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 strobel.com, 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.

WaterMarkDustMiteCover

 

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!

Where the Natural Rubber Meets the Road

At Lifekind, many of the products we make contain natural rubber, which can be confusing for some who haven’t tried it. 
 
“Do you use the same kind of rubber that’s in tires?” callers ask. “Is my bed going to smell like a tire store? What’s it made from, exactly?”
 

Tires

While car tires and natural-rubber mattresses have their main ingredient — natural-rubber sap — in common, the similarities pretty much end there. Car tires have a slew of toxic substances added, such as styrene-butadiene co-polymers, oils, halogen, “accelerators,” “antiozonants” and carbon black, a delightful material made from the partial burning of coal tar and other “heavy” petroleum products to make a black, ashy powder. (The International Agency for Research on Cancer has labeled carbon black a “possible human carcinogen,” and it’s a powerful respiratory irritant. Definitely not something you’d want to sleep on!)
 Rubber_Tree_proof
In contrast, 100%-natural rubber foam is a springy, resilient, off-white material that contains about 98% rubber-tree sap in its final form. The remaining 2% is made of non-harmful materials such zinc oxide, sulfur, sodium, and fatty acids – quite a difference. (And it smells nothing like a tire store!) It’s the top choice for organic mattress materials right now, and its popularity is growing. 
We’re always happy to send a sample to anybody who would like to check it out — just ask. We think you’ll like it!

Sleep Tight

I’m sure many of us share treasured childhood memories, and one of mine is when my mother would tuck me in at night and say, “Sleep tight.” I now often hear myself repeating that phrase, which leads me to wonder where “sleep tight” actually originated.

sleep-tight
Sleep Tight

History shows that the phrase “sleep tight” has always been used in the English-speaking world, and is associated with the rhyme “good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite.” The “sleep tight” part may refer back to when mattress foundations were made from ropes, which needed to be pulled tight to provide a well-sprung bed. The ropes were spread across the bed frame in a criss-cross pattern to form a sleeping platform. They would sag with time and weight, and had to be tightened periodically, hence the phrase “sleep tight.” This brings to mind why it’s important to know what type of foundation your mattress is on.

Most of us have had common commercial mattresses at one time or another. We may have told by a salesperson, “This price includes the set,” which we assume means we’re getting a box-spring foundation. I’m here to tell you that that’s not always the case. I speak to customers all day long who assume that the foundation they have now is a box spring, when actually it contains no springs at all – just thin wood. I call this a “faux” or “impostor” box spring.

Innerspring mattresses are designed specifically to be supported by a box-spring foundation. With a “faux” foundation, the innerspring mattress will lack proper support, which in turn will not provide the sleeper with the proper support. It becomes a vicious cycle. Some people try placing plywood between the mattress and the foundation, hoping it will do the trick. When it doesn’t work and the mattress becomes increasingly uncomfortable from lack of support, a chemically-laden memory-foam pillow top may be added. It goes on and on as the mattress dips and sags in an unusually short period of time. It’s only when the entire situation becomes unbearable that we’re forced to pay attention and purchase a new mattress. Sadly, if the underlying problem hasn’t been recognized the first time, the pattern is often repeated.

On a more positive note, we’ve come a long way in terms of technology from using a rope foundation that needs to be tightened to prevent sagging. We now offer platform-slat bed frames, which require no maintenance and allow natural rubber mattresses to have the air circulation they need without using a foundation. Yet when it comes to traditional innerspring, steel-coil mattresses, my biggest concern is that the general mattress buyer is often still unaware of the need such mattresses have for a steel-coil box-spring foundation to support them. Think of the two pieces as a team, working together to provide the perfect, comfortable support.

So when you find it’s time to replace that not-so-old, sagging mattress set, remember to look inside the potentially empty “box spring” that came with your mattress to see what’s inside.

I hope you always will “sleep tight”!