It all started with the pillowcases. I reached in the linen closet to begin making up the bed for overnight guests and there were no pillowcases. Well . . . decent pillowcases. Ones that could actually encapsulate a pillow without threads coming out everywhere. With kids' summer camps and beach trips, camping trips, family summer rentals, sleepovers, . . . the few remaining extra ones we had that were not left on all those adventures were either fraying at the seams, had some weird iron on decals that my daughter created at camp, or were otherwise in bad shape. So, yes, "the transition" to organic bedding all started with replacing those pillow cases.
When I did replace those pillow cases, (and I bought several sets with the dire state of our linen closet), I chose organic ones that were one sale. I had just read and was shocked to learn that cotton is heavily sprayed with pesticides - more than any other crop - so thought it would be a good idea to begin with that. This, of course, led to more research on the topic and here is what I found out:
Chemicals in Your BedThere are a lot of various chemicals used to make cotton and other fabrics. Formaldehyde, in some fabrics, has been declared a carcinogen by the United States Government at certain levels Here is a list of other chemicals that could be lingering in your non-organic sheets and linens as well:
- Heavy metals
- Bleaches (more here)
- Chemical dyes
- Flame retardants
3 Big Reasons to Consider Switching to Organic Bedding
Our StrategySheets, pillow cases, mattress pads, comforters - they are expensive. By no means did we switch to organic bedding at all once. In fact, we are still slowly replacing items and focusing on those that have direct contact with our skin. And, honestly, there are many favorites like special blankets that some family members refuse to give up.
- We began replacing items as they went on sale. I entered myself on mailing lists for various companies that make organic bedding, watched for sales, and budgeted accordingly.
- As I mentioned, I stated with the pillow cases as they are inexpensive compared to the other items. Since they rest directly on our face, it makes sense to begin there.
- Then, I began with a few sheet sets and then mattress pads.
- Then came, the largest switch: our mattress:
Why Choose An Organic MattressOur biggest purchase in this transition (indeed a biggie with many dollar signs attached) is the organic, natural latex mattress that I mentioned here. Instead of purchasing a fancy headboard or bed frame, we put the money into our mattress and I have never looked back or had buyers remorse for a second. My back problems are gone and have never shown themselves again! (Within 48 hours of the switch, I might add!) When my husband and I bought ours (this brand), it was expensive; however, they may have gone down in price by now as there is a lot more market competition.
Here is why we did it:
Regular mattresses have been doused in chemicals. They must pass certain standards for being flame retardant. Unlike organic mattresses that are naturally flame retardant, many of the materials used to make regular mattresses are not. Thus, manufacturers must add chemicals (banned in other countries) to be able to satisfy the flame retardant requirements.
Most conventional mattresses are made of materials that emit gases that could possibly cause health problems. Regular mattresses can contain materials like petroleum-based polyester, nylon and polyurethane (PU) foam, which off gas and emit VOCs, especially when new. They can also be wrapped with cloths made from flame-resistant fibers with even more potentially harmful chemicals.
Our backs hurt and we wanted it to stop. Our previous conventional mattress was a high-quality brand mattress, but after sleeping on our new organic, natural latex one, our backs have never felt better.
Should you decide to research an organic mattress for you and your family, look for these qualities:
- Natural latex from rubber trees, which is a better than petroleum-based polyurethane
- Untreated, organic wool (naturally flame retardant and mold and pest resistant)
- Organic cotton used as the batting or wrapping agent
And, you can't have a bed without pillows. So, just in case you were curious, I wrote about pillow selection here, too.
We are still a work in progress in this pursuit so I would enjoy hearing your experiences. Have you switched and what manufactures did you chose and why? Have you noticed a difference?
cotton: photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ugacommunications/9317322714/">UGA College of Ag</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com
coils: photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ejbsf/8726403203/">ejbSF</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>