Figuring out how to get rid of dust mites in couch fabrics can make all the difference to your health.
After all, dust mites are potential allergens that could trigger asthma attacks, skin rashes, and flu-like symptoms.
To eliminate those pesky mites for good, we recommend regular vacuuming, steaming, and washing. Otherwise, you might have to resort to toxic chemical solutions.
Read on to learn all about getting rid of mites and keeping them away!
How to Get Rid of Dust Mites in Couch Fabric
If you’ve been struggling with dust mites in your upholstery for a while, you know how resilient they are.
A lot of the generic solutions like “wash your textile” don’t factor in couches with non-removable covers. Cleaning them out is easier said than done.
That’s why we go over nine simple ways to get rid of dust mites, so you can find the best fit for your needs.
Let’s jump right in!
1 – Start With a Filtered Vacuum
A generally good idea when you’re cleaning anything is to start with a vacuum. It’ll make the rest of the job much easier.
Even if it doesn’t physically remove the mites, it’ll suck up much of the debris that mites feed on. That’s not ideal, but it’s a good place to start!
However, a regular vacuum alone might not always cut it, especially if the infestation has gotten deep into the internal parts.
To boost the vacuuming effect, try hooking up a HEPA filtered bag.
HEPA is a filtering system that can remove a whopping 99.97% of contaminating particles! This includes mold, bacteria, pollen, and even the troublesome dust mites.
You’ll have to get a HEPA-compatible vacuum, though. If that’s not a possibility right now, you can settle for a regular vacuum every week or so.
2 – Take the Covers off for a Wash
If your couch has removable covers, you’re in luck. You can simply take them off and pop them in the washing machine to clear up the majority of the dust mites.
Not only would the detergent kill the mites, but the hot water can also help significantly. That’s why it’s recommended to adjust the washing cycle to high heat.
It might not sound like a big deal, but the temperature is actually very crucial. In fact, at 140℉, you can kill around 100% of the mites, but at 104℉, you only affect 6.5%!
The only downside here is that they can be quite bulky. You might need to set apart a separate wash cycle for the covers alone.
To keep the mites away, add this step to your cleaning schedule to be repeated at least once a month. On the plus side, you’ll get to enjoy fresh-scented cushions!
3 – Get a Portable Steam Sterilizer
It might not sound very conventional, but high-temperature steam can kill off a lot of bacteria and mites.
This method works particularly well when you can’t remove the cushion covers or if you want to clean up the couch arm and back.
You just turn on the steamer and work your way slowly across the couch without missing any spots.
Many professional services can get it done for you. Of course, this might not be as accessible for some people.
On the other hand, getting a small steam sterilizer for your household will pay off in a short period. You can use it for other upholstery items, curtains, clothes, and even mattresses!
This way, you don’t have to worry about washing cycles, air drying, or detergent residues.
If you decide to get a steamer and do this step yourself, make sure you get a lightweight one. You’ll be holding it for a while, and it could easily fatigue your back and arms.
4 – Spray an Anti-Allergen Oxidizer
Yet another hassle-free method to get rid of mites is using an anti-allergen spray. Those are usually inorganic oxidizing agents that can neutralize irritating particles.
All in all, it could be a suitable fit for people with unidentified allergies. The oxidizer compound can deal with a wide range of particles, from pet dander to dust mites.
Most brands make anti-allergen sprays that are compatible with water-safe textiles. However, it’s still a good idea to double-check on a small test patch on the back of the couch.
You might also want to look for a product that doesn’t contain tannic acid or benzyl benzoate. They could stain your fabric.
On the downside, its scent can linger for days, which might not be ideal for people with sensitive noses. Using it right before leaving home for a short vacation could help you deal with this side effect.
5 – Use a Pyrethrin-Based Spray
When all else fails, you might have to resort to pyrethrin-based pesticide sprays. Those can either be extracted naturally from chrysanthemum or synthesized artificially.
Although they’re highly effective against dust mites, they can be a pain to deal with. For one, their scent is often way too irritating for people with asthma.
To make matters even more challenging, pyrethrin products are also potentially toxic for both humans and pets.
That’s why it’s best to leave this method as the last recourse. If you do end up using pyrethroids, make sure to take a few precautionary measures:
- Use the spray in a well-ventilated area
- Wash your hands thoroughly when you’re done
- Don’t let anyone with respiratory problems spray the solution
- Let the couch air out for a day or two before using it
- Keep pets and children away from the item till it airs out
6 – Dry Clean With Natural Remedies
Diatomaceous earth (also sold under the name kieselgur) is a fairly simple remedy to use against dust mites. It’s a fine silica powder with tough crystals that could pierce the mite’s exoskeleton.
All you need to do is sprinkle it generously over the couch, paying particular attention to all the nooks and crannies. When you’re done, you can just vacuum it all up and call it a day.
If you can’t get your hands on any diatomaceous earth powder, a bit of pure baking soda can save you in a pinch.
The best part about this method is that it could also work for other parts of the house, from mattresses to carpets.
There are a couple of catches, though.
