NOMITE – down proof fabrics as barrier for mites

House dust allergy and down and feather-filled bedding? Much ado about nothing.
People who are allergic to house dust do not have to abstain from down and feather-filled bedding.

Again, and again, a connection between the occurrence of allergic reactions to dust mites and the use of feather and down filled bedding is claimed. Many doctors and textile experts even advise allergy-prone patients and customers in general to replace these bedding items with those with other filling materials.
Due to new scientific results, this prejudice about the negative properties of down and feather beding has to be completely revised.

Is there any truth in this rumour?

Prof. Dr. Dr. Hans Jürgens – head of the Institute for Industrial Anthropology at the University of Kiel – got to the bottom of the matter and carried out an investigation about this problem. The results confirm that dust mite allergy sufferers are allowed to sleep in down and feather bedding items, and – even more – that they are particularly recommended.

Give it a try!

After the laboratory tests showed that down and feather bedding is in no way related to the occurrence of more or less large dust mite occurrences, Prof. Dr. Dr. Jürgens carried out a representative examination of used duvets from different households. In all cases it could be shown that there were practically no animals in the bedding.

The approach

The house dust mite itself does not trigger the allergy, but its faeces, and only when they occur in large numbers. The presence of individual animals is not critical from an allergological point of view. Dust mites occur in every household, because they feel comfortable under the same ecological conditions as humans. That is why it is hardly possible to completely eradicate them without losing decisive quality of living. However, since only mass occurrence is a concern for people who are allergic to house dust mites, the first step was to investigate the conditions under which the animals multiply.


Dust mites feed mainly on human dander and those of their pets. A person produces about 0.5 to 1 gram of dandruff per day, of which 0.25 gram is enough to feed several thousand mites for months. Feathers and down are not on the menu of the house dust mite, as the experiments showed. Conclusion: It is not the down and feathers that feed the mites, but humans.

Textile barrier

Interestingly, the study found that dust mites are too large to get through the ticking of down and feather bedding. These downproof fabrics guarantee an optimal climate and air exchange, but are so densely woven that the fine down cannot get out. The expert calls this “down-proof”. In any case, the house dust mites are not motivated to get to the feathers through the ticking to eat them, and the feather- and down-proof fabrics also represent an additional barrier that prevents them from migrating into the interior of the bedding.

Conclusion: a clear yes to feathers and down

House dust mite allergy sufferers can also enjoy the benefits and comfort of down and feather bedding without regrets. As the results of the study show, there are two reasons why there are practically no house dust mites in down and feather bedding items: First, because they feed primarily on dander and not on feathers and down, and so the mites are not motivated at all to get through the fabric. On the other hand, the down-proof fabrics prevent them from penetrating this textile barrier.
Further studies are online at