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What is a Hypoallergenic Mattress? Tips to Allergy-proof your Bedroom

Author imageThe Mattress Warehouse

As soon as you hit the hay your nose starts to itch, you feel clogged up every morning and you’re starting to suspect your mattress or pillow. Sound familiar? Probably. That’s why you’re reading this blog, isn’t it? You’re tired of bedroom allergies and you want to deal with them once and for all! If this is you, you’re in the right place. In this article, The Mattress Warehouse explains everything you need to know about bedroom allergies. From common allergens to allergy-proofing your bedroom against allergens with hypoallergenic materials.

Ready to dust out those dust mites for good? Let’s dive in.

How do you tell if you’re allergic to your mattress?

If you wake up with irritated eyes and an itchy nose regularly, your mattress might be at fault. Well, maybe not the mattress itself, but the tiny critters that live in it. On the other hand, you may well have an allergic reaction to the material that your mattress is made from.

But how can you tell?

Typically, your body would react differently to living things than to chemical irritants.

Creepy Crawlies

Let’s say you still sleep on the spring mattress your grandma slept on for the past 20 years before she passed it on to you when she moved into the old-aged home. Chances are your mattress is riddled with all sorts of living creepy crawlies (more on that in a bit) that can cause an allergic reaction. Old mattresses, especially those containing coils, have lots of space for allergens to thrive in. Moreover, they may not contain hypoallergenic materials.

So if you regularly wake up with;

  • A sore throat
  • Itchy eyes
  • A runny nose
  • Blocked sinuses

You may be allergic to the creatures that live in your mattress.

If your mattress is older than seven years and you suffer from these allergens, it’s time to invest in a new one. Alternatively, clean your mattress thoroughly.

Irritant Materials

There is a slight chance that you react negatively to the material that your mattress is manufactured from. It is not common, but some people show allergic reactions to latex foam (a natural foam), whereas others are allergic to the chemicals in memory foam.

Tip: Find out more about foam mattresses here

If you suffer from one or more of the following symptoms after lying on your bed, you may be allergic to your mattress:

  • Nausea – your stomach is upset and you feel like you might vomit.
  • Rash – your skin is inflamed and itchy.
  • Shortness of breath – for no apparent reason, you feel as if you can’t get enough air into your lungs.

However, there may be many reasons why you have these symptoms and if they persist, we’d suggest you visit your medical practitioner to get an expert opinion about your symptoms.

Common types of bedroom allergens

This is where the creepy crawlies we mentioned earlier come in. Your bedroom, and your bed in particular, is the perfect environment for all sorts of tiny little creatures to live in. Moreover, bacteria and fungi may also thrive in your mattress (depending on if it’s hypoallergenic or not). You see, while you sleep you sweat and shed skin on your bed. And if your mattress is not protected, some of that organic matter may find its way into your mattress, where it serves as a food source for critters and fungi alike.

Without further ado, here are 4 of the most common bedroom allergens:

1. Dust mites

These are the most common household mites. These microscopic creatures cannot be seen with the naked eye, so you are not likely to recognise them from sight. However, large colonies of dust mites can cause slight discolouration in your mattress. Be on the lookout for that.  Dust mites feed off dead skin cells and absorb water from the atmosphere around them.

If you sweat into your mattresses and you shed skin cells onto your mattress, you probably have some dust mites that live in your bed.

Typical allergic reactions to dust mites:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Coughing

2. Bed bugs

Now, these you can see with the naked eye, albeit you have great eyesight. Bed bugs are tiny reddish-brown insects that feed on human and animal blood. They will probably not make you sneeze or give you itchy eyes, but they do leave plenty of itchy little bite marks where they fed. You might confuse a patch of bed bug bites with a nasty rash.

Typical allergic reactions to bed bugs:

  • Enlarged and sore bite marks
  • Excessive itchiness

Tip: Find out more about bed bugs and how to get rid of them here


A type of fungi that thrives in moist, dark conditions. Such as open spaces in worn-out and sweated-on mattresses. You might have seen mould before when you left that loaf of bread in the bin for three weeks. Those tiny filaments that you observed on the mould are known as spores, through which mould reproduces and spreads. These spores are incredibly light and can travel through the air unaided.

If you lie down on a mould-filled mattress, some of those spores will invariably find their way into your airways, eyes or onto your skin, where it may cause one of these common allergic reactions:

  • Coughing
  • Itchy eyes
  • Hives

People with asthma may react more severely to mould and dust mite allergies. 

Pet dander

Sad to say, but having your pets sleep on your bed is not the best idea if you suffer from allergies. Your furry friend is likely to shed dust and hair on your bed, which can cause an allergic reaction. Breathing in pet dander can definitely cause your sinuses to clog up and give you red, itchy eyes. Moreover, it gives even more food for dust mites.

But how do you combat all these allergens? Should you just make your peace and live with watery eyes and an irritated throat?

Absolutely not!

There are fantastic materials that can help alleviate your allergies. Moreover, you can allergy-proof your bedroom to make it less hospitable for these common allergens. For instance, when you replace your mattress, buy a hypoallergenic mattress.

We’ve used that “H” word a lot, haven’t we? You may be wondering what it means.

What is a hypoallergenic mattress?

A hypoallergenic mattress is manufactured from materials with anti-allergenic properties. In other words, the material repels common allergens like dust mites and mould, making it harder for them to get a foothold in your mattress. And with fewer allergens in your mattress, you are less likely to suffer from allergies.

