Are there federal requirements for calling a mattress “organic”?

Answer: Yes. And verifying these requirements is the only way to make sure you’re not falling victim to fraudulent advertising claims when shopping for an organic mattress.

The government agency that controls use of the word “organic” is the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), under Title XXI of the 1990 Farm Bill, otherwise known as The Organic Foods Production Act of 1990.

This Act established national standards governing the marketing of certain agricultural products as organically produced products in order to assure consumers that organically produced products meet a consistent standard and to facilitate fairness within interstate commerce.

USDA control over use of the word “organic” extends to non-edible agricultural crops such as cotton and rubber trees, and further extends to non-edible products derived from livestock, such as wool.

To call any of these raw materials “organic,” each producer must meet the requirements listed in the Act and subject its facility and products to annual audit by a USDA-approved “certifying agent.”

Furthermore, for a complex finished textile product, such as a mattress, to be called organic it must be composed of a minimum of 95% certified raw materials as listed above. Then independently, the company manufacturing the mattress must also meet the requirements as listed in the Act and to subject its facility and finished products to an independent annual textile audit to standards such as GOTS, by a USDA-approved certifying agent.

Therefore, to call a mattress “organic” or to sell it as such, the company producing the mattress must earn independent organic status and be awarded an organic certificate annually in their name. This means that a mattress cannot be called organic simply because it is made up of one, some, or even all organic raw materials. It is the “certifying agent” that substantiates that the organic claim being made is actually true. It must be a USDA-approved certifying agent, who through an audit process can give a company legitimate claim or right to use the term “organic.”

Legislation in the United States established the Federal Trade Commission Act in1914. Under this Act, the Commission is empowered to, among other things, prevent unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive consumer acts or representations affecting commerce.

If a company calls its product “organic” and its facility, methods, and specific products have not been awarded organic status by a USDA-approved certifying agent, that claim is deceptive, and constitutes an unfair method of competition in the marketplace. Unfair marketing claims fall under the purview of the FTC.

Specific to environmental claims, the FTC has published the “Green Guide.” While the guide defines a number of environmental terms and correct use and association of logos and seals, the primary emphasis of the document is substantiation. Environmental marketing claims must be substantiated.

Section 5 of the FTC Act prohibits deceptive acts and practices in or affecting commerce. A representation, omission, or practice is deceptive if it is likely to mislead consumers acting reasonably under the circumstances and is material to consumers’ decisions. See FTC Policy Statement on Deception, 103 FTC 174 (1983). To determine if an advertisement is deceptive, marketers must identify all express and implied claims that the advertisement reasonably conveys. Marketers must ensure that all reasonable interpretations of their claims are truthful, not misleading, and supported by a reasonable basis before they make the claims. See FTC Policy Statement Regarding Advertising Substantiation, 104 FTC 839 (1984).

In the context of environmental marketing claims, a reasonable basis often requires competent and reliable scientific evidence. Such evidence consists of tests, analyses, research, or studies that have been conducted and evaluated in an objective manner by qualified persons and are generally accepted in the profession to yield accurate and reliable results. Such evidence should be sufficient in quality and quantity based on standards generally accepted in the relevant scientific fields, when considered in light of the entire body of relevant and reliable scientific evidence, to substantiate that each of the marketing claims is true.

James Kohm is the Associate Director for the Enforcement Division of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. In that capacity, he oversees enforcement of all consumer protection orders and the Commission’s Green Marketing program. When Mr. Kohm spoke on January 27, 2013 at the World Market Center, he made clear that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) does not define what is or can be called organic. The FTC can conduct investigations relating to the organization, business, practices, and management of entities engaged in commerce and seek monetary redress and other relief for conduct injurious to consumers and other businesses from unsubstantiated environmental claims. Review the following links that report FTC investigation of unsubstantiated claims:


At Lifekind, we’ve worked hard to establish and maintain a comprehensive organic program. This ensures the creation and assurance of certified organic goods. Testing, quality assurance, lot tracking, purchasing organic raw materials (despite the higher cost), and spending thousands annually on auditing are just a few of the ways in which we keep our rigorous organic program in place. Third-party certification is the only thing protecting us from companies that do none of these things, but would try nevertheless to reap marketing dollars by fraudulently associating the term “organic” with their products.

