezer.
However, sheets and blankets can also be placed in a freezer. The freezing temperatures will kill all live dust mites and larvae.
After 12-24 hours the laundry can be removed and placed in the washing machine. A regular rinse cycle will wash out the dead dust mites and fecal matter.
If you do the freezing method before washing then essential oils and high temperatures are not needed.
Can Dust Mites Live In Clothes
Absolutely. Dust mites won’t usually make a home in clean clothes in your closet but they will find plenty of food in dirty clothes. Even better if they are laying in a pile.
If you’re allergic to dust mites try not to leave clothes scattered on the floor where they can collect dust. Wash clothes frequently.
I usually add essential oils when I do laundry with clothes. They smell great and I know there aren’t any dust mites!
Can Dust Mites Live In Wool
Yes, dust mites can live in wool. Dust mites aren’t pick about the type of fabric they live, however, they do prefer warmth, humidity/moisture, and food.
If there are skin flakes in wool clothes, carpets, or bedding, then there’s a good chance you’ll find dust mites.
Laundry Detergent That Kills Dust Mites
There are a few laundry detergent that have the ability to kill dust mites. Most of the detergent specializing in allergies, use essential oils as an ingredient.
You can read my full article on dust mite laundry detergent here.
Will Dust Mites Die In The Dryer
Dust mites can die in the dryer as long as the temperatures are above 130 degrees. If on low settings the dryer is usually around 120 degrees.
When set on the high setting the temperatures routinely reach 130-135 degrees Fahrenheit. Because temperatures in the dryer barely reach the threshold for killing dust mites it’s better not to rely on the dryer to kill dust mites.
What About Using Dust Mite Proof Covers
If you want to avoid washing your pillows consider dust mite pillow covers. Dust mite pillow covers keep the dust mite in and protect against direct contact while you are sleeping.
Whether you choose to cover your pillows or not, purchasing new pillows every 2 years is good hygienic routine. Research has shown that after 2 years a pillow’s weight can be up to 15% dust mites and their feces (see our blogpost about dust mites in your pillow).
Comforters can be tricky to wash since they may be filled. There are a few comforters on the market that are dust mite proof (note that “hypoallergenic” is different than “dust mite proof”). I like Mission Allergy’s Allergen Proof Lightweight Comforter for its protection.
Mission Allergy’s comforter has ultra-fine stitching that dust mites can’t penetrate. For this comforter, no washing is necessary, simply use a duvet cover and spot clean by hand if needed. Its higher price is justified by academic research and its quality.
Here’s a few additional tips on how to use essential oils. This women doesn’t use eucalyptus, but you can substitute:
Dust mites are pesky creatures that are tough to kill in the laundry. They are difficult to manage because we can’t see them with our naked eye. If you experience dust mite allergy then it’s important to wash your bedding, clothes, and stuffed animals the right way.
There are three viable options to eradicate dust mites in the washing machine. The first way is with essential oils. Essential oils are easy to purchase and are inexpensive. The second method is using high temperatures to kill dust mites. Just make sure the water is hotter than 130 degree Fahrenheit.
The third ways to eradicate dust mites in the wash is to freeze your bedding, pillow, or stuffed animals before washing. Once dead, the dust mites will wash away easily.
Dust mites can live in clothes and they will likely prefer dirty clothes that are left on the ground for long periods of time – even more-so if there is dust.
Wool won’t deter dust mites as long as there is food (dead skin cells), warmth and moisture. If you’re wondering if the dryer can kill dust mites it’s not likely. Although temperatures get hot in the dryer it might not be high enough.
We hope you liked our tips. In my experience, washing my bedding and clothes as well as using preventative covers, can drastically reduce you dust mite allergy symptoms and the frequency of washing.
Regardless, the best way to wash bedding is to wash your sheets, blankets, and pillow covers weekly with hot water and don’t forget adding a touch of eucalyptus essence oil.
If you want more dust mite allergy information, products, and the best reviews, visit us at Dust Mite Solutions.