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Is Wool Hypoallergenic?

Here at Woolroom we spend a whole heap of our time discussing the merits of wool and what makes it so great for pillows, comforters and the like. One of the words that comes up time and again is ‘hypoallergenic’. But what does hypoallergenic mean? Read on to find out what to expect from comforters and pillows that are made to be hypoallergenic.

What does ‘hypoallergenic’ mean?

It may surprise many you to hear that hypoallergenic is not actually a medical, or even a scientific, term. It was a word made up by marketers to sell cosmetics in the ‘50s. There are, in fact, no US government standards that a product must meet to put ‘hypoallergenic’ on its label. So, does that make it meaningless?

Not necessarily!

Hypoallergenic has come to mean ‘allergy friendly’ – it is used as a way to promise fewer health risks to allergy sufferers. Due to the complex nature of allergies there can never be any guarantees that a product will not cause a flair up, but hypoallergenic products should cause fewer allergic reactions that other equivalent products.

You may well be thinking that all this seems a little…well…woolly. So, we always advocate asking questions before you buy. If you’re looking for the best bedding for asthma sufferers, find out what it is that makes a manufacturer claim their product is hypoallergenic, and decide whether it’s likely to benefit you. Is wool hypoallergenic then? We’ll discuss why below…

Why is wool hypoallergenic?

Here are four reasons why wool is hypoallergenic and why wool makes the best hypoallergenic comforters, pillows and other bedding.
  1. Wool guards against dust mites
    Many night-time allergies and stuffy noses are caused by the dreaded dust mite and friends. These nasties can cause respiratory problems in those that are susceptible, particularly asthma sufferers. But choosing wool hypoallergenic bedding can help. This is because the natural fibers in wool absorb and desorb moisture creating a dry environment which is hostile to the growth of bacteria, fungus and dust mites among other things. It’s how sheep stay healthy outdoors year-round.
    But it’s also why we claim that wool is perfect to produce hypoallergenic pillows and bedding that reduce respiratory allergies in the bedroom. Want to know what is the most hypoallergenic mattress? The answer is a mattress made from high-quality wool.

    Side note: Unfortunately, if you google ‘dust mites and wool’ you’ll find many sources that contradict this. All these claims stem from a study conducted in the 1970s. However, this research took place on a tropical island where temperatures were 100°F+ with high humidity. In our view it was the extreme conditions that allowed dust mites to breed in the wool used.
  2. Less dust particles are created by wool Tiny particles from many materials can cause respiratory problems when they’re breathed in – particularly in asthmatics. Because of the weight of wool fibers, it is far less likely that this will be an issue than in other materials such as feather or down. This is another reason that hypoallergenic wool pillows are far less likely to cause night-time snuffles, even when your head is pressed into them. The best bedding for asthma sufferers is anything made from wool, so why not check out our hypoallergenic bed sets while you’re here?
    It’s worth noting here that if you’d asked, ‘is down hypoallergenic?’ you’d have received a very different response!

    Unsure of whether you may be allergic to dust mites or fungal spores? Read more about common night-time allergy symptoms to see if hypoallergenic bedding could help you.
  3. Wool absorbs harmful VOCs VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, are floating all around us. Whether toxins come from car exhausts, paints, glues, plastics or cleaning products – VOCs are a hard-to-escape fact of modern life and they can have a real effect on allergy sufferers. Wool, however, has a little trick up its sleeve. It absorbs these invisible nasties and keeps them trapped in its fibers. This means that a hypoallergenic comforter and non-allergenic pillows can actually clean the air around you while you sleep. Amazing, huh?
  4. Contrary to popular belief, wool fibers don’t irritate skin We often speak to people who believe they are allergic to wool. This is almost never true. People who experience skin irritation from wool are usually allergic to lanolin, the oils found within wool, rather than the fibers themselves. This lanolin is usually washed out during the process of making wool products. Therefore, hypoallergenic bedding sets made from wool will contain no trace of this irritant.
    It’s also very possible that cheap, course wool was used to make the itchy wool jumpers you remember from when you were a kid. A lot more is now known about production techniques and quality hypoallergenic wool products will contain only fine, soft, fibers - particularly when used in anything that will touch, or rub against, the skin. This is handy when you’re looking for a hypoallergenic mattress cover or hypoallergenic mattress pad that your skin will be in close contact with throughout the night.

  5. Our answer to the question, ‘is wool hypoallergenic?’ is a resounding ‘yes’. And it’s these allergy-reducing properties that make wool the best hypoallergenic comforter material.

    If you suffer from night-time allergies or asthma, view our range of hypoallergenic bedding to see how it could help you get a more comfortable night’s sleep.
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