How to get rid of dust mites on stuffed toys

by Katrina - The Organised Housewife

Dust mites can make kids miserable! Do you know how to get rid of dust mites on stuffed animals so kids can breathe a bit easier? 

When my children were young, I had my son and daughter allergy tested and both tests came back positive to an allergy to dust mites.  Dust mite allergy is one of the most common allergies, and I’m sure most people don’t realise this could be the reason behind a lot of sinus or hay fever symptoms.  The symptoms presented in each of my children were quite different. My daughter would always rub her eyes which then ended up causing eczema around that area. My son had dark circles under his eyes and a constant running nose, causing fluid in his ears which reduced his ability to hear properly. I was quite shocked when the doctor told me they were both allergic to dust mites as I have always kept the house clean and tidy. 

Dust mites like to hide in the following:

  • Soft teddies
  • Doonas/Quilts
  • Sheet
  • Mattress
  • Pillows
  • Curtains
  • Carpet
  • Sheepskin / woollen underlays
  • Furniture and Clothes

My challenging task was to clean and declutter soft teddies.  This was so sad because my kids were really attached to sleeping/playing with their teddies and stuffed animals. I allowed them to keep one teddy to sleep with, but I needed to wash it every week when I washed their sheets. 

Here is how I washed my kids’ stuffed animals and teddies:

  • I put the teddies and stuffed animals into a lingerie bag.
  • Add 4-6 drops of tea tree essential oil in a hot wash cycle with my regular detergent.
  • Reshape them if they have gotten squashed in the wash.
  • Either hang them by the ears to dry or lay them flat to dry.
  • Give them a little dry brush to get them looking fluffy again. 

We have kept the teddies which are most special to them and gave the rest to charity. Not all charities will take used stuffed toys so if they are in good condition, you can always take them to a women’s shelter for the kids. 

What do you do with the excess of kids stuffed animals at home? 

Dusting isn’t one of my favourite cleaning tasks but it’s now the kids are older because there aren’t toys around the house. I like to keep my benches, tv units and tables clear of ‘stuff’ so dust doesn’t have a chance to build up. If you’re looking at re-flooring, hardwood floors or tiles are better than carpet in my experience. I have blinds instead heavy curtains and I air out all our pillows and doonas on a regular basis. A good vacuum with a hepa filter is great for combating dust mites too.

How do you keep on top of dusting at home?

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30 comments

Rebecca February 16, 2011 - 1:05 AM

Did you know that freezing toys for a few hours (I usually do it overnight) wrapped in a pillow case and then into the sun will also kill dustmites. This is something I do for the favourites that are delicate!

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Anne February 16, 2011 - 1:37 AM

Gosh. My kids (and my husband more so) are so attached to their soft toys. I hate them and believe they're just clutter and taking up too much storage space. Both kids have 2 or 3 absolute favourites but I'd love to get rid of the rest. Any ideas on how to approach this? I think my husband would be more devastated than the kids.

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Maia January 7, 2016 - 7:23 AM

I have vac packed ours written kids name on they can decide what’s important to keep later

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Giovanna February 16, 2011 - 2:49 AM

I discovered Bosito's EucoFresh last year and love it. I also vaccum the boys' mattresses every now and again too. Didn't know about the freebies. Thanks Katrina.

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TJ February 16, 2011 - 3:03 AM

Which charities take soft toys? I've tried in the past, offering kids toys and books to Vinnies but they said they won't take them because they don't sell, and in the case of soft toys, can cause a health risk. I found this strange as I'm not interested in what money they can make out of my hand-me-down toys – I just want them to go to kids who don't have anything.

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Kylie April 9, 2021 - 10:33 AM

Hi TJ
Have you tried a woman shelter. My son wanted to donate some toys and I thought of the shelter in my area. They were so glad to have them.
Kylie

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Alicia Ilievski February 16, 2011 - 3:08 AM

I am going to struggle with this a little. Did a cull just before Christmas and still have HEAPS. Id say we donated half.

The dust thing might just be enough to get me accross the line.

Am not making any promises (LOL addicted to STUFF!) but will certainly revise the collection we still have. To halve again would probably still be more than plenty. Ill give it a shake and let you know how I get on. -Hope that makes me accountable enough.

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Joelene Accatino February 16, 2011 - 8:01 PM

Wow. I was given heaps and heaps of soft toys for the birth of my baby boy. Not sure I can part with them just yet as he is only 5 and a half months. May need to do something when it gets close to his first birthday. May look at some toys (gadgets) that my husband and I have lying around that we don't need instead.

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Natalie February 17, 2011 - 9:43 PM

I have done this part of my declutter several times – but there's always an excuse for some more teddies to go to a new home!

My eldest daughter's other nanna thought that new born babies needed one of every "cute" (subject to opinion!!) teddy, softy and THING in every shop, and she HAD to have them as soon as she was one day old. I even had to smuggle a 4' high teddy bear out of the house one year because it took up space and gave my daughter nightmares! I have now got her down to just a few special ones. (Now that's a long term de-clutter!)

My toddler loves dollies so we have three special softies plus her dolly collection, and I have bagged up all the softies she never plays with (some of which were almost brand new) and given them to friends to take to this year's M.R.A toy run.

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anonymous May 23, 2012 - 7:21 AM

Approximately 18 months’ ago, my household disposed of fourteen tea chest size boxes and one wool bale bag full of soft toys. 

