How Do You Take Care of Wool Bedding?

Wool is a great alternative to down if you have allergies. It is also revered by people with multiple chemical sensitivities. Wool is a great option for organic bedding. But wool needs special care. One of the most common questions people have when considering wool is how to take care of wool bedding. It’s not hard. Just read the label.

wool makes naturally allergy-resistant bedding

Why sheep don’t shrink in the rain but wool does

Ever wonder why sheep don’t shrink when they get wet, but your wool blanket comes out of the dryer a quarter of its original size?

It’s because the wool doesn’t actually shrink, it felts. That’s an entirely different process.

Wool fibers have tiny, flat, overlapping scales on them. These scales always face away from the sheep’s body. When you wash wool, these scales hook onto each other, interlock, and hold on tight.  That’s felting. The fibers hold so tight they pull the surrounding fibers closer. They interlock. Suddenly fibers spread over a large area are now huddled up close, held in place by those scales.

You can process the wool so that these scales are removed or made to always lay flat. That’s how you get washable wool. But not all wool is washable.

How to care for Merino wool bedding

Always read the label first. Merino is a breed of sheep, it isn’t a brand name of wool. Merino sheep produce a wool that is very fine and loaded with keratin. That means it is strong. It is also loaded with lanolin. That makes it naturally antibacterial.

Spot clean Merino wool with a mild detergent or soap made especially for wool. Hang your Merino wool comforter or mattress pad outside on a sunny day.  The ultraviolet light will freshen the bedding.

The best way to keep your Merino wool comforter clean is to encase it in a 100% cotton zippered comforter cover. This keeps the oils from your skin off the cover. If the cover gets soiled, you just remove it and toss it in the wash.

some wool bedding can be washed in a commercial washer

How to care for washable wool bedding

Once again, it pays to read the label. The Allergy Store sells Shropshire and other washable wool bedding than can be safely cleaned at home.

Never crowd your comforter or pad into the washer. If the washer is too small, take it to a commercial laundry or wash it in the bathtub.

Make sure you rinse well. If soap residue coats the wool fibers, you don’t get the benefit of the lanolin or keratin.

Tumble dry with low heat. As with the washing machine, if your dryer is too small to do the job well, take it to the commercial laundry.



Can Allergies Cause Chest Pains?

Do you have pain in the chest this Valentine’s Day?  That feeling might not be a broken heart.  Chest pain is a symptom of allergies and allergy-related conditions.  Pain in the center of the chest that feels like squeezing along with pain in the arms, back, neck or jaw can be heart attack.  That’s when you need to call 911.  But if you have a persistent tightness in the larger chest area, it may be a condition related to allergies.

Allergy Induced Asthma

Asthma Cigarettes – Seriously?

Uncontrolled allergies can lead to asthma.  Asthma inflames your airways, makes them narrow,  and fills them with mucous.  This makes breathing difficult.  You may hear a wheezing noise as you breathe.  You may also cough.

During an asthma attack, your chest may feel tight.  Some people describe it as a feeling of something pressing down on the chest.

The repeated coughing and gasping for air associated with asthma can cause damage to the scalene muscles.  These muscles are located on the side of the neck and attach the neck vertebrae to the 1st and 2nd ribs. Scalene muscle damage causes pain in the upper chest that may or may not radiate down the arm.

Medication and allergy avoidance control asthma.  Talk to your doctor and if you have asthma, know how to prepare for an asthma attack.

Allergy Medication Side Effects

Thatpills for allergies pill you swallowed to relieve your allergy symptoms can cause chest pain.  If you take allergy medications that include the decongestant pseudoephedrine you know how well it works.

What you might not know is that tightness in the chest is one of the many side effects of pseudoephedrine.

Talk to your doctor about alternative medications that do not contain this ingredient if you are sensitive.

Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis

People that are sensitive to dust and other inhaled allergens can experience Hypersensitivity pneumonitis if they do not control their exposure.  This can be caused by living or working in dusty areas and has even been associated with molds coming from the HVAC system.  The primary symptom is tightness and pain in the chest.  It is caused by repeatedly inhaling allergens and can cause serious scarring of the lungs.  Reversible if caught early; if not can lead to pulmonary fibrosis.

Control Your Allergies!

If you have allergies, asthma, scalene muscle damage or hypersensitivity pneumonitis you know it isn’t a pain in the neck, it’s a pain in the chest and it can be serious.  Talk to your doctor and then talk to The Allergy Store about controlling your exposure to allergens.

Frequent washing, using allergen proof bedding, and allergen reducing products in your home can all reduce your exposure to allergens.  We can’t mend a broken heart, but we can control allergens.  We’d love to help you!

Til Next Time!




12 Tips to Reduce Dust Mites in Your Bedroom

Do you wake up in the morning and feel like you never went to sleep? Got a stopped up nose and puffy eyes?  That’s what you get for sleeping with dust mites.

Sleeping With Dust Mites is a Bad Idea

Reduce Dust Mites
Dust Mite

Whether they are dead or alive, sleeping with dust mites is a bad idea. The dead ones can make you just as sick as the living ones.  It’s the feces and body parts from the dust mites that are the allergens. Just killing the mites won’t remove the allergen although reducing populations is always a good thing. Reduce your dust mite populations and associated allergens by making some changes to your bedroom and your cleaning routine. Even if you can’t do everything,  just do a few of these things to reduce the number of dust mites in the bedroom.

Tips to Reduce Dust Mites

  1. Wash all bed linens once a week in hot water that is 140°F or hotter. Unfortunately most of the hot water in your  home is 105°F to 107°F. Good news is that there are very effective products that make up for your lack of temperature.
  2. Cover your mattress, pillows and box springs with zippered allergy proof covers. Higher quality ones will last you for years so don’t waste money on cheap ones. The cheap ones won’t last but  a year or two.
  3. Hang your comforters, bedspreads and blankets outside in the sunlight (especially if you have wool or silk). The sun will kill the mites. The downside to this tip is that bedding may pick up pollen, not good if you have seasonal allergies.
  4. Toss comforters, bedspreads and blankets in the dryer for 15 minutes on the fluff setting every 2 to 3 weeks. It will knock out some dust without fading your colors.
  5. Freeze stuffed toys overnight and toss them in the dryer in the morning.  Freezing kills the mites and tumbling in the dryer loosens the  allergens.
  6. Keep the humidity below 40%.
  7. Steam clean chairs, sofas, couches and carpets.
  8. Steam clean carpets and rugs on a regular basis. Make sure that the company or equipment you use has a good extraction system. Trading mold for dust mites is a bad thing.
  9. Get rid of carpeting if you can and eliminate the need for steam cleaning.
  10. Replace your pillows every six to eight months unless they are protected with a zippered dust mite proof pillow cover.
  11. Clean early in the day.  All the dust you stir up will have a change to settle before bedtime. Don’t forget to clean the ceiling fan.
  12. Last but not least – get rid of the excess clutter and dust catchers in the bedroom. Do you really need 12 pillows on the bed? We have not had curtains in our bedroom for 20 years. I still remember the day we took them down. What a dust cloud that caused!

Mike Krause