If you are diagnosed with dust mite allergies, the doctor will tell you to encase your bed in special dust mite proof covers. That’s great advice. But, it isn’t all the information you need to make an informed buying decision.
That’s because we field lots of calls from people that want to know about pore sizes, microfibers, and laminated or coated allergy-proof bedding. They are confused and looking for answers. We’re here to help.
The Role of Allergy Proof Bedding in Keeping Allergens at Bay
The doctor tells you to use the bedding because it protects you from allergens that are too small to be seen. Dust mites, dust mite feces, bits of pollen and animal allergens collect in and on fiber surfaces. Your mattress, pillows, duvet or comforter are all places for allergens to collect.
Allergy proof bedding puts a barrier between you and the allergens. If you can’t breathe the allergen, it won’t make you sick. BTW, if you are worried about dust mites biting you, don't be. Dust mites can't bite because they don't have a mouth.
As long as you wash your sheets every 7 days in 140ºF water, allergens won’t build up too much The special zippered covers and the hot water washing keep the allergens at bay.
What Makes Bedding Allergy-Proof?
So, now we understand why we need it, what is it that makes bedding allergy-proof?
There are two ways to approach making a fabric allergy-proof: laminate it or weave it tightly.
Laminated fabrics are just a traditional bed linen fabric that has been bonded to a material that makes the fabric impenetrable to allergens. These fabrics can be cotton, synthetic, or a blend of the two.
It’s not the fabric that is allergy-proof, it’s the laminated backing. The laminate is some form of urethane. Heats bonds it to the fabric. Laminated fabrics don’t depend on the fabric to provide protection; they rely on the laminate. Laminates don’t have a pore size.
Microfiber fabrics provide a barrier that allergens can’t get through. That’s because they have a very tight weave. The space between the fibers used to weave the fabric is the pore size. The larger the pore size, the more allergens that can get through. The smaller the pore size, the more particles the fabric can stop.
Effective Pore Sizes
The pore size is determined by how tightly the fabric is woven. Natural fibers like cotton are not very strong. You can’t weave cotton as tightly as polyester. Polyester is a very strong fiber.
Allergy proof bedding with the smallest pore size will always be all polyester. All cotton allergy-proof bedding will have a larger pore size but will still be an effective allergen barrier. Cotton/polyester blends are in the middle when it comes to pore sizes.
Dust mite fecal matter and/or body parts (we don’t actually breathe in whole dust mites) are as large as 10 microns. Pet allergen and mold spores are about 3 microns. In order for a microfiber mattress encasing to be effective against dust mites, it needs a pore size of 10 microns or less.
With that being said, all laminated mattress encasings are effective against dust mite, animal dander and mold allergens because they are a total barrier. They are water-proof too.
Differences in Allergy Proof Bedding
- Microfibers and laminates are both effective in protecting against allergens. Which one you choose boils down to personal preference and budget.
- Mattress protectors made with laminates are waterproof, microfibers are not.
- Covers made with Microfiber are generally cooler than laminated fabrics.
- Laminated fabrics usually cost less.
- Vinyl is usually used to cover box springs.
Both fabrics require special care when washing. You can’t use high temperatures on laminates. The microfiber covers should be washed on gentle to protect the weave. Do not use chlorine bleach on either fabric.
We hope this clears up the pore size question. Have other questions about bedding? Give us a call at 800-771-2246.