1. The Lowdown on Hypoallergenic Bedding
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  • The Lowdown on Hypoallergenic Bedding

    August 01, 2017

    Read up on the pros and cons of hypoallergenic options

    • There’s plenty of conflicting information out there about just how much relief hypoallergenic bedding can actually offer for allergy sufferers. Once you know the difference between some of the materials considered better for sensitive sinuses, you can make smarter choices for your household.

    • Natural materials

      In some cases, the source of a material (whether plant or animal) evolved in nature with defense mechanisms against pests like mold and bacteria. The silkworm is a prime example of this phenomenon. Natural fibers make great options for people who can’t tolerate synthetic materials.


      • Used in: Linens, comforters/duvets and pillow fill
      • Pros: Wicks moisture; resists mold, mildew, bacteria and fungi; soft on sensitive skin
      • Cons: Less durable, more expensive


      • Used in: Mattresses (latex foam), membrane/barrier mattress covers and membrane/barrier pillow covers
      • Pros: Latex wicks away moisture; resists mold and dust mites
      • Cons: An allergen for some people; not machine washable; not breathable and requires another layer, such as cotton or wool, for comfortable sleeping


      • Used in: Blankets, comforters/duvets (cover and fill) and pillow fill
      • Pros: Wicks moisture; resists mold, mildew, bacteria and fungi; a heavier, warmer option for cold weather, depending on thickness
      • Cons: Depending on the exact fabric, wool can be irritating for sensitive skin. It’s typically not machine washable.

      100 percent cotton or organic cotton

      • Used in: All bedding materials
      • Pros: Breathable and comfortable, many different options for thread count, easy to launder
      • Cons: As a base layer, cotton isn’t an impermeable barrier

      Down (goose or duck)

      • Used in: Pillow and comforter/duvet fill
      • Pros: Breathable, offers an evenly distributed thickness in duvets and comforters, lightweight
      • Cons: Made of feathers, down can be an allergy trigger for some people


      • Used in: Linens and Duvet/comforter covers
      • Pros: Easy to launder, durable and soft, sustainably grown
      • Cons: Tends to shrink and wrinkle more than other fabrics

      Lyocell (made from cellulose often derived from wood pulp, found mainly under the brand name TENCEL®)

      • Used in: Linens, comforter/duvet covers and blankets
      • Pros: Soft, durable, sustainably grown and produced, wrinkle-resistant, drapes well
      • Cons: As it’s highly absorbent, lyocell can be more susceptible to mildew
    • Synthetic materials

      Look for materials that have been sustainably and safely manufactured, since some engineered fabrics can use chemical processes that release or retain toxins.

      Down alternative (rayon or polyester)

      • Used in: Comforter/duvet and pillow fill
      • Pros: Offers the same kind of lightweight thickness as down, but without the risk of triggering allergies; easier to clean and maintain; inexpensive
      • Cons: Doesn’t regulate temperature as well as natural down fibers


      • Used in: Mattress covers, linens and comforter/duvet covers
      • Pros: Mildew resistant, soft and lightweight, inexpensive, durable, wrinkle- and shrink-resistant, easy to launder
      • Cons: Not breathable
    • A final note on dust mite barriers

      An effective barrier against dust mites has an average pore size of six microns or smaller. Although dust mites clock in at around 300 microns, their feces and other particles can be significantly smaller.