Allergy Bedding Buyers Guide

How to Effectively Block Allergens and Dust Mites in Your Bed

We are really to blame for the dust mite infestations experienced today.

That's right, it is our fault!

As we sleep, we shed millions of dead skin cells, which give dust mites an unlimited food source. As they multiply and release their fecal matter into the mattress, pillows, and other bedding, an allergen nightmare is born. Proteins in the fecal particles and body parts of dust mites are what cause the allergies we experience.

The only logical way to separate us from this dust mite breeding ground is to create some kind of barrier. Allergy bedding is defined as "a fabric with some kind of barrier" that has been independently tested and proven to block the allergens that trigger a reaction. This barrier can be a membrane laminated to the back of a specific fabric or a sophisticated, woven piece of material so highly engineered that microscopic particles cannot pass through it.

We have all of our barrier fabric products tested for their effectiveness in blocking allergens, and can provide you with those results.

  • Don't be misled with fitted mattress covers! These covers do not encase the mattress, and are a waste of money for people with real allergy symptoms. Always be sure to ask if the product is zippered to be sure you are totally protected. Many products like "protectabed" and others mislead the consumer, and do not clearly explain that the covers are fitted only.

  • Don't be confused by the term "hypoallergenic" or "resists dust mites." These terms are used loosely and don't guarantee that you are buying a dust mite proof product. Many products claim to be hypoallergenic. Be sure to ask for lab test results or confirmation of the fabric's dust mite barrier efficacy.

What is the Difference Between a Membrane and Non-Membrane Allergy Cover and How Do They Protect Us?

Allergy relief covers with membranes are defined as fabrics with a vinyl or urethane-based coating on the inside. It would be similar to one taking their favorite sheet and covering the underside with Saran-Wrap.

Of course this would not be comfortable or practical, but the concept is the same. The benefit of urethane over vinyl is that there is no noise and/or odor (off gassing) with urethane. The membrane has no color or feel, but it is there doing the work. These coatings have no "pores" or holes for the dust mites to escape. Thus, nothing can get into or out of your mattress.

Allergy relief covers without membranes are defined as fabrics without any coating. Without some kind of coating, the woven fabric would act like a sieve. When we are talking about non-membrane fabrics we have to discuss pore size.

Pore size is the diameter of the space or hole between the threads. If the average waste particle of dust mites is approximately 9 microns then the fabric's pore size must be less than 9 microns. Typically, any non-membrane fabric with a pore size of less than 6 or 7 microns will block all allergens, including most pet dander.

Remember that thread count has nothing to do with pore size. For example, while 1000 thread count sheets have more threads per square inch, the pore size is not maintained. Thus, these fabrics will do nothing to block the allergens.

What Do I Need to Know When Choosing an Allergy Relief Protective Cover?

Ask yourself which fabric really is the best? Of course, the quality of the fabric and its efficacy as a barrier are important. Remember, you are sleeping on this cover every night! You also need to think about how comfortable each fabric is to sleep on. The characteristics of each fabric, and the cost, will help you determine which is best for you. A quick checklist:

  • Always remember to buy a zippered cover only. Fitted versions DO NOT protect you from dust mite allergens because the mattress is not totally encased. If the product information doesn't say one way or the other, then it is usually fitted.

  • Are you a hot sleeper? If yes, look at membrane-free cover, such as 100% Cotton Allersoft. The cotton has high breathability, so you sleep cooler.

  • Is waterproof an advantage for you? Maybe there is an incontinent issue or your mattress is very expensive and you don’t want to risk spilling anything on it. If so, consider a good membrane fabric that is also stain proof and waterproof in addition to allergy proof!

  • Do you plan to wash the covers as often as your basic linens? If so, you may want to consider a fabric with all polyester or more polyester than cotton.

  • Do you want a softer cover for something like a duvet? Consider an Allersoft Cotton comforter cover or BedCare cover with membrane.

What Are the Differences Between the Fabric Types?

