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Questions & Answers About Mattresses & Futons

We are frequently asked about the benefits of one type of mattress over another; innerspring versus futon, synthetic versus natural and “how do I know what to believe?” Here are some of the more frequently asked questions and we hope to reassure you with our responses.

Our belief in an all ‘truly natural’ mattress comes from personal experience —  from when Peter was so very chemically sensitive — to the greatly improved lifestyle he has today where he is still well enough on most days to run a successful family company. His utmost aim is to help those who are still in that helpless situation where he was many years ago and to instill in new mothers the urgency of avoiding chemical overload in their newborn infants.

Q. Why do some manufacturers use chemicals in the manufacturing process of bedding products?

A.   Bedding manufacturers use synthetic fabrics and fillings which are laden with harmful chemicals, because they are cheap and easy to work with. The manufacturer is possibly not even aware of the harm which can be caused by exposure to the chemical out-gassing; they are not informed!

Q.  Why is buying certified organic bedding and bedlinen a much safer option?

A. Organic bedding does not contain synthetic chemicals which are harmful to not just the planet but also to our health. Raw materials are grown without synthetic fertilisers, which destroy the ‘living soil’, and are processed without harmful synthetic chemicals, such as defoliants which are absorbed by the plant and do not wash out.

Q. Which is better when choosing a mattress – latex, foam, wool or cotton?

A.  A mattress made with 100% ‘Certified Organic Cotton’

Q.  Why?

A.   It is easier to understand if I explain about conventional mattress first:

Latex is the sap from rubber trees. There is no guarantee that it could be classed as certified organic because even with tree plantations chemicals are often used to spray for weeds, bugs etc.  Rubber latex sap has a strong odour, (go into a tyre store and you can smell it).   Manufacturers use chemicals to remove those strong smells. Chemicals and fillers are used to produce this ‘foamed rubber’, (incorrectly advertised as natural latex.)

Latex does not breathe properly, it can cause overheating and perspiration which in turn causes moisture build up and creates mould in the mattress. The other type of foam rubber used is a synthetic petro chemical product and contain harmful chemicals.

A number of mattress manufacturers are using non-organic wool with their ‘foamed rubber’ and synthetic foam filled mattresses. This wool is not produced and processed to organic status; it is processed on machines which are not cleaned from any chemical residue created by the processing of such products as polyester or Dacron synthetic fibres and other chemical containing fibres. Very often this wool used may also contain some synthetic fibres picked up during processing.

Chemicals such as Ultra Fresh, anti mould, synthetic fragrances, including synthetically produced lavender, anti dustmite, are now added to many, if not all, conventional mattresses or added to the fillings. There may also be also other synthetic containing components inside the mattress which you cannot see.

Futons (mattresses without springs), can also contain many different products; some have an inner core of synthetic foam, and others contain ‘foamed rubber’, (Latex). In addition they may contain plant materials which are not certified organic such as cotton, wool, coconut fibre, (coir), and kapok. Many of these raw plant matters are imported from overseas and likely fumigated with a harmful chemical upon arrival in Australia and in some instances may have already been fumigated overseas.

Wool –  Many children and adults suffer with allergies and can have allergic reactions towards any type of wool, even organic wool. We are very health conscious and thus we do not promote any wool products.

Having explained the conventional mattress we are sure you agree with us that Certified Organic Cotton mattresses are the safest product.
To date, the only innerspring mattresses and futons with “Certified Organic Cotton” fabrics and filling made in Australia are PRODUCED AND SOLD By ORGANATURE®

Other mattresses available in Australia are imported from Asia. We also question the cheap cot mattresses being sold; the price indicates that it is also imported.

Other Points You May Want To Consider

Purchase of a breathing mattress should have a major bearing on your choice.

Moisture in mattresses – The body sheds moisture during the night and this is absorbed by the fibres and filling in mattresses.

Conventional mattresses – The moisture shed during the night penetrates through the fabrics and settles inside the mattress. Synthetic fibres act like plastic and the moisture is retained on top of and surrounding these fibres. Synthetic fabrics around the mattress will allow the moisture to penetrate but do not allow proper airing. The mattress retains more and more moisture resulting growth of mould on the inside being the consequence. Mould spores are so fine that they are able to penetrate through the synthetic fabrics and as a result every time you put yourself ‘to bed’, you breath in those mould spores.

Mould causes more allergic re-actions and ill health than dustmites. Dustmites like the warm moist conditions in conventional mattresses.

Wool mattresses retain moisture: On some website there is a claim that wool does not retain moisture; someone must have been given incorrect information! Wikipedia states: Wool fibres are hydrophilic, meaning they readily absorb moisture, but are not hollow. Wool can absorb moisture almost one-third of its own weight.

