How to Dress a Bed Organically

Lifekind Organic Bedding

Bed dressing is an art form that has been passed down from ancient times – some of the first evidence of bed-like structures is found in South Africa and dates back to about 77,000 B.C. Over the centuries bedding materials have ranged from straw and hides to velvet and woven gold, but the main purpose has remained the same: comfort. Here at Lifekind we get lots of calls from customers who want to know what kind of bedding they should get and why.

Proper bed dressing is important because not only can it improve the overall feeling of the bed, it can also extend the life of your mattress. The picture below shows the ideal bedding configuration. Since it usually works best to start at the bottom and work your way up, we will start with the underbed pad.

Lifekind Organic Mattress Layers

The purpose of the underbed pad is to keep your mattress in good shape so that it can continue to provide you with the best possible sleep for years to come. A thick wool pad is an ideal way to protect the underside of your mattress from rubbing against wood bed slats or exposed metal hardware. Furthermore, a wool underbed pad will protect the underside of your mattress from dust build-up and can even help prevent mold and mildew from forming on parts of the mattress that get less airflow (wool is naturally dust-mite resistant and has the ability to wick away excess moisture).

If a wool pad offers protection for the bottom of your mattress, it only makes sense that wool would protect the top, too! Many mattress pads are made of synthetic materials, which may prevent spills from leaking onto your mattress, but can also prevent your mattress and your skin from breathing. We believe a wool moisture protector pad is the best way to start dressing the side of the bed you actually sleep on. This pad is meant to protect both you and your mattress – wool wicks away excess moisture from your skin (guarding against overheating and skin irritation) and at the same time creates a water-resistant barrier between you and the mattress (preventing mold, mildew, stains, etc.).

Next comes the flannel mattress pad. Many people are somewhat confused by the concept of needing both a moisture barrier and an all-purpose mattress pad (I know I was when I first heard of it), but with time I have come to realize that these two are like my favorite Jack Johnson song – it’s always better when they’re together. While a wool moisture pad provides a perfect water-resistant barrier, a flannel mattress pad acts as a sponge and gives pesky spills a place to go, rather than leaking into the mattress. The mattress pad is also one of those accessories that can change the feel of your mattress – either for better or for worse. We recommend a loose-fitting pad that is made from natural fibers (cotton flannel is awesome). These two rules of thumb will ensure that the pad is breathable and that it does not make your mattress feel taught (the “trampoline” effect).

The next layers – and possibly the most important ones of all – are the sheets. The reason why sheets are so important is that they are usually closest to your skin. Keeping in mind the fact that most people spend roughly one-third of their lives in bed, it is important to choose sheets that are free of dyes, chemicals and synthetics. Organic cotton is our best suggestion because it fits this standard of purity while also boasting breathability and washability! Dust mites feed on skin cells (and our entire epidermis is replaced within a period of about 48 days), so keeping your sheets clean is the key to protecting your entire bed from these icky invaders.

Lifekind Organic Egyptian Cotton Blanket

When it comes to blankets, layers are the key! By choosing breathable materials and doubling (or even tripling) up, you get a cozy bed that can easily be adjusted with changing weather. Comforters are prime suspects when it comes to finding synthetic fillings and chemical additives in your bedding. Wool offers a much safer and more comfortable alternative with its natural flame resistance and temperature regulation. Top it off with an organic cotton duvet cover and – voila! You’ve got a bed that’s “dressed to the nines.”

Top 10 Customer Favorites

Top10

We’ve just wrapped up another great year here at Lifekind and we would like to take a moment to look back at the products that made our customers happiest in 2013.  So, here’s a list of last year’s Top 10 Customer Favorites (in no particular order) and a brief description of why they’re so great!

10. Certified Organic Cotton Towels

BathTowels

First up, we have our lovely 100% Certified Organic Cotton Towels.  These generously sized terry towels feature a twill pattern and a 550-gram weight – making them both elegant and absorbent!  Our customers love the softness of these towels and many of them comment on how nicely the slim binding avoids puckering after being washed.  Your skin is most vulnerable after you bathe, so it is important to choose your towels carefully.  Our towels are free of dyes, chemicals and pesticides – just like all of our products – making them a great way to finish your bathing routine!

