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Dream Design Natural & Organic Mattresses

When I set off with my goal to purchase organic mattresses – my boys were close to purchasing a bunk bed that they saved for almost 2 years. The buildup for this was tremendously exciting and I didn’t want to drop the ball not finding mattresses they would like and that lived up to the safety requirements I needed them to have. With being a green business owner and blogger I have to admit this purchase proved to be much more difficult than I expected. It’s funny that the end result of purchasing my boys their mattresses came down to good old fashion word-of-mouth (thanks Sabrina and Trish!). Let’s not forget that I’m not buying an organic crib mattress(where there are many options available)  but twin mattresses that are larger and heavier in size. This factor almost (don’t forget I say almost) rules out purchasing larger mattresses online from across the country because the cost to ship these pieces starts to really add up.

The mattresses that we purchased are not organic but natural Dream Bed mattresses from Dream Designs. This ‘natural’ option allowed us to buy greener mattresses that are chemical free, locally crafted, and made with locally produced materials. The only difference between the organic and natural Dream Beds is the cotton casing around the exterior of the mattress is either organic or natural – also the cotton batting inside the mattress.  Oh – and quite a bit of money. The difference between the two options is more than $500 and since we were purchasing two – the decision was based on cost savings and the mattresses meeting my requirements for not containing chemical flame retardants or PVC (supporting a locally made mattress was just a huge bonus!). For a child’s organic twin mattress, you are going to pay approx. $1000.00. We paid under $500 per mattress for the natural option through Dream Designs…it’s a substantial savings.

I am very happy with the purchase. My main goal was purchasing mattresses for my kids without chemical flame retardants and a plastic exterior made from PVC. The natural flame retardant within a Dream Design mattress is wool, which meets the government criteria ~ naturally ~ so that chemicals are not added to the foam when the mattress is being manufactured. Linda, the owner of Dream Designs has amazing product knowledge and could answer all of my questions – she even cleared up the mystery that polyurethane foam can be used without having to add chemicals if it’s wrapped in wool or a natural flame retardant. The polyurethane foam that is used in a Dream Design mattress is locally sourced and also naturally biodegradable.

I always find it easier to gage size and dimensions from real pictures for products so I’ve included a few shots of my bottom bunk’s mattress. They are designed as futon mats and provide a very firm surface. Going from an older spring mattress to their new futon mattress was different for my sons and did take a bit for them to get used to. Also, you need to be wary of wetness. If you have a child that has the occasional accident, you should have a mattress protector because the exterior of the mattress is cotton without a waterproof liner. There are three options when selecting a Dream Design mattress 1) Tatami which is more like a bed topper or sleeping mat 2) Deluxe which consists of cotton & wool wrap combo around 2 layers of foam 3) Supreme which offers an extra 3rd layer of foam. Also of course – the different option between natural and organic Dream Beds. The difference in price between the Deluxe and Supreme is approx. $100 but after testing the different mattresses we actually found that the Supreme was too hard a surface and have been happy with the Deluxe. You can view from the mattress thickness below.

Being a newbie to purchasing new mattresses – I was surprised at the huge jump in price when researching kids organic mattresses from the cost of organic crib mattresses.  Thank goodness these mattresses will last 10 years and I feel good about my investment.  The joy my boys have experienced saving all that time to make a major purchase on their own has been amazing to watch. It was very cute observing my older son (who has dibs on the top bunk) experience a bit of ‘princess and the pea’ symptoms the first few weeks on the new mattresses and bunk bed. “I just feel like something isn’t quite right” he kept saying.  I didn’t want to be the one to tell him he’s missing having his little brother right next to him in bed since they’ve been split up to sleep in the top and bottom bunk. Both have settled into their independent sleeping quarters now and can’t wait to show off their new purchase to friends and proudly announce “and we even saved for 2 years!” A great experience to watch and I’m so proud of my guys…thank goodness there’s still room for Mommy on that bottom bed so I don’t loose any cuddle time.

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Organic Mattresses Questions & Research

Excitement has been brewing in our house for the past few days because a long time goal has been finally accomplished by my sons. My boys ages 6 & 8 have patiently waited through the last 2 Christmases, birthdays, tooth-fairy visits, etc. with their eye on a pretty big goal…. to purchase their own bunk bed! My guilt of not being able to run out and purchase this bed when my boys first started asking 2 years ago has completely disappeared watching how proud my boys are of this big purchase.  In our world where our children are accustomed to instant gratification – my boys have learned the value of saving their money. I’m also getting to put some Mommy Footprint knowledge and research to work because I’ve told my husband from the beginning that my goal was to purchase organic mattresses for the boys, since we don’t have mattresses that will fit a bunkbed. Because my 8 year old son has asthma I know an organic mattress is a must and if we can swing organic pillow cases and sheets – we’ll try to provide this too. Asking questions when researching mattresses has been a great refresher for me and I wanted to share since my questions and research because they are a great guide for an expecting mom trying to purchase a chemical free mattress for a crib or like myself, for an older child.

Questions to ask when purchasing a mattress:

~ What is the mattress made with? You need either the sales person or manufacturer to tell you what each layer of the mattress is made with – these are the materials you are not able to see. Does the mattress have metal coils, natural latex, wool, organic cotton, bamboo? Really these materials should be the only ones listed with an organic mattress. If there is polyester, polyurethane foam, or ? –  the mattress cannot truly be called organic.

