Allergens and Indoor Air Quality

Your bedding may contain more dust than all other soft furnishings in your home.


The team at BELL Laboratories was recently asked to conduct an air quality assessment to support the launch of a range of allergen reducing products. Of particular interest to our client was the amount of allergens present in the air and on soft furnishings in an “average Australian homes”.


BELL Laboratories tested the air quality within seven homes in Melbourne and Sydney before and after the application of the product to confirm its effectiveness. Seven different furnishing types were tested.


We found items containing feathers or down such as doonas and down-filled furnishings released the highest concentrations of dust during testing, followed by woollen rugs or furniture covered with wool fabrics. Perhaps most surprising was the amount of dust present in down-filled items. Doonas released five to seven times more dust than the sofas, chairs, carpets and rugs. 


Dust mites are an allergy source in the home that we don’t think about as they’re too small to be visible.


Dust mites live on house dust and their droppings may cause eczema and asthma in some sensitive people. Dead skin cells are the main component of house dust. Dust mites thrive in a humid climate and are drawn to areas around the home that are heavily used, such as beds and upholstered furniture, which will have much higher mite populations than the rest of the house. 


The majority of dust found in doonas are larger particles measuring 10μm* and above. Dust mite allergens' are associated with these larger particles. 


Because allergens are disseminated as dust particles, reducing airborne dust concentrations effectively reduces exposure to airborne allergens and improves indoor air quality. The products we tested performed this job effectively.

 *μm = micron


The family pet can be the cause of allergies for some sensitive individuals.


The presence of animal allergens in the home environment is a concern for many people particularly those sensitive individuals who experience allergies such as asthma and allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever. Cat and dog allergens were detected in many of the homes tested.


Animal allergens are disseminated indoors as animals shed fur and dander and excrete fluids. Allergens also accumulate on household furnishings including carpets, upholstery, mattresses, curtains, clothes and other textiles.


This study demonstrated that despite regular cleaning, carpets and other soft furnishings may retain and release significant quantities of particulate matter or dust which is of particular importance to allergy sufferers.