|What are dust mites?
They may look like tiny insects, but these microscopic,
eight-legged arachnids are actually related to spiders. D farinae, more
commonly known as "dust mites," are too small to be seen with the human eye. They flourish in warm,
humid environments, like your bed, where moisture and food is abundant, namely, your body moisture and
dead skin cells. With a ready food source and a comfortable home, dust mites are now
ready to increase, very rapidly. Each egg-laying female can increase the population by 25 or
30 mites a week, and depending on its age, your bed can quickly house
between one and ten million dust mites. During its 80 day lifespan, the
average dust mite produces around 1,000 allergenic waste particles. Prolific and widespread,
there's little question as to why the dust mite allergen is the number one cause of year-round allergic rhinitis.
How do I know if I have a dust mite problem?
The dust mite allergen can
cause a fairly wide variety of symptoms. From sneezing, itchy/watery eyes, nasal congestion, and runny nose to
stuffy ears, respiratory problems, atopic dermatitis, and wheezing (in asthmatics), the symptoms of a reaction to dust mites is a mostly mild but
serious nuisance that can cause restless sleep every single night. Of these symptoms, those with allergies commonly experience morning time symptoms
of congestion, coughing, runny nose, or itchy eyes. For asthmatics, the symptoms are often a dry cough or wheezing at night. If
you think you may have a dust mite problem, you should consult with a board certified allergist or ENT. They can combine your medical history with
your family's medical history (conditions are often genetic) and sensitivity tests to determine whether or not you are allergic to these tiny creatures.
What is allergy bedding?
It's worth mentioning, that you cannot see dust mites. Nor do they bite. If you see insects or are experiencing bites on you skin, it is another insect, but
NOT a dust mite.
Allergy bedding covers (also
referred to as dust mite bedding or dust mite covers) are
specifically designed to prevent dust mites and other allergens from
infesting your bed. The only way to eliminate dust mites or reduce your reactions to them is to cut
off their source of food (your dead skin cells) by setting up a
barrier between yourself and the dust mites. Allergy bedding
encases your entire mattress, pillow, box spring, or comforter and provides that necessary physical barrier. Not only can it keep
new mites out but it seals existing mites in, so even if your mattress is several years old, you can likely benefit from the use of
allergy bedding covers. It's important to remember, allergy covers are NOT sheets. A true dust mite cover has a zipper, is constructed
from tightly woven fabrics, and completely encompasses your pillow or mattress - top, bottom, and sides.
Will allergy bedding cure my allergies?
For both of our sakes, we wish! No, allergy bedding won't cure your allergies or asthma, nor will it make all your symptoms disappear. Allergy bedding
covers are very important tool and effective way to help to reduce reactions and keep you sleeping better through the night and waking more rested. With no cure for
allergies or asthma, these covers are an important part of controlling your indoor environment and limiting exposure to allergens when you are often your most vulnerable - while
you sleep. When combined with regular cleaning and dusting, they can make a big difference in how you feel in the morning and how well you sleep at night. So while they are not a cure,
for hundreds of thousands of people each year, they make a big difference.
How does allergy bedding help?
Dust mites and other common household allergens are so tiny that they easily
slip through the pores of regular bedding. Fabrics have microscopic (and some not so microscopic!) pores or spaces between the
individual threads of normal bedding fabrics. They are essentially a sieve, and not a very good one when it comes to allergens.
Allergy bedding, on the other hand, is woven much more tightly so that
the pores are too small for dust mites and other allergens to penetrate. Cut off from their food supply, dust mites soon die. Sealed away by a
cover, existing dust mites and their allergens are trapped in your mattress or pillow, unable to escape into the air you
breathe while you sleep at night. Best of all,
you can continue to use all your favorite decorative sheets and
pillow cases since dust mite covers are a protective layer that sits between
the bedding and the sheet/pillowcase. Wash the covers in hot water or dried on
high heat, as needed to keep them free
of dust mites and remove any allergens that may settle on top of them.
How large is dust mite allergen?
The dust mite allergen averages around 10 microns in diameter with dust mites themselves being
much larger. One
micron is 1/25,000 of an inch. To give you an idea of how small this
is, dust mites are around 300 microns, and a grain of sand can be
over 800 microns! Therefore, in order to effectively block dust mite
allergens, the pore size of allergy bedding must be smaller
than the allergen - 10 microns. Allergy Armor
Ultra has the smallest average pore size in the industry at 2.8
microns. This fabric offers the absolute best protection against allergens while retaining a cool,
comfortable feel. Best of all, it's made right here in the USA and comes with a LIFETIME WARRANTY.
