There are more than 45,000 known species of mites, i.e., tiny, insect-like organisms that are present in every home. Getting rid of mites is sometimes no easy task, and the plan of attack depends on upon the type of mite. Killing mites in the home often requires little more than thorough vacuuming and cleaning, while getting rid of mites such as scabies involves medical treatment. Mites also affect pets, who must be sanitized and their living environment cleaned.
Dust mites are the most common of household mites. They are so small that most are invisible to the naked eye, yet both the mites and their excrement can become airborne. This can cause allergies, asthma attacks and, infrequently, skin irritation among household members. Start getting rid of mites in the home with thorough vacuuming. Run the vacuum several times over all carpeting, drapes, and furniture.
Deep cleaning also helps in mite-ridding efforts. Wash all blankets, sheets, towels, and clothing in hot water. Shampoo or steam clean carpets and furniture to kill mites and clean away their feces. After taking these steps, prevent future dust mite outbreaks by installing a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter and maintaining humidity levels below 50 percent for at least one month. The low humidity level will cause the mites to dry out and die, and the HEPA filter will suck in the bodies as well as those mites that survive.
Scabies mites also negatively affect humans. These mites burrow into skin to lay eggs, thus leading to itching, rashes, and sores. Those infected need treatment usually involving topical ointments, soap, and shampoo specifically designed to kill the scabies. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, no non-prescription treatments have been approved to kill scabies. Doctors likely will prescribe products with permethrin, lindane, or crotamiton as scabicides.
Certain mite populations infect pets instead of, or in addition to, humans. Getting rid of mites hinges on cleaning the pet’s living area as well as the animal itself. Move the pet to a separate holding area such as a tank for reptiles or another room for dogs or cats. Thoroughly clean any bedding, water, food dishes, and tanks in hot, soapy water.
Bathing the pet will get rid of mites on its body. Dogs and some other pets may be washed with a strong shampoo. Other pets such as reptiles can be rinsed in a povidone-iodine solution to kill and wash away mites. Talk with a veterinarian first before treating pets for mites, however.