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Thread: Mites in cotton fabric

  1. #1
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    Unhappy Mites in cotton fabric

    Is there any one else who has been bitten by mites in cotton fabric? Does anyone have a solution?

  2. #2
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    sounds like the fabric needs to be washed- disinfected- i have been sewing for over 45 years now---and have never had any type of bugs in my fabrics....lucky i guess
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

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    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    i agree that a thorough washing of ALL that fabric is in order. How are you storing your fabric?
    Martina
    Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Fabric!

  4. #4
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Well, the two things I've heard of are putting things in the freezer for a day or two, and putting things in the dryer on high heat. If it were me, I'd do the dryer, then wash on an extended load with water as hot as I dared, then dryer again.

    On the other hand, if I wasn't very attached to the fabric, I'd toss it.

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    I haven't washed my fabric, some is over 20yrs old, but their folded on sturdy metal storage racks.

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    Thanks for your reply.

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    Super Member auntpiggylpn's Avatar
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    Have you narrowed it down to the fact that it is coming from your fabric???? Do you have animals? Could it be fleas?
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    Perhaps the fabric was stored in a warehouse prior to being shipped to the store and they might have gotten into the fabric then. OR fabric is shipped by train car, maybe whatever was in the train car prior to the fabric had mites. Just WAY-OUT-THERE thoughts.
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  9. #9
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    Thats a scary situation... The idea of my fabric having mites!!! I would suggest the dryer as mentioned as the heat will go along way towards getting rid of them.. Do try to determine if its really mites or maybe something else. HAve you seen them , or just have symptoms?

  10. #10
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    no but a friend of mine bought out a storage unit with over 100 boxes of fabric. a couple were all pieced blocks that were beautiful but I think it was very old and not the best farric to begin with. I didnt take any. The smell of mold alone kept me away.

  11. #11
    Super Member Rose_P's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peckish View Post
    Well, the two things I've heard of are putting things in the freezer for a day or two, and putting things in the dryer on high heat. If it were me, I'd do the dryer, then wash on an extended load with water as hot as I dared, then dryer again.

    On the other hand, if I wasn't very attached to the fabric, I'd toss it.
    Sorry, I have to take issue with the idea of putting anything that isn't clean into the dryer. We don't know what it might take to kill these critters or their eggs. I'd go with washing them first. Also, I'd probably wash all the fabric stored anywhere near the one that's found to have "wildlife". There's no way to know how they got there or how mobile they might be. Probably, the whole area needs to be cleared of fabric and then fumigated before clean fabric is put back in there.

    The freezer would make a lot of cold blooded animals go dormant, but in many cases would not kill them.

    Maybe a good first step would be to try to get a picture of the mites and visit a site that has experts who might be able to identify exactly what they are. Here's one that is very active: http://bugguide.net/node/view/15740 If they can tell you what it is exactly, they can probably give more information about the best way to get rid of it.

    Good luck!

  12. #12
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Seems to me the mites either came from somewhere else in your house (via bird or mouse) or came in on the fabric. Biting mites are mostly animal hosted, not vegetable (i.e., cotton) hosted. They don't live in fabric...they need blood to survive.
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    Mites are in everything that has dust in it, that's why they're called "dust mites", and I believe they eat the dust, which is actually dead skin cells from the people and animals living there. They get into carpeting, pillows, stuffed toys, etc., and can even get into your mattress. That's why it's good to use a mite cover over your mattress and bed pillows, and vacuum them with the hose often. Washing in hot soapy water kills them, I believe, as does storage in the freezer overnight. In fact, it is recommended that stuffed animals get the freezer treatment periodically.

  14. #14
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JustAbitCrazy View Post
    Mites are in everything that has dust in it, that's why they're called "dust mites", and I believe they eat the dust, which is actually dead skin cells from the people and animals living there.
    While dust mites can add to respiratory problems, they do not bite or cause skin irritation in any way. The OP was asking about biting mites.
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    Do you remember years and more years ago when we would walk into a fabric store and your eyes would burn and water. I always thought it was fabric dye, however that maybe why there were no mites there.

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    Super Member katesnanna's Avatar
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    In over 50 years of sewing I have never had this problem. I have had strong chemical odor a few times but a couple of days in the fresh air and sunshine and it is gone. I did have a fabric that smelled very strongly of machine oil even though there was no sign of it.
    Is it just one piece of fabric . If it is all fabrics in your stash try airing it other wise the only solution I can think of is washing but if you have a large stash that could be out of the question. If it is just one fabric contact the store you bought it from and ask if anyone else has had the problem.

  17. #17
    Super Member Latrinka's Avatar
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    Can't help you there, luckily never had that problem. Good luck getting rid of em!
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    Quote Originally Posted by ckcowl View Post
    sounds like the fabric needs to be washed- disinfected- i have been sewing for over 45 years now---and have never had any type of bugs in my fabrics....lucky i guess
    May I add that I don't prewash either....I also have dogs and have never had a problem with "bugs"

  19. #19
    Super Member mom-6's Avatar
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    I would guess that some sort of 'critter' got into that piece of fabric and left you a present! I've had it happen when field mice came in (through the dryer vent??) and decided that my linen drawer was a perfect nesting spot. Not only did they leave a mess and damage some of my tablecloths, they brought in the little mites as well.

    I washed everything in hot water and the whites in bleach, then dried on the highest setting on my dryer. Took care of it, except for the holes in my crocheted tablecloth. Haven't repaired them yet, and its looking like I may not since it has been several years already. LOL!

    Hot water, bleach and a hot dryer should take care of your problem.
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  20. #20
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    No matter where I get my fabrics from, I ALWAYS wash, then iron with the hottest setting - I'm so OCD about bugs!!

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    I would seal it up in a garbage bag and leave it out in the hot sun for a few days before washing. The heat will kill anything so it cannot spread to other things in your home. i do this with DH hunting clothes when he comes home jst in case a few ticks have traveled home unseen in his clothing

  22. #22
    Super Member Greenheron's Avatar
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    Are they the little red spider mites?

    http://buginfo.com/article.cfm?id=37 Has information about a number of mites, some just a nuisance and some that bite.
    Last edited by Greenheron; 07-02-2012 at 06:48 AM.

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    Thinking simply washing them in soap and water is the answer. I have never heard of mites in fabric.

  24. #24
    Super Member Greenheron's Avatar
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    Like mom-6 said, mice carry mites, so do birds (chickens) and can be the source of infestation. If you just purchased the cloth, go back to the seller. If you've had it a while, check the storage area. Pest experts say you should identify the kind of pest to choose the best control. I haven't had mites but have had baby spiders hatch a la Charlotte's Web.

  25. #25
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    Thanks for all the input, I live in a very dry climate and it seems that the only time I get bitten is in the summer, when its warm in the room, been to a couple of dermatologist and biopsy showed it "looks like insect bites" another Dr. said I was allergic to cotton. I'm not happy with this situation and just wondered if anyone else had this problem, so I'll continue my search.

    Thanks!

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