Eucalyptus oil can be formulated with a kitchen detergent concentrate to form an inexpensive acaricidal wash that reduces the number of live mites found in blankets during normal machine washing (Tovey & McDonald 1997). When compared with detergent concentrate alone, a 30-minute pre-wash soak of woollen blankets with the eucalyptus oil/detergent formula reduced the number of live mites that could be recovered by 97%. This eliminates the need for very hot water and may maintain low allergen levels in bedding for longer than normal laundering alone because mites are adversely affected by low concentrations of eucalyptus oil vapour, which lingers for 2-3 days. In this study, the dishwashing liquid detergent concentrate (Kit, L&K, Rexona, Sydney, Australia) was used to form an emulsion in water because the essential oil is not soluble in water.
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