Dust Mites & Non-Allergic Bedding

Archived Q&A and Reviews


100% cotton covers for dust mites?

Feb 2004

My son was just diagnozed with allergy to dust and dust mites, and we are looking for covers for his mattress and pillows. I looked at the sites recommended on Parents Network website and could not find any covers which are 100% cotton. Do they even exist?

And also, can somebody advise us do we need to cover my daughter's bed too? They sleep in the same room, but since my daughter has a loft bed my son cannot get onto it. And how about our bed? Again he never sleeps on it but sits on it sometimes.

What to do with comforters? Are there any covers for them? It is pretty cold at night to sleep just with cotton blankets. Do we also need to cover our sofa? We are looking for a new furniture for the living room, so can somebody advise us if leather furniture is better for dust allergy or not.

I know it looks like a lot of questions, but I am pretty lost at what really needs to be done and what is not. We have an appointment with the allergologist but only in two months, so I thought this forum will be a good place to start. Thank you very much for all your help. Natasha

I've found 100% cotton covers at Mervyns, but the blend covers are actually more durable. Remember, the pillow case goes OVER the pillow cover, so no EVIL POLYESTER BLEND need ever touch the skin, and the covers will survive the washer better. If they rip, they don't do a damn bit of good.

I bought a comforter with a shell with a high enough thread count to keep the little beasties out. They do sell Duvet inner liners, but they are not the desired 100% cotton.

The main thing is to protect the area where you sleep. That's where you'll get the most bang for the buck. Leather, being less porous than fabric, MAY be a little less comfy to dust mites, but they live in the stuffing, and their poop (which is the problem...) will swoosh out into the room every time somebody sits down, from under the coach.

Keep your leather sofa money in your pocket and buy a HEPA air filter. I hear two of them running as I type this, one in Junior's bedroom, and one in mine. Get a HEPA vacuum and USE IT. Throw away all your rugs and all your carpet. Keep your house as dry as you can stand it.

Even if you buy NOTHING from them (and they have EVERYTHING) you should get the http://www.nationalallergy.com catalog.

Which is the greater risk to your kid's health - Polyester or dust mites that trigger allergies and asthma? Knows the answer for my Asthmatic kid

I have dust mite allergy and have taken several measures. I'm not sure if 100% cotton exists since I haven't shopped lately but if it does keep in mind: 1. you will have to wash cotton more frequently than part synthetic (mites like cotton)and always in HOT water to kill the dust mites (borax helps too, in the laundry)so it must be a good quality pre-shrunk so you can get it on the mattress again, 2. a complete mattress encasing is needed so I found it really goes on and off better with some stretchiness to it; also look for zipper on more than just one seam for the same reason (think about how easy to take off and put back on for washing.)

Yes on sister's bed in same room where he sleeps, probably not necessary on yours. If there's carpeting, I have had to remove all wall to wall and have wool or cotton (small enough to be machine washable if cotton) area rugs.

Wash pillowcases in HOT HOT weekly, you can find easily cotton pillow encasings and I highly, highly recommend them since that is where the head is breathing all night. Comforter encasings exist but you could first try the other things, maybe plus a regular duvet cover and frequent hot water washings of ALL bedding plus curtains. A great website for information (their catalog is kind of expensive but nonetheless they do provide excellent info. and research and will answer q.s on the phone even if you're not buying stuff)is www.allergybuyersclub.com. If there is not an allergy to wool that is a natural fiber that is highly dust mite resistant, so is latex (from the rubber tree.) I have switched to latex pillows and one small wool pillow and it helped. bought online don't remember where I got the latex pillows but wool was from ecobaby.com, pricey too but it does seem to help.

If the allergy is very severe keep in mind mites love to munch on human's ''dust'' so some doctors will say do not dry off from bath in the bedroom (microscopic skin flakes= their dinner) nor trim nails or hair in the bedroom. sorry to sound so obsessive. Probably more than you wanted to know, but hope it helps. C.

