Facts About Dust Mites and Dust Mite Encasings
Dust mites are microscopic organisms closely related to spiders and ticks. Dust mites thrive in the warm, humid, dark conditions inside of the fibrous materials that fill our homes: bedding (why you need dust mite encasings!), upholstered furniture, carpet, stuffed toys and old clothing. Dust mites are scavengers that feed primarily on the dead skin that falls off the bodies of humans and animals. So, it's no wonder that they crowd around the places where we spend most of our time. It's not actually the dust mites that cause the sneezing, coughing, runny noses, stuffy noses, and the congestion that plagues 20 million Americans. It's their even smaller waste particles. While the dust mites are feasting on dead skin cells deep inside our pillows, mattresses, and carpet, the things we do everyday like walking across the room, turning over in bed, and vacuuming stir up dust mites' tiny waste particles for us to breathe. That's why it's important to cover your mattress and pillows with dust mite encasings with pore sizes in the range of 2 to 10 microns. Encasings with larger pore sizes may let dust mite allergen or dust mites themselves through, and encasings made with vinyl may not allow heat and moisture to escape easily. All of the encasings offered by National Allergy have a mean pore size within the recommended range of 2 to 10 microns. Additionally, all BedCare mattress and pillow encasings can also be used for bed bug protection*. Independent test data proved bed bugs and their eggs could not get through our fabrics or zippers.
Why Doctors Recommend Allergen-Proof Dust Mite Encasings
About 20 years ago, researchers began to wonder what could be done in the home environment to help control the allergen triggers that cause asthmatic and allergic reactions. Because we spend 1/3 of our life in our bedroom, it seemed the natural environment on which to focus. Tests were done in which one group got zippered allergen-proof encasings on their bedding, while the control group had no encasings. The results of even such simple tests were dramatic.
"At the end of a 1-month study period, there was a marked and statistically significant difference in symptoms and signs of asthma between the two groups."
Murray MB, FRCP, Andrew; Ferguson MD, FRCP, Alexander. "Dust-Free Bedrooms in the Treatment of Asthmatic Children with House Dust or House Dust Mite Allergy: A Controlled Trial." Pediatrics. 1983.
Throughout our fifteen years in the business, we have frequently heard several myths and misconceptions about dust mites and dust mite encasings. We'd like to a take a moment to dispel these myths before we take a look at how you can get rid of the dust mites in your home.
Myths About Dust Mites
- Air purifiers can trap/kill dust mites like dust mite encasings - A number of air purifier companies have gone on record saying that HEPA room air cleaners are effective at catching and trapping dust mites - as if they fly. Dust mites don't fly and are unlikely to even come into contact with a HEPA air cleaner. Even their allergenic waste particles are largely unaffected by HEPA air cleaners, because they settle back down quickly when stirred up into the air. Although HEPA air cleaners are ineffective against dust mites, they can play a very important role in eliminating other allergens like mold, pollen and animal dander from our homes. By using mattress encasings and pillow encasings, you can create a barrier between yourself and dust mite allergen, thereby removing that irritant from your environment.
- Dust mites live in air ducts - This myth is sometimes perpetuated by companies that want to sell you their duct cleaning service, but it's not true. A small amount of dust mite allergen that becomes airborne could settle in your ductwork, but ducts are far from the humid, fibrous environments where the dust mites live and produce their allergenic waste, and having ductwork cleaned is much more expensive than dust mite encasings.
- Dust mites bite - Dust mites are far too small to bite humans, but skin reactions to dust mite allergen may be the cause of this myth. Dust mite waste and other allergens can trigger a reaction known as atopic dermatitis, a type of skin rash.
- Dust mites live in all dust - You won't find live dust mites living in the dust on your bookshelf or in that dust "bunny" that skitters across your hard surface floor. They just can't survive on the surface of things; they need to burrow deep into bedding, upholstery, and carpeting, which is why it is important to use encasings on surfaces like pillows and mattresses that make perfect homes for dust mites.