Membrane fabrics. A membrane is defined in Webster's as “A thin sheet of natural or synthetic material that is permeable to substances in solution.” Permeable means moisture can escape. The breathability, however, will not be like the nice sheets on your bed. These types of covers tend to hold in heat. If you are a sleeper who tends to sweat at night, then this fabric may not be for you. One key component of a membrane is that it is waterproof. This is an advantage for bed wetters or incontinence. We make a Polyester Stretch Knit encasement with a membrane in our BedCare fabric line:

  • BedCare – 100% Polyester laminated onto a urethane membrane. The Polyester is woven in a circular knit, which means the weave has a soft, silky quality too it. The knit is more elastic, like a jersey fabric, which can make it easier to put on the mattress. The membrane is breathable, yet waterproof, and acts as a barrier to dust mites and other allergens.

  • Vinyl ‒ Though not a membrane cover, per se, the vinyl acts like a membrane because it is impermeable. It is also totally waterproof. Vinyl tends to be very noisy and rough, which is not ideal when sleeping directly on it. Some use it to cover their box springs because costs less. While we no longer offer vinyl covers, our Economy encasement line is very affordable, is highly effective at blocking allergens, and is a customer favorite for covering box springs.

Non-Membrane fabrics are a more advanced technology in allergy relief bedding. Since there is no membrane separating you from the allergens, the weave of the fabric must be woven in such a way that the pore size or space between the threads is less than 6 microns. This is due to the fact that most of the smallest allergens have been tested at 10-15 microns. Our Allersoft™ 100% Cotton has a pore size of less than 5 microns!

  • Allersoft Cotton is 100% Cotton (pictured at left) – Not to be confused with the older poly cotton (60/40 blend) offered at many retailers. Our Cotton offers the same level of protection, yet is the softest possible. In fact, Allersoft Cotton is the softest and coolest allergy relief cover you can purchase.

    Allersoft Cotton fabric also tends to have a longer life span because there is no membrane to deteriorate over time in the wash. Non-membrane fabrics are also much cooler to sleep with, and are much less noisy. It is more like putting a thick sheet on your mattress.

  • Economy – Our non-woven Economy fabric is in fact membrane free. The question is why is it the least expensive? These covers are built from 3 layers of man-made material that are bonded together. Unlike cotton or poly cotton yarn, which is made from fibers that must be grown, the material used to produce Economy covers is readily available in the market, and very inexpensive to produce. Though membrane free, Economy covers are much lighter in weight, and are best suited for traveling or for dorm rooms. They tend to deteriorate more quickly, and can only be washed on cold and using an air dry cycle.

How Do I Take Care of Allergy Relief Bedding?

Allergy relief bedding does not require any special care or cleaning agents. Other than vinyl covers (can just be wiped with a damp cloth) or our Economy covers (cold water wash/air dry), all of our allergy relief bedding can be washed with warm water and dried on a low temperature. All the fabrics can withstand temperatures of up to 250°F, helpful if you wish to sterilize the product.

We recommend washing your pillow covers at least once every 2-3 months while your mattress covers need only be washed every 3-4 months.

How Should I Measure My Mattress So I Can Order the Correct Size?

Standard sizes in the mattress and box spring industry are how we determine what sizes we need to make available to you. We manufacture most of our covers in the 3 typical depths of 9", 12", and 16". There are only two things you need check:

  • What size is your mattress?  Is your mattress a Twin (39x75), Extra Long Twin (39x80), Full (54x75), Queen (60x80), King (78x80) or Cal King (72x84)? If you are unsure, then just measure the width and length of your mattress.

  • Measure your depth.  It should be 9-10", 12-13" or 15-16". Always hedge on the larger size! You can always be 2-3" over on your size since any excess material can be tucked underneath. Be sure to measure well since anything more, and the 3" of fabric will bulge out from under the mattress, and also unnecessarily add to the cost.

Is There a Difference in the Warranties?

All of our premium allergy relief covers come with a LIFETIME Warranty. Only our very economically priced Economy covers come with less, and we still give you a 5-Year Warranty on these as well.

What If I Don't Like the Cover I Bought and Think I Would Have Wanted Something Else?

If you are not satisfied with your choice for any reason, we will refund your money for 60 days from purchase. Trust us though ‒ we think you'll be happy!