We agree with Wikipedia and add: the moisture our bodies shed during our sleep must go somewhere; wool contains lanolin which is greasy; moisture clings to grease, slowly forming droplets and dispersing lower into the mattress .On that same website a comment; should there be mould it will show on the outer cotton fabric; although we would agree with that statement, the cause of the mould is the moisture retention in the wool, not the fabric.

My (Peter) personal experience: In 1996 I made myself a futon from Organic wool and Organic cotton fabric and found that after a short period of time, even with regular turning, this futon started to show mould marks on the underside. This futon was on a hardwood slat base with 6 cm spacing thus giving the futon plenty air circulation.

After cleaning the mould on the timber with a solution of borax and hot water, this same slat base has been used for my organic cotton innerspring mattress since 2003 and show absolutely no mould marks.

At that same time 1996 I was also researching ceiling insulation to use in my own home and was contemplating the use of wool because I thought it was at that time the least toxic insulation product available.

However with further research, I found out that the insulation manufacturers were forced to add fungicide to the wool as the industry was receiving complaints about mould growth on the wool even though the wool was laid in well aired roof cavities.

Organic Cotton Mattresses: Cotton dries more quickly than wool; the absorbed moisture disperses over a larger area, thus drying faster. This particularly applies to organic cotton as there are no chemicals or waxes or lanoline to delay drying.

Organature has had no complaints about mould on their organic cotton mattresses where they were laid on proper, unpainted, unvarnished, non-flex type, hardwood slats with correct spacing.

Try this: put a drop of water on wool and the same amount onto the cotton and you will find that the droplet remains on the wool whereas the droplet on the cotton spreads. This means that the moisture on the cotton is over a larger area and will dry more quickly than a droplet.

DAMPNESS

damp-ridQ. Do you have a problem with moisture in your bedroom? You are not sure? How can you tell?

A. If in the morning you find moisture or dampness on the inside of your windows this is the moisture you shed during the night and if not controlled can cause mould growth.

Suggested remedy to try:

  • Most hardware stores sell ‘DampRid’, natural crystals which absorb dampness.
  • Ideally put the container under the bed-base and/or cot.
  • Ensure it is out of reach of children as when the crystals breakdown, they leave a liquid in the base of the container.
  • Follow the advice and directions on the product labels!
  • Contact us for advice what to do with mould problems.
A Correct Base Is Extremely Important

Organature use the same ‘Bonnell’ spring as is used by many mattress manufacturers. This type of spring must be properly supported on a non–flexible or, very low flexible, solid slat panel base.

Any mattresses made with these springs should be supported on a correct slat base, ideally made from Australian hardwood.

Since this article was composed and published on our website, Organature are now producing Australian made, Australian hardwood, bed bases, cots, cradles and a range of furniture including for the nursery.

Imported timbers and timber products are fumigated in accordance with AQIS regulations.

Some fumigated prior to despatch, others upon arrival in Australia.

The best timber to use is Australian hardwood. Pine is cheaper, (of course not treated pine), but pine is volatile due to the terpenes it contains. These terpenes can be absorbed by the mattress and inhaled when the mattress is turned. Terpenes can cause and very often aggravate allergic reactions.

Airing Mattresses

Any mattress should be aired for at least 2 hours each day after use.

Once a week leave it uncovered all day, so that it can properly air.

THE RIGHT CHOICE OF SPRING

Each small spring in a pocket spring mattresses is held in place by polyester pockets.

In the interest of health we do not recommend nor use these types of springs.

These springs are not permitted under organic certification.

The Bonnell Spring Unit Is Safest: It is an 8 cm diam. top and bottom, hour glass spring; 2.24 mm wire with 1.4 ‘Helicoil’ springs binding the hour glass springs together to a 4mm border wire. The Organature innerspring also has extra outer edge compression support springs; this means that when sitting on the edge the mattress does not collapse.

Our spring supplier is manufacturing in Australia and uses 100% Australian steel. Many others are imported from China.

Details are below for the springs used our Organature Innerspring Mattresses at various sizes. The Standard spring height is 15cm, and the low profile spring which is included in the cot mattress, have a spring height of 10cm. *Please note the spring unit cannot be higher than 15 cm.

Mattress Size No. of Rows  

Size cm

Total No. of Coils
Single 9 x 24 89 x 185.5 216
Double 14 x 24 135 x 185.5 336
Queen 15 x 26 150 x 201 390
King 18 x 26 180 x 201 468
King Single 11 x 26 104 x 201 286
Single Long 9 x 26 89 x 201 234
Cot 7 x 17 104 x 185.5 119
At Organature, we put a great deal of thought into each and every aspect of “Organic Cotton Mattress” manufacturing, to ensure you receive the highest health AND comfort benefits as possible.

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