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What are Allergy Mattress Covers

There are mattress covers and there are allergy mattress covers. What is the difference?

A mattress cover is designed to protect the mattress from soil and the oils from your skin that can come through the sheets. The mattress cover is on the bed to protect the mattress from you. The allergy mattress cover is there to protect you from all the allergens that collect in your mattress.

The traditional mattress cover may be made of cotton or some sort of cotton blend. Sometimes, people will even put a vinyl cover on the mattress to give water-proof protection. Great for the mattress, not so great for the person trying to sleep on the mattress. Vinyl makes noise when the sleeper moves or shifts and because water vapor can build up under the cover it makes for hot sleeping.

The allergy mattress cover is made from special barrier cloth fabrics. These fabrics can be all cotton, all polyester, a blend of cotton and polyester. The fibers used to make the fabric are so tightly woven that normal household allergens cannot penetrate the allergy mattress cover. This means that whatever allergens, such as molds, dust mites, dust mite feces, pollens, and animal allergen coated fur and dander are trapped under the cover. When shopping for an allergy mattress cover, ask about the average (or mean) pore size.

This is the amount of space (measured in microns) that exists between the fibers in the weave. For best protection, find something with a pore size of 8 microns or less. The smaller the pore size in your allergy mattress cover, the better the allergy mattress cover can protect you. The smallest pore sizes will be found in allergy mattress covers that are made of all polyester. This is because polyester is a strong fiber and can withstand tight weaving. However, allergy mattress covers that are made from all polyester feel a bit slick and do not have the feel of cotton.

Allergy mattress covers that are made of all cotton will have a larger pore size. This is because cotton is not as strong as polyester and cannot be woven as tightly without the fiber breaking. The allergy mattress cover that is made from all cotton will be soft and cool, but might not last as many years as the all polyester cover.

Some all cotton allergy mattress covers are samphorized. This is a process where the cotton is treated with pressure and steam to shrink and hold the pore size. If you buy an all cotton allergy mattress cover, this is something you want to ask about.

Allergy mattress covers can also be made with cotton and polyester blends. This allows the allergy mattress cover to give all the protection of the more tightly woven polyester and with all the comfort of the all cotton fabric. Also, an allergy mattress cover that is made from a blend of polyester and cotton can be expected to last for years.

No matter the fabric you pick for your allergy mattress cover, make sure it is made with a heavy duty zipper. A fitted allergy mattress cover does not provide the protection necessary for most allergic people. However, in some instances (such as adjustable beds or during travel) a zippered mattress cover is not practical and a fitted mattress cover is the only option.

No matter the style or fabric of your allergy mattress cover, it is important that the bedding on top of the allergy mattress cover be washed every 7 days in 140 degree water. If you like to use a mattress pad or egg crate or feather bed for added cushion to your bed, be sure to put those items under your mattress cover. The first layer on top of your mattress cover should be your fitted sheet.

A good allergy mattress cover is an investment that will protect both you and your mattress.

Wishing you the best of health

Cheryl Krause

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