Optimal conditions for the removal of house dust mite, dog dander, and pollen allergens using mechanical laundry

Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2008 Jun;100(6):583-8. doi: 10.1016/S1081-1206(10)60060-9.


Background: Mechanical laundry is an effective tool for the environmental control of allergens, but the optimal conditions for removing allergens are not yet clear.

Objective: To evaluate the optimal conditions of mechanical laundry for the removal of house dust mite (HDM), dog dander, and pollen allergens.

Methods: The 4 washing modes of 30 degrees C (86 degrees F), 40 degrees C (104 degrees F), 60 degrees C (140 degrees F), and steam water (SW) with detergent were evaluated. Allergen removal performance was assayed using a 2-site enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) or an ELISA inhibition test.

Results: Using the 30 degrees C and 40 degrees C washing modes, only 6.5% and 9.6% of Dermatophagoides farinae, respectively, were killed. However, using the 60 degrees C and SW washing modes, all HDMs were killed. The amounts of Der f 1 remaining after the 30 degrees C, 40 degrees C, 60 degrees C, and SW washing modes were 26.8%, 2.4%, 1.3%, and 0.6%, respectively, with unmanipulated contaminated sheets. The effects of rinse on Der f 1 levels after the 30 degrees C washing were greater compared with those after the 40 degrees C, 60 degrees C, and SW modes. The amounts of Can f 1 in the extractions after washing were 0.3% to 1.3% for all modes, and all extracts, even without a rinse, did not inhibit specific IgE binding to dog allergens according to ELISA. The remaining pollen allergen levels after washing were lower in the 60 degrees C and SW modes than in the lower temperature modes. However, the levels did not differ among the various washing modes after rinsing once.

Conclusion: Water temperature and number of rinses are critical factors for the removal of HDM, dog dander, and pollen allergens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / analysis*
  • Allergens / immunology
  • Animals
  • Antigens, Dermatophagoides / analysis*
  • Antigens, Dermatophagoides / immunology
  • Antigens, Plant
  • Arthropod Proteins
  • Bedding and Linens
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases
  • Dermatophagoides farinae / immunology
  • Detergents / chemistry
  • Dogs
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Hypersensitivity / prevention & control
  • Hypersensitivity / therapy
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology
  • Laundering / methods*
  • Pollen / immunology*
  • Skin / immunology*
  • Steam
  • Temperature


  • Allergens
  • Antigens, Dermatophagoides
  • Antigens, Plant
  • Arthropod Proteins
  • Detergents
  • Steam
  • allergen Can f I
  • Immunoglobulin E
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases
  • Dermatophagoides farinae antigen f 1