Dust mites are microscopic pests closely related to spiders that feed on dust. They can be a nuisance if not controlled with lots of people being allergic to them. There are many ways to kill dust mites although one of the most eco-friendly methods is using vinegar.
Vinegar kills dust mites when used in the right concentration. You can use vinegar to kill dust mites by mopping floors with it, and adding it to laundry. You need between 4% to 10% vinegar concentration to kill mites as lower and higher concentrations are ineffective and dangerous respectively.
The acetic acid in the vinegar is what kills dust mites as it makes the environment too acidic for the mites. The same concentration of vinegar used to kill dust mites (between 4-10%) won’t harm human beings.
How to Kill Dust Mites with Vinegar
The use of vinegar to kill dust mites works by either deterring them from certain areas or literally killing them. Vinegar also destroys the proteins in the mites’ feces through the denaturation process. This prevents allergic reactions for those with allergies to dust mites as the feces are the cause of these reactions.
Always use protective gear such as gloves and goggles as vinegar can be irritating to the eyes, hands and any other part of the body it might come into contact with.
There are several ways to kill dust mites with vinegar including the following:
1. Mixing Vinegar with Vegetable Glycerin
For this method, you go through the following steps:
- Mix vinegar with vegetable glycerin in equal parts in a bowl.
- Dip a piece of cloth in the mixture then wring out the excess liquid.
- Use the cloth to wipe the surface of your choice. You can also use the same mixture to mop floors.
- Rinse with clean water afterwards.
You can dry the surface or simply let it air-dry.
2. Using Diluted or Undiluted Vinegar
For this method, undiluted vinegar is the better one of the two since it’s stronger than diluted vinegar. It’s thus more effective against the dust mites. The steps are as follows:
- Add undiluted vinegar in a spray bottle.
- Spray a reasonable amount of it on the surfaces you wish to clean then let it sit for about 15 minutes.
- Use a soft piece of cloth to wipe down the surface.
- Rinse the place with a wet piece of cloth then let it air dry.
You can use this homemade dust mite spray on tables, floors, windows and other areas.
3. Using Vinegar with Essential Oils
Essential oils such as tea tree oil, eucalyptus and clove have been proven to deter dust mites from infesting the home and can be mixed with vinegar to improve their effectiveness against the dust mites.
The steps are as follows:
- Mix vinegar with a few drops of an essential oil of your choice.
- Pour the mixture in a spray can.
- Spray the surfaces you need to clean then let it sit for about 15 minutes.
- Wipe the surface dry with a clean piece of cloth dipped in water.
- Let it air dry.
You should repeat this process every week to be effective against dust mites.
4. Vinegar in Laundry to Kill Dust Mites
Vinegar in laundry kills mites the same way it does on surfaces. Using vinegar as a laundry additive is quite easy and should be used to prevent allergic reactions and other such issues.
The steps are as follows:
- Add a cup of white distilled vinegar to the washing machine then turn the temperature to at least 130°F (50°C).
- Wash as usual then dry them.
For items such as stuffed animals and delicate fabrics that can’t be put into the washing machine, simply spritz them with the vinegar then dry them in the dryer or the air.
Besides these methods, you can control dust mites by limiting the amount of dust that enters the house and airing your house often. Since dust mites feed on dust and absorb water from the atmosphere, you can control them by providing a dry and dust-free environment.
Advantages of Using Vinegar to Kill Dust Mites
Compared to other methods used in killing dust mites, vinegar has the following benefits:
- Organic hence environment friendly.
- Cost-effective as it’s affordable.
- Safe for the whole family.
- Has antimicrobial and disinfectant properties.
These benefits have made vinegar one of the most useful substances in the kitchen. Beyond killing dust mites, it can be used for many other tasks.
Disadvantages of Using Vinegar to Kill Dust Mites
The downside to using vinegar as a dust mite killer include the following aspects:
- Has a smell that’s unpleasant to some people.
- Can be harsh on some fabrics such as those used in cloths.
- Some variants of vinegar such as apple cider vinegar can stain fabrics permanently.
As a word of caution, never mix vinegar with bleach as the result is chlorine gas which is very harmful when inhaled. Another mixture to avoid is between vinegar and bleach as the result is a corrosive liquid.
How to Prevent Dust Mite Infestation
Preventing the dust mites from entering the house and making your home theirs goes a long way in keeping the household safe and free from allergies. As always, it’s easier keeping them away then getting rid of them.
Some of the methods to prevent dust mites from infesting your home include the following:
- Use mite-proof mattress covers.
- Wash your cloths in hot water (at least 130°F) each week.
- Use a dehumidifier.
- Freeze cloths to kill the mites.
- Avoid carpets and instead use parquet, bamboo and linoleum flooring.
- If you must have a carpet, wash it weekly.
- Use vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters.
- Vacuum your upholstery and do so frequently.
- Have as few items as necessary to make it easier to clean the house.
- Use upholstery that doesn’t gather much dust such as chairs made of wood, leather and metal.
- Replace curtains with solar treatments, roman shades, and panel track blinds to avoid using woolen curtains.
These and many other methods help keep the house clean and dust free. These are conditions that dust mites can’t survive in.