4 Things to Know About Eco-Sensitive Bedding

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“There are a number of reasons why a person might want to make the switch from a conventional mattress to an eco-sensitive mattress,” says Sarah Barnard, a Leardership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP) in Santa Monica, Los Angels. “When we consider how much of our lives we spend in our bedrooms, and specifically how our bodies regenerate during sleep, it’s easily understood how a mattress made of petroleum-based materials is less than desirable.”

Some of mattresses may contain fire retardant chemicals that are known carcinogens. Mattresses treated for dust mites also may have been dipped in pesticides. Non-organic sheets may be treated with chlorine, while other bedding materials such as microfiber, polyester and goose down/feathers have also been found to irritate some people.

“A completely natural bed can often provide improved air quality and make a marked improvement for chemically sensitive people and/or people who suffer from allergies,” says Barnard.

The more popular eco-sensitive bedding solutions include organic wool (which is a natural fire retardant and inhospitable to dust mites), organic cotton (which is pesticide free), natural rubber, kapok (a fiber from tree pods that has a natural resistance to dust mites) and natural latex.

“Alternative materials are gaining popularity and are becoming easier to find,” says Barnard.

Here are several tips for shoppers looking for eco-sensitive bedding: 

  1. For wool and cotton,  look for certified organic, says aura Wallace, marketing director for the Savvy Sleeper & Savvy Rest in Charlottesville, Va.  “Anybody can call anything ‘organic’,” Wallace says. “Petroleum is organic, for that matter. Does that mean you’d want to sleep in it?”
  2. “If you have the option of a simple but very comfortable mattress made of natural rubber, wrapped in a casing made of organic wool fiber quilted between layers of organic cotton fabric, it’s a wonderful choice to make,” Wallace says.
  3. Comfort is a very personal experience, Barnard adds. Natural latex mattresses, she points out, do have a somewhat different feel.
  4. “Finding a balance between comfort, health and responsible purchasing can be tricky but is achievable,” Barnard says. “Ask around, read consumer surveys and make sure the bed that you purchase has an included ‘comfort exchange guarantee.”

Tags: bedding, eco-friendly, tips