Inhaling these tiny silica particles can be dangerous since they’re not eliminated from the respiratory system.
Plus, overusing the diatomaceous earth could lead to tolerance in many dust-mite varieties. This essentially turns the remedy useless in the long term.
7 – Air the Couch Out in the Sun
Over and over again, we find that most people underestimate the effect that airing under sunlight can have on sanitizing any given item.
It’s such a simple thing, but it can go a long way when you’re dealing with a stubborn case of dust mites.
If you can’t move the entire couch outside, try airing the cushion and seats separately. You might even hang the covers out in the sun after you wash them.
Not only is this a fast method to dry them, but it can also act as an extra sanitization step to help you get rid of several types of germs.
Who knew sunlight could do that!
The least you could do is crank your windows open and let the sunshine come into the room. It might heat up your living room a bit, but it helps you get better air quality.
8 – Watch Out for Spreading Around the Room
Regardless of what method you choose to clean the mites off of your couch, it’s not going to be very effective if other parts of the room are still infected.
This is a common mistake, and it’s what makes dust mites particularly resilient.
For one, you need to do a parallel cleaning for the carpets, curtains, bedding, and even pets to make sure your upholstery doesn’t get reinfected.
You can also use a protective cover. It’s so much easier to throw the top cover in the washing machine once every week versus taking the cushion covers off.
If you can find a dust mite cover that perfectly fits your couch, you’re in luck. If not, you can keep a mite-proof blanket over the couch till you’re certain that the entire house is cleaned.
As a general role, any tightly woven textile will work.
Sometimes, plastics can work wonders, too. Unfortunately, they’re not the most comfortable or aesthetically pleasing.
9 – Control the Room’s Humidity
High humidity makes for an excellent environment for mold, mites, and bacteria to thrive.
That’s because mites don’t drink water. Instead, the moisture content in the air is the only source of hydration available for those tiny creatures.
While there isn’t much you can do about your climate zone, you can monitor the humidity inside your home.
Don’t just rely on general statistics you find on weather apps. Start by getting an indoor hygrometer and keep it in your living room.
Ideally, you want to keep the humidity level around 30-70%.
If you notice that the humidity level is higher than 50%, it might be time to take a look at your HVAC system. Most commonly, there could be something wrong with your evaporator coil.
Using a portable dehumidifier can also be a quick and relatively inexpensive solution. It might just require a little more effort on your part.
10 – Don’t Let the Dirt Soak
It should go without saying that maintaining your couch’s cleanliness is vital to keeping the dust mites away, but many people tend to overlook this step.
Remember that mites thrive on dirt particles, whether it’s food crumbles, spilled drinks, or even regular dust. After all, they’re called dust mites for a reason!
So, make sure you stay on top of spillages before they soak deep into the seat’s fibers. The more you let the dirt accumulate, the harder it’ll be to get rid of the mites.
It’s also a good idea to vacuum out any moisture left from the spillage or spot cleaning to keep the humidity level down.
Let’s move on to some of the most frequently asked questions about mite infestations in couches:
Q: What attracts dust mites to couches?
A: Mites are attracted to soft fibers that they can penetrate and form colonies inside. On the other hand, densely-packed fabrics are more mite-resistant.
Obviously, the presence of humidity, dust, food, skin, and hair will make an ideal environment for mite infestations.
Q: How can you tell if your couch is infested with mites?
A: Dust mites are microscopic and can’t be spotted with the naked eye. However, there are a few signs that can tell you that a piece of furniture has dust mites.
For one, they often leave visible dark rust-like spots behind. You might also be able to see their empty exoskeletons under a magnifying glass if you look in the small crevices.
Q: Can mites from upholstery infect humans?
A: Although they feed off hair and dead skin cells, dust mites don’t live on humans. The risk here is that you might transfer the dust mites from one spot to the other around your home.
On the other hand, they could stay longer on pets, causing excessive scratching, hair loss, and allergic reactions.
A: Using an air purifier can help you reduce the sources of dust mites inside your home, and it can also improve the overall air quality.
However, on its own, an air purifier might not be enough to get rid of a dust mite infestation in your furniture.
Q: Do mites live in leather couches?
A: It’s extremely rare for dust mites to exist on leather, whether natural or synthetic. When compared to other textile options, leather has relatively low porosity.
That’s why investing in leather furniture is a good option for people with generalized and unidentified allergies.
Long story short, knowing how to get rid of dust mites in couch fabric is all about regular maintenance.
Vacuuming, washing, steam sterilization, and sun-drying are your best bets, but you could also find a more specific approach, like anti-allergen sprays and dehumidifiers.
Although regular cleaning can be tedious, it’ll go a long way with your allergies!
I have two Associate’s degrees, one in Medical Assisting and the other in Computer Technician, and I am roughly five classes from a bachelor’s degree. Though I never ended up working in the medical field, I have five and a half years of experience in IT. I recently became a stay-at-home mom to my two young boys, and I’m so excited to start this adventure with them! In my spare time, I love to bake and read pretty much anything I can get my hands on.