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The Dust Mite Frenzy! What is the truth about dust mites?

Dec 15, 2012

Another customer in the store today, telling me how latex naturally resists latex. Basically, he said that dust mites don't like latex.

As you go from mattress store to mattress store you are going to hear a wide variety of facts, also more commonly known as lies and falsehoods. One prevalent one is that dust mites don't like latex and that latex naturally repels dust mites. 

A Google Search of dust mites and latex will return lots of information about how latex beds do everything from prevent them to resist them, and there is even one that says cotton and latex repel them. However, not one of these sites have any legitimate science to back up any of their fanciful marketing claims. All of these posts and pages are written by people in the mattress and/or bedding industry and are trying to sell something, and at best are just repeating something they heard.

Here is an excerpt from a competitor's website about dust mites. This is written on their page:

Natural latex mattresses are some of the best types of mattresses to avoid dust mites, since they are naturally dust mite resistant mattresses. Being hypoallergenic, latex mattresses are also antimicrobial and antifungal. Since they don’t have a hollow core they are also more resistant to bed bugs, which thrive in open spaces like is present with an innerspring mattress.

Wait. Latex is hypoallergenic? I personally know people who are allergic to latex and you can readily read about latex allergies. There is a protein in latex that some people are allergic to. I also have personally seen latex mattresses with mold developing underneath them. And as for dust mites thriving in open spaces, it is the exact opposite: where there is dryness and a lack of food, they cannot thrive. More marketing-speak.

Another fantastic statement you will find when search online is that latex is "300 times more resistant to dust mites". Really? More resistant than what? And if you search you will find this "fact" repeated hundreds of times on websites selling latex products, but mysteriously you cannot find the scientific study where this claim comes from.

Until I read a scientific study that shows dust mites, an insect, will not eat food or drink water on latex, I am taking a more common sense approach: Dust mites, an insect, will eat and drink where their are sources of food and water, regardless of the surface it is found. Now, latex, wool, cotton, these materials tend to air out and breathe better than synthetics, and thus they are better because there is no water source for the dust mites. 

Bottom line? Latex is a man-made material, using rubber tree sap, and is surrounded by cotton, wool, and/or other materials. You are not sleep directly on a piece of latex rubber anyway, so it is a pretty silly statement to make that insects won't live on the surface of latex when you are buying a mattress covered in other materials as well. Keep whatever you are sleeping on free of dead skin cells and water and you won't have to worry about dust mites. Good science tells us that unless you are allergic to the feces of dust mites, you don't have to worry about them anyway.

  • Dust Mites