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SB May 30, 2012 - 7:50 AM

 Like everyone else, my son received about 20 stuffed toys when he was born.  While I think it’s lovely that people thought of him and bought him a gift, I now have a massive pile that is taking up space in his bedroom (and collecting dust!).  He is almost 1, so I think I’m prepared to part with some of them now.  Can anyone recommend a good place to donate them to?

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SB May 30, 2012 - 7:50 AM

 Like everyone else, my son received about 20 stuffed toys when he was born.  While I think it’s lovely that people thought of him and bought him a gift, I now have a massive pile that is taking up space in his bedroom (and collecting dust!).  He is almost 1, so I think I’m prepared to part with some of them now.  Can anyone recommend a good place to donate them to?

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Erin D May 30, 2012 - 10:49 AM

 lifeline, vinnies and red cross often take them if they’re in good condition, also look into charities that like Salvation Army etc!

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Di Heath Norwex Consultant May 30, 2012 - 9:47 AM

Hi Katrina, you might be interested in a naturalproduct that Norwex sells too, called Mattress Cleaner.  It is a spray that you can use on any soft furnishings, toys, bedding, carpets etc.  Lots of people have had great results with the reduction of dust mite allergies when they use the spray, and you only need to treat the items every 3-4 months.  If you are interested in a bit more info, visit my facebook page where in the notes section you will find some more information about it 🙂

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Di Heath Norwex Consultant May 30, 2012 - 9:49 AM

my facebook page website address might be useful!! http://www.fb.com/ezyclean

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Cindy May 31, 2012 - 10:30 AM

Thanks for the information.

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Kellysfushnchups June 2, 2012 - 2:22 PM

I’m 26 and still have a box full of soft toys from my childhood, being an only child i am still quite attached to them and not sure i can part with them, but i am careful not to do the same to my kids, they only have a couple of special ones and a couple of extra ones and i ask friends and family not to buy them. i buy them books instead as they are easier to pass on when the kids have grown out of them, again keeping a couple of special ones to pass down to their kids later. 

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Melodene September 27, 2012 - 7:37 AM

Vac bags age the best you put in your favs and suck all the air out less space used and no dust!

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Ali October 6, 2012 - 6:12 PM

I have two bins of soft toys i my dining room.. and one box in the shed teh kids play with them every now and then and the ones in the box are from my childhood and ones i brought back from england.. they are in a box till kids leave home then they will be displayed in one of the rooms.. so as much as i want to declutter and i know I should get rid of soft toys are my one thing I just can’t do..

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Jeni January 28, 2013 - 3:55 PM

Oh, my kids have some gorgeous teddies, maybe I’ll get rid of the ones I kept for them that were my special teddies when I was a kid… for a start

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tahlia May 29, 2013 - 1:31 PM

is it bad that i have more soft toys then both my kids?

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Amie January 15, 2014 - 8:40 AM

Kat, any tricks to washing the really big stuffed toys that don’t fit into the washing machine? Cheers, Amie

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mumof6 January 15, 2014 - 1:31 PM

I have a small washing machine so I use my bath for large items eg doonas quilts etc. This would work with soft toys as you have lots of room to swish them around and can add softener if there is no problems with alergies.

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natashababie January 15, 2014 - 9:12 AM

Any ideas on how to wash the stuffed teddies that talk. I use to cut the boxes out of them and just wash but one of my girls is in love with this teddy and I can’t mess it up but it is in need of a deep cleaning. I just never feel that their clean with a wiping

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kylie January 15, 2014 - 9:35 AM

wow , fantastic . My 5 year old has terrible allergies , thanks so much I just purchased those products and will def wash all teddies every week , thanks so much

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Kira Greenwell January 15, 2014 - 9:49 AM

My son also is allergic to dust mites. We had him allergy tested because he kept getting a nasty cough and hay fever symptoms. Due to the allergy his soft toy pile has now dwindled to a couple special ones. I also use a bit of clove oil in the wash to stop any mould/bacteria growing on the toys as well.

On a separate note we also went and bought the AllergEnd mattress/pillow/doona cover protectors designed specifically for dust mite allergies. A little bit expensive as an initial cost but we have seen a massive improvement in symptoms and you just pop them in the wash with the sheets – easy peesy!

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Jess January 15, 2014 - 11:23 AM

You really should look into Norwex cleaning supplies. They have a mattress spray that is enzyme based which eats the dust mites. Your kids could keep stuffed animals too!

JessicaHainstock.norwex.biz

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kelliemanning January 26, 2014 - 9:42 PM

Hi. I was reading your post, which I just love, and couldn’t help noticing that your children have one of the same toys as my son, the striped tiger with the belly button button! We recently lost ours on a camping trip and I was wondering if you could help me out with where you got it, as I purchased mine 9 years ago in Europe whilst on a Contiki trip. If not, I would greatly appreciate if you would be able to give me any details off the label so that I might be able to track another one down. He was a particular favourite of my son’s and he is devastated that he’s gone missing. I know this is a bizarre request but I would really appreciate any help you may be able to give me!!

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Jacinta January 7, 2016 - 11:44 AM

Where can you buy this laundry liquid from?

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Kate - Kat's Assistant January 11, 2016 - 11:40 AM

Hi Jacinta, any major supermarket stocks the laundry liquid.

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