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How to Kill Dust Mites Naturally with Cold

If you’ve got allergies or asthma, you probably are wondering how to kill dust mites naturally. The tiny insects create allergens that can cause health problems for kids and adults. Dust mites can be somewhat difficult to kill. The good news is, you can naturally kill dust mites with cold temperatures.

Do You Have Dust Mites in Your Home?

Chances are, you’ve got dust mites. No matter how clean your home is. Every continent but Antarctica has dust mites, which are like tiny spiders that are so small you can only see them under a microscope.

Dust mites live in soft, plush places like beds and pillows. That’s because they feed off of the tiny bits of human skin that we naturally shed every day. And those bits of skin collect in places like beds and bedding.

An average adult person may shed up to 1.5 grams of skin in a day. This is enough to feed one million dust mites.

~Source: Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America

So anyone can have dust mites. Which can mean dust mite allergies. Some symptoms of dust mite allergies are:

  • Stuffy nose
  • Running nose
  • Postnasal drip
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy, red, watery eyes
  • Cough
  • Itchy nose, mouth or throat

It is possible to know what kind of toxins and allergens are in your dust by testing at home. We used a Home Air Check Surface Dust test kit to understand what was in the dust in our home and whether or not it had any toxins. Here’s how easy it is to use the at-home test:

What Temperatures Will Kill Dust Mites

Dust mites thrive in warm, moist environments. That doesn’t mean they love only tropical temperatures in Florida, though.

A warm moist environment for a dust mite is anything from 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 25 degree Celsius), according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Humidity levels of 70-80 percent make the insects happy, too.

So wherever you live, you could have the perfect living conditions for dust mites. And there are so many places dust mites can hide.

Any extreme in temperature kills dust mites, though. That means anything really hot or really cold.

Most experts agree that exposing dust mites to temperatures over 130 degrees (such as in hot water washing) will kill dust mites.

Freezing temperatures will kill dust mites, too.

Kill Dust Mites Naturally with Cold

Freezing outdoor temperatures are like a cleaning hack for killing dust mites.

With little effort, you can effectively kill those microscopic nasty bugs that are causing allergies.

Using freezing cold weather is PERFECT for killing dust mites that can’t be exposed to high heat. Dust mites could be living in these items:

  • Bed pillows
  • Decorative pillows
  • Pillow shams
  • Comforters
  • Dust Ruffles
  • Curtains
  • Kids plush toys
  • Pet Beds
  • Pet toys

All of these items, though, might be hard to put in a washing machine with hot water. Either they won’t fit in the washing machine, or the hot water could make them shrink (I’ve had that problem washing my curtains).

Damage to delicate fabrics is one of the main reasons why so many items in a home are never treated for dust mites. You don’t want to ruin pillows, curtains and other bedding, yet you need to kill dust mites to reduce your family’s allergies and asthma.

How to Kill Dust Mites with Cold Temperatures

When the weather outside is 32 degrees Fahrenheit or colder, it’s time to start killing dust mites in your home.

Either find a covered spot, like a covered porch outside, or set up a drying rack outdoors when there is no precipitation in the air. For instance, you don’t want it to be snowing or foggy.

Then, all you have to do is place fabric items outdoors in the freezing temperatures for a while.

  • Place pillows on the drying rack or on chairs on your porch.
  • Drape comforters on a drying rack or over the back of chairs.
  • Gather up pet toys or kids toys in a breathable basket (like wicker or canvas, not hard plastic) and place them outdoors.

How long do you keep items outside in the cold temperature to kill dust mites? Opinions vary, but a minimum of 24 hours seems to be the rule of thumb, according to the Mayo Clinic. If you can only manage 8 hours or so, it’s better than doing nothing at all. Ideally, 48 hours would be the perfect time frame for killing dust mites.

Keep in mind, the freezing temperatures need to be sustained for the entire time. It can’t be 32 degrees in the morning and then warm up to 45 degrees all day for this to work.

Removing Dust Mite Allergens

Freezing temperatures are the perfect way of how to kill dust mites naturally. However, even though the dust mites have been killed, it doesn’t mean they still can’t cause allergies and asthma.

cozy winter sweaters stacked up next to white candle with flame and two pinecones

That’s because the allergens that dust mites produce need to be removed. Both the body of the dust mite and the waste that they leave behind (I know, gross) are both allergens.