9. Pure Organic Sheet Set

Next we have our 300-thread-count sateen sheet sets.  Just like the name states, these sheets are PURE (free of all the icky things I just mentioned above).  Who would want to sleep on anything less?  These sheets are soft, durable and all-around a great value!  Each set contains one flat sheet, one fitted sheet and two pillowcases (except for the twin set, which contains one standard case and the king set, which contains two king cases).  Many customers purchase this set as the first step in their transition into an organic sleep environment.  What better place to start than with the first thing that touches your skin when you crawl into bed?

8. Organic Flannel Mattress Pad

Eighth in line is our double-layer essential Flannel Mattress Pad.  Our catalog says, “If you purchase only one accessory for you mattress, this should be it!”  And the continued popularity of this product reminds us that it’s true… think of this pad as the sponge between you and your mattress.  Your sheets keep you cool and clean and your moisture pad provides a moisture barrier, but the flannel pad soaks up any spills (and can be washed in hot water, unlike wool).  The corner straps keep the pad in place without making your mattress feel more taught.

7. Certified Organic Dust-Mite & Bed-Bug Barrier Mattress Cover

This item is a must-have for anyone with allergy concerns!  Our 100% certified organic cotton mattress barrier cover has a tight weave to keep out invaders while still allowing your mattress (and your skin) to breathe!  By skipping out on the synthetics you also skip out on the “crumpling plastic” noise you get with some other mattress covers.  The heavy-duty zipper is brass (so it won’t rust) and makes it so much easier to remove and wash the cover.  Our barrier cover is also available in different sizes and depths, so we are sure to have what you need.

6. Organic Embroidered Toddler Pillow

Our certified organic cotton toddler pillow with the included embroidered pillowcase is a best-seller online – and who could be surprised?  Not only is it totally adorable, but it is safe for the little ones who use it!  The boudoir-sized cotton pillow is just the right size for a little head, and the cotton sateen material of the pillowcase is soft to the touch.  All of the cotton in this pillow – from the batting to the cover to the pillowcase – is certified according to the Global Organic Textile Standard (one of the highest organic certifications you can find).  While this is true with all of our pillows and mattresses, it is especially comforting when it comes to caring for our precious babies!

 

pillowpile

5. Naturally Safer Pure Wool and Certified Organic Cotton Pillows

All of our pillows are popular!  The certified organic cotton speaks for itself, but you may be wondering what it means to buy Naturally Safer Wool… well, here’s the deal: our wool comes from sheep that are treated humanely and live on certified organic farms.  The sheep themselves are never fed any antibiotics or any food that has been treated with pesticides.  Which means that you can feel good about your purchase while it helps you feel good, too (by helping you sleep!).  Customers appreciate the fact that our wool and cotton pillows come in multiple sizes (Boudoir, Standard, King, Euro and Body) and multiple lofts (Light, Medium and Full).

4. Customizable Wool-Wrapped Natural Shredded Rubber Pillow

Then there’s our one-of-a-kind wool-wrapped shredded rubber pillow, which can be customized according to the loft/firmness you prefer!  The adjustments are made possible by the brass zipper, which opens into the center compartment of the pillow and allows you to remove/add the shredded rubber pieces.  The wool forms the outermost layer of cushioning and gives the pillow a uniform feel.  Our down- and feather-loving customers are thrilled that we offer a cruelty-free alternative!

3. The Wooly Pillow Top

Of the many pillow tops we offer, this one gives you the most “bang” for your buck!  Three inches of long-staple Naturally Safer pure wool creates a cloud-like sleeping surface and regulates your body temperature (which makes it a comfortable addition to your bed all year long).  Our wool and cotton fillings are always free of chemical fixatives, so the hand tufting is what keeps this pillow top fluffy.  This product boasts a GREENGUARD certification on top of its other designations, which means that it has been tested and meets low VOC-emission standards.

EuroKOmattress

2. The Euro Mattress

This is by far our most universal mattress – meaning that it is comfortable for the widest variety of people.  Whether you lean more toward a firm mattress or a cushy one, the Euro seems to do it all!  The reason for this is the natural latex core that comprises this mattress.  Natural latex (and when I say “natural” I mean 98% natural sap from a latex tree with 2% formatives, not the 20% natural latex which comprises most “natural” mattresses) provides 30% more pressure-point relief than memory foam, and none of the “sinking” feeling.  Natural latex has sort of a split personality: when you put direct pressure on it with your hand or butt, it gives, yet when your entire body weight is distributed across the mattress, the latex “pushes back” giving you the support you need.  Three firmness options give this mattress versatility!

