Dust Mite Mattress Cover - How to Protect Yourself and your Mattress

Without a dust mite mattress cover, dust mites can thrive. As with pillows, mattresses are a dust mite's favourite home.

Nourishment for dust mites comes from our discarded skin flakes, which means that if we wear pyjamas to bed most of those skin flakes will get trapped, and pyjamas can be laundered often.

Moisture that the dust mites need comes from our sweat, and pyjamas help trap that. The other thing dust mites like is the warmth that comes from our body heat.

Cleaning a mattress to try to get rid of dust mites is just not possible because of the construction. You can only ever hope to clean the outer surfaces and more mites will be waiting deeper inside to re-populate the cleaned area.

Best Types of Mattress

The best type of mattress you can get to control dust mites is one made of closed cell foam. With this mattress construction, the mites just can't penetrate it to live inside, and it can be wiped down with a damp cloth when the bedclothes are off.

Not all memory foam mattresses are of the closed cell type, so be careful when choosing one.

A foam mattress which is not closed cell is one that dust mites love.

Better than an open cell foam mattress is the box spring, which because of the open internal construction, gives less living space to mites.

Dust Mite Mattress Cover

If you don't have a closed cell mattress, you're going to need to get a mattress cover. It is possible to buy mattresses that have a mite proof cover already built in.

Of the mattress covers available, the cheapest option is one made of waterproof plastic. While these do a good job of keeping mites out, they don't breathe and that makes them hot to sleep on and uncomfortable if you sweat. The other disadvantages are that they can be hard and noisy when you move.

The material for a dust mite mattress cover is tightly woven cotton, polyester or some mix of the two. A high thread count makes them impervious to dust mites and their waste.

A thread count of over 250 fibres per inch is enough to be impenetrable to both dust mites and their droppings. Some covers with a lower thread count sold as mite proof can have surface treatments which will degrade when the cover is washed, allowing mites in.

On top of the mattress cover, you would normally use a sheet. If your sheets are also made of a high thread count material, that's double the protection.

The best dust mite mattress covers will be lab tested, and the results will be made available. Usually this information is on the packaging or on a label on the cover itself.

Dust Mite Mattress Pads

A dust mite mattress pad can be fitted on top of the mattress with a sheet over it. This should preferably be made of closed cell memory foam. A cotton or polyester quilted mattress protector should be washed once a fortnight. Getting these dry in time to replace them on the bed can be a problem.

Laundering Dust Mite Bedding

Mites in sheets, blankets and duvet covers can be killed by washing at over 60 degrees, (140 F.). The problem with duvets is that the dust mites' waste will still be in there because it's impossible to thoroughly rinse a duvet out and it's the droppings that cause the problems.

For this reason, a duvet cover should also be made of material with a sufficient thread count to make it impervious to dust mites.

Dust mite proof bedding, including sheets, blankets, pillow cases and duvet covers need to be washed at the temperature above every two weeks to keep on top of dust mites.

Airing the Bed

Here's the best excuse ever for not making your bed in the morning. Dust mites thrive on warmth and moisture, so if you simply leave the bedclothes folded back all day, the bed will cool down quickly and dry out better than if you make it as soon as you get up.

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Getting Rid of Dust Mites
Dust Mites in Pillows