So killing dust mites isn’t enough. You’ve got to remove them, too.

Vacuum the items that you put out in the cold to remove dust mites and their allergens.

If you cannot vacuum an item easily, consider a carpet beater or an equivalent. Carpet beaters beat the dust and nasty debris out of throw rugs and area carpets. After all, you can’t put a carpet in a washing machine. It’s the act of beating the item that removes the nasty stuff caught in the fibers.

A tennis racket could be a substitute for a carpet beater.


Ditch the Toxins in Your Home!

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Sunday 23rd of January 2022

What a great article. Thank you! I have 2 large dogs and a rabbit. For my large dogs I always cover their dog beds with blankets which I wash weekly in cold water, but they are dried in a super hot deyer until they are completely dry. Since I am washing the blankets regularly is it safe to assume the dust mites would not get into the dog beds themselves since they are always covered? Thanks in advance for any comments.

Kimberly Button

Thursday 27th of January 2022

Hi Esther! Dust mites are tiny little things. And surprisingly then can get through normal sheets. The only types of cloth that will prevent them getting into the mattress underneath are dust mite barrier cloths which are super tightly woven fabrics. You could try covering the beds with a dust mite barrier cloth. Or treat the dog beds every so often for potential allergens.


Friday 2nd of October 2020

I have dust mites in my apartment, and if I wash the clothes in a hot DRYER it kills them but putting the clothes in my FREEZER it doesn't work for some reason? I live in Asia and dryer's aren't common here, everyone dries there clothes outside, I have to go to a laundry mat to dry the clothes which is a big hassle. Can you think of any reason why keeping the clothes in the FREEZER won't kill them? Even after leaving them in the freezer for 2 weeks! Do I need to put the clothes in a plastic bag or does that matter? If it matters, then why?

Kimberly Button

Tuesday 6th of October 2020

Sally, how do you know if the dust mites are killed? Just want to make sure we're talking about the same type of bug. Dust mites are invisible and can't be seen. Generally, you only know if you have them if you have indoor allergy issues. Do you feel that your allergies are better after putting things in a dryer?


Sunday 23rd of February 2020

How often should I be putting my pillow out to kill the dust mites? Once a month good enough?

Kimberly Button

Sunday 23rd of February 2020

I'd say once a month would be good! Unless you have really, really severe allergies then you'd need to do more often!

Tammy Patterson

Tuesday 19th of November 2019

Apparently dust mites have infested the bottom drawers of my dresser in my bedroom( who even knew that was a thing). I washed all the clothes in white vinegar and tea tree oil and dry them in the dryer on high and I rinsed out the drawers in the tub (which there was so much frass,it made the bottom of the tub brown- which is disgusting). I don't go in these drawers except for winter, so I haven't been in the drawer since last March and they set up home apparently. Now I have the drawers in garbage bags on the back deck where it gets below freezing overnight, but the temperature does go into the 40s during the day(&its raining). Should I take them out of the garbage bags, and how long should I leave them out? I also bought lavender drawer liners because I read they don't like the smell of lavender. I also sprayed the interior of the dresser with White vinegar and tea tree oil( all while wearing a Tyvek suit and a face mask and gloves because I'm highly allergic). Thank you for your help.

Kimberly Button

Tuesday 19th of November 2019

Tammy, wow! What a situation! Since dust mites are invisible, are you sure that it's dust mites and not an insect? For the drawers in garbage bags, keeping them in the garbage bag is fine, as long as it gets cold enough. You wouldn't want to have black garbage bags that might absorb sunlight during the day and actually create a warmer environment than you might believe there is. So if moisture and pets aren't a problem, you could easily take them out of the bags. Leave them out about 24 hours or longer, and be sure to give them a good wipe down before bringing them inside. Vinegar and tea tree oil can help, but dust mites are pretty hardy. The only viable solutions are low humidity and freezing (or very hot) temperatures, which you are already doing. Hope you get it taken care of soon.

sandy hanawalt

Saturday 16th of November 2019

I have a silk duvet cover and wondered if I could put it in my freezer. In orther words, would the cold of the freezer damage the silk in the duvet? Right now it is all fluffy and I don't want it to turn into clumps or ?

Kimberly Button

Saturday 16th of November 2019

Sandy, I can't say for sure. I'm not sure how silk would react to freezing temperatures compared to how cotton would react.