Hypo-allergenic, Anti-allergen, Synthetic Down, Alternative Down…buying a pillow or duvet these days is less than simple. It is a common misconception that most who experience allergic reactions to their pillows and duvets are allergic to down and feather. In fact, very few people are actually allergic to the dander of feathers. So what, then, is the culprit?
Dust mites! While they sound absolutely disgusting and less than hygienic, they really can be found in most bedding, upholstered furniture and carpeting. They are teeny tiny, (you would need a microscope to see them) and love the warm, humid environment your pillows and duvets provide. Many react to dust mite allergens with asthma like symptoms, congestion, watery eyes, sneezing & runny nose. Such symptoms can greatly reduce your quality of sleep.
So, what can be done?
Double check that your pillow and duvet are washable and wash them in HOT water that is at least 130 F (54.4 C). This will remove the mites as well as their associated allergens. For best results wash your personal pillow and duvet EVERY WEEK. And remember, DO NOT use bleach, bleach alternatives or softer when laundering your pillows and duvets. They wreak havoc, breaking down the fibres and feathers/down fills.
Should I avoid feathers altogether?
Another common misconception is that synthetic filled pillows are less likely to harbour dust mites than feather or down. However, studies have shown the complete opposite to be true. In addition, high quality feather and down products are made with “down proof” shells that not only keep sharp feather and floaty down from escaping but are also handy at keeping dust mites out!
What about latex pillows?
Providing you don’t suffer from a latex allergy, latex pillows are a fabulous choice! Not only does latex provide excellent neck and spine support as well as a cool and comfortable sleep experience, it naturally repels dust mites and other allergens. Just be sure to purchase a dust mite proof pillow protector to make for easy laundering, as latex pillows can’t be washed.
Should I try a wool pillow?
Wool is nature’s ideal fibre. Not only does it whisk away moisture and release it back into the air, thus keeping you cool and moisture free, it is naturally resistant to dust mites and overall is considered hypo allergenic. Once again, be sure to purchase a proper pillow protector in order to keep the wool in all its natural glory.
What is synthetic down?
Many companies are offering an alternative to feather and down for those who have actual feather allergies or prefer an alternative. Synthetic down is a very fine fibre that rebounds like natural down. You get the look and feel of down, more often than not at a very affordable price point.
It’s a lot to take in but oh so worth the allergy-free sound sleep at the end of the day. Take sufficient time in selecting your bedding. Use a dust mite pillow protector to improve allergen control. Wash your pillow and duvet every week in hot water to remove allergens. If you truly suffer from a feather/down allergy or simply prefer an alternative for personal preferences, consider latex and wool - nature’s best weapons against dust mites and other allergens.
Wishing you a restful night’s sleep!
the TOILE Team