It does not fall to the consumer or retailer to judge what is or is not organic. For a company to call its products “organic” it must have been granted organic status by a USDA-approved “certifying agent.” The consumer need only confirm a valid certificate with the company’s name and products listed, not a certification showing he name of a grower or producer. At Lifekind, we’ve covered all the bases, so you can “rest” assured you’re purchasing a TRULY organic mattress.

Decide the Winner of the Lifekind Staff Pumpkin Contest

The staff at Lifekind decorated pumpkins for Halloween but we need your help in picking the best pumpkin.

Vote in the comments for your favorite and help us pick the winner. Voting is ongoing through October 31st:


Black Cat Pumpkin
Black Cat Pumpkin
Zombie Pumpkin
Zombie Pumpkin
World Pumpkin
World Pumpkin
Marker Pumpkin
Marker Pumpkin
Walt Pumpkin
Walt Pumpkin
Halloween City Pumpkin
Halloween City Pumpkin
Cinderella Pumpkin
Cinderella Pumpkin
Clampers Pumpkin
Grumpy Cat Pumpkin
Grumpy Cat Pumpkin
Leaves Pumpkin
Leaves Pumpkin
Mummy Pumpkin
Oh My Pumpkin
Skeleton Pumpkin

Lifekind Summer Catalog

Product Specialist at LifekindSomething to start with…

Though some of the Lifekind customers in the Eastern U.S. thought it might never arrive, summer is finally here. It’s a time when we can put the rigors of winter behind us, take a deep, relaxing breath, and enjoy the benefits of living in a healthful, organic home.


Through the years, our Super Summer Sale has grown into a highly anticipated event. It’s our 9th Annual this time around, and we’re celebrating by offering 20% off almost everything in our catalog — including mattresses and foundations — as well as bumping the discount up to an impressive 30% on our All-Season Wool Comforter. You’ll find the same 40% discount you’ve come to know and love on our luxurious Pure Organic Sheet Set, plus a whopping 50% off our Pleated Crib Skirt. Add free shipping for almost every item for orders over $149 or over and you’re looking at a sale you won’t want to miss.

As always, we thank you for being a loyal customer and supporting the growth of truly organic products here in the United States. It’s making a difference for all of us.

Wishing you a happy, healthy summer,

Pulling the Wool Over Your Eyes – It is possible to pass the open-flame mattress flammability test without chemicals

This great blog from our sister company OMI, (who manufacturers all of Lifekind‘s mattresses), touches on a “hot topic in the organic mattress industry.  Since we don’t use any chemical flame retardants, customers often ask how we can pass the flammability requirements with just wool.  Well, we worked hard to make it possible.  Be sure to watch the video below, which is of one our mattresses during an actual open-flame mattress flammability test (which we pass with flying colors!)

Although we know how important it is to reduce your chemical exposure during sleep (since you spend 1/3 of your life in bed), most of the country doesn’t understand the risks associated with sleeping on a traditional mattress.

As is the case with most specialty products, there is a fairly limited customer base of people who are aware of, and ready to purchase, an organic mattress.  This means that there are companies out there that will say anything in order to take a mattress sale from their competitors.

Since we opened our doors, we have been fighting an uphill battle against greenwashing.  Other mattress companies have thrown in a handful of eco-friendly ingredients and called their products “natural,” trying to charge a premium for something that isn’t much better than mainstream.

Now that the country is becoming more aware of the greenwashing epidemic, we have seen mattress companies telling flat-out lies and mistruths, with the hope of seducing a customer with promises they can’t back up.

One fallacy that you will see promoted is that wool alone can’t be used to pass flammability tests. This argument is often used in a company’s justification for using chemical fire retardants because it is “the only option.”

I am here today to tell you “yes.”  Yes, wool can be used as the sole fire retardant for a mattress to meet federal flammability requirements.  And that, in fact, we have been using wool (without any chemical treatments) as our only fire retardant for years.

The purpose of a flammability test on a mattress is to make sure that the mattress doesn’t flame up in the event of a domestic fire.  We don’t claim to make fireproof mattresses (I can’t even imagine the kinds of chemicals that would go in to that!) We make mattresses that won’t turn into a six-foot fireball if your house catches fire.

Our competitors have shown photos of a piece of wool yarn that is set to fire, and predictably, the fire travels up and burns the piece of wool yarn.

As seen on, spreading misinformation about wool used in mattresses.

Well, of course it is going to burn.  It is a natural material that has been shaped into a “wick” and a flame has been set to it.

Of course, you don’t have to just take my word for it.  The video below is an actual open-flame flammability test of one of our mattresses, which shows just how well our chemical-free design works.

