Latex Mattress and Dust Mites

December 17, 2021

Latex Mattress and Dust Mites

If you're asthmatic or prone to allergies, you know how important it is to keep your home dust-free. However, it's difficult to completely clear the allergens-producing dust mites in your home, because they are naturally occurring, and go anywhere humans live.

Since they feed on human dead skin cells, your mattress and any other upholstered furniture make the perfect breeding place for these uninvited guests. Unfortunately, that's enough to cause unending allergic reactions, such as skin rashes, runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, and breathing difficulties all year long.

Sleeping on a latex mattress can make a huge difference healthwise by limiting such irritating allergic reactions every time you go to bed. You may have heard of the numerous benefits of a latex mattress that makes it more popular in the market today. However, there are more myths than facts regarding why this mattress is called a 'dust mite resistant' 'hypoallergenic' mattress.

Here's all the truth about latex mattresses and dust mites you need to know about before deciding to buy one.

What are Dust Mites?

Dust mites are microscopic insect-like pests found almost everywhere humans live. They live in warm and humid environments in our homes, and feed on flakes of shed human skin. That's why mattresses are their favorite homes, because they fulfill the requirements of a conducive environment where these pests thrive.

These pests aren't parasites, and don't bite or sting, making them harmless to humans. You won't even feel them crawling on your skin as other bed pests, such as bed bugs, do. However, the real problem is the tiny fecal pellets and body fragments they leave behind. These are potent allergens associated with respiratory and dermatological allergies.

Although dust mites are microscopic, they aren't airborne, as they are wingless, and settle fast with dust particles. For this reason, regular washing and cleaning of the home reduces the dust mite population, and helps prevent recurring allergic reactions.

What are the Symptoms of a Dust Mite Allergy?

A dust mite allergy triggers respiratory and skin-related conditions among allergy-sensitive sleepers. The most common symptoms include:

  • wheezing
  • coughing
  • sneezing
  • breathing difficulties
  • chest tightness
  • runny, itchy nose
  • itchy, watery eyes
  • itchy skin and eczema
  • facial pressure
  • severe asthma attacks

These symptoms range from mild to severe, depending on the individual's immunity. Some sleepers use over-the-counter medicines whenever they have mild allergic reactions. However, it's best to visit a doctor if you experience severe reactions, such as chest congestion, facial pressure, and asthma attacks.

Dust Mite Removal Tips

Only one in every five homes in the United States has undetectable levels of dust mites, reports the American Lung Association. Your mattress alone can accommodate anywhere between 100,000 and 10 million dust mites at a time. Therefore, it may be practically impossible to eliminate dust mites from your house completely.

Here are a few cleaning tips to help you reduce dust mite population in your home:

Keep Your Home Well Ventilated

Proper air circulation in a room is vital for reducing indoor moisture levels to normal. High humidity not only favors dust mites, but also other harmful microorganisms, such as molds and bacteria. Good ventilation will keep humidity at 50 percent or below, although that may be more difficult to achieve in some seasons.

If you have fish tanks and plant vessels, ensure that you keep them away from your bedroom, because they increase humidity levels in the air. You may also use air conditioners and dehumidifiers to control indoor moisture during hotter months. If you live in a dusty area, you can use air cleaners to remove pollen and allergens carried by the dust in the air around your home.

Declutter Your Home

A cluttered home offers a lot of hiding space for dust mites, bacteria, and other kinds of allergens. It's also challenging to maintain proper hygiene in all the clutter, thus, providing more favorable conditions for these pests to live in. For this reason, it's advisable to get rid of excess items, such as unused upholstered furniture, old carpets, rugs, heavy drapes, and old kids' toys.

Vacuum Your Carpets

Carpets are also a perfect place for dust mites to live, because they sit directly on the floor where most of the dust settles. Therefore, it's important to vacuum them regularly using high efficiency, central, or steam vacuum cleaners, since regular vacuum cleaners may not pick up dust mites. Additionally, ensure that you use a damp mop on the floor under the carpet where more dust mites hide at least once every other day, or daily if you live in a dusty area.

Dust and Wipe Surfaces in the House

Dusting and wiping surfaces reduce the amount of dust, and improve the general hygiene of your home. This includes dusting the furniture, drapes, wall hangings, kitchen tops, and more.

Clean Your Bedding Weekly

It's best to wash your bed sheets and pillowcases once every week using hot water of 130F to kill the accumulated dust mites. Then, air the washed bedding on high heat until properly dry before using it again. If you're particularly asthmatic or prone to allergies, stay away from furry blankets and down quilts, as they trap more dust, and can cause more allergic irritation due to their fluffiness.

How to Kill Dust Mites on a Mattress

Mattresses may be harder to clean regularly because of their bulkiness. However, there are a few things you can do to reduce dust mites on the mattress, as suggested below:

Use Baking Soda and Vacuum

Baking soda serves various purposes at home aside from baking pastries, bread, and cakes. It's also a readily-available cleaning agent and disinfectant commonly used to remove urine stains and bad odors from a mattress.

