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.”

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

EuroSoftTop

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”).

WoolMoisturePadKO

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 .

FlannelPadKO

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.