~  Once you find out what the inside of the mattress is made with ask how all the materials are treated. How were the bugs removed from the sheep’s wool that was used?  Was it dipped in chemicals or an organic substance to remove dirt, bugs, etc.? Find out how each layer of the mattress was treated before it was built – these should not be difficult questions for a person selling a product that costs hundreds of dollars.  A hugely important topic is the issue of flame retardants with mattresses. The US standards for flame retardants is much more strict than Canada so ask how the company has protected the mattress with flame retardants. Steer clear if the mattress is chemically treated because there are organic or natural solutions with flame retardants that organic manufacturers can safely apply. I think it’s safe to assume if a mattress contains polyurethane foam – it’s had to be chemically treated with flame retardants because of how flammable this material is.

~ What material is on the outside of the mattress? If a crib or young child’s mattress is being marketed as ‘water proof’ – ask what the water proof material is covering the mattress.  This is also an important questions because this material is in closest proximity to your child. Does the shiny, smooth surface contain vinyl, PVC, or phthalates? A safer plastic that is food grade safe and doesn’t off-gass is polyethylene.  If you don’t need a water-proof exterior to your mattress, organic cotton, 100% cotton, various types of bamboo are great natural mattress alternatives.

~ Bonus question “where are the materials manufactured” and “where are the mattresses made?” There are many mattress companies that are manufacturing their mattresses local to where they distribute within Canada and the US.

Organic Bedding:

~ What material is the bedding made with? What are the patterns printed with (inks plant based, etc.)? Where are they made or manufactured?  To be honest, I haven’t done much research with older boy bedding because the options out there are very slim…especially with organic bedding. Have the organic bedding distributors not figured out that boys over the age of 4 don’t want to sleep on deer and owl printed sheets?  I personally would LOVE it if they would…but there is no way in this house. We need to encourage older boys with organic camouflage, sports themed, or action packed prints that are printed and created with non-toxic inks and materials.

An exciting time in our house mixed with the usual amount of research and questions. I know it drives my husband and children crazy, but I cannot purchase a new item that is toxic – the concept just doesn’t make sense to me. We’ve never purchased new mattresses for the kids before as they’ve been using hand-me-down mattresses for years. I’m completely beside myself with excitement to have them sleeping on materials I know aren’t off-gassing and giving them restful and healthy sleep.



Norwex Mattress Cleaner

A few months ago I purchased the Norwex Mattress Cleaner. I first learned about this dust mite ‘warrior’ a few years ago from attending a Norwex party and who wouldn’t like the sound of a product that feeds off dust mites? With the recent articles on toxic beds, I thought it would be great timing to introduce those concerned about dust mites to this spray.

What have I learned about dust mites?  For my family, they have the potential to cause health problems because I have 1 child with eczema and another recently diagnosed with asthma. If you allow dust mites to accumulate, members of your family might have a sensitivity or allergic reaction (cold symptoms or asthma symptoms) to the feces that collect from the mites.  Even organic mattresses, duvets and bedding can accumulate dust mites – they can attach themselves to all fibres, although a wool environment isn’t as conducive for them.  Actually, it’s pretty interesting if you ask around about dust mites, many people have heard very creepy stats about what percentage your pillows or mattress weigh soley from the fecal matter left from the mites. One of those things if you over think ~ you’ll go a little nutty.  Well for people that can’t afford to replace bedding, pillows, mattresses with new or organic – here is an aid to help fight the war on dust mites ~ Norwex Mattress Cleaner.

This mattress cleaner is environmentally friendly and contains a unique enzyme that eliminates and removes all organic waste found inside a mattress (or pillow, duvets, etc.).  What does this mean? The enzyme in this spray will feed on dust mites, feces, pet dander, organic matter and dead skin cells until they are gone.  When there isn’t anything left to feed on, they disintegrate into carbon dioxide and water.

My question to Sandra who has sold Norwex products for years, is how do you know it’s worked?  It isn’t a product where you can visually see the results. I did use the product on my mattresses and pillows a few months ago and I did notice I was breathing better, but that is the tough sell for greener cleaning products because ‘natural’ solutions are harder to see for proven results until they are used over a longer course of time.

The mattress spray is safe for children and pets, but I’d really hold off from using on crib mattresses or crib bedding. If you over-spray the product (directions are included regarding how many squirts per pillow or different sized mattresses), an allergy-sensitive person may react. A regular regiment for the mattress spray is every 3 months for a home with allergies and asthma or 5 months for a home without these problems. Other places this spray can help is with favourite stuffed animals, duvet covers, pet beds, RVs, carpet, and pillows. For $35.99, this mattress spray is a great price to purchase some peace of mind with getting rid of unwanted dust mites in your bed.

I did ask Sandra if the mattress spray would attack mold within a mattress, but the answer was no.  Good news with the spray is there is no vacuuming involved – simply squirt it on the mattress and let it dry. Vacuuming your mattresses with a traditional vacuum can make dust mites worse because you bring them to the mattress surface and depending on your vacuum, might make them air born. Convenient and very easy to apply – a great idea for people that are concerned about sleeping on hotel mattresses or hospital…pack your spray, use on the mattress and bedding, leave to dry and rest easier.

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