Can a Clothes Steamer Kill Dust Mites?

can a clothes steamer kill dust mites

Dust mites are microscopic organisms that typically feed on dead skin from pets or humans. They can cause hay fever, asthma, eczema, and allergic rhinitis in sensitive individuals. I am frequently asked can a clothes steamer kills dust mites, and I am pleased to answer yes. 

A clothes steamer kills dust mites because it penetrates steam deep into your bedding, soft furnishings, and carpets. It is also very efficient at killing dust mites spread by dust particles. 

This blog will discuss using a clothing steamer to get rid of dust mites and parasites in your home.

Before we start with the information about killing dust mites using steam, we will understand how they affect your health.

How Do You Know If You Have Dust Mites?

what steam temperature kills dust mites

Dust mites typically live in dark, warm, and humid areas where dust is likely to accumulate. Common places to find dust mites are beddings, carpets, mattresses, upholstered furniture, or curtains. They are around 0.25 millimeters long, so you cannot see them with your eyes. 

However, dust mites cause allergic reactions such as; 

  • Coughing  
  • Itchy red skin 
  • Congested nasal cavities 
  • Running nose 
  • Pain and pressure on the face 
  •  Upward rubbing of the nose, especially in children 
  • Itchiness in the mouth, throat, or nose 
  • Itchy or red eyes 

Using a clothing steamer to clean your carpets, couches, and other areas where dust mites hide can help alleviate the mites and the allergic reactions they cause.

Unlike bed bugs, dust mites do not leave visible bites on the skin. It might not be easy to eliminate dust mites in your home, but you can reduce their population. 

Can a Clothes Steamer Kill Dust Mites? 

Yes, clothes steam cleaners are very effective in killing dust mites. They produce hot steam, which helps kill all types of microorganisms such as dust mites, bacteria, spores, viruses, and germs.  

How to Use a Clothes Steamer to Kill Dust Mites

When using a clothes steam cleaner to kill dust mites, you should consider the following; 

  • Vacuum the area: Before you start steam cleaning your sofas, mattresses, or carpets, you should use a vacuum cleaner to suck up all the dust and debris. 
  • After that, slowly move the clothes steamer continuously over the surface and ensure that you cover all the parts. 
  • If you have a brush attachment for your clothing steamer, this may help to loosen any fibers in fabrics so that the steam can penetrate the cloth better. Brush attachments are helpful for curtains, fabric-covered bed heads, and sofas. I don’t recommend using the brush on carpet or delicate fabrics that the brush could snag. 
  • Allow the area you have steamed to dry thoroughly.
  • Vacuum again to remove any dead Ensure that you are using the appropriate attachment that suits the type of surface you are cleaning. It would help if you tried to vacuum and steam your carpets, upholstery, and bedding frequently. 

How Do Clothing Steamers Kill Dust Mites? 

Clothing steamers release hot steam heated to over 200⁰F, enabling them to effectively eradicate dust mites, bacteria, viruses, and microorganisms. Dust mites cannot withstand the super-hot steam, making using a clothing steamer one of the most effective ways of killing them. 

The good thing about this is that it doesn’t involve the use of harsh chemicals. As a result, using a clothes steamer for cleaning is very safe even if you have kids or pets in your home. 

6 Effective ways of Preventing Dust Mites 

can steaming kill dust mites

You can prevent dust mites by doing the following; 

  1. Minimize humidity: One of the causes of dust mites is high humidity levels. Therefore, you should try to minimize moisture levels by using a dehumidifier or a suitable air conditioner. Clean the filters regularly.
  2. Use Laundry Additive: Dust mite waste is a source of allergens as well. Unless you wash in water hotter than 140⁰F dust mite waste could remain on your sheets, bedding and clothing. I recommend DeMite Laundry Additive (#CommissionsEarned) which you can use to get rid of dust mites when laundering sheets and clothing – even in cold water.
  3. Use Mattress and Pillow Protectors: Cover your mattresses and pillows with a dust-proof or allergen-impermeable cover. SafeRest Mattress Protectors (#CommissionsEarned) are affordable to protect against dust mites, but they don’t fully encase your mattress. If you prefer a fully encased mattress protector take a look at Utopia Bedding Six Sided Mattress Cover (#CommissionsEarned). Don’t forget to encase your pillows as well. Everlasting comfort (#CommissionsEarned) 4 pack zippered pillow case covers are inexpensive and effective.
  4. Carpets: Carpets trap moisture and dust, which encourages the growth of dust mites. Vacuum right to the edges, move furniture, and vacuum underneath. A HEPA filter vacuum helps trap allergens such as dust, so these microscopic particles are not released back into the air. 
  5. Use a wet rag or cloth: You can use a damp rag or microfiber cloth to trap dust after vacuuming. Avoid using a dry rag since it will only stir the dust mites. 
  6. Steam clean the affected areas regularly: You should try to steam clean rooms where dust mites are likely to hide, such as carpets, beddings, upholstery, and curtains frequently.  

Again, the vacuum cleaner should have a HEPA filter or double-layered microfiber bag to trap allergens. You could also try a Mattress and Upholstery Vacuum that has an inbuilt UV light to help kill allergens and suck them up. Take a look at this mattress vacuum here (#CommissionsEarned).

