If you really want to be sure of what you are doing with your bedding, and to avoid expensive mistakes, there is no alternative to a systematic approach. Diagram 10 is a step-by-step flow chart, guiding you through the questions you need to ask at each stage, and what your choices are.

The three crucial questions you will need to answer to find your cheapest and easiest options are:

• Am I allergic to house dust mites?

• Am I sensitive to chemicals?

• Am I allergic to cotton?

A Shortcut

If you are daunted by such a systematic approach, a shortcut is to go straight to question three and to test pure cotton, either by doing the Pillow Test, or by using a few pure cotton items for a while.

Why pure cotton?

Pure cotton is not totally safe from allergy, nor is it an automatic choice for avoiding allergies, but it is often the best choice for a number of reasons. Pure cotton bedding is for most people the easiest and cheapest alternative if they are chemically sensitive. It is a good option for avoiding house dust mites because cotton blankets can be washed at high temperatures. It is cheaper and more practical than wool, linen or silk. It is Jess likely to cause allergy than wool or feathers. Allergy to cotton is known, but is not common. Test it out before you make any major move and if you react to it, use alternatives.

If Life Gets Complicated

If you follow through the chart and find that you have multiple sensitivities and react to many things, you will have to find a way of choosing between materials that upset you, without spending a fortune trying expensive things. Read on from here on how to cope with multiple allergies and where to find unusual products.

Be careful to check the material of covers of pillows and duvets if you are buying new ones.

You can buy the fillings for duvets and refill an old one. This can be cheaper as a means of replacing old dust mite-full duvets, or of using a different material. Limericks sell these fillings.

If you can only use pure cotton bedding, a sleeping bag liner in pure cotton can be useful to take with you if you go away on holiday, on visits or for work. The Healthy House sell these.


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