Can Dust Mites Cause a Skin Rash?

Can Dust Mites Cause a Skin Rash?

Red bumps are all over your skin when you get up in the morning. Your skin is red, covered in bumps, and itches like crazy, but doesn’t look dry. If it 

So, can dust mites cause a skin rash? Sure, you can get a rash from a dust mite,  but it is probably not for the reason you may think.

A skin rash that is caused by an allergic reaction can be uncomfortable and unsightly. Allergic rashes can be caused by a number of different allergens, and they can vary in severity.

Allergic Dermatitis

You may think that dust mites bite, like mosquitoes or bed bugs, and that is what causes the skin rash. But that’s not the reason dust mites cause a skin rash.

A rash is a form of dermatitis caused by inhaling small bits of a protein that is produced by the tiny dust mite.  The dust mite doesn’t have teeth and they don’t chew.

They secrete a protein that digests their food (they live on shed skin cells). This protein is on the inside of the body and is excreted in their feces. This protein is the source of the number one household allergen, Der f1. Dust mites are so small you can’t see them, their feces are even smaller. But their feces and parts of their dead bodies are a major component of dust in your house.

When you inhale this dust, your body reacts to the protein and starts to produce inflammation. The inflammation can lead to many symptoms, and allergic dermatitis is one.

To stop the rash, you must stop breathing the dust mite protein. That means you must stop the dust mite.

Control the dust mites and control the rash

Dust mites want to live where it is warm, dark, moist, and there is an abundance of food. Your bed is the perfect environment for dust mites.

As you sleep, you shed skin; their primary diet. So, there’s lots of food in your bed. In addition, when you lay on your bed, you provide a source of warmth and moisture to the dust mites.

Lastly, the sheets and covers help keep your bed dark, even in the daytime. As you can see, the bedroom is a haven for dust mites.

To stop the skin rash, you must stop the mites.

  1. Wash bedding and linens in hot water: The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases recommends washing bedding and linens in hot water (at least 130°F) at least once a week. This will kill the mites and remove their allergens from the bedding. If you can’t get the water that hot, use special washing products like De-Mite or Allergen Wash that are made to remove dust mite allergens.

  2. Use dust mite-proof covers: Cover your mattresses, pillows, and comforters with dust mite proof covers. They are designed to prevent mites from getting in your  bedding and keeping those that are there from getting out.

  3. Vacuum regularly: Regular vacuuming can help to remove dust mites and their allergens from carpets, upholstered furniture, and other surfaces. The Mayo Clinic recommends using a vacuum with a HEPA filter to capture the tiny mites and their allergens.

  4. Remove carpeting: If possible, removing carpeting and replacing it with hard flooring such as tile or hardwood can eliminate one of the main habitats for dust mites in the home.

  5. Use air purifiers: Air purifiers equipped with HEPA filters can help reduce the number of dust mites in the air, potentially reducing the severity of skin rashes.

  6. Reduce humidity: Dust mites thrive in humid environments, so it is important to keep the home as dry as possible. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (2021) suggests using a dehumidifier, if necessary, to reduce the humidity level in the home.

  7. Take antihistamines: Over-the-counter antihistamines, such as Benadryl, can help relieve itching and reduce redness and swelling associated with a dust mite allergy.

    Yes, dust mites can cause a skin rash. But it’s not because they walk on you or bite you. It’s because they produce an allergy-causing protein that you inhale. 

    If your skin rash does not improve with these steps or if you have severe symptoms, it is important to see a doctor. Your doctor may recommend prescription medications, such as topical or oral corticosteroids, or immunotherapy (allergy shots) to help manage your symptoms.

    The key is learning how to prevent dust mites and their allergens from becoming a problem. You can find additional information and facts about dust mites in the article - Dust Mite Information & Facts - Know the Enemy

    P.S. Allergy elimination is about eliminating the allergy-causing substance in your home the best you can. To learn more please click here to download your free copy of" You Can Do It! Allergy Free Living. 


    National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. (2020). Dust Mite Allergy.  American

    College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. (2020). Dust Mite Allergy.

    Mayo Clinic.  Dust Mite Allergy.