Perhaps you've heard of dust mites. What are they, what do they do, and how do we make sure these little creatures aren't thriving in our bedding? Also, don’t google pictures of them unless you really want to be grossed out. In this post we’ll review different pillow types and how well they hold up against dust mites and other allergens.
Dust mites are microscopic creatures that thrive in our homes, particularly in bedding and upholstered furniture. They feed on dead skin cells and multiply rapidly in warm, humid environments. There is a large concentration of them on both coasts and in the south.
These pesky creatures can trigger allergies and asthma symptoms in sensitive individuals. Their waste particles, called allergens, are the primary culprit behind these allergic reactions. In 80 days an average dust mite creates approximately 1,000 particles of allergenic waste.
Though a dust mite has a relatively short lifespan, it can produce allergenic waste weighing 200 times its own body weight. Such waste readily becomes airborne and constitutes a substantial portion of household dust. Because we are spending more time indoors than ever before, we are becoming more sensitive to indoor air pollutants and dust. It seems obvious that dust mites would be most prominent in bedding since we spend a third of our day laying there.
Synthetic materials such as polyester create the ultimate breeding ground for dust mites and other bacteria because of the way the fiber is structured at the microscopic level and because it traps moisture.
So where do we fit in? Wool, unlike synthetic and down materials, is naturally inhospitable to dust mites. This is due to several key characteristics that make wool an unfavorable environment for these microscopic creatures.
First, wool regulates moisture. It's highly breathable -absorbing and releasing moisture, keeping the bedding / pillows dry. Dust mites thrive in warm and humid conditions, but wool's moisture-wicking properties create an inhospitable environment that inhibits their growth and survival. Additionally, wool fibers have a unique structure that makes it difficult for dust mites to penetrate and inhabit. The outer layer of wool fibers is covered in microscopic scales, creating a barrier that prevents dust mites from burrowing into the fabric and making it their home.
Another factor is that wool naturally contains lanolin, a wax-like substance produced by sheep. Lanolin has antimicrobial properties, acting as a natural defense against bacteria, fungi, and dust mites. This further discourages dust mite infestations in wool bedding.
In contrast, synthetic materials lack the moisture regulation and breathability of wool, providing a warm and humid environment that promotes dust mite growth. Down pillows, while known for their softness, can also trap moisture and create a favorable habitat for dust mites.
By using an organic wool pillow from The Woolshire, you ensure the place you rest your head every night of your life is not a breeding ground for these allergen producing creatures.