Wool Padding VS. Traditional Mattress Padding – Understand Whether the Padding in Your Mattress is Truly Organic

We recently wrote a blog explaining the different components that comprise a mattress. Here is the link: http://dormio.ca/index.php/2012/11/what-is-your-mattress-made-of/

Now we would like to elaborate on the padding component of a mattress. There are different types of padding used in the mattress industry which include wool, polyurethane foam, convoluted foam, synthetic fibre pads and or polyester fibres. This blog will discuss the use of wool and polyurethane foam in the padding of mattresses as they are sold to clients as being organic, natural or green. Each consumer should understand exactly what an ‘organic’, ‘green’ or ‘natural’ really is when purchasing a mattress.

Wool is the number one animal fibre used worldwide and it has been used for a very long time, as early as 4000 BC when it was used by the Babylonians. It’s cool in the summer, warm in the winter, a natural fire retardant and resistant to bacteria.  This is a hard combination of advantages to beat and a perfect component for a mattress. Primarily composed of a protein called keratin, which creates the fire retardant aspect, wool also has a natural curl that makes it resilient to crushing, making it a great fibre for padding our mattresses. Wool is usually sheared off sheep than washed with water, soap, and soda ash.  It then goes through a process called carding in which the fibre passes through a variety of metal teeth that align the fibres and remove residual organic matter. Wool is sustainable, biodegradable and kinder to the environment than oil based synthetic fibres.  True organic mattresses should be padded with 100% organic wool. Organic wool is sheared from sheep that are not exposed to pesticides and consume only organic feed; in addition they are raised and kept in good farm conditions. Wool from free grazing sheep, treated ethically throughout their long lives represents a traditional small scale industry that once thrived globally. Today many small farmers are returning to this sustainable industry to create clean and healthy wool that is produced without stress to the animals and the environment. Dormio Organic Beds is proud to utilize wool from farmers who treat their animals with care and in humane environments.

Traditional padding is made with polyurethane foam and many manufacturers portray their padding to be ‘green’ or ‘natural’ when in fact only a portion of it actually is. There has been a surge in the production of green polyurethane foam. The many chemicals used in polyurethane foam are recognized as carcinogens, and the fire retardants used in these foams add chemical toxicity. Also keep in mind that polyurethane foams do not decompose in landfills.  What is being referred to today as green foam manufactured with the use of soybean, caster bean or other plant derived polyols is still mostly petro chemical based. Polyurethane is mostly composed of equal parts isocyanates , which is a deadly gas and a polyol. So if you substitute a soy-based polyol for 20 percent of the 50 percent you would have a product that is 10 percent soy and 90 per cent disastrous chemical. If all of the isocynates were replaced with soy based polyols, the product would still be 50 percent isocynates. Hardly green is it?

Altering traditional polyurethane formulas by adding natural and synthetic latex has also become a popular way to claim a greener heritage. If the end product is called polyurethane than that’s all it is.  Just one more point. Polyurethane is extremely flammable therefore fire retardants must be added in its production to make it safe for home use, and this will be the subject of our next blog.

We at dormio pride ourselves in the use of organic wool or natural latex as the comfort layer, making our organic mattresses truly organic. For example our natural latex foam mattress is covered with organic cotton and padded with organic wool. At Dormio, we will explain each component of our mattresses or that of our suppliers so you are able to make a well informed decision when purchasing any mattress. Our motive is to provide our clients with a healthier sleeping experience so you will find a great alternative to your traditional mattress at price levels to match your budget. Visit our showroom today and be sure to check out our latex foam mattress selection.