House dust mite allergy factsheet


House dust mites are tiny insects that live indoors and feed off dust, pollen, and human skin cells. 

House dust mites will do around 20 poos or droppings daily to get rid of waste. These droppings contain proteins that cause allergic reactions in humans.

House dust mites live in humid areas and are found on soft furnishings like:

  • bedding
  • carpets
  • clothing
  • curtains
  • soft toys.

House dust mite allergies are very common and can also be linked to conditions like:

 Signs and symptoms

Allergic reactions to house dust mites can cause symptoms including:

  • hay fever
  • wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • coughing
  • itchy, runny nose
  • itchy, watery eyes
  • rashes on the skin.

Children with conditions like eczema and asthma may find that contact with house dust mites can make their symptoms worse. 


A specialist doctor can diagnose a house dust mite allergy based on your child’s:


Your child's doctor will find the best possible treatment for their allergy based on their individual health needs. 

In most cases, this will include strategies to lower the amount of house dust mite droppings in the home.


House dust mites and cleaning

You may need to carefully change how your home is cleaned to help your child avoid exposure to house dust mites and their droppings.

This can include:

  • washing all soft furnishings at least every eight weeks at a temperature of 60 degrees Celsius, including:
    • mattress and mattress cover
    • doona
    • quilt
    • sheets
    • pillow covers
    • soft toys
    • curtains.
  • using products like mattress protectors that completely cover the mattress and are advertised to resist dust mites and allergies
  • vacuuming carpets regularly
  • vacuuming rugs and removable floor coverings regularly, outside if possible
  • reducing the number of soft furnishings in the home, like:
    • fabric covered chairs
    • soft toys
    • decorative pillows
    • decorative rugs.
  • using a damp or electrostatic cloth to wipe away dust from furniture and shelves.

There is no proven way to completely remove the risk of house dust mites from the home. 

Speak to your child’s doctor about managing house dust mites before removing things like soft toys and furnishings.

Last updated Tuesday 12th March 2024


This factsheet is provided for general information only. It does not constitute health advice and should not be used to diagnose or treat any health condition.

Please consult with your doctor or other health professional to make sure this information is right for you and/or your child.

The Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network does not accept responsibility for inaccuracies or omissions, the interpretation of the information, or for success or appropriateness of any treatment described in the factsheet.

© Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network 2024