The only raw materials used to make this mattress (or any of our mattresses) are organic cotton, wool, and 100%-natural rubber.  The mattress is sitting on a wood-slat foundation.  Both pieces are built in our organic mattress Eco-Factory™ and are GREENGUARD® certified.  There are no added chemicals, no silica barrier, or any other methods employed to assist in the flame test.

So there you have it: It is possible to pass the open-flame mattress flammability test without chemicals.  And we do it every day.

Our Top 10 Spring Cleaning Tips and Tricks

Spring is here, which means it’s time for spring cleaning!  OK, I know that you aren’t as excited about that as I seem to be, but hopefully these tips and tricks will help you when you are getting your house in tip-top shape this spring.

1. Put an organic bed-bug and dust-mite barrier cover on all of your pillows and on your mattress.  Even though natural rubber mattresses naturally repel dust mites (it’s not a very hospitable environment for the little buggers), these covers can also keep the surfaces of your bedding clean, and can be thrown in the wash very easily.  If you have an older innerspring mattress, a dust-mite barrier cover can keep the dust mites away from you.  If you already have covers on your mattress and pillow, this is the time to throw them in the wash.



2.  Freshen up your non-washable bedding by airing it out in the sun.  Wait for a nice sunny day, and put your wool comforter, pillows, couch cushions, and anything else that can’t go in the washing machine out in a sunny part of your yard.  You can even sprinkle a little bit of baking soda on the surface while it sits out in the sun for extra freshness.  The sun is a natural brightener, and will make your bedding feel nice and refreshed.

Baking Soda

3.  Instead of using your dryer to dry your bedding, hang it outside to dry.  Not only will it give you that great straight-off-the-line crispness, it doesn’t cost anything, and is a great way to save on energy costs when you are washing all of your bedding.

Fresh Organic Bedding

4.  Is your house feeling a little stuffy after being closed up for the winter?  Open all of the windows on a nice day, and let it air out.  It makes a huge difference in switching your mind from “winter mode” to “spring mode,” and makes the chore of cleaning a little bit more enjoyable.  If your house is especially stuffy, try one of our HEPA air purifiers.  Lifekind has several different sizes that can handle an area as small as your car to a space as large as 1,300 square feet!

 Lifekind HEPA Air Filter


5.  Dust all of your surfaces, starting at the top of the room, and work your way down to the floor, saving vacuuming for last. Don’t forget to wipe down your light fixtures and baseboards to remove contaminants that aggravate allergies.

6.  Vacuum after you have done the rest of the cleaning. If you vacuum first, you will just end up knocking all of the dust from higher up in the room back onto the floor, and you will need to do the floors again.  Save yourself a step.

7.  For hard, water-safe surfaces throughout your house, you can use our All-Purpose Cleaner and Degreaser.  It is made with grapefruit-seed and orange-peel extract, and has a nice, clean scent, so your house will smell great, without smelling like chemicals.  I usually dilute it for wiping down counters, painted walls and other light-duty cleaning, but also use it full strength for tougher cleaning.AllPurposeKO8.  Flip your mattress!  Most of our mattresses need to be flipped only once a year, and this is the perfect time to do it.  If you have a mattress that doesn’t need to be flipped, you can still rotate it (move the head of the mattress to the foot) so that it wears evenly and will last as long as possible.

Lifekind Organic Kids Mattress
9.  Move all of your appliances and clean out from behind them, including vacuuming off the dust from the back of the fridge, getting the schmutz from around the stove (full-strength Cleaner and Degreaser works great for this!), and all of the lint that hides around your dryer.  These hidden allergens can be annoying your sinuses, even if the rest of your house is spic-and-span clean.

10.  Put a few vases of fresh flowers around your house. Even though this isn’t really cleaning, it is a great way to put a smile on your face and remind yourself that spring is just around the corner after a long, cold winter!shutterstock_73432741
Bonus Tip: Don’t forget to change your household air filter.  You should be doing this every month to make sure your HVAC system is working as well as possible, but if you haven’t done it in awhile, do it now!

The 2014 White Sale is Here

Our biggest, most anticipated sale of the year is finally here.  Our 17th Annual White Sale will not disappoint, with up to 50% OFF select items plus free shipping on organic mattresses.


Don’t wait till the end of January to take advantage of these great deals!BOGO

This year’s White Sale catalog has huge discounts, including, for the first time EVER, Buy One Get One FREE items.  For example, you can get two All-Season Wool Comforters for the price of one.  That is a killer deal.  Our comforter will keep you cool during the summer months and nice and warm during the winter.  Wool is amazing. We blog about it all the time!

