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Looking for dustmite-proof fabric

sewsing | Posted in General Discussion on

Hi, I’m looking for help finding a source for dustmite-proof fabric yardage.  I’ve been a sewer since a child, doing all kinds of apparel and home sewing (several years as a full-time job).  Recently I was diagnosed as highly allergic to dustmites.  It would help if I could slipcover my upholstered furniture in washable fabrics, IF they were first covered in dustmite-proof fabric.  There are many internet sites to purchase pre-made mattress and pillow covers, but that doesn’t help for my wing chair.  Does anyone know of a source?  You would have my highest gratitude!  Thanks for your help.


  1. User avater
    dayenu | | #1



    don't know how good they are but keep us posted!!

    1. sewsing | | #3

      Bless you!  I placed an order today, and should receive it within a couple of weeks.

      1. User avater
        dayenu | | #5

        let me know how it works I have major dust mite allergies too.

  2. melanie | | #2

    Have you thought of using a steamer? A very hot dry steam passed over the sheets and other fabrics works a treat - mites cannot survive the temperature! - it worked for me when I had an asthmatic son living at home. If it suited you it would eliminate the trouble of all that sewing you would have to do. My steamer is a Polti and rather clumsy but there are many hand held ones in the shops to-day which would be more manageable.

    1. sewsing | | #4

      Thanks for the tip.  I'm sure I will put that method to use.  Luckily, the rest of our furniture is leather or wood.  Only the wing chair is upholstered so, other than toss pillows, that's all I will have to slipcover.

      1. Josefly | | #11

        For information only, steam may kill dustmites, but it doesn't solve the allergy problem. People are not usually allergic to the dustmites themselves, but to their invisible-to-the-naked-eye waste products. So unless you can wash the covers in hot water to detach the waste matter from the fibers, or use chemicals which allow the waste matter to be vacuumed or rinsed away, you'll still have the problem even if the mites are dead.Also, mattress covers and pillow covers, which completely surround the mattress and pillows, must be sealed with duct tape over the zippers of the covers, since the mites and their waste matter can be forced out through the zipper. I don't see how you can seal a piece of upholstered furniture completely. Our allergist told us to concentrate on bed and bedroom, removing stuffed and upholstered pieces from the bedroom only - since dust mites are impossible to avoid completely, and people can usually recover from exposure to them if they are at least protected from them during their sleeping hours.

        Edited 8/22/2007 6:19 pm ET by Josefly

        1. sewsing | | #12

          What makes a fabric dustmite proof is the tightness of the weave, medical literature recommends a mean pore size of 2-10 microns, and laundering in water over 140 degrees Fahrenheit.  I vacuum my dustmite-proof covers every week.  The allergist recommends that they be laundered every six months.  My chair will have two covers:  the dustmite proof fabric and the face fabric, both of which will be removable and washable.  I might not be able to remove the dustmites and their debris already imbedded in the chair, but I can encapsulate them so I am no longer exposed.

          1. Josefly | | #13

            It's the encapsulating of the chair I can't visualize. The cushions, yes, I see how they will be enclosed, but the rest of the chair? I wish you luck with the project - I know how miserable allergies can be. You are wise to minimize exposure every way you can.

          2. sewsing | | #14

            I have done fitted slipcovers in the past.  To do a proper job of it you must take your time.  Six years ago I slipcovered a couch and loveseat for my son and his wife as a wedding present.  She chose Cranston plaid in cotton and, six years later, most people have no idea it isn't upholstered.  If you plan to launder it, the fabric must of course be preshrunk as I did theirs.  I plan to do the same with mine. (Can't say as I'm fond of the smell or price of dry-cleaning.)  What I've purchased for the face material of the chair is random-designed so matching pattern on this one won't even be an issue.  The slipcover will be fitted around the wooden chair legs and cover the bottom.  Closure will be down the one back side seam and along the bottom edge.  Do I think no dustmites will be able to penetrate anywhere?  No, of course not.  Do I think it will be easier to keep them cleaned off the surface of the chair than the way it is now?  Yes.  There is no way to completely eliminate them from your environment unless you plan on living in a glass bubble.  The object is to minimize exposure where you can.

