Cuddly stuffed animals are the favorite of most children. But when you have dust mites infestation in your home, chances are, these cuddly toys are perfect hiding spots of the microscopic organism. Disposing of the dust mites-filled stuff animals seems to be the easy way out, but that often result in wailing toddlers.
Instead, use these tips to get rid of dust mites in stuffed animals, without causing much misery to your child.
1. Apply Heat
Important: Check out the washing instruction to ensure your soft toy can be washed at high temperatures.
Dust mites are terrified of heat. Anything above 130 Fahrenheit (55 Degrees Celcius) is enough to kill dust mites on in the stuffed animals. There are a few ways to go about killing the dust mites with heat.
The first method involves washing the stuffed animals in a washing machine with temperature control. Turn up the temperature and let the heat kills off dust mites in those cute and cuddly toys. Of course, you may want to place those toys in laundry bags or zipped pillowcase to prevent the soft toys from getting roughed up in the process.
You want to get rid of the dust mites without causing harm to your child’s favorite playmate.
Sometimes, washing stuffed animals is not an option, but if you have a tumble dryer or the washing machine comes with such function, you can turn on the heat and eliminate the dust mites. The stuffed toys won’t get wet while you’re killing the dust mites in the soft toys.
2. Freeze It
Excessive heat may alter the texture of some stuffed toys and you don’t want to upset your child with that. Freezing the stuffed animals is equally effective in killing dust mites. Dust mites have a small temperature tolerance gap and they thrive when the temperature is between 68 – 77 Fahrenheit (20 – 25 degrees Celcius).
To freeze the dust mites to death, you’ll need to place the stuffed animals in the freezer for a couple of days. It may not be hygienic to place the cuddly toys directly into the freezer. Instead, you’ll want to put the toys into a sealed freezer bag before placing it into the frozen compartment.
3. Use Baking Soda, Vinegar & Essential Oil
If you don’t want to go to the extreme of temperatures in killing dust mites, there are some natural remedies you can count on. However, you’ll want to do so with care as mixing the wrong combination of solutions can produce disastrous results.
Baking soda, vinegar and certain types of essential oils are known to be effective in killing dust mites. However, mixing baking soda and vinegar will trigger chemical reactions due to the base nature of baking soda and the acidic properties of vinegar.
It isn’t a bright idea to mix baking soda and vinegar to kill dust mites if you don’t know what you’re doing.
However, you can use baking soda OR vinegar with essential oils like eucalyptus or clove oil to kill dust mites. Mix them with some warm water in a spray bottle and spray the solution on the stuffed animals.
Use a clean cloth to wipe the mixture off after letting it soak for a while.
If you want to skip the hassle of mixing your own dust mite killing solution, check out these natural dust mite sprays. They are effective and safer than chemical-based disinfectants or repellants.
4. Use A Vacuum Cleaner
While heat and freezing kill dust mites, you’ll still need to keep the stuffed toys free from dust. The next time you vacuum your home, you’ll want to pay attention to the stuffed animals. Use the appropriate brush on the hose and vacuum the stuffed toys.
Doing so helps to remove dust mites and their fecal pellets from the furry material. Also, it’s important that you’re using a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner as it traps the dust mites securely in the vacuum.
5. Sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth is fossils of aquatic organisms that have a high concentration of silica. They appear in powdery form and is known to be effective in killing dust mites. Diatomaceous earth breaks the exoskeleton of dust mites and absorbs the moisture from its body, thus killing the microscopic organisms.
It’s easy to use diatomaceous earth on the stuffed animals. Just sprinkle the powder on the toys and leave it for a couple of hours. Then, use a vacuum cleaner to remove the diatomaceous powder from the stuffed toys.
Remember to use food grade diatomaceous earth as it doesn’t cause harm when exposed to humans. Avoid filter grade diatomaceous earth as it is meant for industrial applications and can be harmful to people.
Battling dust mites is an on-going effort and eliminating the pests in stuffed animals is only part of a greater strategy. You’ll want to step up the cleaning routine in your home and ensure the environment is not conducive to dust mites.
Nevertheless, I hope you find this guide helps in keeping your child’s cuddly soft toys safe from being the breeding spots for dust mites.