Things such as dust mite covers and dust mite sheets are used in a lot of households today but there is still some confusion on whether or not they work. A lot of people are dubious about the effectiveness of dust mite proof covers and not without reason – dust mite bed covers are not something magical that automatically fixes all dust mite problems. They do, however, have a significant role to play in reducing the dust mite presence in your home and bedroom, and for people with dust allergies or with kids, in particular, things such as a dust mite mattress cover or dust mite pillow covers are powerful tools in achieving a healthy and pleasant home environment.
But how does this all work?
Dust mite protection history
Dust mite proof covers and protectors are a fairly new invention that has entered our homes in the last several decades but protection against dust and allergens is not. People have been looking for ways to reduce the amount of coughing and sneezing in the bedroom, as well as to improve the quality of their sleep for millennia. Fabrics such as silk, sheepskin, cotton, linen, flax, and others, have been developed over the centuries for a lot of reasons, including for their hypoallergenic properties. Even in the Bronze ages of humanity people easily figured out that sleeping in certain types of bedding resulted in a spotty sleep, in red eyes, in sneezing and coughing, while other types of bedding fabrics reduced these symptoms significantly.
Outside of such surface observations, however, humans have been onto dust mites for nearly a century now as the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology confirms. Biologists have been looking into the genus Dermatophagoides ever since the pre-World War II with prominent figures such as Reindert Voorhorst, Willem Storm van Leeuwen, Hendrik Varekamp and others, working on finding solutions for allergies. The Second World War gave pause to most of this research since a lot of these scientists resided in European nations such as the Netherlands but once the war was over, the work was resumed.
It took several decades and the involvement of a lot more scientists until significantly conclusive facts started to come to light in the 60s and the 70s. Once this happened, however, it didn’t take long for the bedding industry to start working on quality hypoallergenic bedding with dust mite proof qualities.
How does a dust mite cover work?
Dust mite covers and protectors aim to reduce the overall presence of dust mites in our homes and bedrooms, as well as to reduce our exposure to the dust mites and dust mite waste that is already present. They achieve this in three different ways:
- First, dust mite mattress or pillow covers work by trapping the dust mites that are already in your bedding inside and preventing them from reaching their food source – your dead skin and dandruff on the surface levels of the bedding. Essentially, dust mite proof covers keep the already existing dust mites trapped until they starve to death. If you are worried about the presence of dead dust mites in your pillows or mattress, that is easily fixed after the fact by simply washing and cleaning the mattress and pillows.
- Second, the mattress dust mite protectors also work by keeping the dust mite allergens, waste and body parts inside the mattress and out of the air until you get around to clean it. Instead of throwing a microscopic cloud of dust mite allergens into the air every time you sit on your bed, with a dust mite cover you can make sure that these allergens will stay away from your nose and respiratory system.
- The third but also vital purpose of dust mite covers is to keep our mattresses and pillows clean. Whatever we do we will always sweat at least a little bit, as well as shed oils and skin into our bedding. A good dust mite protector will soak up a significant amount of this waste and keep it away from our mattresses and pillows. From there, all you need to do is wash your dust mite mattress protector regularly and you’ll make sure that there are no food sources for future dust mite populations to feed on.
Of course, even the best dust mite cover won’t eradicate 100% of the dust mites in your home – a small number of these microscopic critters will always be floating in the air. If you keep your home and bedroom clean and as dust-free as possible, however, you can reduce their presence to such insignificant numbers that dust mite allergies will simply stop being a factor in your life.
For your safety – what should be covered with these dust mite proof covers?
We’re used to associating dust mites with our beds and pillows, but is there anything else that we should use protective covers on? The fact of the matter is that dust mites reside in a lot of places, not just in our beds. Anything that retains dust can be a perfect home for dust mites – carpets, drapes, luggage, furniture, clothes, plush toys, etc. Some of these need to simply be cleaned regularly, but others can also benefit from some protection and dust mite covers.
- Mattresses and pillows. If there’s one thing you should use dust mite covers on in your home it’s your bed. Dust mite pillow and mattress protectors go a long way from keeping your bed free of dust mite waste which is invaluable if you have dust mite allergies or a small kid.
- Couches and other furniture. Upholstered furniture gathers an awful lot of dust so it needs to be cleaned regularly to prevent dust mites and other parasites. If you use your couch regularly and especially if people sleep on it, a dust mite cover can be as useful here as on a bed.
- Luggage. This can seem counter-intuitive to some but luggage dust covers are a thing. Their purpose is to keep your suitcases and other luggage dust-free while you’re not using them. This way you can make sure that they are both clean and safe for use when you need them.
- Drapes and carpets. These dust mite breeding grounds obviously can’t be covered with a dust mite protector which is why they simply need to be washed regularly.