How to Kill Bed Bugs & Dust Mites

Updated March 23, 2017

Both bed bugs and dust mites are irritating household pests that can take up residence within crevices and stitched fabric, such as bed linens, carpets, curtains and the exterior of mattresses. While bed bugs are parasites that bite and draw blood from their hosts, dust mites cause problems by triggering allergic reactions with their shed skin and faeces. Although the chemicals that kill dust mites and bed bugs differ, both can be killed or held at bay by cleaning, exposing the insects to extreme temperatures, and encasing mattress and box springs in impermeable cases.

Identify objects and places dust mites and bed bugs reside. Bed bugs prefer to hide close to where they feed, such as bedrooms or adjacent locations, while dust mites prefer humid areas that humans occupy, such as beds, overstuffed sofas and chairs, and carpets.

Wash anything that you suspect of harbouring either dust mites or bed bugs in a very hot washing machine and then dry them in a hot dryer. According the University of Kentucky, bed bugs will be killed if laundered in temperatures above 48.9 degrees Celsius; according to, dust mites require temperatures about 54.4 degrees Celsius.

Place anything that cannot be washed or dried, such as pillows and children's toys, into a freezer set to a low temperature. After a day, most dust mites will be killed, but, according to, it will take at least two weeks to kill the majority of bed bugs.

Encase mattresses and box springs in covers in allergen-proof cases that are impermeable to both bed bugs and to the the allergens given off by dust mites. Since both these pieces of furniture provide excellent homes for bed bugs and dust mites, but since neither can be easily washed or frozen, they must be either encased or thrown out.

Vacuum and clean hardwood floors and carpets in rooms in which you suspect the insects of living. While neither of these activities have been shown to completely eliminate bed bug and dust mite populations, they will reduce them.


According to the University of Kentucky, dust mites can also killed by lowering the relative humidity of a room to below 50 per cent.


Be aware that encasing these insects in allergen-proof covers will not kill them any time soon (according to, bed bugs can survive up to 18 months in these conditions) but will prevent their escape until they expire. According to, killing bed bugs by freezing them will most likely work, but the method hasn't been proven scientifically, so there is no guarantee as to its effectiveness.

Things You'll Need

  • Allergen-proof cases for mattress and box spring
  • Washing machine
  • Dryer
  • Vacuum cleaner
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About the Author

Michael Wolfe has been writing and editing since 2005, with a background including both business and creative writing. He has worked as a reporter for a community newspaper in New York City and a federal policy newsletter in Washington, D.C. Wolfe holds a B.A. in art history and is a resident of Brooklyn, N.Y.