Chiggers are small bugs that have red bodies and primarily live in forests. Whether you take a long hike through the woods or spend some time with your pet outside, you risk bringing home chiggers. You’ll want to get rid of them as soon as possible and learn some good chigger in-house remedies. Here’s how to get rid of chiggers in your home.
Chiggers are small parasitic bugs that bite. Here’s how to get rid of chiggers in your home. These fast methods will kill and repel chiggers from your house in no time.
Do you know the difference? Chiggers vs Jiggers
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4 Natural Remedies for Chiggers in House
Here are four natural ways to get rid of chiggers in your home. Because of the nature of chigger bugs, you’ll want to use a few of these methods.
1. Soap and Water
One of the easiest ways to get rid of chiggers is with a combo of soap and water. As soon as you spot these bugs, toss your clothing in the washer with a little soap and run at least one cycle.
You’ll also want to wash any clothing that your pets wear and their bedding. Keep in mind that chiggers can feed off you and fall on the ground.
They will then look for another food source and can attack other people in your home or your pets.
Chiggers cannot permanently live in furniture such as your bed or couch because they need a regular food source.
2. Vacuum Them Up
You should also reach for your vacuum because chiggers can hide in hard-to-reach spots around your home. Use the vacuum on upholstered furniture such as couches and chairs.
Though you might think that you’ll see chiggers on the top of your furniture, they can easily hide in places you cannot see. Vacuum under your bed and around the box spring if you have one as well as your mattress.
You can then hit the baseboards and any gaps or corners that you see. Don’t forget about carpets and rugs either.
Always carry the vacuum outside to empty it. When you empty the canister inside, you risk some of the living chiggers escaping and roaming around your house.
In our house, we have two cats and a dog. To keep pet hair and any possible mites and chiggers under control, we bought the Dyson V11 cordless vacuum.
Yes, it was a little expensive. But it takes care of pet hair better than any vacuum we’ve ever seen. And it’s cordless. And it wall mounts. And it’s easy to empty. (For us, it’s the best vacuum we’ve ever owned.)
3. Vinegar and Peppermint Oil
Another natural remedy is a combo of distilled white vinegar and peppermint oil. Apple cider vinegar works just as well.
Fill a spray bottle with the vinegar you prefer and spray it around your home.
Vinegar is safe to use on most hard surfaces and won’t damage those areas. If you are uncertain about a certain wood finish, or other material, it’s always best to spot test on an inconspicuous area.
You should then go over those areas with a spray made from 15 to 20 drops of peppermint oil in a spray bottle filled with water.
Once you spray the vinegar and oil, use a disinfectant cloth to wipe it off. Though both of these will kill chiggers, the combo is more effective.
4. Diatomaceous earth
Diatomaceous earth also works well on chiggers. This is a natural product made from the fossilized remains of tiny, aquatic organisms called diatoms.
Each piece has sharp edges that are invisible to the naked eye. You can lay it anywhere you see chiggers and anywhere you think they might live. The sharp edges stab into the chiggers and cause them to die from starvation and/or dehydration.
One of the best things about diatomaceous earth is that it will not affect any pets in your house. It’s also safe to use if you have kids.
3 Other Ways to Get Rid of House Triggers
Lysol is another useful tool to battle chiggers in your home. Originally only available as a disinfectant spray, Lysol now comes in a wipe form.
With the spray, you can choose the standard spray or a scented spray. Spraying it around your home will kill most of the chiggers.
If you choose the wipes, focus on the hard surfaces and spots where you saw chiggers. These wipes are safe to use in most areas of your home and sanitize your surfaces to keep them free of chiggers as well as germs.
Bifenthrin is one of the top ingredients found in pesticides that work on chiggers.
Sprays are easy to use because you simply apply the spray wherever you worry about the bugs.
This 7.9% bifenthrin concentrate spray is a popular option for indoor and outdoor applications.
You’ll also find this chemical used in powders that you sprinkle on your carpets and furniture. Always follow the instructions on the package.
If you have kids or pets, try vacuuming your home at least once a week after using the powder before putting down a new layer.
3. Permethrin and Deet Sprays
There are also several chemical sprays that you can use on your body. These sprays repel chiggers and both keep them from biting you and stop them from hanging onto your clothing. This reduces the risk that you might bring inside some chiggers.
- Permethrin sprays are among the best. You can safely use this spray all over your clothing to kill the bugs.
- DEET sprays also work well on chiggers, but some prefer using this spray on adults rather than kids.
You can also create a natural spray that uses eucalyptus oil or lemon oil and water.
While this mixture repels chiggers and will keep them from hanging onto you, it does not kill the bugs the way that chemical sprays do.
Where do Chiggers Come From?
A big question likely on your mind is where chiggers come from or how they get into your home.
They will cling to your clothing and shoes. You’ll usually find them around your ankles and knees.
If you have pets, your animals can bring chiggers inside, too. Chiggers only feed off you and your pets for just 1-2 days.
How to Prevent Chiggers Around the House
If you want to get rid of chiggers inside your home, you may want to start outside.
When you chigger proof your yard, you create an environment that chiggers hate.
Take the time to trim any plants you have outside and mow your lawn. Not only will this make your yard look better, but it limits the places where chiggers can hide.
Make sure that you cut back any bushes and mow the lawn that is close to your foundation. As those areas become overgrown, they become more hospitable to chiggers.
As chiggers prefer moist areas, getting rid of any damp spots outside can also help.
You may need a retaining wall or a ditch that helps the water from rain and snow melt to flow away from your home.
If you have a lot of weeds in your yard, it’s a clear sign that your yard is too moist and a haven for chiggers. Many find it helpful to turn off their sprinkler systems for a while to help dry things out.
You can also use both diatomaceous earth and peppermint oil outside.
- Apply a light sprinkle of diatomaceous earth around your home’s foundation and beneath plants and shrubs. When chiggers try to hide in those spots, the diatomaceous earth will kill them.
- Follow up with a mixture of peppermint oil and water that you spray outside.
Citronella oil also works to repel and kill chiggers. There are even some sprays that use citronella oil that you can use right on your skin and clothing to prevent chigger bites.
More reading: Do Fleas Have Wings?
Take Care of Chiggers
Don’t spend hours worrying about bringing home chiggers. There are some simple methods that kill chiggers on the spot. Both natural and chemical remedies such as peppermint oil and insecticides will get rid of chiggers in your home.
- About the Author
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Dena Haines is a co-founder and writer at The Buginator. And is working to make it the best resource for taking back the outdoors from biting, stinging pests.
She also blogs about travel at Storyteller.Travel and photography at Storyteller Tech. Dena is a partner at Storyteller Media, a publishing company she runs with her husband, Bryan.