          3. Josefly | | #15

            I must sound like a terrible skeptic. I do know you want to minimize exposure, and that will minimize your symptoms. The memory of being instructed to completely enclose and seal the zippers on mattress and pillow covers - and rid the bedroom of all other stuffed, fabric-covered things - made me question the effectiveness of slipcovers. I don't doubt you will do an excellent job on the slipcovers - I just know how much work it is to try to protect yourself! All the carpeting, curtains, etc., having to be treated and cleaned so often - we were told to launder all bedding in hot water every 10 to 14 days, including comforters and blankets - it's a little daunting. (It was difficult to even find blankets that could withstand high water-temperatures - only vellux could manage it.) Then on top of that to make slip-covers! I applaud your efforts, and apologize for being a doubting Thomas. You've had luck, then, in finding the kind of fabric you need for the slipcover?

          4. sewsing | | #16

            Yes.  I have received a shipment of the fabric.  This will be a winter project.  Replacing the wall-to-wall carpeting is the present priority.  Wish me luck!

          5. Josefly | | #17

            I'm glad you found your fabric. Did you order it from the kidbean site linked in a posting above? Was there a choice of color, print, etc.? I couldn't tell much from the site.And good luck. I do hope your symptoms will subside, and you can feel good in your own home!

          6. sewsing | | #18

            Yes, they had it at the kidbean site, which is primarily eco-friendly items for children.  I don't remember there being a choice of colors--all I was looking for was white and it came that way.  (I try to zero in and not look farther.  If I see something else, I end up spending more and I'm not independently wealthy!)

  3. sewfar | | #6

    I bought some floral stripe pillow ticking from Hancock's fabrics a couple of years ago.  It was called feather proof or something on that order and it is very tightly woven  and the best weight I have ever been able to purchase.  It also comes in the traditional black and white ticking stripe.  I had to wash and recover my mother in law's old feather pillow.  I know, yuck,  but she is 97 years old it was worth humoring her rather than hearing about her not being able to sleep without her loved pillow.

    Maybe feather proof is akin to dust mite proof ??

    1. sewsing | | #7

      Regarding feather ticking--my doctor says no.  He tells me I'm also allergic to feathers (and a whole list of other things-geesh!).  Like your grandma, I love my feather pillow.  So, I now has feather ticking with a dustmite-proof pillow cover.

      1. jane4878 | | #8

        My husband and I are both asthmatic and I have never had a feather pillow for that reason. but when I got access at work to zillions of medical journal articles online,  I found several studies that have found that feather pillows are LESS allergenic.  They hypothesized that the ticking was so tight to keep the feathers in that it prevented dustmites from getting into the pillow.  So you may be able to hang onto your feather pillow.  I'm quite allergic to feathers and I've been OK with hotels that have feather pillows.

        1. Ralphetta | | #9

          No one in my family had allergies while I was growing up. When my daughter was 5  I noticed that several mornings in a row she woke with a runny nose.  I took her to the doctor thinking she was coming down with something.  While checking her he asked if we had a dog, any allergies in the family, did she sleep with a feather pillow,etc.  I was shaking my head no, no, no and getting impatient with his questions...and then he said, " When was the last time you washed her pillow?"  Huh?  I went home, washed her pillow and her problem stopped. I felt like absolutely the worst mother in the world.  When I told my friends, they all said they never washed pillows.   Since I don't like housework I decided God must have a sense of humor if he gave me a child that was allergic to dust.  Whenever she would misbehave I would look mean at her and tell her to go clean the basement and we would both laugh.  (One hour in a dusty basement and she would've been miserable.)

          1. jane4878 | | #10

            My mom was the same--lousy housekeeper :>)  Just kidding...I worry about mold getting into a washed pillow.  I toss them or keep covers on them and wash the covers.  The steam sounds like a great idea. My dad's nickname was the Mad Vacuumer so he made up for her!  She carefully sewed up covers for all my blankets and everything when I was a kid.

            I did all that allergy research because my husband was being a twerp about his allergies.  He didn't develop asthma until a few years ago and he refused/refuses to treat it appropriately.  He's allergic to dogs (so am I) so I went and bought a purebred poodle and drove from S. Alberta to Oregon to pick him up and the DH (D doesn't stand for "dear"!!) decided he was allergic to him.  He is, but he is also probably allergic to dustmites and he won't deal with that.  He keeps his decrepit old pillows forever.  I went on a binge and trashed his pillow and put dustmite covers on everything.  Life is less wheezy now.

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