Can Dust Mites Live in Memory Foam Pillows and Mattresses? – The Bedding Planet

Can Dust Mites Live in Memory Foam Pillows and Mattresses?

Dust mites are microscopic little critters that are very common. They are so small and numerous that you can actually breathe them in. While they aren’t harmful to most people, it’s still pretty gross to think about breathing in tiny little bugs. 

To answer the question “Can dust mites live in memory foam pillows and mattresses?” The answer is yes. They are so small that they can live almost anywhere you go, including memory foam mattresses and pillows. Although where memory foam is considered, the dust mites are living on the mattress or pillow. Not inside it. 

While that’s probably not what you wanted to hear, it’s not really bad news. Dust mites are harmless towards most people and actually have quite an important job. Read on to find out more about dust mites and why they’re not that bad. 

The Misconception About Dust Mites And Memory Foam

When memory foam was invented it caused a stir in the bedroom. NASA invented it to protect their astronauts as they blasted off into space. They found it so comfortable that they decided to make mattresses and pillows out of the foam

It was marketed as a cleaner, healthier, more comfortable alternative to box spring and open cell foam mattresses. 

While this is the case, it is not true that memory foam pillows and mattresses prevent dust mites from living in your bed. Dust mites can still live, eat, and excrete on the surface of your memory foam mattress. And these are the dust mites that you will have the most contact with. 

Before memory foam, the dust mites were able to get inside the mattresses and create a nest there. But the real problem came with bedbugs and other types of bugs living inside the mattress. This is not a problem with memory foam mattresses. 

So even though memory foam mattresses are healthier and cleaner, they still don’t prevent dust mites from living and breeding on the surface of your mattress or pillow. 

Memory Foam: The Cleanest Option


Now that we’ve covered the fact that dust mites can still live on memory foam mattresses, here’s the good news. Memory foam pillows and mattresses are still the cleanest option. The closed cell surface of memory foam that gives it that smooth feel is easy to vacuum and wipe. 

Foam is generally considered to be hypoallergenic and is not the best place for dust mites to live. While they can still live on the surface of the mattress and pillows, the dust mites won’t be able to get inside the foam and make a nest there.

We’ll go over more tips and tricks on how to keep dust mites out of your bedroom later on. For now, let’s talk about keeping your memory foam mattresses and pillows dust mite free. 

An old trick in the book is to sprinkle baking soda onto your mattress and pillows and then vacuum it up. This neutralises the dust mites and all their excrements and prevents them from being thrown into the air when you try to vacuum them. 

Adding a few drops of your favourite essential oil to the mix will make the dust mites stick to the solution before you vacuum it up. It will also leave your mattress and pillows smelling lovely. 

Try lavender for it’s calming properties or rosemary for it’s antimicrobial effects.  

What Are You Sharing Your Bed With? 

Get ready for some facts that will make your skin crawl. Dust mites are technically not insects. They are arachnids. That puts them in the same family as spiders, scorpions, and crabs. 

While you sleep, millions of these little eight legged creatures will crawl over your skin. But they’re not there to cause harm. All they are doing is keeping you clean while you sleep. Is your skin crawling yet? 

Now, before you call the exterminator, keep reading. It is estimated that humans shed about one million skin cells every day. And where do they end up? On the floor, covering the furniture, floating through the air, and yes, in your bed. 

That’s where the mighty dust mite comes in. 

Dust mites feed off the dead skin cells that we all shed millions of every single day. We are practically walking buffets for a family of dust mites. Or, most likely, more than one family. 

So while they might seem gross and, quite frankly, rude, for sleeping in your bed without asking, they are actually there to help. 

But don’t go around inviting all the dust mites over for a meal just yet. For some of us, they can be a problem.

When Dust Mites Are An Unwelcome Guest


For an unfortunate few, you are allergic to dust mites. And you might not even know it. We all know somebody who struggles with allergies. You know the ones. Running nose, watering and itchy eyes, sneezing, coughing, wheezing. And they always say something like “My allergies are acting up again”.

Most of these people believe that they are allergic to dust or pollen. But the truth is that a lot of the time these people are actually allergic to dust mites. More specifically, and more gross, the dust mites excrements. 

Some people are allergic to dust mite poop. 

While these allergies are usually just an annoying inconvenience, it can be serious for people who suffer from asthma or other respiratory diseases. 

If this sounds like you, check in with your health care professional. But first, read the next paragraph about how to keep dust mites out of your bedroom.

Getting Rid Of Dust Mites

The bad news is that you will never be able to completely get rid of dust mites. They are so small that they can slip through air filters or get thrown into the air if you try and vacuum them up. 

Wherever there are skin cells being shed, you can be sure to find dust mites. So, while you won’t be able to get rid of them completely, there are steps you can take to reduce the amount of dust mites in your bedroom. 

First of all, removing carpets, rugs, curtains and anything else that will easily collect dead skin cells will help with keeping the population of dust mites down. 

Second, pets should never go into your bedroom. Dogs and cats also shed skin cells wherever they go. To a dust mite, dead skin is dead skin. It doesn’t matter what animal it comes from. 

Third, keeping the humidity in your home to less than 50% could help dramatically. Dust mites need humidity for their source of water so keeping the humidity down in your home may help in reducing the population of dust mites. A dehumidifier should be on your shopping list as the next appliance you need to buy. 

Fourth, you could cover your pillows and mattress with “mite-proof” cases after washing your linen in hot water. There is some debate about how effective these covers are. Because the dust mites can still thrive on the surface of covers. They don’t have to go inside something to survive. 

These covers can be effective in keeping the population numbers down, but they will never get rid of the dust mites completely. 


At the end of the day, even though it might sound gross and make your skin crawl, dust mites are mostly harmless little critters that live with us everyday. We can’t even see them with the naked eye, so they’re easy to forget about. 

There is no way to completely get rid of dust mites in your bed. But a memory foam mattress is easier to clean and also makes it harder for dust mites to live in your bed.

Niklas Lampi

My name is Niklas and I'm the author and content operator at The Bedding Planet. I've always had a big interest in bedding and more specifically sleep. If I find something that makes me sleep better, whether that's a lifestyle change or a better bedding environment, I'm ready to share it with the world!

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