How to Know if You Have Dust Mites? Can You see Dust Mites?

When it comes to dusts mites, the two most common questions people have about these bugs are:

  1. “Can you see dust mites?”
  2. and “How to know if you have dust mites?”

Maybe you’ve heard a horror story about someone discovering that they had an infestation of dust mites in their home and want to find out if you have them too. Or maybe, you’ve noticed an outbreak of coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, or other allergy related symptoms and want to know if dust mites are the cause.

In this article, we’ll answer both of these questions for you. You’ll find out if you can actually see dust mites walking around on your furniture, or if not, is there another way to know for sure if you actually have them.

Question#1: Can You See Dust Mites?

Photo of Dusty TableThe answer to the first question is quite simple. No, you cannot easily see dust mites.

The reason being is because these organisms are so microscopic that they can’t be seen by the naked eye. In fact, they average about .3mm in size (source HouseDustMite.com).

Since dust mites they’re so tiny, it requires a microscope in order to actually see them. Once you put them under the microscope you’ll notice that these critters looks quite similar to small spiders and belong to the Arachnid species (source Wikipedia). Although they have eight hair legs and are translucent, they differ from most spiders by not having eyes. Neither do they have an antenna.

The main food source for dust mites is dead skin that’s shed daily from humans and animals. This is a major reason why these pets can become so rampant inside your home – they have an endless food supply.

Also, since you can’t see dust mites, it’s easy for them to move into other areas of your home. A common way for how they travel is by clinging onto your clothing and then dropping off in other rooms. A lot of people are surprised when they realize that they have a dust mite infestation in their bedroom and can’t understand how they got there – and now you know why.

Question #2: How Can You Know if You Have Dust Mites?

Photo of Dust Mites under a MicroscopeNow that you know the answer to the question about if you can see dust mites, which you can’t, you’re probably wondering… “How on earth would you ever know if you have dust mites in your home?”

The answer to this question is actually a lot more simple than you may think.

As we mentioned in the answer to the first question,”Can you see dust mites”, the only way to actually see dust mites is by using a microscope.

If you can get your hands on a cheap microscope from a toy or hobby store that has at least a 10x magnification lens, you can find out once and for all if your home has dust mites in it.

All you need to do is collect a few samples of dust around your house using a piece of clear tape and examine it under the microscope. Take samples from dusty spaces like the corner of a room, under a chair or even straight from the fabric of a couch. Also take a sample from your bedding, including a pillow and mattress. If you notice any itching on your arms or legs, take a sample from there as well, since this may be a sign of dust mites on your skin.

Place these strips of tape under the microscope and look for small spider like critters that fit the description we mentioned previously: translucent, eight legs and no eyes. Also look for the feces that have been excreted by these bugs. It looks like small brown rectangular pellets.

There’s really nothing more to it for how to know if you have dust mites. This simple test will tell you everything you need to know.

What Can You Do to Get Rid of Them?

Once you discover that you have dust mites in your home, the best thing to do is a thorough cleaning of all carpet, furniture and curtains using a HEPA vacuum cleaner and follow it up by adding an air purifier to the rooms that you frequent most.

The HEPA filter on the vacuum is important because it captures particles as small as 0.3 microns in size, which includes dust mites. Unequipped vacuum cleaners don’t have that much power. The air purifier is also a great addition because it works to continue to pull in dust and dust mite particles into the its filter and then push out clean, fresh air. This device drastically cuts down your need to vacuum or dust inside your home. We offer some best air purifier recommendations on this page.

A final step is to line all of your bedding with dust-mite proof covers. This will prevent the critters from burrowing themselves into your bedding and multiplying. These can easily be picked up at any home good store.

For further reading about dust mite removal, check out our post on how to get rid of and kill dust mites.