A few months ago, Huyen and I decided that we needed to look into getting a new mattress. Our cheap old one that we bought right out of college was nearly nine years old and sagging in the middle. Plus, we wanted to move from a full to a queen because the dog takes up a lot of room.
I spent an absurd amount of time reading about mattresses and the disgusting things that go into them. PBDE‘s are a controversial flame-retardant found in all sorts of furniture (including mattresses, although hopefully not for much longer). I decided I’d rather avoid any nasty chemicals used in the production of the mattress since, after all, we spend 1/3rd of our lives on that mattress. It should be something that’s not so… chemical.
And if the decision to get a more “natural” mattress wasn’t already made, it was sealed with two words: mattress mites:
Menchavez said he recommends that people with allergies or asthma get their mattresses cleaned every three to four months; while those concerned with their health but with no asthma problems, should get it done twice a year.
Twice a year? I don’t know anyone who’s ever had their mattress cleaned! *shudder*
As I started looking into so-called “natural mattresses,” I saw that almost all of them have a layer of wool. This is because wool is a natural flame retardant (warning: do not set a sheep on fire to test this theory) and is used in place of the chemical-based retardants in standard mattresses. Apparently, the lanolin in wool also helps repel dust mites and bed bugs.
Of course, I don’t want to sleep on anything with wool in it. So I went looking for vegan mattresses and sure enough, they exist (hit CTRL-F and search for “vegan”). It’s a bit expensive, but it’s got lots of nice, organic cotton and will last twice as long as a regular mattress. Interestingly, California has stringent flame retardancy laws, which means that some stores won’t even sell natural vegan mattresses in the state and those that do require a doctor’s note.
We also decided to buy a platform bed with wooden slats, which eliminates the need for a box spring and helps air circulate which I think I read somewhere helps keep dust, mites, and bed bugs from settling in (can’t find a reference for that now, though, so don’t hold me to that).
I never thought I’d spend so much time researching something like a mattress, but I’m really looking forward to donating the old one and trying out the new one. It should be very nice (“6 inches of natural rubber covered with our organic cotton ticking”… mmmm… ticking…).