Kristen Hicks on January 25, 2016 1 Comment Table of Contents What Are Dust Mites? Why Buy Hypoallergenic Pillow Covers How Hypoallergenic Pillow Covers Work Factors to Consider When Buying It has been estimated that approximately 25% of people in the United States have allergies of some type. Most of the people in this category are intimately familiar with the symptoms that come with those allergies, but fewer of them know exactly what all is causing them. It turns out, about two-thirds of people who deal with allergies are likely allergic to dust mites – often in addition to the other allergies they have. What Are Dust Mites? In spite of how common negative reactions to dust mites are, many people don’t even know they exist. Not only do they exist, but there’s a good chance you’re spending at least eight hours of every day with them. Dust mites are tiny bugs, too small for you to see without a microscope, that feed off of people’s dead skin cells. Sorry for the gross image, but it gets worse. Because they’re attracted to our dead skin cells and like warm, dark environments, they love our bedding. In fact, bedding, mattresses and cloth furniture are the most common places you will find these microscopic mites. While they’re hanging out in our beds and on our furniture feasting on the skin cells we’ve shed, they also produce tiny little droppings that people then breathe in. It’s these little droppings that can trigger an allergic reaction. Symptoms of this reaction may include sneezing, wheezing, inflamed skin, runny nose, red eyes, discomfort, and itchiness. Is Your Pillow Making You Sick? Why Buy Hypoallergenic Pillow Covers Think about how much time you spend in bed, or just lounging around on your furniture. Now imagine that during those hours, you are breathing in the toxic waste of dust mites. Obviously, it’s not reasonably to stop sleeping on your mattress or resting your head on all your comfy pillows at night. The most practical (and affordable) solution is to start using hypoallergenic bedding to protect you from dust mites, andpillow covers are the best place to start since you rest your head on them all night. To take this one step further, hypoallergenic pillow covers not only protect your pillows from dust mites, but also a number of other allergens that could cause you problems, including: Mold Fungus Mildew Bacteria Animal dander Cockroach droppings Pollen Aside from protecting you from the above allergens, the majority of them are also waterproof. This extra protection against spills or accidents is another great benefit of these pillow cases. How Hypoallergenic Pillow Covers Work A good hypoallergenic pillow cover will be designed to enclose the entire pillow with a nonporous material that won’t let even the tiniest of dust mites through. They usually include a zipper, so there’s no opening to let small microorganisms in. They should offer a tight fit so you can still fit your usual pillowcase on over the hypoallergenic pillow cover. Part of the process of getting full relief with hypoallergenic bedding is making sure you wash both your hypoallergenic pillow cover and your other pillow cases regularly. Since they’re easy to pull off and throw in the washer, you can keep them clean and free of allergens much more easily than the pillows themselves. Between the protective barrier and regular washing, you can protect yourself from dust mites, their droppings, and all those other allergens and get back to having a good night’s sleep. Factors to Consider When Buying a Hypoallergenic Pillow Cover Hypoallergenic pillow covers should offer at least some help in reducing your allergy symptoms. Simply by ensuring your pillow is fully encased with a fabric that’s too thick to let dust mites through and easy to wash, you can count on some relief. That doesn’t mean all pillow covers are created equal though. To make sure you buy a hypoallergenic cover that satisfies all your needs, here are some important factors to consider. Protection Protection is the whole point, right? You definitely want to find a pillow cover that protects your pillow from dust mites, but if you have other allergies too, you need one that protects from all the other allergens you know you have issues with. If you have allergies to things like pet dander and pollen, look for a pillow cover designed to address them as well. Any good hypoallergenic pillow cover should fully enclose your pillows, so make sure you get one with a zipper or something similar so you can close it up completely. You also want it to be made of a material that’s nonporous enough to keep the tiny microorganisms out, without being stiff and uncomfortable. For some customers, finding a pillow cover that’s also effectively waterproof may be a priority as well. Do you need to keep those pillows protected from spills or pets and kids prone to accidents? Finally, an increasing number of consumers buy pillow covers with protection from bedbugs as a top priority. In most cases, a cover that’s designed to effectively keep out dust mites should be good for bedbugs too, but you can often find comments from customers in their reviews about how effective a pillow cover is for this use. Cost Most hypoallergenic pillow covers cost somewhere between $5 and $40. The difference in cost often speaks to factors like durability, comfort, and the level of protection provided – but not always. Some mid-priced ones get solid reviews from customers, so don’t assume you have to go with the most expensive brand to get the protection you