Allergy Armor Cotton has an average pore size of
3.9 microns, while Allergy Armor Organic cotton covers have an
average pore size of 4.7 microns. All of these fabrics offer effective protection against dust mites.
Allergy Armor Classic and Allergy Armor Bed Bug offer excellent
protection as well; instead of small pores, they have a stretch-knit polyester shell with a urethane lining that makes them
impervious to dust mites as well as water resistant.
Does allergy bedding block out other allergens besides dust mites?
allergy relief bedding also blocks out other allergens like
mold spores and pollen, and with an average pore size of 2.8 microns,
Allergy Armor Ultra blocks out even the smallest allergens like cat
dander. While dust mite allergen averages around 10 microns, pet
dander, specifically cat dander, is often smaller than 5 microns. Allergy Armor Ultra also has a special
antimicrobial finish that provides permanent protection against
mold, mildew, soiling agents, stains, and deterioration. Look for the icons associated with each fabric type to get a better idea of which
fabrics block which common allergens.
What are the advantages of allergy bedding?
Over 50 million people in the United States alone suffer from allergies, and of
those 50 million people, nearly 70% are allergic to dust mites. This is most common with children, but millions of adults also
struggle with dust mite allergies. Allergy
relief bedding is the first line of defense against allergies. A
Johns Hopkins University study showed that "mite population and
allergen levels decreased by 90% or more within a month of placing
mattress and pillow covers and treating bedding." If you decrease
your exposure to allergens, then you will breathe easier, sleep more
soundly, and feel better. It's that simple! Even if you don't have
allergies, you'll rest easier knowing that you're not living in a
miniature ecosystem of microorganisms. Lastly, allergy bedding
will also protect your mattress and add years to its lifespan.
What type of fabric is allergy bedding?
The type of fabric depends on the type of Allergy Armor bedding
that you need. Our highest quality choice for allergy bedding,
Allergy Armor Ultra, is made from microfiber polyester fabric; it
is the softest, coolest, and longest lasting type of fabric.
Allergy Armor Cotton fabric is a breathable membrane-free
cotton/polyester blend. The durability is a little less, but so is the price.
Allergy Armor Classic and Bed Bug fabrics are a stretch-knit polyester
with an inner urethane membrane which makes the fabric somewhat elastic, stretchable, and water resistant but slightly louder
and warm for some sleepers. Being water resistant does, however, make it a great option for children. We also offer
an organic cotton variety that provides the same protection but made from a certified organic cotton fabric. Our
Allergy Armor Basic box spring encasings are also a non-woven,
water-resistant fabric made from polypropylene, similar to what reusable totes are made from. Refer to our
Allergy Bedding Buying Guide for a more detailed explanation of the different fabric types.
Is it warm to sleep on?
Allergy bedding has improved
dramatically over the years. Twenty five years ago, all allergy
bedding was hot, noisy, and uncomfortable. Today, thanks to
technological advances, you can buy allergy bedding that
feels just as cool and comfortable as regular sheets. You still may find that cheap allergy bedding, like that found in big box stores
is hot, noisy, and not as durable as that purchased from a more specialized company. Other varieties, though softer to the touch, are made from terry fabric with a urethane lining - again, warmer and not long-lasting, and
lastly, there are still some covers made from plastics.
These types, often mass produced overseas, are many times not even a genuine fabric but instead a rubber/plastic substance
that can be warm, slippery, or noisy to sleep on. As a good rule of thumb, polyester fabrics are the coolest, then cotton, then fabrics with a lining, and
How do I clean it?
Caring for allergy relief
mattress and pillow covers is simple. Most covers can be machine
washed in warm or hot water and gently tumble dried. Others can be wiped
with a wet wash cloth. Never use bleach.
For most people, pillow covers should be washed,
at a minimum, every couple of weeks.
Mattress covers need to be washed only 3 or 4
times per year and periodically, the use of a quality HEPA vacuum cleaner to clean the top of the mattress cover can
help. Washing frequency can vary quite a bit from person to person. Traditional bedding (sheets, pillowcases, etc.) should be washed in hot water every
one to two weeks, and for those with severe allergies, even the covers can be washed this frequently. Visit our
bedding care instructions page for specific
details on how to care for you particular brand of Allergy
Which size should I buy?