But if you think that BOGO deal is incredible, you’ll have to pick yourself up off of the floor when you hear that Lifekind’s organic pillows are also Buy One Get One FREE.

LifekindWhiteSheetsOur new organic cotton Dream Sheet Set is woven with high-grade GOTS-certified organic cotton and available in white. These organic linens are known for their high tear strength and long life, and come in a handy bag that can be reused over and over. 300-thread-count weave in a sateen finish. During the White Sale, the whole collection is 30% OFF.

Along with these great new products, we also have awesome staple items on sale.  Here is a list of just a few of our customer favorites:

Don’t forget:  Mattresses are on sale too!  Now is the perfect time to order the organic mattress you’ve been dreaming of. During our White Sale, you can purchase a top-of-the-line organic mattress for 25% off plus free shipping.  So what are you waiting for? Order online at or call 1-800-284-4983 today!  Product Specialists are standing by.


Caring for Your Wool Moisture Protector Pad

Our Wool Moisture Protector Pad is one of the most popular products we sell. It’s made of 100% U.S.-grown Naturally Safer® wool, made by us at our GOTS-certified organic factory in Northern California, and does a great job of keeping any mattress clean and dry.
Because it uses the natural oils found in wool to keep the mattress dry and breathable, however, a little extra care is required when cleaning it. The care instructions we send with every moisture pad read as follows:
Screen shot 2013-10-30 at 10.42.10 AM

* Some of our customers hand-rinse the pad in the bathtub and hang it up to dry, while others use the washing machine with warm water on the gentlest cycle and then tumble dry using the “air” setting with no heat. Either way, make sure the pad isn’t exposed to any friction or wringing, and that it’s kept away from any soaps or detergents.

* Customers sometimes ask if our Wool Moisture Protector Pad can be treated with lanolin, one of the natural oils found in the wool that make it naturally moisture resistant. This usually occurs in cases in which the pad has been stripped of its lanolin content after being accidentally washed with detergent. While lanolizing can be easily accomplished with smaller items such as wool diaper covers, it’s an exacting process that involves the emulsification of pure lanolin and then applying it to the entire product (watch the process at While we don’t claim that using lanolin will harm a moisture protector, we can’t guarantee that it will be effective either and, depending on the pad’s size, may have poor results.

* If your moisture pad retains any odor after rinsing, sprinkle baking soda on the pad while it’s still damp, then shake thoroughly after drying to remove the powder. This will help the pad stay smelling clean and fresh.

Have a question about the care of any of our products? Call our friendly Product Specialists at 800-284-4983.


For the Birds

One of the things I like most about where I live is that the backyard is filled with birds. There are Steller’s jays, red-tailed hawks, and a family of California quail that lives in the oak trees outside my window. My absolute favorite is the acorn woodpecker, though. They live in the tops of the grey pine trees and hide their stashes of acorns in the trunks, clacking and cawing and clowning day and night. Their “racka-racka” call is music to my ears!
Their wide-open eyes and red crests give them an exotic look that’s also somehow comical, flashier than other birds in the area:
A couple weeks ago I started noticing they were doing something new: showering in the spray of the sprinkler system to stay cool by perching on trees in the water’s path. They’d move around the property, following the spray from the front yard to side yard to back, calling out a boisterous “racka!” when it hit them and shaking themselves off like wet dogs. Three or four would congregate together, shuffling from the front of the tree to the back and scooting up into the branches when they needed to take a break. It’s easy to lose track of time when I’m watching them. I enjoy it as much as they do!
Since I like to take care of my friends the best I can, I swapped the standard garden hose I was using for one that’s made with materials that don’t add traces of lead or other contaminants to the water. (We’re on a well where I live, so there’s no danger of added chlorine.) In addition to being nontoxic and drinking-safe — so better for people, too — it’s also made with 50% recycled materials. I feel better about using it to water my strawberry patch as well, or to fill the birdbath that’s a lifeline in hot weather for the creatures who frequent it. I got my hose from a company called Great Terrain, but other brands are available, such as this well-reviwed one from Amazon.
I also don’t use any pesticides or other toxic substances on my yard or lawn that could hurt living creatures. That one’s a no-brainer!  🙂
For an overview of chemical safety issues with garden hoses, and why it’s important to use a nontoxic alternative, check out