need. Comfort Many of the hypoallergenic pillow covers of old (and some of the cheaper types available today) were stiff, crinkly, and just all around detracted from the comfort of the pillow. The whole point of pillows is comfort! You should definitely seek out a pillow cover with a reputation for being soft and comfortable in addition to providing adequate protection. In addition to texture, also consider breathability. If your pillow cover doesn’t breath well, it can leave you feeling hot throughout the night and get in the way of how well you sleep. Material Hypoallergenic pillow covers need to be made with materials that are nonporous enough to keep the dust mites out. Some of the most common materials useful in that regard are latex, polyester, cotton and wool, but you’ll also see companies touting more proprietary materials designed to mix comfort and effectiveness. Finding a fabric that’s nonporous often used to mean pillow covers that were stiff and uncomfortable, but newer pillow covers employ technology that manages to achieve the best of both worlds. Durability If you purchase a hypoallergenic pillow cover that tears soon after you buy it, you’ve completely wasted your money. For it to do its job, it has to be solid and impermeable all around. The moment there’s a tear, those bed bugs and dust mites can slip through and make a home. Some mattress covers offer warranties, but you’ll often get a clear picture of how well made a pillow cover is and how long it will last from the user reviews. Noise Some hypoallergenic pillow covers can make a crinkling sound as you move — which will drive some customers crazy. If you’re not too sensitive to noises as you sleep, you probably don’t need to worry too much about this, but if you are, then finding a pillow cover that’s nice and quiet should be an important consideration. Since it is an issue many customers are sensitive to, there’s a good chance a reviewer will tip you off if it’s a problem with a cover you’re considering. Pore Size As previously mentioned, you need pillow covers that are nonporous enough that dust mites can’t get through in between the threads. Experts recommend looking for pillow covers made with a fabric that has a pore size of less than 9 to keep out dust mite waste and less than 5 to keep out pet dander and pollen. Basically, the smaller the better and the more likely you are to keep the worst offending allergens out. Popular Hypoallergenic Pillow Cover Brands In your search for the best hypoallergenic pillow cover for your needs and price range, you’ll come across a few main brands. To get an idea of what you can expect from the products offered by each, we looked at the customer reviews online for their hypoallergenic pillow covers to provide you with a summary of what actual customers think. CleanRest The hypoallergenic pillow encasements sold by CleanRest get positive reviews all around from customers. They especially earn praise for being soft and comfortable – several reviewers compared them favorably to other brands they had that were too stiff, and several spoke to how well they worked for reducing their allergies. One reviewer even mentioned that they were the brand recommended by their immunologist. HealthGuard HealthGuard’s hypoallergenic pillow covers don’t have as many reviews online as some of the other brands we looked at, but the reviews we found were very positive. Their pillow covers are soft enough that one reviewer said they had comfortably slept on theirs without a pillowcase, and effective enough that people report feeling a significant difference in their allergies. Luna Luna is another brand that gets solid reviews from customers for their pillow covers. Customers are happy with how well they work for their allergies and pleased with how comfortable they are besides. Several mentioned being happy that they aren’t loud – they don’t make the crinkling noise you encounter with some other brands, and they perform well at protecting the pillow from spills and accidents. Mission: Allergy Mission: Allergy sells high-end pillow covers that receive very positive reviews from customers. Many reviewers comment on how well they work for allergies, but a few complain about their pillow covers being noisy or slippery. Most customers find them comfortable and effective and are happy with their purchase though. National Allergy Supply National Allergy Supply’s pillow covers mostly get pretty positive reviews, but with the occasional complaint thrown in that they’re stiff, noisy, or hot. Even the reviewers that complain though seem to be very happy with how much they help with their allergies, and there are other reviewers who contradict those complaints and say their pillow covers are soft and comfortable. Protect-a-Bed Protect-a-Bed gets largely positive reviews from customers for pillow covers that are good for allergies, soft, comfortable and quiet. Some of their pillow covers received criticism for not being waterproof as claimed though, so if that’s a top priority for you, check out the reviews of the particular cover you aim to buy before purchasing. Conclusion Sleep is too important to let slide. If you’re waking up with trouble breathing, a runny nose, or any of those other pesky allergy symptoms, or worse, if you’re kept up at night because of them, the solution may be relatively simple. Hypoallergenic pillow covers aren’t that expensive and they protect the one place you rest your head for several hours of every day. Give them a try. They could make a big difference.