To prevent dust mites from living in your mattress, all you need to do is sprinkle the powder on its surface, and let it sit for at least 15 minutes. Next, mix the powder with your favorite essential oils for fragrance, such as lavender oil.

After 15 minutes, use an upholstered furniture vacuum cleaner to suck the baking soda off the mattress. Then, repeat the same process on the other side of the mattress, and leave it to rest for a few hours before using it again. You can also do the same for your pillows to prevent dust mites.

Baking soda and vacuum leave your mattress cleaner, fresher, and disinfected. You can maintain that for a longer time by using allergen-proof covers and pillowcases. These covers prevent you from sleeping directly on the mattress, and because they are washable, it becomes easier to keep your bed free from dust mites.

Call a Mattress Cleaning Expert

You may need to call a mattress cleaning expert if you have several mattresses to clean, and are overwhelmed with the dust mites menace. Unfortunately, it's also not easy to conduct a dust-filled cleaning exercise if you're already allergen-sensitive.

You should find out the cleaning agents' components and disinfectants the mattress cleaning expert plans to use, just to ensure they won't trigger any allergic reactions, such as skin irritation and sneezing.

Steps to Control Dust Mites in Your Bedroom and Home

Here are some tips to help you to keep dust mites away from your home for a longer period:

  • get rid of wall-to-wall carpets, and replace your floors with wood
  • use hypoallergenic covers over your mattresses and pillows
  • keep your pets off the bed
  • use vinyl curtain blinders instead of fabric curtain drapes
  • invest in air conditioners, humidifiers, and air cleaners
  • buy a new hypoallergenic mattress, such as one made from latex

Who Should Worry About Dust Mites?

The most dust mite-sensitive sleepers are those prone to allergies, or are asthmatic. When exposed to these allergens, their bodies react by fighting them, leading to severe medical conditions. However, these aren't the only sleepers who need to worry about these pests.

Sleepers using old mattresses are at higher risks of being exposed to dust mites, because the mattresses accumulate more allergens and dust mites over time. Additionally, the general wear and tear of mattresses cause them to disintegrate. As a result, the mattresses foam dust-like particles that can trigger more allergic reactions to sensitive sleepers. This happens mostly with the traditional innerspring mattresses and memory foam mattresses, because the spaces within the mattress layers allow the dust mites to penetrate.

Even if you aren't prone to allergies, or have no respiratory issues, dust mites can still cause discomfort on your bed. In addition, a dirty mattress and bedding are not only unpleasant, but also pollute the air in your room.

What is a Hypoallergenic Mattress?

A hypoallergenic mattress contains allergen-resistant materials that keep away microorganisms, such as allergens, pollen, dust mites, and bed bugs. Such mattresses are considered safe for allergy-prone and asthmatic sleepers.

Memory foam and latex mattresses are the common examples of hypoallergenic mattresses, although there's a lot of confusing information as to which of the two is better than the other. Both mattresses are considered dust mite and allergen resistant, because they are dense, leaving little room for bacteria and pests such as dust mites to grow.

However, some memory foam mattresses can create a conducive environment for harboring dust mites.

Memory foam mattresses trap heat from a sleeper's body, causing them to sweat more while asleep. As a result, the mattress absorbs the sleeper's sweat, creating the perfect humid and warm atmosphere for dust mites to thrive. Even though they may not penetrate through the mattress, they can stay longer on its surface, and cause allergic reactions to sleepers who are allergic to dust mites.

However, it's important to note that not all bed-related allergies result from dust mites allergens. Instead, some come from pet dander, pollen, and chemicals contained in certain types of mattresses.

For example, memory foam mattresses are created by mixing different chemical compounds that can potentially cause allergies among sensitive sleepers.

What to Know About Latex Mattresses and Dust Mites

To understand why natural latex mattresses are dubbed 'dust mite resistant', let's take you back to their manufacturing process.

Natural latex is a sap extracted from rubber trees, and then processed into solid latex. This sap is then processed using either of these two methods: the Dunlop and Talalay processes.

The Dunlop processing method is the most organic process because no chemical fillers are added to the latex. Therefore, if the latex is grown and harvested under organic conditions, and later processed using the Dunlop method, the latex produced will be organic latex. In addition, Dunlop latex mattresses are denser and firmer, thanks to their irregular cell structure.

On the other hand, the Talalay latex processing method incorporates some chemical additives to produce a light and soft foam with a regular cell structure. However, Talalay latex is classified as natural latex, but not organic latex, because of the chemical fillers used in the manufacturing process.

Using this backdrop information, let's debunk the myths and truths of latex mattresses and dust mites.

Dust Mites Can't Live in Latex Mattresses

Many latex mattress companies claim that their mattresses are dust mite-resistant, although there is no known scientific research to prove this claim. However, there are several beneficial properties of latex mattresses that back up this claim.

First, latex mattresses are denser than other types of mattress foams, preventing room for dust mites to live inside them. Without space to breed, these pests would have no choice but to move in search of a better home.

