8 best anti-allergy and hypoallergenic pillows
Get a full night’s shut-eye without an allergy flare-up thanks to these specially designed products
A warm pillow is a dust mite’s dream home, but if you’re one of the millions of people affected by breathing in the allergen found in their droppings – it’s time to evict them from yours.
Washing bed linen weekly at 60°C and pillows and duvets every couple of months will kill dust mites, but the best way to tackle that stuffy nose or asthma/eczema flare-up is to invest in the kind of bedding these microscopic pests hate.
The two types to look for are “hypoallergenic” and “anti-allergy”. Leigh George, head of endorsements at Allergy UK, was on hand to explain why both are effective:
“Hypoallergenic alternatives will either have an outer casing with a tight weave that dust mites can’t penetrate, or will be made from natural fibres that dust mites can’t live in, such as silk or wool.
Anti-allergy pillows are chemically-treated to prevent dust mites from surviving inside them and suitable for people who are allergic to natural fibres.”
George also recommended a number of pillows that have been independently scientifically proven to be effective. We’ve made it clear where one of our picks has Allergy UK’s seal of approval.
Consider comfort too – you have to sleep on it, after all. Opt for a firmer pillow if you sleep on your side and a soft pillow if you’re a front sleeper. Back sleepers tend to prefer something in between.
To compile our list, we spent a month testing a variety of pillows marketed for those with allergies (we often struggle with that bunged up feeling in the morning) and noted how we felt upon waking and how comfortable they were to sleep on.
Soak & Sleep Luxury Anti-Allergy Pillow: £14 for one, £26.50 for a pair, Soak & Sleep
This pillow’s 250 thread-count cotton case is fine enough to block bugs (the higher the thread count, the softer the material and the harder for dust mites to penetrate) and has been treated with Sanitised – an anti-bacterial chemical that protects it from sweat, limiting the damp conditions that dust mites enjoy.
It’s filled with springy hollow fibre – a type of polyester that traps air – and bounces back well after use, minimising the need for plumping and the disappointment of a flat pillow a few weeks later.
Its medium-firm feel gives good support to side sleepers without being too rigid if you turn onto your front sometimes too. It fits well into a standard rectangular pillowcase and comes in a storage bag, great for hygiene if you need to keep it in a dank loft for a while.
Fogarty Anti-Allergy Soft-Support Pillows: £10 for two, Dunelm
These pillows were recommended in Allergy UK’s official Facebook support group by an eczema sufferer irritated by dust mites and get the organisation’s thumbs up.
Their polyester fillings have been chemically treated to stop the growth of bacteria, meaning no skin particles can be broken down and the dust mites have nothing to eat. “They’re really comfy and easy to sleep on no matter which way you sleep,” she said.
We found them to be one of the softest sets on this list, making them a better choice for front sleepers than those who nod off on their backs, but they spring back into shape each morning.
They’re washable so you can get good use out of them before replacing them when you see fit – at a tenner for two they’re cheap enough, and fantastic value for money for the quality.
Eve Microfibre Support Pillow: £35 for one, Eve
This pillow’s clever design intrigued us – its firm hollow fibre core is surrounded by a layer of softer microfibre and its tapered wedge shape is thicker around the head, it flatters around the neck for the best support when back sleeping.
It took a bit of getting used to, we admit, but after a couple of nights we loved the best-of-both-worlds feel and found that flipping it round was better when kipping on our side.
Dust mite battling comes courtesy of the high thread-count cotton casing that keeps them out, but you can pop it in the washing machine every few months to be on the safe side, too.
Mesh panels on the sides let heat escape, keeping things airy and bug-free. We noticed quite a strong new pillow smell on opening this but it soon wore off.
Naturalmat Organic Wool Pillow: £55 for one, Naturalmat
Organic shoppers will love this luxury pillow, handmade in a workshop on the banks of the River Exe in Devon. Firmer than down yet still fabulously comfy, it’s stuffed full of British lambswool sourced from Soil Association-certified farms in Devon, Cornwall and Dorset.
Wool is naturally too dry for dust mites to live in, meaning no chemical treatment is required to keep them at bay. Its also great at temperature regulating, so you won’t be left hot and bothered should the heatwave pay us another visit.
Cased in pure cotton, it can go in the washing machine and tumble dryer when you feel it needs freshening up. Be prepared to wait up to a fortnight for delivery. And no, it doesn’t smell of sheep.
Silentnight Pair Of Anti-Allergy Pillows: £14, Argos
Here’s another set of pillows that Allergy UK have thrown their support behind thanks to its anti-allergy hollow fibre filling. Marketed as soft-medium, we found them pleasingly fluffy without going flat after only a few nights.
Expect to want two if you’d prefer something with more support and be prepared to shake them into shape each morning as they can get a little lumpy over time.
Nevertheless, our airways have felt much clearer since introducing these – they’re washing machine safe, and are so light to sleep on you could mistake the filling for down.
We weren’t expecting much for such an affordable price but were pleasantly surprised by the quality – a great bargain option to try if your purse strings are tight.
Otty Deluxe Pillow: £54.99 for one, Otty
We liked how well this pillow moulded to our head as we slept, offering gentle back, neck and shoulder support all night without leaving us stiff.
It is made from memory foam – which dust mites can’t burrow into – and infused with a special cooling gel that disperses body heat, meaning you won’t need to keep flipping the pillow over.
Its perforated polyester casing lets more heat out and is machine-washable when you want to feel extra clean. It is on the firm side and thick enough to offer good cushioning without misaligning your spine.
Expect a tight fit into your usual pillowcase – but after a bit of puffing and panting you’ll get there. If you’re still not convinced by our recommendation, you get a 30-night trial when you buy and it comes with a three-year warranty.
Slumberdown Fresh and Healthy Pillows: £12.50 for a pair, Argos
These pillows weren’t quite what we expected based on their marketing description, we were promised a medium firmness ideal for back and side sleepers.
Instead, we found them to be among the softer pillows tested – great if you prefer nodding off on your front and don’t want your neck bending back awkwardly but perhaps a little fluffy otherwise.
The anti-allergy hollow fibre filling, cased in 100 per cent cotton, is spongy enough to let your head sink in without losing its shape, but you may want to double up if you like your pillows on the bulkier side.
Luckily, at such a bargain price for two, doing so won’t break the bank. They’re approved by Allergy UK.
The Fine Bedding Company Anti-Allergy Pillow: £33 for one, The Fine Bedding Company
Dust mites don’t stand a chance thanks to this British-made pillow’s treatment with HealthGuard, a trademarked anti-bacterial technology clinically proven to kill and repel dust mites.
Filled with bouncy polyester, it is easy to plump up, quickly regaining its shape, and offers the perfect balance in feel – its firm enough to offer decent support but not so rigid you’ll wake up aching, and is wonderfully soft to the touch.
It did get a bit warmer than the others we tried, so might not be the best choice if you struggle with night sweats, but you can wash it at 40°C for hygiene.
Our sniffles have lessened considerably since sleeping on this one. Snap it up quickly, especially if you’re a side sleeper needing a neck prop.
The Verdict: Best anti-allergy pillows
Soak & Sleep’s Luxury Anti-Allergy Pillow balances value for money with a luxe feel and reliable support all night, successfully limiting allergy flare-ups.
If you prefer something natural and have a bit more cash to splash, give Naturalmat’s Organic Wool Pillow a whirl – dust mites hate it, but we loved it.
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