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Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2011 Sep;22(6):638-41. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3038.2011.01144.x. Epub 2011 Feb 21.

Effect of freezing, hot tumble drying and washing with eucalyptus oil on house dust mites in soft toys.

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1
Changhua Christian Hospital, Changhua City, Taiwan.

Abstract

Soft toys are a major source of house dust mites (HDM) and HDM allergens, and sleeping with soft toys is a significant risk factor for HDM sensitization. We studied three techniques to eliminate HDM from soft toys, namely freezing, hot tumble drying and washing with eucalyptus oil. Thirty-six toys (12 in each treatment group) were enumerated for live HDM by the heat escape method before and after freezing overnight, hot tumble drying for 1 h and washing in 0.2% to 0.4% eucalyptus oil. Freezing, hot tumble drying and washing with eucalyptus oil resulted in significant reductions in live HDM, an average reduction of 95.1%, 89.1% and 95.1%, respectively. Additionally, washing with eucalyptus oil resulted in a significant reduction in HDM allergens as well from a geometric mean of 9.12 μg/g to 0.37 μg/g (p = 0.033). These three HDM elimination techniques give parents of infants effective and acceptable methods of limiting HDM exposure.

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