What is the Best Mattress For MCS

Many Lifekind customers are familiar with the term “MCS” because it stands for the often misunderstood ailment multiple chemical sensitivity. People with MCS are usually sensitive to synthetic and/or scented products like hair spray, perfume, cleaning products, soaps and, of course, chemical mattresses.

Lifekind Organic Mattress

The effects of chemicals and pesticides on our health can be staggering, with some cases more extreme than others. I know this first hand, and am happy to say that it’s a good thing we live in a time when we have a choice and we’re changing the norm by purchasing non-chemical, organic products!

I first became aware of MCS after I’d been sleeping on a chemical mattress for a number of years, and throughout that time was experiencing numerous “mystery” health challenges. Honestly, I now attribute those health issues to long-term exposure to the chemicals in the mattress, since my health improved after I started sleeping on an organic mattress.


When I speak to customers who are experiencing MCS symptoms, I’ll often suggest they try testing our organically certified mattress materials  before purchasing a mattress. The material samples are included with an allergy test sheet that provides specific instructions for sensitivity testing. One of Lifekind’s most popular mattress for sleepers with MCS is the Traditional Innerspring Mattress, which is made of certified organic cotton and certified organic wool.

AllergyTest Sheet

If you sense you may have MCS, a good resource is the Environmental Health Center in Dallas, TX, where Dr Ray and his staff have been helping people with multiple chemical sensitivities  since 1975. They have experience in diagnosing and treating more than 40,000 environmentally sensitive patients with their innovative techniques.

Even though MCS presents many health challenges and it’s not yet fully understood, I’m happy to be a part of the new thought revolution–one organic mattress, pillow or blanket at a time!

Three Things To Add To Your Home Spa List

As autumn approaches and busy summer activities are quieting down, I’m beginning to feel more of a need to transition inward. Now some evenings when I get home from work, after walking the dog and cooking dinner I unplug the phone and settle into my new “spa routine”. Here are three things I find helpful:

1. Taking a hot bath can be very spa-like, and Lifekind’s Spa Gift Bag makes it even more relaxing. The Spa Gift Bag contains our oatmeal-lavender Bath Soak, lavender-geranium Body Polish, Lavender Moisturizing Lotion with MSM (8 oz.), a bar of our All-vegetable Soap in Oatmeal Lavender, and a Cotton/Hemp Cloth. And it’s packaged in a versatile organic cotton canvas bag!


2. I am also very pleased with our new organic cotton Spa Robe. It’s plenty roomy, very soft, and washes up well  (as modeled by Lifekind friend & co-worker Cate). It will make a great addition to your home spa!


Organic Robe

3. I’m a big fan of music, and many studies show it has relaxation and healing benefits. I added Jami Sieber’s new CD, Timeless, to my home spa music collection. I find it very comforting & relaxing.



My hope is that you’ll pamper yourself by taking the time to enjoy a hot bath, listen to relaxing music, and cozy up to a warm fire in your new organic cotton robe. You deserve it!

The Best Baby Shower Gift Ever!

After receiving several thank-you notes from friends saying “Your baby gift was the best ever,” I wanted to pass along my secret. Every new baby deserves an organic, chemical-free play mat!

Lifekind Lion Playmat

Hand-sewn in Lifekind’s GOTS-certified factory here in Northern California, our Safari and Garden Play Mats are made with all-organic materials, and provide baby with a safe, soft padded area from newborn to crawling stage.   The removable zipper cover allows for regular washing, and holds up well even with lots of use. Another great feature of the play-mat design is the contrast patterns that contribute to baby’s early visual development, as mentioned in Parents magazine by Tinker Ready.

Lifekind Organic Factory

 So if you’re in need of the perfect gift for a friend – or for your own baby – I highly recommend the Lifekind Play Mat. See other gift-giving options here at: http://bit.ly/14lpDLi


Is There Baking Soda In My Mattress?

Fortunately knock on wood I have never experienced a stove fire. Yet I have always kept a box of baking soda in the cupboard above the stove, just in case. And while it’s true that baking soda has been used for many years to stave off fires, I was surprised to learn that it has also been used in mattresses. So when I asked the president of Lifekind, Walt Bader, his opinion on this subject, I got quite an explanation — and, I must say, a major education.bakingsoda

According to Walt:

“There are some mattress manufacturers that say baking soda is safe because we bake with it, brush our teeth with it, and, in the form of carbon dioxide, even put it in beverages. So how can it not be safe?

“Technically, we don’t breathe in carbon dioxide (CO2), we excrete it in our breath as a waste product. Re-breathing into a plastic bag can cause carbon dioxide poisoning. At higher levels you can experience panic, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, unconsciousness, or even death. And even though we’re talking about CO2, not baking soda, when baking soda is involved in a fire, it produces…guess what? Carbon dioxide. And it is absolutely possible to experience anoxia (total depletion in the level of oxygen) or asphyxiation from breathing CO2, which is created when harmless baking soda reacts to the heat of a fire.

