I've always had allergies in my life. In the summer I suffer horribly from hay fever, and throughout the year, I sneeze whenever I clean the house.
Fortunately, both those ailments can be treated, and now I don't suffer so much.
I know that my allergies at home have a lot to do with dust and the dust mites that live in it because I generally start sneezing when I do the vacuuming or dusting.
I managed to solve the sneezing by using a good vacuum with a HEPA filter and making sure that when I dust the house, I don't spread the dust around.
Unless the dust gets disturbed and churned up into the air, I don't usually have a problem. I know others are not that lucky.
So if you are still sneezing, what else can you do?
Could vinegar help?
I love to use natural cleaning methods in my house. Vinegar is a staple cleaning ingredient due to its natural ability to kill bacteria. It has so many uses around the home.
But did you know that vinegar can kill dust mites naturally?
The acid content of vinegar can kill the dust mite on contact.
Read on to find out more about how you can use vinegar to kill dust mites and help you to breathe easily again.
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What are dust mites?
Dust mites are very tiny bugs that you can't see with the human eye. They feed off the dust in your house which comprises skin cells, pet dander plugs other bugs and insects.
Dust mites don't bite us, nor can they transmit diseases, but for some people, they can trigger an allergic reaction which may include sneezing, itchy eyes and breathing problems such as asthma.
Are dust mites dangerous?
Dust mites are present in most people's homes. They do not usually pose any health risks to humans.
However, dust mites contain a protein that can be highly allergic to some people. Dead dust mites and their poop also contain that protein. So, even if you kill them, you could still have problems.
That's why I recommend you also adopt a good dusting and vacuuming routine, along with regularly washing your bedlinen.
Avoid spreading dust as you clean because it can make you suffer even more.
Make sure your vacuum cleaner has a HEPA filter, and you use an effective duster such as a dry microfiber cloth which absorbs dust rather than pushing it around.
Does vinegar kill dust mites?
Vinegar can be effective at killing dust mites. This is because vinegar is acidic. The acid in the vinegar reacts with the alkaline exoskeleton of a dust mite.
So, by spraying a surface with vinegar, you should be able to kill the dust mites living on it.
However, vinegar isn't always safe to use on some materials and should be used with caution.
I recommend you also introduce other methods to control your dust mite population by regularly dusting and vacuuming.
Essential oils (when highly diluted) are also known to kill dust mites. They are more gentle, so they could be a better alternative. Read on to find out more about using essential oils to kill dust mites.
How to kill dust mites with vinegar
Vinegar is a highly acidic substance, which is why it can kill dust mites on contact.
Here's how you can use vinegar around your home to kill dust mites:
Add vinegar to your laundry
Adding a half to one cup of distilled white vinegar to your wash will help to kill the dust mites in the laundry and sanitize it at the same time.
When added to the rinse cycle, vinegar can also act as a laundry softener.
Wash your dusty cleaning cloths in vinegar or anything that has come into contact with dust and dust mites such as bed linen. Bed linen will most likely have been exposed to the dust mites living in your mattress.
Another thing you can do to kill dust mites in your wash is to increase the temperature. Dust mites will be killed at 130f or 60c.
Make a homemade vinegar spray for killing dust mites
To kill dust mites around your home, make a spray with vinegar and some essential oils.
Bear in mind that vinegar is strong and can damage some fabrics. Test the solution on a small area. If you are worried, about the vinegar solution causing damage, dilute it with some water, or use only the essential oils mixed with water.
Here's how to make a homemade spray for killing dust mites:
- Add undiluted distilled white vinegar to a spray bottle.
- Optionally add a few drops of essential oil.
- Spray on areas you wish to treat, such as floors, upholstery, mattresses, curtains.
When not to use vinegar to kill dust mites
Vinegar can effectively kill dust mites, but it isn't always the answer.
For example, if you don't like the smell of vinegar, it might be best to concentrate on reducing dust in your home. Since without dust, dust mites have no food.
Here's where vinegar isn't such a good choice:
- The smell! As I said, vinegar has a pungent smell. The smell will eventually dissipate, so it isn't permanent.
- Some types of vinegar such as apple cider vinegar or malt vinegar can stain. I recommend using distilled white vinegar because it is colorless.
- Vinegar is a strong acid and could damage some fabrics. Always test on a small area before you use it.
What else kills dust mites?
Certain essential oils can kill dust mites. These include clove, eucalyptus, peppermint, and rosemary.
Add a couple of drops of essential oil to your laundry.
You can also make up a spray with essential oils. Read on to find out how to make a dust mite spray with essential oils.
Washing linens in hot water
Washing your linens in cold water will remove some of the dust mites. But, if you wish to kill a higher number of dust mites, wash your bedding at a minimum of 130f or 60c.
Running a dehumidifier
Dust mites thrive in a warm and moist environment. By reducing the humidity in your home, you can reduce their number.
Running an air purifier
Run an air purifier with a HEPA filter to filter out the dust along with the dust mites floating in the air.
The more you vacuum your carpets and upholstery, the more dust mites will be removed from your home.
Dust mites love carpets and rugs. If you can, remove your carpets and replace them with hard flooring.
Homemade dust mite spray recipe with essential oils
Make up this dust mite deterrent spray and use it on your mattress, upholstery, curtains, rugs and carpets to keep dust mites away.
Add up to ten drops of essential oil to a spray bottle of water. The best oils to use are clove, tea tree, peppermint, rosemary, and eucalyptus.
For greater killing power, replace the water with distilled white vinegar. Vinegar has a strong smell, but it will dissipate after a short while.
How to prevent dust mites
It isn't possible to eliminate dust mites from your house entirely.
However, you can take steps to reduce the population by carrying out some basic cleaning chores such as dusting and vacuuming.
Here are some ways that you can reduce the number of dust mites resident in your home:
- Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter and replace the filter every six months.
- Regularly vacuum your floors, rugs and upholstery.
- Switch carpets for hard flooring.
- Replace curtains with blinds.
- Run a dehumidifier.
- Run an air purifier.
- Keep your HVAC running and check the filter.
- Wash bedding weekly.
- Use a mite-proof mattress protector on your bed.
Frequently asked questions
Does vinegar kill dust mites on a mattress?
Vinegar when sprayed on the mattress can kill dust mites.
Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to vacuum the mattress thoroughly on both sides. This will remove the dust mites and their eggs, along with the dust that they feed on. Then spray vinegar on the surface of the mattress.
Going forward, you can prevent dust mites from returning by adding an allergy-proof cover and washing bedding once per week.