The other benefit of latex mattresses that supports this claim is that latex easily repels moisture, and allows sleepers to sleep cool at night. Since moisture is one of the vital components of a favorable environment for dust mites, its absence means no possibility of life for them. Additionally, its ability to regulate temperature reduces the chances of sweating at night, depriving the dust mites of the moisture and warmth they need to survive.

Therefore, it's safe to say that dust mites may not live too long in a latex mattress.

Not All Latex Mattresses are Hypoallergenic

There's no doubt that some sleepers have had symptoms of allergic reactions while sleeping on a latex mattress. That may leave you wondering why and how this happens if a latex mattress is hypoallergenic.

The truth is not all latex mattresses in the market today are natural or organic.

For example, synthetic latex comprises various chemicals that can trigger allergies among some sleepers. Some allergic reactions may also result from the chemical fillers found in Talalay mattresses if the mattress manufacturers aren't careful to investigate toxins in their products. However, less than one percent of the US population is allergic to a type of protein found in natural latex, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

Even though latex mattresses resist allergens and microorganisms, some habits such as letting pets onto the bed introduce pet dander on the mattress. That also can trigger allergic reactions similar to those experienced by individuals allergic to dust mites and other types of allergens.

Therefore, maintaining good hygiene is necessary to reduce the chances of introducing other allergens, such as pet dander, dust, and pollen onto your latex mattress. Another important consideration is to check for a mattress certification to know if the manufacturer uses toxin-free latex foam, to reduce the chances of chemical irritations.

Latex Mattresses can't Solve Dust Mite Issues

Now that you know why dust mites won't live too long on a latex mattress, it's easier to understand its usefulness in controlling the population of dust mites in your home. However, observing general hygiene is the key to solving the problem of dust mites breeding in your home.

Latex Mattress and Dust Mites FAQs

Here are more questions people ask about latex mattresses and dust mites before mattress shopping.

Do Latex Mattresses Have Health Certifications?

Latex mattress companies can acquire several third-party health certifications to prove the purity and quality of the latex and other organic materials used in making the mattress. Here is a list of some of the credible health certifications to look for when shopping for a new hypoallergenic latex mattress:

OEKO-Tex Standard 100

This label proves that every textile component of a product has been tested and proven free of harmful chemicals or substances that could be harmful to human health. The label is also recognized worldwide.

Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)

GOTS is yet another worldwide-recognized requirement for organic textiles such as cotton. It monitors the production and processing of such textiles to ensure that they are organic and free from harmful chemicals, and safe for human use.

Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS)

GOLS is a globally accepted standard that monitors and certifies the natural materials and processing standards of organic latex, to ensure the final product is safe for human use and is also environmentally-friendly.

Can Dust Mites Live in Latex Mattresses?

The truth is dust mites can be found in latex mattresses. However, they may not live on the mattress for too long because latex mattresses don't favor their perfect environment for survival. Such mattresses are hypoallergenic, making them naturally resistant to microbial creatures such as dust mites.

Do Latex Pillows Cause Dust Mite Allergy?

Latex pillows are resistant to dust mites, making them favorable for allergy-prone and asthmatic sleepers. They are also comfortable, and can regulate temperature, allowing sleepers to remain cool all night long. That reduces the amount of moisture on the mattress, and also contributes to dust mite prevention.

Is a Latex Mattress Toxic?

natural mattresses or organic latex mattresses aren't toxic. Additionally, they don't produce off-gassing chemicals when new. When shopping for a non-toxic latex mattress, find out if the mattress company has any health certifications to prove that their latex mattresses contain no harmful chemicals.

About Eco Terra Mattresses 

The Eco Terra Hybrid Mattresses provide the healthiest and cleanest sleep surface that nature has to offer. These eco-friendly mattresses will make you sleep comfortably, without worrying about dust mite allergies.

Here's why:

  • Eco Terra hybrid mattresses are made without toxins, chemicals, synthetics, and other forms of additives.
  • The mattresses undergo a special 5-stage washing technique for purification, making them fit for human use.
  • In addition to purification, Eco Terra Mattresses have both the GOTS and OEKO-Tex certifications.
  • The mattresses contain natural latex, certified organic cotton, and organic wool. These three are the best combination for the most hypoallergenic mattress nature can provide.
  • The cotton makes breathable and organic covers that shield you from coming into direct contact with the latex. Therefore, you don't have to worry about latex allergies while using this mattress.

You can choose from the variety of sizes available to suit the size of your bed and your desired thickness. The mattress is also available in firm and medium-firm levels that are both supportive and comfortable, satisfying the needs of all types of sleepers. So, take advantage of the Eco Terra Mattress sale today to purchase this mattress at the lowest discounted price ever!

Patrick Gunther

Patrick is an accomplished writer. He has been in the retail mattress space for the past 13 years, and more specifically in the natural mattress niche. He blogs on the subjects of natural mattresses, sleep, health, fitness, and green living.