The reason you cannot find 100% cotton dust mite covers is that dust mites can and do live in cotton (and virtually anything soft and porous). At best you'll find cotton fabric coated on the inside with some sort of synthetic material. The catalog that sold me my covers (including a duvet-like comforter cover) included fabric swatches. I think it was called Allergy Products, but there are probably several other choices. Even though your allergist appointment is months away, I'll bet in the meantime his/her office can recommend a vendor or two. David in Berkeley

My 6-year-old is wildly allergic to dust and some grass, so I became a loyal shopper at Allergy Control a few years ago. They're online at allergycontrol.com, and they carry *everything*! Also, the catalogs they send after the first order (you know, all stores do it), nearly always include a 10% or 20% discount coupon. Kathleen

My daughter was diagnosed with dustmite allergy several years ago. We went through covering the mattresses, pillows, and comforters. My understanding is that you are suppose to cover all the beddings that's in the same room, plus the ones your child may sleep in. We removed all the carpets in the house, we couldn't even keep an oriental rug on our hardwood floor. We had an HEPA airpurifier in her room 24 hours a day. We purchased an allergy free vacuum cleaner. In the beginning her allergy was so bad, we had a dehumidifier in our house to make sure our humidity stayed low enough that doesn't foster dustmite growth. We had airfilters put in our furnace so during winter months her allergy doesn't act up. Her allergy is now under control, now she can go to other people's homes with carpets without triggering her allergy. Hope this helps. M

My advice is to start wiht the minimum -- just bedding for your allergic child, and add on gradually if necessary. Initially we were overwhelmed about all the actions people were recommending to address my son's dust mite allergy. Then a pediatrician told us we'd probably see a difference just getting the bedding. So we took the approach of buying the minimum -- just a mattress cover and pillow case, and found it mostly solved the problem, so we haven't invested in anything else. We got it from Allergy Control Products Inc. 1-800-422-3878, www.allergycontrol.com. I can't recall which sheets we got, but I do recall that I ordered over the phone, the person taking the order was extremely helpful and something she said clicked so I had no trouble ultimately deciding how to go (which is saying a lot for me). ANyway, we've seen a world of difference since we started using just this bedding with regular sheets and pillowcase over them. previously my son was always congested and I hate using a lot of medication. Now, there are periodic flare-ups, but really not very often -- and that's despite the fact my son spends a lot of time playing on the floors with carpeting, including in his room, and sleeps with stuffies. Robin

Try Allergy Control Products - they carry 100% cotton dust mite covers and the quality of their products is excellent. Check out their guarantees. Shop on-line at www.allergycontrolproducts.com. They also have a catalog. I recommend their pillow and comforter covers as well. Pam

Anti-allergen and Dust Mite Proof Covers


Does anyone know where to buy DUST MITE mattress covers at a reasonable price, preferably locally (Berkeley/El Cerrito/Pinole area) or by mail? How much should I expect to spend for a twin size? Nancy

TRY THIS: http://www.nationalallergysupply.com/ Josh

I have used Allergy Control products. On the web at www.allergycontrol.com You should cover the mattress, box spring and pillow. I do not recommend using vinyl for this purpose. The smell is horrible and it is not comfortable. For the mattress you can spend between $40 and $80. Elisa

Check and see if your insurance company will reimburse you for this expense. Some do, as it is, in the long run, cheaper than allergy drugs and shots. Also check out http://www.gazoontite.com. They have a full line of allergy products for the home, including mattress covers. Ilana

You can get one at Target. I bought one at the Pinole Target. I can't exactly remember, but I think twins were about $20. LI

Go to Gazoontite.com for all kinds of bed and pillow covers, plus other allergy & asthma related health and home items. We are a very allergic family and have purchased many quality products from this company. There is a shop in SF, but it is so easy to buy items online. For twin bed cover (and be sure to cover the box spring if you have one, and especially the pillows) plan to spend $35-$75 for good covers that will be soft and will last. Doing this has made a big difference in our sniffly, wheezy lives. Good luck,

