Do Bird Mites Die in the Washing Machine?

Dust, spider, bird; these tiny arachnids mite be a problem in your home. Bird mites are one of the less harmful types of mites for humans but can still be a minor inconvenience and cause itchiness and possibly a poor night’s sleep.

Key Points:

  • Bird mites can be a nuisance and cause itchiness and poor sleep, but they can be eliminated by washing clothes and bedding in hot water.
  • Bird mites are brought into homes by birds or by people who work or play around areas where birds are active.
  • Heat from a dryer can also kill bird mites and prevent future infestations.

Luckily bird mite infestations don’t just happen. Unlike dust mites and spider mites that will show up indoors no matter what, bird mites have to be brought inside, and in most cases, a fowl is to blame. 

There are obvious ways to get rid of bird mite infestations, like using diatomaceous earth or chemical exposure to insecticides, but are there simpler and clean ways to dispose of these pests?

Will simply tossing infested clothes and bedding in water be enough to kill these pests, or does it need to be in warm water?

Find out how to kill bird mites in the washing machine in the article below. 

Can You Kill Bird Mites in the Washing Machine?

Bird mites prefer living in conditions around 80°F and will die at temperatures lower than 44°F or higher than 135°F. Hot water can reach these temperatures, and a load of laundry done in hot water will wipe out most of the mites inside.

Even though warm water is more effective than cold water but washing alone should wipe out about 60% of the total bird mite population. 

You can also add bleach to the load or use a borax or essential oil-containing laundry detergent to increase the likelihood that all the mites inside will die during the wash cycle. Bed sheets and clothes that were infested with mites can be cleaned and purged of these pests in just one hot soapy load of laundry. 

Even if you have no warm water options on your washer and are out of detergent, you can still drown many of the bird mites in the wash cycle or any tub of water. Agitating the clothes in the washing tubs can push avian mites out of clothing and leave them to perish in uninhabitable conditions.

Once the current mites are dead, you will want to find a pigeon mite repellent or some other solution for avian mite prevention. 

Will a Dryer Kill Bird Mites?

The heat from a dryer will kill all mites and prevent any future mite activity on the dried article of clothing. An infestation of mites can be quickly stepped on using heat, and a dryer is a perfect way to capture and kill these pests.

Stop bird mite bites by throwing your clothes in the dryer when adult bird mites are visible, and wash your skin and hair thoroughly to prevent spreading them around your home. A steam wand or heat gun also be used to treat specific areas like a chicken roosting area or an indoor bird cage. 

What Are Bird Mites and Why Do I Have Them?

Domestic and wild birds can bring mites and other pests into our homes and lead to an infestation of nearly microscopic bugs. Chickens, pigeons, starlings, sparrows, robins, and any other local birds are sure to have some mites crawling around on them.

Not only do the birds themselves have the mites, which encourage grooming and lead to better skin health as well as a constant protein source, but they are likely to be found in nests and places birds frequently go in and out of and scrap against. 

If you play or work around areas where birds nest or are active, like on buildings with pigeons or in the trees with other birds, you may pick up mites on your clothing that can follow you home.

Relocating a bird’s nest is also a sure way to get some mites onto your hands and skin that could present a more significant problem later on. Of course, domestic indoor pet birds are far less likely to be exposed to mites, but nevertheless, if they are exposed, an infestation is likely, and you will need to deal with it right away. 

Places Bird Mites Live

Bird mites, as the name suggests, primarily live on fowl and will come from the skin of birds into your home or onto your clothing. Once infested, these little mites can cause a world of discomfort and will have you rushing to any solution you can find.

In addition, on the skin and feathers of birds, you may find that these little mites can survive in a host of other locations. See the table below for more information about tiny yet devious bird mites. 

LocationAttractionHow to Prevent
Bird’s Skin and FeathersThe main source of avian mites can lead them to infest your home; the blood of birds is needed for a bird mite colony to grow, with chicken mites being one of the most common places to find an infestation of mitesAnimal keepers can use an anti-parasitic animal shampoo if mite-infested items are found near the birds, and animal pens and cages should be cleaned and dusted with diatomaceous earth
Bird’s NestAn easy source of bird blood and where mites are unlikely to be removed through grooming or dust baths, mites will cause skin irritation as they look for a blood meal and crawl onto bird skin at nightA mite flea killer that is safe for birds and other animals can be used, and so can natural repellents like plants, essential oils, and even types of pepper
Shelters Birds UseWhether in your house or outside, there is a chance that bird mites and their distant cousins, bird lice, will infest even clean houses and areas that birds have rested in or even just passed throughUse a spray bottle with essential oils or a bottle of vinegar to clean the areas birds have been dwelling to make sure all you have mite-free items in your home, like bedding items and clean linens 
Places Birds Congregate Trees, bushes, birdbaths, and other areas where birds assemble for social purposes, including grooming, will spread avian mites around and can cause bird mite allergies to those exposed to themUse a product for mites that is bird-friendly and will get rid of the complaints of mites in areas where birds and people cohabitate 
The Clothes and Bedding of Bird HandlersIf you spend time with birds or in the areas birds live, there is a chance mites will jump onto your clothes and be transferred to your home, causing irritated skin and a bird mite infestationWashing clothing and only wearing clean bedtime clothing into bedding will help keep bird mite activity out of bed; a spray can be used to kill mites on clothing in hampers before mixing in other clothes just use a chemical type that will not leech or harm pets and children

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