How to Get Rid of Dust Mites in a Mattress

Vacuum hose with brush attachment passing over mattress with mites

The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 30 mins - 1 hr
  • Total Time: 30 mins - 8 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner

Dust mites are everywhere in our homes, but they are found in the highest concentrations on surfaces that trap dust, like mattresses, curtains, and carpeting that can't be washed regularly. Unfortunately, that's also where we spend most of our time—bedrooms and living areas.

What Are Dust Mites?

Dust mites are microscopic, arachnids that feed on the dead human skin cells we are constantly shedding. Unlike lice or bed bugs, they are not parasites that bite, sting, or burrow into our skin. However, people can have reactions by inhaling the proteins in dust that come from dust mite feces, urine, or decaying bodies.

Dust mites thrive in warm, humid environments like our beds. However, frequent cleaning, including washing bed sheets every week, making some smart bedding choices, and thorough cleaning can help get rid of dust mites in a mattress.

How Often to Get Rid of Dust Mites in a Mattress

If your mattress is not encased in a dust mite-proof case and you suffer from allergic reactions, you should vacuum your mattress at least monthly to reduce the number of dust mites. If the mattress has a dust-proof cover that is cleaned frequently, then a twice-yearly cleaning should be all that is needed.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Vacuum with a hose and an upholstery brush attachment
  • Steam cleaner
  • Dust-proof mattress protector
  • Dust-proof pillow protectors
  • Soft-bristled brush


  • Baking soda


Materials and tools to get rid of dust mites on a mattress

The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

  1. Remove All of the Bedding

    Remove the bedcovers, sheets, pillowcases, mattress protector, and dust-proof cover from the mattress. If you have encased the bed pillows and box springs with a cover (and you should), remove them as well.

    Bedding and sheets removed from mattress for cleaning

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

  2. Wash the Bedding

    Wash the bedding and dust covers with your regular detergent in warm water. To ensure that all of the dust mites have been killed, dry in an automatic dryer at a high temperature for at least 10 minutes.

    Dust mite covered bedding placed in washer machine

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

  3. Vacuum the Mattress

    Use a vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter, hose, and an upholstery brush attachment to vacuum every surface of the mattress. Don't forget the sides and the box springs and vacuum or dust the bedframe as well.


    To freshen the mattress while you vacuum, sprinkle on some dry baking soda. Work the baking soda into the surface of the mattress with a soft-bristled brush or a damp cloth. Let it sit for at least one hour and then vacuum away the dust and dust mites, and help control odors.

    Top of mattress cleaned with vacuum hose and brush attachment

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

  4. Replace the Protective Covers and Bedding

    When the bed is fully dry, replace the protective dust mite mattress cases and bedding.

    Protective cover wrapped around cleaned mattress to prevent dust mites

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

Tips to Keep Mattress Dust Mites Under Control

  • Cover your mattress, box springs, and pillows with insect and dust-proof covers. The covers can be made from non-porous materials like vinyl or plastic or a more breathable material like microfiber polyester or nylon, or even cotton that is tightly woven.
  • Wash bedding at least weekly. If you don't want to wash your comforter or bedspread that frequently, you can place it in an automatic dryer on air-only to help remove dust and dust mites.
  • Remove excess items from the bed. Stuffed animals and decorative pillows harbor dust mites.
  • Reduce the humidity level in the bedroom to around 50 percent by using a dehumidifier, air conditioning, and running bathroom exhaust fans.
  • Lower the temperature to at least 68 degrees in the bedroom. This won't prevent dust mites but it will slow their breeding cycle.
  • Allow the bedding to air and dry for a few minutes before you make the bed each morning.
  • Remove wall-to-wall carpeting and heavy drapes from the bedroom to reduce the level of dust in the room.
  • Use hypoallergenic pillows and mattresses. Latex foam mattresses are less hospitable to dust mites than those with cotton padding. Use foam pillows instead of down or feathers.
  • Upgrade your HVAC filters to HEPA filters and replace or clean them regularly.
  • Ban pets from the bedroom. Dust mites thrive in animal dander.
Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. What Are Dust Mites? The American Lung Association