I recently bought dust mite covers at www.allergycontrol.com. Prices for mattress covers vary acccording to the level of protection that you require. Their customer service is very helpful and if you are unsure about exactly what you need they can advise you. I paid no tax and no shipping on my order. Don't know if they still have the free shipping deal. Margaret

There is a company called Gazoonite that has a catalogue business and a store in San Francisco. They have a web site that is under construction due to new ownership so you may not be able to access much though it yet. They specialize in allergy-free products, cleaners, etc. My mother has a very bad allergy to dust mites and swears by their mattress covers. The covers are like a pillowcase in that they are pulled around the whole mattress and then zipped up. Good luck. Tola

I saw such covers online at www.gazoontite.com I don't know how much they normally sell for, but these looked relatively inexpensive. Shoshana

I have no idea where to get them locally. Gazoontite.com used to have a brick-and-mortar store in San Francisco, but I think it has since closed (although the web site is still up). We got ours through the Allergy Control Products web site (http://www.allergycontrol.com/). The twin cover costs $45.95. This just in: a coworker thinks they are available at Bed Bath And Beyond - but I'm not sure where their stores are. Good luck, John

I got the waterproof mattress pad at Rockridge Kids. I got the dust mite cover at Target. Lori

I picked up an Americare twin size waterproof mattress pad. I also got a dust mite cover for the twin mattress. I am tempted to put a fitted quilted mattress cover on top of the dust mite covered mattress, then put the waterproof pad, and then sheets. Is this overkill?

Regarding layering the dust mite protection and other pads--This makes sense to me. But you must realize that for maximum anti-allergy effectiveness, you will have to wash the waterproof pad and the mattress pad in HOT water once a week in order to kill any mites that make their way into this part of the bedding. For comfort's sake, I might suggest switching around the waterproof pad and the mattress pad, but this depends on how often you anticipate nighttime accidents, and how many mattress pads and sets of sheets you are willing to invest in. But I never found the waterproof pads comfortable to sleep on with my newborn--they all made me sweat. Dawn

I have used a mail-order allergy supply company and have been very satisfied with the quality of their products. The company's name is National Allergy Supply and you can contact them at 1-800-522-1448 or www.nationalallergysupply.com (email info [at] natlallergy.com)

The Hammacher Schlemmer catalog carries these in various size mattress covers and regular pillow covers. They also carry a Children's Mite-Proof pillow, but this wouldn't be a good idea for a baby. You can call them at 1-800-543-3366 or check out their website at www.hammacher.com. Best of luck!


Both Target and Kmart sell breathable, dustmite killing bed and pillow covers for a lot less then those catelogs the allergist gives out.

See http://www.natlallergy.com/index.html We purchased the SatinSoft bedding encasements and were very pleased. They have a wonderful catalog which you can order for free over the web.

My son has moderate to severe asthma and I purchased an anti-allergen mattress cover and pillow cover for less than $20 at Target. Both have helped tremendously with his breathing at night.

I have a dust allergy, and basically have had all my life. I don't recall which brand of case I have on my mattress; I got the recommendation from my Allergist (Jim Nickelsen) some years back. Whatever it is, it's fine, though. I do strongly recommend that you get one of the ones that is essentially tightly woven fabric. Do *not* get the cheap ones that are more like a vinyl cover--they are hot and uncomfortable, and they can make noise as well.