Dust Mites' Weaknesses And How To Get Rid Of Your Dust Mite Problem
If you wake up in the morning with a stuffy nose, itchy, watery eyes, sneezing or coughing, you may be reacting to mites in your bedding and should consider covering your mattress and pillows with dust mite encasings. Since you can't see dust mites, you may feel somewhat powerless to deal with dust mites. But, there are a number of ways to handle the mite problem that exploit their weaknesses while keeping your home perfectly safe for you, your family and your pets. Dust mites require moisture and dead skin cells to survive, so using dust mite encasings helps remove these elements, thereby killing the dust mites and reducing the production of dust mite allergen.
Dust Mite Encasings Eliminate the Dust Mites' Friendly Habitats
Beds & Pillows - Dust mites' most troubling habitat is deep inside of our box springs, mattresses, and pillows where they form colonies. Pillow and mattress encasings are the best way to fight these bedroom colonies. Encasings close off these environments with a barrier that dust mites and dust mite allergen can't pass through. The dust mites that are already there are trapped inside, out of harm's way, and the dust mites outside can't burrow in and find a protected place to live. Many allergists recommend allergen encasings as the most effective means of allergy prevention in the bedroom. Dust mite encasings can be a frontline defense and should be one of your first considerations when using environmental controls to relieve allergies.
Carpets, Rugs, & Upholstery - Carpets, rugs, and upholstery are another prime habitat for dust mites. Dust mites can't survive on hard surfaces like wood, tile, and vinyl floors. Dust mites also have a hard time on leather, vinyl, and wood furniture. When it's an option, hard floors and non-upholstered furniture make it much easier to keep a room free of allergens. When it's not an option, there are a number of ways to get rid of dust mites and their allergens in your carpets, upholstery and laundry.
Dust Mites Cannot Survive Prolonged Exposure To Relative Humidity Below 45%
Dust mites thrive in the homes of most Americans. But, the Americans that effortlessly live in dust mite free homes all have one thing in common - low relative humidity. The arid deserts in the southwestern part of the US and high altitudes have the fewest problems with dust mites. Dust mites are composed of 80% water and they absorb the water that they need from the air. Prolonged relative humidity below 45% will slow dust mite growth until the population is eventually eradicated. While it doesn't offer immediate relief, a dehumidifier can be an excellent tool in the long-term battle against dust mites, eventually turning your home into an environment where dust mites cannot live.
Dust Mites Cannot Survive Prolonged Exposure To Temperatures Over 140° Fahrenheit
Washing all of your bedding in hot water kills dust mites and gets rid of their allergens. If your hot water temperature is less than 140°F (a frequent precaution to prevent children from scalding themselves) or you'd rather not wash your delicate bedding in hot water, there are laundry products available which will take care of dust mites during cold or warm water washes.
Certain Compounds Have Been Scientifically Proven To Kill Dust Mites and Break Down Their Allergens
Treatments that kill dust mites are known as acaricides. These treatments are used two different ways. Some of the treatments are designed to be applied to carpet and upholstery and others are used to treat bedding in your washing machine.
For carpet and upholstery treatment, we recommend Dustmite And Flea Control. Dustmite And Flea Control is a concentrated boron compound that mixes with water to form a clear, odorless solution that you can then spray on your carpets and upholstery. Borates are natural compounds that have been used for hundreds of years in applications ranging from cosmetics to laundry detergent to fertilizers to insect control. Borates work to kill dust mites by two mechanisms. First, they are known to be intestinal poisons upon ingestion by dust mite larvae. Second, they may act as dessicants, drying up the microenvironment of the dust mite larvae in the carpet, making it an unfavorable environment for survival.
For treating bedding during cold and warm water washes, we recommend de-mite. De-mite is a laundry additive containing benzyl benzoate, tea tree oil, and oil of wintergreen (methyl salicylate). Studies have shown all three ingredients to kill dust mites during the wash cycle. Benzyl Benzoate is commonly used in fragrances and is FDA approved for use in foods, primarily as a component of artificial flavorings.