“CO2 can kill you. In a fire environment, I am less concerned with CO2 reducing levels of oxygen than I am with the fact that it regulates breathing function because of changes in pH in the sleeper’s blood.

“This is why we use the more expensive option of wool as the only flame retardant in our mattresses.”


Home Sweet Home


Last week I gave pointers on how to keep house cats from decimating our backyard bird populations. Here are a few more tips to keep birdies safe in their Home Sweet Home habitat:

  • Choose safe birdhouse designs with steep roofs, lacking perches to help deter predators: http://birding.about.com/od/birdhouses/a/housesafety.htm
  • Clean up spilled seed regularly to minimize ground-feeding birds.
  • Check fencing & repair any holes where cats and other predators can get through.
  • Use plastic or metal poles to support feeders so cats’ claws cannot help them climb to the feeder. Baffles are another option to deter hunting cats. I also like the mobile-style bird feeder. It works great in the winter when I feed the birds suet: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-Bird-Suet-Cakes/



  • Birdbaths & bird feeders should be at least five feet off the ground and away from shrubbery where kitty predators can hide. Ideally, bird feeders should be 10-15 feet off the ground.

Tips How To Keep Your Cat From Eating Native Birds

I have worked diligently to train my cat to not catch birds, and it has ultimately paid off. However, while enjoying a warm summer day on the patio recently, out of the corner of my eye I noticed a bird swoop down at my old orange tabby, who was sunning herself and minding her own business. At first I thought it was funny, until the old kitty decided she’d pursue the bird that had picked a fight.

Looking back to when Peach was six months old, I remember being horrified when she caught her first little brown nuthatch. I instantly saw the impact this furry orange bundle of joy was going to have on the birds in my backyard. I scolded her, and the next time she caught a bird I was equally as strict, and a bit less forgiving.  When Peach caught her first mouse I praised her unendingly, saying “Good kitty – get the mouse,” and with that she took on the persona of mouser superhero and promptly learned that “getting the mouse” had far more rewarding benefits than catching a bird.

According to Peter Marra of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, in Washington, D.C., American house cats that venture outdoors, along with feral cats, kill between 1.4 billion and 3.7 billion birds in a year.


Many people don’t realize the damage that can occur to native bird populations from the nonnative cat populations so here are five tips I’ve found that can help cats and birds live peacefully in my backyard garden:

1.  Do not praise a cat that captures a bird. Train him when he is little, or any time, for that matter, that it is NOT okay to kill birds. I used a loud, firm tone to scold and startle my kitty.



2.  Use collar bells on your cat’s breakaway collar to warn birds of her approach.

3.  Keep your cat indoors permanently, or as I have done, do not let him out early in the morning or in the evening without supervision, since this is when birdies are most active, at their peak feeding times.

4.  Keep cats’ claws trimmed to make it more difficult for them to climb trees or catch wild birds.

5.  Take time to play with your cat, providing her with “indoor” toys. An exercised, contented cat will be less likely to go into a wild frenzy on backyard birds.

Pillow Fight!


I am convinced there are two types of pillow fights. One is where we aim to win by whacking each other with brute force (using soft pillows, of course), and the other is the ultimate search to find the right pillow so we can get a good night’s sleep.

Pillow fights have probably been occurring since the dawn of pillows. Dating as far back as Mesopotamian times, around 7,000 BC, pillows were seen as a status symbol. The more pillows someone owned, the more affluent he or she was seen to be. Ancient Romans and Greeks mastered the creation of a softer pillow by stuffing them with reeds, feathers, or straw in order to make them more comfortable.

I won my personal pillow fight when I started using our adjustable Wool-Wrapped Shredded Rubber Pillow. I like it because it provides softness and good support at the same time, not to mention that I would most likely win any pillow fight I could encounter.

It can be challenging to find the right pillow when trying to narrow down all the choices, but one thing’s for sure… When it’s time to replace your old pillows for new ones, save them to use on International Pillow Fight Day: http://2013.pillowfightday.com

More joy in the workplace: Wakena’s Picks


On the way to work today I heard a radio interview in which the author was discussing how many people are experiencing high levels of stress both at home and in the workplace. He emphasized the important role joy plays in our daily routines, which helps combat stress.

I am happy to know that a lot of other people are on the same quest as me: How to find joy in the workplace. I enjoyed Betty Bender’s quote:

“When people go to work, they shouldn’t have to leave their hearts at home.”

This would be me, since as any of my co-workers will tell you, I am an open book!  We spend a great deal of our time with the people we work with, so let’s make it fun and interesting!

