For people with allergies, getting comfortable in bed can be a constant struggle. Traditional down comforters and feather pillows may make you sneeze or cause your eyes to itch, while alternative products simply fail to provide the warmth and comfort of down. Is there a solution out there that will provide a good night’s sleep?
As the authority on down comforters, we assure you that the perfect sleep solution is out there. Here’s what you need to know to get that much sought after rest.
Wash And Wash Again
Although a lot of people think they have feather allergies, they’re actually a lot less common than you may think. In reality, most people are allergic to dust mites that live inside comforters and pillows. These are easily eradicated by washing your blankets regularly to kill the mites. As for pillows, those with dust mite allergies may need to replace their pillows more regularly than most, but this is a good practice in general and will enhance the quality of your sleep.
Of course, washing a down comforter isn’t the easiest thing to do – they can be large and unwieldy and often take a long time to dry. Luckily, with a few tricks, you can simplify the process.
Start by heading to your local laundromat where you can use a front-loading washer, as most homes feature top-loading washers with agitators that may damage your comforter. If you don’t have access to a front-loading washer, be sure to carefully arrange your comforter and submerge it fully.
Once loaded, wash your comforter with warm water on the delicate setting to protect the integrity of the filler. Both hot and cold water can damage the filler, and though hot water tends to do a better job killing dust mites, restrict the application of higher temperatures to other fabrics like your duvet cover. Finally, when it’s time to dry the comforter, toss a few tennis balls into your dryer to fluff the comforter and speed the drying process – you’ll find you get much better results than if you dried the comforter on its own.
Consider an Enclosure if You Suffer from Down Allergy
Another way to protect yourself from both a potential feather allergy and from the dust mites that cause a reaction in as many as two-thirds of allergy patients is by using a cover on your down comforter. Look for something with a zipper – rather than a duvet with button closures – and a tight weave. The tighter the weave, the better the protection it will provide against potential down allergy.
You’ll want to wash this cover even more regularly than you would wash the comforter itself to reduce the likelihood of irritation. We recommend washing your comforter cover every three weeks, as frequently as you should wash your pillowcases. This may seem excessively often, but who doesn’t love the feel of freshly washed bedding?
While we’re talking about covering things up, it’s also important to get a dust mite barrier for your mattress. All parts of your bedding are susceptible to these little creatures, since they eat skin cells and love the dark humidity of bedrooms. The more barriers you’re using – and regularly washing – the more likely it is that you’ll find the problem was mites and not feathers all along.
Check Out Alternatives
If you continue to struggle with allergy symptoms when using a down comforter, even after doing your best to combat dust mites, you may have a true feather allergy. But don’t worry, there are still more options out there. To get the warmth of down without the bothersome symptoms, consider investing in a down alternative comforter. These comforters are designed to be warm and fluffy, just like traditionally filled comforters, but are made from synthetic materials that won’t trigger allergies or asthma.
If you’re not into synthetic materials, another option for those with allergies is a silk comforter. Silk is naturally hypoallergenic and you can get comforters filled with mulberry silk floss rather than down or other synthetics. It’s also incredibly luxurious, so you’ll be allergy free while ensconced in the finest of materials.
Dust mite allergies are so common that most doctors won’t even test for them, especially if you already have other common allergies, such as those to pollen or dust, but feather allergies are much less common. If you’re concerned that you may have an actual feather allergy, don’t be afraid to approach your doctor about getting a medical test. Allergy tests are quite simple, typically involving pricking the skin with a small sample of the suspected allergen and comparing it to a control to determine the body’s reactivity.
It’s important to know whether or not you have a feather allergy, as those with a true allergy can suffer symptoms when handling birds or even cleaning up bird droppings. Feather allergies are also more likely to impact your breathing than a dust mite allergy, making them more dangerous. However, if you do have a feather allergy, you doctor will also be able to help you control the symptoms with medications, including over the counter options.
Healthy at Home
Your home should be a safe and comfortable environment where you feel at your best, so you don’t want to expose yourself to unnecessary allergens and irritants. For those experiencing unpleasant symptoms, the best way to determine what’s bothering you is to clean house and start over fresh.
Determining what’s causing an environmental allergy is much the same as assessing yourself for food allergies and intolerances – you need to perform a kind of household elimination diet. Wash all of your bedding and then introduce in different elements one at a time; first a clean comforter, then your duvet cover, or add interventions like mattress covers to determine what helps you feel better.
If your home allergy assessment leads you to the determination that you need to make a change, our reviews at Down Comforter Expert can help you choose an appropriate alternative.
We believe everyone deserves to experience the maximum in comfort with down comforters.