1. The Euro Soft-Top

What do you get when you add a half-inch of med-soft rubber to the top of our best-selling Euro mattress?  The Euro Soft-Top!  This mattress is two-in-one: the rubber/wool cushion quilting gives this mattress a soft, “melty” feel on one side, while the reverse side is the traditional Euro.  This Euro Soft Top gives you a touch of luxury while boasting a more reasonable price point.  Like the Euro, this mattress is available in three firmnesses: medium, medium-firm and firm.

~  Bonus: Naturally Safer Moisturizing Lotion with MSM

We ran out of room on our top 10 list, but we just had to throw this one in because our customers love it so much!  The reason for this is in the ingredients list: methylsulfonylmethane (MSM).  This sulfur-containing therapeutic agent is derived from trees and has the natural ability to relieve pain and inflammation.  The superior moisturizing ability of this lotion will be evident from the very first use and with time it may even relieve the symptoms of arthritis and other similar conditions.  This lotion is hypoallergenic and free of cetyl alcohol, artificial preservative, animal products and parabens.  It is ideal for use on delicate skin (like the skin on your face, or your baby!).  And on top of all that, this lotion is available in “unscented” or our wonderful “lavender” option.

With our Annual White Sale going on right now, it’s an ideal time to order the products you’ve had your eye on.  Click here to check out our full selection!

The Word On Washing

With cold and flu season well under way, most likely you are doubling up on the hand washing. And rightfully so – hand washing is definitely one of the best ways to stave off those nasty viruses. What you may not realize, however, is that too much washing may actually harm your health instead of helping.

According to an article posted yesterday by the Associated Press, the Food and Drug Administration is finally taking a closer look at the potential health problems linked to the chemicals commonly used in antibacterial soaps. After a 40-year delay, the FDA has been spurred to action by recent studies which suggest that hormone levels can be affected by triclosan and other similar chemicals.  It is estimated that nearly 75% of antibacterial liquid soaps and bodywashes contain triclosan.

Soap
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus arreus (MRSA). Infections caused by these “super bugs” are very painful and difficult to treat.

 

Killing the Good Bugs:

This news only adds to the skepticism that has long existed over the use of these chemical antibacterial agents. First of all, there is no way to target specific bacteria; helpful microbes are killed right along with the harmful ones. The “good bugs” provide a natural defense by preventing the pathogenic microbes from colonizing on our skin. Many people also question the value of exposing themselves to chemicals that have not even been proven to work more effectively than good old soap and water (this is a particular concern for those with chemical sensitivities). Furthermore, medical experts fear that over-use of antibacterial agents may be a contributing factor to the increase of drug-resistant bacteria. If you have ever seen someone dealing with a Methicillin-resistant Staph infection, you know that this is a serious matter!

 

What to Use Instead:

Even if you weed out the antibacterial soaps, you are still left with a lot of options that are less than ideal. For example, many soaps contain synthetic emollients (that’s a fancy word for moisturizer), such as petrolatum or mineral oil. While your skin may feel softer at first, over time these additives clog your pores and actually take moisture away from your skin. This is important because dry, cracked skin is vulnerable and less capable of keeping pathogens out.

Person Washing Hands with Soap in Washbasin

Your best bet is to use soaps with a natural emollient, such as glycerin. Soaps made with vegetable oils are much gentler on your skin – and more environmentally friendly – than those made with potassium tallowate (if the packaging does not say what it is made from, it’s probably the latter). Check out our Naturally Safer Liquid Soap and our Naturally Safer All-Vegetable Soap, which both smell amazing and do good things for your skin!

Lastly, remember that warm water works best. Very hot water can dry you out (especially if you soak long enough to get pruney) and cold water cannot dissolve as many germs and particles. You can read more about hand washing technique on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website. The CDC considers hand washing to be so important that they actually call it the “do-it-yourself-vaccine.”

So, keep washing and have a healthy holiday season!