Unlike others, it contains an inbuilt UV light which enables it to kill all microorganisms and allergens. It has an effective HEPA filter for killing bacteria, viruses, and all types of allergens. 

What Else Can I Clean Using a Clothing Steamer?

Just like ordinary steam cleaners, garment steam cleaners are highly versatile. You can use a garment steamer for various functions such as; 

  • Sanitizing countertops: With a clothes steam cleaner, you can sanitize your kitchen countertops and sinks without chemicals. These machines can remove 99.9% of all microorganisms from the surface. 
  • Removing stains from carpets: Another benefit of these units is that you can use them to remove light stains from your carpets. However, you will need to use an effective stain remover if the stains are too much. 
  • Cleaning windows and mirrors: If you are searching for an easy way to clean your windows or mirrors, a clothes steamer will give you fantastic performance without the need for smelly window sprays.
  • Car cleaning: A handheld clothing steamer can easily be moved around car interiors to help keep the inside of your car clean. There are no cordless clothing steamers (yet); you will need a power source or extension lead.
  • Removing grease: The gentle flow of hot steam from a clothing steamer can help to remove built-up grease from stovetops, ovens, hoods, and kitchen cabinets. 
  • Refreshing furniture: Clothing steamers are also suitable for refreshing upholstery to make them look new. When doing this, they can kill any microscopic organisms such as dust mites due to the hot steam. 

Frequently Asked Questions

does a steam cleaner kill dust mites

Does Steaming Kill Dust Mites? 

Steam cleaning is the safest, most effective cleaning technique for killing dust mites. A steamer uses high-temperature water heated to over 200⁰F that turns into steam. This hot steam kills bacteria and pollutants, including dust mites. 

How Hot Does Steam Need to be to Kill Mites? 

Steam should be at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit to effectively kill dust mites. 

Clothing steamers and steam cleaners heat water to boiling point to create steam. The steam temperature output is generally above 140 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the steam cleaner. 

How Do You Get Rid of Dust Mites in Your Laundry?

The easiest way of eliminating dust mites when doing laundry is by washing in hot water. Please check the clothing labels first to ensure your garments can be hot washed. 

If your clothing is not suitable for washing in hot water, use a garment steamer to kill dust mites on apparel. 

Can You Iron a Mattress to Kill Dust Mites?

Ironing your mattress is another effective way of killing dust mites. Use the steam function on your iron to help penetrate the mattress. 

Vacuum your mattress before ironing it to remove any dust. Slowly pass your iron over the mattress surface. Vacuum your mattress again after ironing to remove any dead dust mites. 

How Do I Reduce Dust Mites Using a Steam Cleaner?

Just like using a clothing steamer to kill dust mites, a steam cleaner works just as well. It would be more efficient when cleaning larger surface areas such as wall to wall carpets.

Dust mites like hiding in carpets, upholstery, rugs, and other types of fabrics. When steam cleaning other areas of your home, make sure you also steam your carpets, upholstery, curtains and any other areas where dust mites could be hiding.

Should I Use a Handheld Clothes Steamer to Kill Dust Mites?

The two types of clothes steam cleaners are handheld and upright steamers. In terms of design, handheld models are more lightweight and easier to use.

On the other hand, the upright steamers are slightly heavier but offer longer steaming times. This is helpful when cleaning larger areas – you don’t need to stop and refill the tank as often.

Both are effective at killing dust mites.

What Makes Clothes Steamers Different From Steam Cleaners? 

Compared to ordinary steam cleaners, clothes steamers have a more compact design and emit a more gentle amount of steam through multiple steam holes. 

Clothing steamers have attachments designed for releasing wrinkles in fabrics. They do not come with accessories for cleaning grout, shower screens, or windows. 

A garment steamer is just as effective as a steam cleaner for maintaining the cleanliness of your home. Swipe the garment steamer over an area and wipe away any moisture with a clean microfiber cloth. 

If you have a heavy build-up of soap scum, baked-on grease, or stuck on messes, you may find a steam cleaner more effective for cleaning. The hot steam is forced out of a smaller area with higher pressure. 

When it comes to eradicating dust mites, use whatever type of steamer you have at home. It is the temperature of the steam that kills dust mites, it doesn’t matter if that steam comes from a clothing steamer or steam cleaner.

Final Verdict 

Even if dust mites don’t bite, they cause allergic reactions in humans. Therefore, you need to clean your home regularly to get rid of them. 

You can use different methods to get rid of dust mites like those discussed in this article. Still, steam is a guaranteed way of killing dust mites without chemicals. 

Whether you choose to use a steam cleaner or clothing steamer is up to you. Both types of steamers will effectively eradicate dust mites to control these pests in your home. 

The significant benefit of steam cleaners is that they do not use harsh chemicals which might cause additional allergies to your family members. 

I hope that our blog on how to kill dust mites has been helpful to you. The great thing about using a clothing steamer to kill dust mites is that handheld steamers are inexpensive. It won’t cost you an arm and a leg to get on top of your dust mite problem. Make sure you use distilled water in your clothing steamer to avoid mineral buildup. 


Colloff MJ, Taylor C, Merrett TG. The use of domestic steam cleaning for the control of house dust mites. Clin Exp Allergy. 1995 Nov;25(11):1061-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2222.1995.tb03252.x. PMID: 8581838.


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