In a two-year field test, scientists from the Hohenstein Institute in Bönnigheim, Germany have shown that a new type of mattress is effective at reducing dust mite allergens. The new mattress, named Wellmed, was developed by the institute and bedding retailer Gailing, based in Ludwigsburg, Germany.
In the study, 20 people who suffer from dust mite allergies were given a Wellmed mattress. Half of the mattresses were heated to 130 degrees Fahrenheit (55 degrees Celsius) three times a week using integrated textile heating elements. The control group received the same type of mattress, but without the integrated heating elements.
Over the following months, a research team lead by Prof. Dr. Dirk Höfer measured the amount of allergenic dust mite feces several times for both groups. Previous laboratory testing had shown that periodic heat treatment successfully prevented dust mites from becoming established. This study achieved the same results under normal, in-home conditions.
After six months of use, the periodically heat-treated Wellmed mattresses showed only minimal traces of dust mite feces while the level in the control mattresses steadily accumulated. After 18 months there were 17 times more allergens in the control group mattresses than in the heat-treated group. When the study concluded after 24 months, that number had risen to 28 times.
The final analysis showed that the number of dust mite allergens in the periodically heat-treated mattresses had increased only marginally during the study period, remaining below the threshold that causes allergic reactions. Participants in the treatment group also showed reductions in their self-reported allergy problems.
The expected average useful life of the mattress is 10 years.