Dust mites are microscopic organisms that cause allergies, asthma, and irritation. Dust mites thrive in warm, moist environments, particularly in bedding. This article discusses how to minimize the presence of dust mites, including by switching to silk sheets.
If you’ve spent time with us here at Mulberry Park Silks, you know we talk quite a bit about the beauty, health, and wellness benefits of our luxurious silk bedding. You’ll probably also catch us showcasing our stylish accessory collections (including our newly introduced silk robe and glam band) or the museum-worthy artist prints on our Gallery Collection pillowcases.
Pretty fancy, right? (Ok, we agree. It is all sort of glamorous.) But don’t think for a minute we’re not willing to get a little dirty. After all, we do a lot of hands-on testing when we give you advice on how to clean and remove stains form our silk. But today we’re going 180° in the other direction with a discussion of one of the grossest bugs we can think of: dust mites. We’ll tell you what these little critters are; what they feed on (spoiler alert: you!); how they trigger allergies and asthma (dust mite feces and decaying carcasses); and (finally, some good news) how sleeping on silk can keep them far, far away.
What Are Dust Mites?
Dust mites are tiny arthropods that are related to spiders and ticks. They are microscopic organisms that are invisible to the naked eye, measuring only around 0.3 millimeters in length. Although they are small, they can cause significant problems and an allergic reaction in anyone who is sensitive to them.
Dust mites thrive in warm, humid environments, and they feed on flakes of dead skin that are shed by humans and pets. As a result, thriving dust mite populations can commonly be found in your carpet, soft furnishings, soft toys, and, unfortunately, in your bedroom.
Why Are Dust Mites So Troublesome?
As if the idea of microscopic bugs feeding on our dead skin cells weren’t horrifying enough, dust mite allergy symptoms and reactions are triggered by both dust mite droppings and decomposing carcasses. (Blech). Some common reactions to dust mites can cause troublesome health problems:
Allergic reactions: As mentioned earlier, dust mite particles can trigger allergic rhinitis in sensitive individuals. Symptoms of a dust mite allergy include sneezing, runny nose, and itchy, watery eyes. This is quite common, with approximately 20 million Americans experiencing a dust allergy.
Asthma triggers: For people with asthma, dust mites can be particularly problematic. Their droppings contain proteins that can trigger asthma attacks, leading to coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing.
Poor sleep quality: Dust mites can also impact the quality of your sleep. Allergic symptoms to dust mites can absolutely disrupt your sleep. Not to mention the unsettling anxiety of sharing your pillow and bed with the dust mite population!
Skin irritation: While less common, some people may experience skin irritation from dust mite proteins. This can lead to redness, itching, and a rash.
Your Bed: The Ideal Dust Mite Breeding Ground
The bedroom is a particularly problematic area for dust mites, as people spend a significant amount of time there. Mattresses and pillows are the perfect breeding grounds for these tiny creatures, as they provide warmth and moisture from body heat and sweat. Fortunately, there are number of things you can do to reduce exposure to dust mites in your bedroom:
- Wash cotton bedding regularly: If you sleep on cotton or synthetic blend sheets, wash your sheets and pillowcases once a week in hot water to kill any dust mites that may be living in them. NOTE: only use hot water cotton or synthetic blends; see below for silk washing instructions.
- Use dust mite-proof covers: Cover your mattress, pillows, and box spring with dust mite-proof covers to prevent dust mites from living in them.
- Vacuum regularly: Vacuum your carpets and upholstered furniture regularly to remove household dust and ant mites that might be present.
- Keep humidity low. Dust mites thrive in humid environments, so keep your bedroom humidity level below 50% by using a dehumidifier or air conditioner.
- Use an air purifier. An air purifier with a HEPA filter can also keep dust mites down and improve indoor air quality.
Sleep on silk bedding from Mulberry Park Silks. This is one of the best things you can do to minimize dust mites while improving your comfort and sleep quality.
Silk Bedding Resists Dust Mites (and other Allergens) Quite Effectively
Silk bedding is renowned for its luxurious feel and numerous health and wellness benefits like taming tangles, bedhead and wrinkles; keeping hair and skin well-moisturized; and regulating body temperature for comfortable sleep.
Silk fabric is also hypoallergenic, and resistant to dust mites as well as mold, bacteria and fungus. From a scientific perspective, this makes great sense. Silk is a protein-based fiber made from the cocoon of the bombyx mori silkworm. Silk fabric is woven from the cocoon filaments, which are inherently antimicrobial, antibacterial, and protective thanks to their unique molecular structure and the presence of fibroin, a bacteria-resistant silk protein.
Silk fiber is also breathable and moisture-wicking. This means that when you sleep on silk, your temperature is regulated and moisture is pulled away from you (unlike cotton sheets, which absorb and trap moisture). The damp, humid environment of cotton sheets is far more likely to promote the exponential growth of dust mites than silk sheets.
If you’re looking to minimize the presence of dust mites in your sheets, silk bedding is the ideal choice for safely and naturally controlling allergens and excess moisture. It is also naturally moisturizing and protective for even the most sensitive skin. In fact, dermatologists recommend sleeping on silk for their patients who are prone to allergies and irritation; read more about that here.
Mulberry Park Silks: The Finest Silk Bedding You Can Buy
With the knowledge that silk sheets are great for controlling dust mites, you can now begin the process of selecting the best silk sheets you can purchase. At Mulberry Park Silks, our mission is to produce and sell the highest-quality silk sheets on the market at fair and affordable prices.
We use the helpful acronym "CHARMS" to explain why our silk pillowcases are the finest in the marketplace:
Ch - Charmeuse weave: smooth on the outside a matte finish on the reverse
A - Grade 6A silk is the highest quality: all of our products are 6A
R - Real 100 percent pure mulberry silk.
M - Momme weight of 19, 22, and 30 for a range of prices
S - Safe for people and the environment as certified STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX®. This is an extra step to ensure the safety of all of our silk. Read more about OEKO-TEX® certification for our silk here.
Silk Bedding Is Easy to Care For (No Hot Water Needed!)
Mulberry Park Silks bedding is easy to care for. In fact, Mulberry Park Silks pillowcases can be easily washed at home in your machine without hot water (which can damage silk!). For machine washing, use a gentle detergent made for silk like Heritage Park Silk and Wool Detergent and place the sheets in a fine mesh laundry bag. Follow these simple instructions for washing your silk sheets to make them last and stay beautiful for a long time.