What does hypoallergenic mean?

In medical terminology, the prefix “hypo” means less than normal, or under. And an allergen is something that can cause an allergic reaction. When you put the two together it refers to a substance that is less likely to cause an allergic reaction.

Some mattresses are more hypoallergenic than others. For example:

  • Memory foam mattresses – tend to be more dust mite- and mould resistant than spring mattresses. The foam structure does not allow for mites or mould to penetrate into the mattress and as such, does not offer a lot of space for these allergens to thrive. Whereas spring mattresses have open space around the coils where pesky pests can multiply and nest.
  • Latex foam – is made from the naturally insect-resistant sap of rubber trees. So not only does a latex mattress’ foam structure prevent allergens from penetrating into the mattress, the foam itself repels bed bugs and dust mites.
  • Anti-allergenic covers – on mattresses decrease the chance of allergens building up in your mattress. These covers are typically woven from natural fibres, like bamboo, that wick away moisture. Remember, mould and dust mites need moisture to live so if your mattress cover keeps moisture out, it also keeps those allergens out.
  • Antibacterial treatment – in mattress covers reduce bacterial growth in that mattress. Different manufacturers use different treatments or technology to make their mattresses antibacterial. Universe Bedding has Silvertech Material, where they incorporate silver (which is known for its antibacterial properties) into their mattress covers. Sealy uses what they call Allergen Protect – an antibacterial and anti-allergenic cover.

What type of mattress is hypoallergenic?

As a rule, you’d want to avoid spring- and pillowtop mattresses if you suffer from allergies. The top, comfort layer in pillowtop mattresses has an open cell structure, so allergens can easily accumulate there. Likewise, there is space around springs where allergens can gather and multiply.

If you enjoy the feeling of sleeping on a spring mattress, go for a hybrid mattress. These mattresses combine foam technologies in the upper layers and have smaller springs at the base of the mattress. The foam layers at the top protect against dust mites and mould.

Here are our favourite picks:

Magniflex Vitale Naturale Mattress

The Magniflex Vitale Naturale Mattress is well known for its hypoallergenic properties.

The Magniflex Vitale Naturale Mattress has a removable bamboo cover for extra protection and easy care

  • Pure foam mattress
  • Hypoallergenic Memoform layer
  • Removable bamboo cover
  • 150 kg per person carrying capacity
  • Available in Queen XL size

With a medium comfort rating, the Magniflex Vitale Naturale Mattress can easily accommodate any type of sleeping position. It also has excellent cooling properties to negate those sweltering night sweats.

Sealy Hybrid Sage Mattress

The Sealy Hybrid Mattress

The Sealy Hybrid Mattress has fantastic hypoallergenic properties

  • Hybrid mattress with individual pocket springs and memory foam layers
  • Allergen Protect mattress cover
  • Moisture wicking properties
  • 12 Year service warranty
  • Available in all standard sizes

The firm comfort rating makes the Sealy Hybrid Sage Firm Mattress an excellent choice for heavyset people. You can lie down with the assurance that your mattress will give you proper support throughout the night. Furthermore, the moisture-wicking properties and Climate Control system ensure an enjoyable night’s rest.

Kooi Active Mattress

Kooi Active Mattress

The Kooi Active Mattress is one of those revolutionary beds in a box

  • Pure foam mattress
  • Anti-Allergenic mattress cover
  • Soft knit finish
  • 90 kg carrying capacity
  • Comes in standard, non-XL mattress sizes

The Kooi Active Mattress is perfect for your growing children who suffer from allergies. With an incredible 20-year service warranty your children will have a proper mattress to sleep on until they leave home.

Tips to allergy-proof your bed and bedroom

Apart from getting a hypoallergenic mattress, there are a couple of additional measures you can take to rid your bed and bedroom of allergens:

  • Mattress Protectors – help to keep fluids and dead skin cells off your mattress. This means by using a mattress protector, you decrease your bed’s chances of hosting dust mite colonies. Try to get a waterproof mattress protector to provide your mattress with the ultimate protection from spills and stains. And if it is hypoallergenic, like the Linen Drawer Waterproof Mattress Protector, all the better. Now, remember, if a mattress protector can keep allergens out, it will also keep them in, protecting you from their negative effect.
  • Anti-allergenic linen – adds an additional level of protection against allergens.
  • Wash your bedding – It is recommended that you wash your bedding at least once a week and your duvet two to three times per year. We know that it can be a schlep to take off the linen and remake your bed but what’s worse, having a constant itch in your throat or spending a couple of minutes to make the bed after you washed the bedding?
  • Vacuum – your bedroom on a regular basis. You can even vacuum your mattress to remove any stray dust mites or dead skin that may cling to it. Make sure you vacuum all those dark corners and under the bed.
  • No unnecessary upholstery – Plush carpets and curtains are perfect breeding grounds for dust mites and bed bugs. So try not to have too many plush carpets and goodies lying around in your bedroom. Keep it simple and use rugs that are made from natural hypoallergenic material.

Buy a hypoallergenic mattress from The Mattress Warehouse

So yes, your mattress may be responsible for your constant sinus problems and itchy eyes. But luckily you now know that it can be solved. Browse for hypoallergenic mattresses and mattress protectors online at The Mattress Warehouse.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice.

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