Regarding the pillowcases: right now we are using ones that we got at the Duxiana store in San Francisco. This is a high-priced specialty bed store; their beds (the Dux Beds) are wonderful but so expensive we haven't been able to afford one yet. But when we were there, we found that they carried a top-of-the-line set of anti-allergen bedding. We decided to splurge and try the pillowcases. We have not been disappointed. They were really pricey ($25 EACH), but it's been worth it. The old ones we had before (from the same supplier recommended by my allergist) were essentially a fabric with a plastic-y backing. This backing eventually pulled away from the fabric, and it ceased to function well, as well as becoming noisy and uncomfortable. The new ones from the Duxiana store, however, are smooth, comfortable, and quiet. Entirely worth the price. You might call the store in SF to see if they will let you order them from them by mail, or if you have to walk into the store to get them.

About blankets: My allergist originally suggested that I get Vellux blankets. We had them for years, and finally figured out that they were not suffciently breathable to keep both my husband and I comfortable at night. So we switched to all-cotton thermal blankets (available many places, including Burlington Coat Factory (SF or Hayward). These may shrink some when laundered in the preferred method for mite control (hot water, hot dry, weekly), but we find them much more comfortable than Vellux. Try buying one size up from whatever you need to allow for shrinkage.

My son is also highly allergic to dust mites. I have used the following products from Allergy Control Products, Inc. with great success. They are on the web at www.allergycontrol.com and their phone number is 800-422-3878.

I have purchased the following:ACb Prinstine100 pillow cover ($17); and the twin mattress cover($84). For the box spring I purchased the ACb Economy Lite. For his bedding I buy items that can withstand being washed once a week in HOT water.

I am assuming your allergist gave you other info. regarding stuffed toys as well. My son only has stuffed toys that can be washed in hot water.

American Allergy Supply has lots of information about allergies as well as products for sale on line. Their homepage address is http://www.geocities.com/WallStreet/9680/

There is a new company with a store on Union Street in the city, and the url of www.gazoontite.com. I read about them in the Chronicle, and it sounds like a good company. I may have the tite part wrong, but it is close to that. -- Sarah

Blanket for a child with Asthma


My three year old has had moderate asthma since he was 11 months old. He is currently on Pulmicort (after having tried Intal, Pulmicort and Singulaire and returning to Pulmicort). Of course we have done the usual things to try and prevent asthma attacks - hardwood floors, frequent vacuuming, dusting, etc. and just went through some allergy testing as well. My question is: what kind of comforter has worked best for children with asthma? I'm wondering about Primaloft (a non allergenic alternative to down), wool or other warm options. Dylyn

My son also has had asthma since 14 months & is now 3. Since his asthma is triggered by dust allergies and colds, we only use bedding that can be washed in hot water every 2 weeks. Comforters are a little bulkey for this. The National Allergy Supply, Inc. has blankets and dust covers for comforters (can be mail ordered at www. national allergy.com). I like the fleece blanket that they have. ShankelJE

I too have had allergies most of my life (however, I do NOT have serious asthma, so keep that in mind). The best results I have gotten have been with the cotton thermal blankets, because they breathe well. Often, allergists will recommend various polyester ones like Vellux, but after trying them for years, my husband and I discovered quite by accident that they had been causing us trouble because they don't breathe--so we both would end up either too cold or too hot, and sweating. Because you *must* wash the blankets in HOT water every week or two, expect that 100% cotton ones might shrink. I'm afraid I don't have a good recommendation for which brand(s) are best. Just know that it might happen, and be prepared to buy a size up if it's a problem.

The other thing that has worked for me is, believe it or not, a down comforter with an excellent anti-allergy cover on it, and a pretty duvet cover outside of that. The best anti-allergy products I have found for this are actually from the Duxiana store. They sell those very expensive beds that you may have heard about on the radio. There are several in the Bay Area; we went to the one in SF. They are QUITE expensive, but highly worth it IMO. Again, they breathe, because they are not backed with plastic or vinyl, so you don't end up sweating as you do with some other brands. And of course you'll probably want at least two duvet covers that you can also wash in HOT water every week or two, so you can rotate them. I had never felt confident to have a down comforter or pillow before trying these covers. They are really quite excellent, and have made all the difference for me. Good luck! Dawn