It is very important to measure the
depth of your mattress when ordering allergy bedding. Simply
measure your mattress from the bottom to top, seam to seam. Don't
worry if your mattress is thicker in the middle, as our fabrics are
cut to accommodate center bulges or the unevenness that can come with older mattresses. In most fabrics, the sizes we have available
are 9" deep, 12" deep, 15" deep, and 18" deep. For mattresses 9" deep and smaller, order
9" encasings. If there is extra fabric left over, it can be easily
tucked between the mattress and box spring. Since we manufacture the majority of the bedding covers we offer,
custom sizes are also available.
What about an allergy cover for my box spring or comforter?
Box springs can be encased to keep
dust mites and other allergens from penetrating your mattress. Many people skip the box spring cover, and for light and even some dealing with moderate
allergies, this is often fine, but those with the most severe allergies or asthma will want to
take this extra step. To make the process easier, we offer bedding packages that include the mattress cover of your choice, two standard pillow
covers, and a box spring cover. These encasings
work synergistically with mattress encasings to provide maximum
How do the covers work with a mattress pad?
Allergy relief comforter and duvet covers mean
you do not have to throw out your old comforter and purchase a new one. Simply shield
your old comforter with an encasing, and if you like, you can cover
the encasing with a decorative duvet cover. Again, these covers act as that barrier layer between the bedding and the decorative
cover, so each comes with loops and strings to secure the allergy duvet cover to the duvet and the decorative cover.
Many people use a mattress pad for additional softness or support. In terms of the effectiveness of your mattress cover, there are a couple
things to keep in mind. Ideally, you would want the mattress pad to sit atop the mattress then for both pieces to be covered by the mattress cover. Sometimes though,
this isn't possible. All is not lost though. Some mattress pads are naturally dust mite resistant, like those made of natural rubber, latex, and memory foam. For mattress pads made
of these materials, dust mites generally have a more difficult time getting into the material and making a home for themselves. So while it will ALWAYS be ideal to have
the mattress pad covered by the mattress cover, with some types, it's not critical.
When should I replace my mattress?
We recommended that you replace your mattress every 10 years-at
the very least. When you replace your mattress, we recommend that
you switch to a
hypoallergenic mattress. Generally, those made from latex, rubber, or memory foam are going to
far less hospitable to dust mites. In the meantime, you can increase the
lifespan of your current mattress by using a dust mite cover. Since you spend
about a third of your life sleeping, shouldn't you have bedding that
lets you to sleep comfortably and allergy-free?
Why doesn't everybody have allergy bedding?
Most people, even asthmatics and allergy sufferers who are the most severely affected groups, are
unaware of the proliferation of allergens in their bedrooms. They do
not realize that they shed 2-3 pounds of skin per year, while
spending about a third of that year in bed; therefore, they deposit
about a pound of skin directly into their mattress. All of that
dead skin feeds the growing dust mite population living in their
bed. After 10 years, the weight of the average mattress can double due
to dust mite infestation, body moisture, and dead skin cells.
There are also a lot of people who may wake up sneezing in the morning, or
with congestion, needing to blow their nose a couple times first thing, or experiencing other symptoms that are just not connecting
the dots. We are all creatures of habit, and when things like morning symptoms become normalized, if they are not too severe we
simply accept them for what they are. Unfortunately, we sometimes fail to ask ourselves if things could be better.
perceptions of old allergy bedding die hard. While you can certainly find products that are cheap and very much akin to the plastic-like
covers of yesteryear, modern allergy bedding isn't loud, uncomfortable, or hot to sleep on. Still, for many the old stereotypes persist.
Modern allergy bedding provides more protection from allergens, and it is so
comfortable that most people can't even tell that it has been
installed on their mattress.
Where can I buy allergy bedding?
in allergy bedding! You can purchase
dust mite covers right
here on our website.
Am I forgetting anything?
Environmental control and allergy relief isn't a one-size-fits all solution. Different things work for different people, but the fact remains that allergen
avoidance remains the most advised solution to dealing with allergies and asthma. And, allergy bedding covers remain one of the easiest, longest lasting ways
to reduce allergens in a place you need it the most - the bedroom. There are other things beyond bedding that can help. Indoor air quality is a growing
concern, but you can remove allergens from your home's air
with a HEPA air purifier.
Vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters can
remove allergens from your carpet and upholstery, and dehumidifiers also
play an important role in making your home
allergen-free. AchooAllergy.com also sells a wide variety of
products specifically designed to eliminate dust mites and other allergens.