Here are my favorite ways to feel more joy in the workplace:


* Take a walk around the building on your lunch break; getting a breath of fresh air is a good way to relieve stress and feel better.


* Do nice things for others, like leaving a chocolate on co-workers’ desks.


* Find reasons to be grateful. Write them on sticky notes and place them around your workspace.


* Do something you love every day, even if it is just something small, like read a blog that makes you smile or sing along with the radio.

Picture 8

* Play a game with your coworkers.  Our graphic designer renamed everyone in the office on National “Get a New Name Day“, and we had to figure out what everyone’s new name is  (I’m now Wakana!)  It was a great day to break up some of the post-White Sale craziness and share a few laughs with the people we spend our week days with.


* Notice positive aspects of co-workers and the contributions they make.  Share the love, and tell them the nice things you are thinking. According to Walt, “Attitude is everything!”  and sharing a good attitude can make all the difference in the world.

How to Clean your Organic Mattress and What to do if it is Exposed to Mildew


Occasionally I receive calls from customers who are concerned that their organic natural rubber mattress may have been exposed to mildew. Even though natural rubber is one of the most mold and mildew resistant sleeping surfaces, it can still be susceptible to mold, since organic mattresses do not have any anti-fungal agents added to them like chemically treated mattresses do. Therefore it’s important to know that organic natural rubber mattresses require proper air ventilation and should not be placed on either the floor or a solid wood surface. We recommend using our upholstered wood slat foundation or box spring for a traditional-style bed frame , or with a platform-style bed frame, the slats should be placed no more then 3” apart (preferably 2 ½”).


I always recommend using our Wool Moisture Protector Pad if one of the persons tends to sleep hot or if there is a risk of bed wetting .


The other mattress pad we recommend is the Organic Cotton Flannel Pad  for all-purpose protection that’s machine washable and dryable.

Research shows that once mold or mildew is present in a mattress, it can be a health risk to continue to sleep on it. That’s why it’s always a good idea to not only have proper ventilation and mattress-protector pad(s), but to also follow these evaluation tips:


• Vacuum your latex mattress and inspect it regularly for stains or other signs of mold. Although latex is mold resistant, if there has been moisture trapped between your bedding and the mattress, there could be mold residue against the face of the mattress itself. Also check the under side of the mattress, between the slats, if using a platform-slat bed frame.

StainOdorKO• Spot-clean your mattress if you find any stains. You can use our Stain & Odor Eliminator for spot cleaning stains. Be sure to test a small inconspicuous area for color fastness before applying to a larger area.LaundryLiquid1000

• You can also mix four or five drops of natural liquid laundry detergent into one cup of cool water and use a sponge or a clean cloth to blot the mixture onto the stain. (Do not rub or scrub, because it can cause stains to spread.) Do not use chemical solvents on your mattress, as solvents are toxic and will cause the latex to break down. (If spot-cleaning, make sure that the mattress is completely dry before replacing your mattress pad and bed linens. Use a space heater or fan to circulate air to dry both sides of the mattress).  However once there is mildew, please keep in mind it may be to the point where you will need to replace the mattress entirely.

Positive Change Reduces Methyl Bromide Use


After reading an article from one of our local news services, I was inspired to share what appears to be a positive change about alternatives to using the highly controversial chemical methyl bromide for fumigating imported goods.

I was happy to learn that one alternative to the use of methyl bromide and other fumigants when importing fruits and vegetables is a technique called “controlled atmospheres,” which regulates temperature and atmosphere levels inside sealed shipping containers. Controlled-atmosphere technology is relatively inexpensive, highly effective, environmentally benign, and even improves the quality of shipped produce.

Methyl bromide (MeBr) is an odorless, colorless gas used as a soil fumigant and structural fumigant to control agricultural pests, and is the most widely used fumigant for quarantine purposes. Here at Lifekind we are well aware of the dangers of methyl bromide, and it’s one of the reasons why we do not import our cotton and wool from overseas. Most people do not realize that the cargo ships transporting raw materials are routinely fumigated with dangerous chemicals like methyl bromide.

There is confirmed scientific proof that the use of methyl bromide is one of the culprits contributing to the depletion of the earth’s ozone layer, and after recent damage to the East Coast from Hurricane Sandy, global warming is once again in the forefront of our national discussion. It’s important for people to know how much of an impact the emissions of methyl bromide have on the ozone layer. The ozone acts as a shield protecting life on Earth from damaging ultraviolet rays, which can cause sunburns, skin cancer, and cataracts. The rays can also harm marine life, and in the past two years, ozone holes larger than Europe have opened over the Antarctic Ocean.

I definitely recommend you read the article to learn about the changes that are helping to combat planetary ozone depletion.