The zippered microfiber covers for pillows, mattresses, and comforters form a barrier that dust mites and other allergens cannot penetrate.
Allergy Armor is the best option for allergy sufferers, says McDonald, because of the high-tech weaving technology behind it. In the past, allergy bedding was made with a plastic membrane, which made the fabrics hot and noisy. Allergy Armor, on the other hand, is membrane-free and relies on an extremely tight weave to close the microscopic gaps between threads, thereby blocking allergens.
According to McDonald, Allergy Armor bedding is imperceptible beneath regular sheets and dozens of
customer reviews at
AchooAllergy.com back him up.
"They're not garbage bags. That type of technology is older than I am," jokes McDonald, who is 34.
AchooAllergy.com still sells one style of membrane fabric Allergy Armor Classic, because many parents appreciate the fact that the thin urethane membrane makes the fabric water-proof.
"But it's just not very comfortable," admits McDonald, "especially for hot sleepers."
In 2007, Allergy Armor Ultra hit the market, taking the weaving process one step further. The Ultra fabric is "calendared" to create the smallest average pore size in the industry.
Neil Blanton, Research & Development Technical Manager at Precision Fabrics Group in Greensboro, NC, oversees the calendaring of Allergy Armor Ultra. He explains, "It's sort of like one of those asphalt machines they use when they resurface a road - a big roller that's hot that weighs a lot, that compacts the asphalt down to make it dense. Except here, we are using two rolls and the asphalt is the fabric. This helps make voids in the fabric close up to reduce the pore size even more."
In June 2007, Women's Health magazine recommended Allergy Armor Ultra, reporting that the encasings "feel smooth, not stiff, and they're better than anything else on the market at keeping mites out."
Soon after the glowing review in Women's Health, two major pharmaceutical companies called upon McDonald to supply Allergy Armor pillow covers as promotional items in marketing campaigns for new allergy medications.
Building on the growing momentum of the brand, earlier this month McDonald introduced the newest additions to the Allergy Armor line: Allergy Armor pillows and blankets.
The new pillows are wrapped in Allergy Armor Ultra, so there's no need for a separate pillow cover, and they're filled with hypoallergenic synthetic down.
McDonald partnered with PolartecŪ, the world's leading manufacturer of synthetic fleece to create the Allergy Armor blanket. The blanket is extremely plush and soft, yet durable enough to stand up to repeated washings.
"From talking with our customers over the years, it seems like most allergy sufferers neglect their blanket. They don't wash it often enough, and we want to address that problem. After extensive testing, we found that the PolartecŪ fabric makes the ideal blanket for allergy sufferers. It's very durable and comes with a lifetime warranty, and it has an antimicrobial finish that prevents mold and bacteria growth."
McDonald has plans to develop an Allergy Armor comforter in the future, too. He is confident that, in time, Allergy Armor will take its place as the nation's leading brand of allergy bedding. And he doesn't seem to be concerned about competitors like CleanRestŪ.
"CleanRestŪ encasings have been getting a lot of coverage in the mainstream media lately," says McDonald, "but if you compare the two products side-by-side and actually feel the fabrics, it's a no-brainer. CleanRestŪ encasings still rely on a membrane to block allergens."
Indeed, a customer review for CleanRestŪ at Amazon.com states that "it is a little 'crunchy' and you can definitely tell that the cover is there especially when you roll around or move on the mattress."
While CleanRestŪ is available at Bed Bath & Beyond and select Target stores, McDonald says, "You won't find Allergy Armor in big box stores. We want to hold the brand close to maintain total control over the quality, from manufacturing, cutting, and sewing, all the way to distribution to our customers. Unlike CleanRestŪ, Allergy Armor is made in the USA, close to home, and that shows in the quality of the final product."
"But we're not fighting a war against our competitors," explains McDonald. "What we're really combating is a low rate of compliance among allergy sufferers. We work with thousands of physicians across the nation who highly recommend dust mite bedding to their patients, but most patients don't comply. Why is that?
"Many people still think of allergy relief bedding as those hot, crinkly garbage bags of the past - and that's still what you'll get today if your purchase from mass merchants. We're working hard to change that perception and let people know that allergy relief bedding doesn't have to be uncomfortable."
McDonald founded AchooAllergy.com in 2000 as a one-stop shop for allergy sufferers. The company specializes in allergy relief bedding, but they also sell air purifiers, HEPA vacuum cleaners, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, sinus care products, and more.
"We pride ourselves on not only selling reasonably priced, premium products, but also providing educational resources for people who suffer from allergies and asthma," says McDonald. "We have a comprehensive learning center at
AchooAllergy.com, and we also distribute our newsletter Allergy Consumer Report to over 50,000 subscribers each month."
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