When dust mites become a serious problem in your home, you’ll start getting creative in containing their growth. Rubbing alcohol is often cited as an effective disinfectant with many claiming its effectiveness in killing dust mites.
What Is Rubbing Alcohol?
Rubbing alcohol simply means isopropyl alcohol or ethanol-based liquids. This type of alcohol cannot be consumed despite the fact that it is ethanol based because it is primarily made for industrial use. These liquids are best used as topical antiseptics. They are also commonly used in many industries and for household uses. (1)
Rubbing alcohol is, therefore, a non-specific term for isopropyl alcohol or ethyl alcohol rubbing alcohol products.
Some Common Uses Of Rubbing Alcohol Are:
- Cleaning Venetian blinds
- Removing hairspray from mirrors
- Keeping windows frost-free
- Dissolve windshield frost
- Cleaning phones
- Removal of ink stains
- Removal of dog ticks
- Erasing permanent markers
- Eliminating fruit flies
- Cleaning bathroom fixtures
Does Rubbing Alcohol Kill Dust Mites?
A number of articles have been published claiming that rubbing alcohol does, in fact, kill dust mites with the argument that it is a drying agent. As such, it removes moisture which is normally what provides the perfect breeding ground for dust mites.
However, there is no specific explanation of how exactly rubbing alcohol kills dust mites. There aren’t sufficient scientific studies with regard to this.
While there is a patent of a dust mite control product involving alcohol and benzyl benzoate, there is little to suggest that alcohol is effective in killing dust mites. Instead, evidence points to benzyl benzoate of being the lethal agent for dust mites control.
One random study was done on asthmatic patients. Benzyl benzoate was applied to mattresses and carpets in their bedrooms. The mite levels were measured three months before and after the study as well as a week before and after. Patients kept diary cards on their progress during this time. The results showed that there was a significant change in asthma symptoms. The benzyl benzoate while applied to dust mites led to a reduction of the dust mites in carpets. (2)
Furthermore, according to a certain YouTube video, the use of alcohol does not actually kill dust mites.
So based on that video as well, we can say that there is a lack of conclusive evidence on the alcohol bit. The video also suggests that there are better ways of killing dust mites but it is worth trying out the rubbing alcohol.
Precautions When Using Rubbing Alcohol
Rubbing alcohol, in its pure form, can be toxic to human beings. This is because it is easily absorbed into the skin. It is also highly flammable when used as alcohol when it is placed near sparks, heat or an open flame.
It is important to observe caution whenever you are handling rubbing alcohol in a work environment. Wear protective clothing such as gloves and goggles. You should also make sure the area in which you are working is well ventilated. Also, ensure that there is a wash station near the area in which you are using the rubbing alcohol.
Home-use rubbing alcohol is less toxic than its industrial counterpart, but you’ll still need to take precautions. Swallowing or inhaling it could cause nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headache and could even leave one unconscious. The long term effects are not so clear so it is important to be very careful.
In case you are exposed to rubbing alcohol, observe the following to be on the safe side:
- Eye contact– In case you have contact lenses, remove them immediately. Use some clean water or regular saline to flush your eyes for about twenty minutes. Seek medical advice from a doctor after that.
- Skin contact- Rubbing alcohol is easily absorbed by the skin which is why it could be harmful. Therefore, when your skin comes into contact with it, remove and isolate all the clothing that has been contaminated by it then wash your skin thoroughly using some soap and water. In case your skin still feels irritated or you still see some redness, seek medical attention.
- Inhalation– In case one has inhaled the rubbing alcohol, they should quickly be removed from the area and be taken to a place where the area is fresh. If they have a problem breathing after the exposure, they should be taken to a doctor.
- Ingestion– In this case, check if the victim is conscious. If they are, give them one to two glasses of water. This will help dilute the alcohol. Make sure you do not force the person to vomit because this will put the lungs at risk. The chemicals could end up being aspirated into the lungs. You should have them seek medical attention immediately.
Always store rubbing alcohol in a tightly closed container.
You should always keep the container in a cool, dry and well-ventilated place.
Because it is highly flammable, make sure you keep rubbing alcohol away from things that could ignite it such as heat, sparks, and flames.
The disposal of rubbing alcohol should be in accordance with the environmental control regulations that govern your local area. (3)
How To Use Rubbing Alcohol For Killing Dust Mites
You’ll need to get a bottle of rubbing alcohol. Here’s a brand sold by Amazon that can be used in killing dust mites.
In order to kill dust mites using rubbing alcohol, mix five tablespoons of it with some water. One gallon of water to be exact but before you start using it, spray it on a piece of fabric. The spraying on the small area is a test to make sure that the fabric will not stain. After you have done this, go ahead and use the rubbing alcohol.
Is There A Better Way To Kill Dust Mites?
As has already been mentioned, there is no study that conclusively shows that rubbing alcohol is effective in killing dust mites. Therefore, you should consider using dust mite sprays. They are more effective in killing dust mites. However, before you choose a good dust mite spray, it is important to consider the following:
- Whether it is safe for human beings and pets. Make sure it is not toxic to them otherwise it could lead to some serious complications.
- Environmental friendliness. You should always pick sprays that are in compliance with and certified by recognized environmental authorities or bodies.
- The intended materials. Make sure you check labels on the sprays to ensure they will not ruin the fabrics you will use them on.
- You should get a spray that will last you longer in case you suspect the presence of a lot of dust mites in your house.
- The ingredients used in making the spray. Always make sure the ingredients are human-friendly so that they do not trigger allergies.
- The effectiveness of the spray. Make sure it will actually do the job and kill the dust mites while keeping your home dust-free. Make sure it also reduces allergic symptoms.
Rubbing alcohol has never been my preference in dealing with dust mites. Using natural dust mite sprays gives me peace of mind while getting the dust mites’ growth under control.