Do Dust Mite Covers Really Work?
The simplest answer to that question is YES!
The effectiveness of using dust mite covers in reducing dust mite allergens is one of the few things most of the doctors we deal with to agree on. A well-constructed dust mite cover installed on the mattress and pillows will stop the majority of the allergens.
Dust mites are tiny cousins to the spider. You cannot see them. They exist on a diet of shed skin cells. They do not bite. A mattress can have anywhere from a few hundred thousand dust mites to several million living in it. They just dig in and set up house.
Dust mites like dark, warm, and humid environments with a large quantity of shed skin cells. This is a perfect description of your mattress, pillow and other bedding.
The highest concentration of mites in your home will always be in your bedroom.
As you move about during the night, you disturb these tiny microscopic dust mites, their shed shells, and their feces. These particles become airborne. Once airborne, they can be easily inhaled. Each small movement results in an allergen-laden microscopic cloud being formed that rains these allergy-causing particles down on the sleeper.
Keep in mind, a live dust mite is just as bad as a dead one. The dust mite allergens are composed of its feces and body parts. Live one's poop and dead ones fall apart.
If you are not familiar with the term, “dust mite covers” this can be confusing because most people already have some sort of cover on their mattress for protection. A dust mite cover will have the following characteristics:
- A dust mite cover is zippered.
- It will cover the top, bottom and sides of your mattress, box spring, or pillow.
- It will be made of specially designed allergy-blocking fabric.
Also, some times they will be referred to as a “mattress encasement” or “dust mite encasement” or “allergy bed cover”. All dust mite covers and allergy covers are also mattress covers or pillow protectors. Not all mattress covers and pillow protectors are dust mite covers. The fabric, zipper, and construction differentiate the two.
Dust Mite Covers Serve Three Purposes
First: A mattress or pillow that is covered with the specialized dust mite covers keeps the dust mite away from their food source, our dead skin and pet dander. No food means they will end up starving to death. We have had some customers who think this is cruel but I think it’s better they starve than me waking up feeling all stuffed up.
Second: Dust mite covers keep the dust mite allergens, feces and body parts already in the mattress out of the air. Imagine a cloud of microscopic dust mite allergens bursting into the air every time you roll around or sit on the bed. You can’t see this cloud but it is there. Now think about every breath you take and all the dust mite allergens that come with it. Keep the allergens out of the air and you won’t have that problem.
Third: Last but not least, the third purpose is to just keep the mattress and pillows clean. We all sweat and have oils on our skin and that will soak in at some point. Pulling a cover and putting it in the wash is a lot easier and cheaper than buying new stuff.
What Type of Dust Mite Covers are Available?
Allergy covers fall into two major categories: coated fabrics and microfiber fabric. Each type of cover has benefits and weaknesses. The best cover for you depends on your personal needs, preferences, and budget.
Coated Fabrics: Coated fabrics are the oldest type of dust mite covers. Originally, they were just heavy-duty plastic or vinyl. Then, technology advanced and the vinyl was fused with heat to a fabric.
Many of these vinyl-coated covers had heavy vinyl on one side and terry cloth on the other. The terry cloth was sturdy and added some cushioning, but it was just another collector of dust mite allergen. These covers were hot and because they were heavy, it was not easy to get them on and off mattresses.
Improvements in coated fabrics have been tremendous. These days, instead of vinyl the fabrics are coated with thin layers of urethane. The use of urethane in lieu of vinyl makes the covers much more lightweight.
In addition, urethane is water vapor transmissive. This means that moisture does not build up under the sleeper, so they stay cool and comfortable during the night. Coated fabrics are waterproof and tend to be less expensive than the microfiber fabric.
Microfiber Fabrics: Microfiber fabrics get their name from the way the fabric is constructed. Fibers are woven so tightly that the fabric itself creates a barrier cloth. This barrier prevents dust mite allergens from escaping and becoming airborne.
To be an effective dust mite barrier, the space between the woven fibers (referred to as “pore size”) must be 8 microns or less. The most tightly woven fabrics are made from all polyester fibers. The next most tightly woven will be blends of synthetic and natural fibers, such as cotton.
Microfiber covers are not waterproof unless they have received some sort of chemical treatment. They are very thin and lightweight. Because it takes a large amount of raw material to make, these fabrics are more expensive than coated fabrics.
Once the mattress, pillows and box springs have been covered you have eliminated 98% of the problem. The remaining dust mite allergens are controlled by washing the sheets and other bedding regularly in hot water or with products like the DeMite or Allersearch Allergen Wash laundry care products.
The Allergy Store carries a wide selection of dust mite covers for mattresses, box springs, pillow, duvets, comforters, and feather beds. If you have more questions or need help selecting the best cover for your situation, be sure to call Customer Service at 1-800-771-2246 for expert advice.
Wishing you the best of health
The Allergy Store