There are also treatments which denature the dust mites' allergen. These treatments are primarily derived from tannic acid, a natural product found in oak bark, coffee, cocoa, and tea. These treatments breakdown the allergenic proteins in dust mite waste and animal dander so that they no longer cause allergic reactions. The one drawback to these tannic acid products is that they are light brown in color and can stain white and light colored materials. However, there are alternatives to tannic acid based products for those of us with light carpets and upholstery. One alternative is Anti-Allergen Solution, a non-toxic spray by Ecology Works that neutralizes dust mite and animal dander proteins just like tannic acid.
Dust Mites vs. Dust Mite Allergens
We've focused primarily on how to deal with the dust mites that are causing so many problems in our homes. It's important to remember that killing the dust mites doesn't necessarily get rid of the allergens they've already left behind. Many of the steps we've gone over serve both ends, like pillow and mattress encasings. Encasings can trap the mother-lode of allergens keeping them out of harm's way and washing can get rid of the allergens in your bedding. Denaturing treatments and vacuuming with a HEPA-filtered vacuum get rid of the allergens in your carpet and upholstery. It's important to use a HEPA-filtered vacuum or special vacuum bags because ordinary vacuums and vacuum bags cannot capture particles as small as dust mites and their waste, so they just end up spitting them right back out in the vacuum's exhaust.
|Select the encasings that suit you best:|
|BedCare Economy Box Spring Encasings offer complete dust mite and bed bug protection in a lightweight zippered encasing - and at a very affordable price. The non-woven, tri-laminate fabric is durable and breathable for lasting comfort. These encasings are designed for low maintenance - put them on and there's no need to give them another thought. They will provide years of trouble-free protection and allergy relief. So low-priced, they are a great odor-free, noise-free alternative to vinyl for your box springs. Excellent to take when traveling and for college students. Fabric pattern may vary slightly.
Covered by our 10-Year Warranty.
$19.99-$58.999" Deep Box Spring Encasings
$24.99-$49.995" Deep Low Profile Box Spring Encasings
|BedCare Classic has the look and luxurious feel of satin and has been recommended by doctors for many years. This is the perfect choice for those who prefer an encasing that is waterproof as well as totally mite-proof. BedCare Classic is made of soft, stretchable polyester knit fabric bonded to a micro-thin, flexible polyurethane barrier on the inside. Because of this barrier membrane, this material can not be measured in terms of mean pore size. It's so soft and stretchable, there is no crinkling noise while you sleep, and the cool knit fabric keeps you comfortable while it protects you from dust mite allergen all night.
Covered by our Lifetime Warranty.
|BedCare Elegance encasings are for those who want the very finest, most luxuriously soft and cool encasings available anywhere. Because allergen protection is the number one reason to purchase pillow and mattress encasings, Elegance covers are made from a high performance, 100% polyester microfiber fabric that blocks all dust mite allergen and most other particles as small as cat dander. They offer all of this protection while remaining breathable and cool beneath your sheets, so you always sleep comfortably. And we take extra care in the design and construction of Elegance encasings with features such as covered zippers, bound seams and side panels to give them a perfect fit even after repeated washings. We believe you won't find a finer, more comfortable encasing anywhere at any price. Mean pore size of 2.9 microns.
Covered by our Lifetime Warranty.
|The BedCare All-Cotton anti dust mite mattress cover is made from a 100% cotton barrier fabric that is so tightly woven allergens can't pass through. The mean pore size is 4.8 microns, making it a great bed bug encasement, too. When you zip your mattress into this cover, you know that you have total protection and cool comfort all night long. If you like cotton, you are going to love this dust mite protector encasing.
Covered by our Lifetime Warranty.
|BedCare Organic All-Cotton mattress and pillow encasings are made of unbleached 100% GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) Certified Organic Cotton so you know you have the best quality available. Only air can permeate this tightly woven fabric with a pore size of 4.8 so you and your family experience total protection from dust mite allergen and bed bugs while you sleep. The quality of these zippered covers is guaranteed because of the care American craftsmen put into each and every one. Even the most discriminating cotton-lovers will be delighted with Organic All-Cotton Encasings.
Covered by our Lifetime Warranty.