References: Laundering of Blankets and Clothing

These citations on the effect of laundering of blankets and clothing on reducing allergen exposure are provided for allergy specialists and other medical professionals. A full understanding of the role of washing of textiles in allergen avoidance requires a critical reading of the complete text of these and other studies on allergen-avoidance, washing, indoor allergens, and allergic conditions including asthma, allergic rhinitis, and atopic dermatitis.

The role of water temperature and laundry procedures in reducing house dust mite populations and allergen content of bedding.

AUTHORS: McDonald LG; Tovey E

AFFILIATION: Department of Medicine, University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

SOURCE: Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 1992 Oct;90(4 Pt 1):599-608

CITATION IDS: PMID: 1401643 UI: 93017539


The effects of various laundry procedures on house dust mites and their allergens have been established. All mites were killed by water temperatures 55 degrees C or greater. Killing at lower temperatures was not enhanced by any of the pure detergents or laundry products tested. A cold cycle of laundry washing with or without laundry powder did not remove most live mites from bedding; however, the allergen concentration (Der p I/gm fine dust) was reduced by more than 90%. Dry cleaning did not reduce the allergen concentration of the dust, although most, if not all, mites were killed.

Clothing—an important source of mite allergen exposure.

AUTHORS: Tovey, E.R., Mahmic, A., and McDonald, L.G.

SOURCE: Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 1995; 96: 999 –1001

Summary: Levels of dust mite allergen sufficient to cause allergic sensitization were found in all 35 items of clothing studied, while levels sufficient to cause acute allergy or asthma symptoms were found in 22/35 clothing items.

Effect of washing and drying on mites in blankets.

AUTHORS: Miller, J. and Miller, A.

SOURCE: Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 1993; 91: 251

Summary: Ninety three percent of mites in blankets were removed by cold-water washing.

Hot tumble drying and mite survival in duvets.

AUTHORS: Mason K, Riley G, Siebers R, Crane J, Fitzharris P

SOURCE: Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 1999 Aug;104(2 Pt 1):499-500

Summary: Extending a prior study showing that the heat of a clothes dryer could kill mites in blankets, this study showed that the heat of a clothes dryer also killed mites in duvets (“comforters”). Because the heat did not remove existing mite allergen, such blankets would then need to be washed.

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