Natural Living

Natural living: Wool mattresses and bedding

September 19, 2014
organic mattress

For the last 3 months we’ve been sleeping on an air mattress. It’s been interesting. We do have a memory foam topper, so that has made it surprisingly more comfortable, however we are very ready to move to a real bed. We still co-sleep with Coltrane and that has made it a little extra challenging. With every “squeak, squeak” and jostle, our patience wears thin. We had a nice mattress, but because of a water leak and potential mildew concerns we had to rid of it. We’d been considering converting to all wool bedding for some time, prior to losing our mattress, but as with any major purchase we felt we needed to do further research. Sleeping on an air mattress is a huge motivator to make a rush decision and purchase. We held out and after a month of comparing our options, we placed an order for our new bedding system from Surround Ewe. It takes around 2 months for orders to be custom made and delivered, so we are patiently waiting until next week when it should arrive. We’ve upgraded from a queen to a king, so we’re all around pretty excited.

For those of you not familiar with wool mattresses, also called wool beds, let me share a little bit about the benefits and reasons we chose to “go” wool.

1. Reduced common allergens – Because of wool’s incredible ability to quickly absorb and then release moisture, consistent humidity within the fiber is greatly reduced. This inhibits common allergens such as dust mites, mildew and mold from taking up residence in your bedding.

2. Sustainable – If purchased from a reputable brand that sources it’s wool from quality and humane sources, wool is a completely sustainable fiber. There is very little impact on the environment during the processing of wool and most wool is processed without or with very little chemicals.

3. Fire resistant – Wool has a unique coating called Lanolin. This greasy substance coats and protects the fiber, making it naturally fire resistant. What’s even more incredible is that wool is passes flame resistance testing without the use of added chemicals.

4. Thermoregulation – Another incredible natural property of wool is it’s ability to thermoregulate. In basic terms, this means that when you’re cool, wool warms you and when you’re warm, wool cools you. It does this by reducing heat transfer to the environment and wicking moisture when you perspire.

5. Long life – Wool fibers last far longer then other fibers in comparison. A wool fiber can be bent and manipulated over 30,000 times without breaking, whereas cotton for instance wears much faster, breaking down after only 3,000 bends.

6. Comfort – Many praise the healing benefits of wool bedding because of it’s ability reduce pressure on critical points within your body, allowing you to sleep more soundly and wake up without being stiff.

7. For the love of wool – Not to be discounted, my love for wool and all of it’s incredible properties and benefits played a big part in our decision to go with wool bedding. Why do I love wool so? So many reasons. For one of my favorite and most interesting reads, check out Clara Parkes’ book (her love letter to wool), The Knitter’s Book of Wool: The Ultimate Guide to Understanding, Using, and Loving this Most Fabulous Fiber.

Once we decided to “go” wool, I began researching the few companies out there selling wool bedding. There are several to choose from, but what it came down to essentially was perceived quality, availability of reviews of both the product and company, customer service and cost. Wool is not cheap, and same goes for wool bedding. It is definitely an investment and honestly there isn’t a lot of customer information out there about it. This is one of the reasons I’m sharing our conversion here. Here are the top reasons we went with Surround Ewe.

1. Pre-compressed wool – Wool naturally compresses under your body weight. It’s recommended that you rotate your wool bed regularly and do your best to sleep all over the mattress in the first few months to avoid uneven compression. Many of the companies I found either did not pre-compress the wool they stuffed the mattresses with or made no mention of it. Surround Ewe pre-compresses the wool in several of their products, which lends to firmness and longevity.

2. Variety in thickness – It’s recommended that wool beds sit on slated frames or box springs. Some people reported being able to feel impressions of the slats through the mattress over time. I found many wool mattresses around 5″ thick, but Surround Ewe offers a 6″ and 9″ thick mattress. Even with the natural compression, my prediction is this thickness will help eliminate any awareness of slats or box spring.

3. Organic materials – Not all companies offer their wool mattresses covered in organic material. It was important to us that the material covering the wool mattresses was organic cotton.

4. 100% sourced and made in the USA – All materials used in Surround Ewe’s products are either grown, raised or made in the USA. Many companies offer products that are made in the US, but their materials are not sourced domestically.

5. Options – I like having options. Options around thickness, firmness, quality, accompanying products, cost, etc. Surround Ewe has a few options for mattresses, but also toppers, comforters and other bedding. I was able to customize our mattress set, getting the exact mattress, topper, pillows, etc.

6. Cost – Converting to wool bedding is a big investment. We’d never bought an entire bedding system before so this was all knew to us. I compared the costs and offering of every company I could find and Surround Ewe came out in front based on the info I’ve shared above and because they offer seasonal discounts. Right now they are offering a discount on their mattresses and toppers. Another determining factor was shipping costs, Surround Ewe offers free shipping on all orders.

So there you have it. I’ll be writing a couple follow up posts talking about our initial experience once we receive the Surround Ewe products and how they’re fairing after using them for some time. As with any product experience I’m sure I’ll have some interesting information to share, though I really do hope it’s all positive!


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    […] fire resistant and has incredible health benefits which I’ve talked about in when we purchased our wool mattress. To avoid felting wool, you have to follow careful, yet relatively simple cleaning instructions. […]

  • Reply Filipa November 28, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    This was great to read! I’m from Portugal and I grew up with the wool filled comforters made by my grandmother. Traditional wool-filled bedding was always very effective. The only problem was having to open the comforters up every year to re-arrange the wool . I was happy to hear they now make pre-compressed wool bedding: problem solved!

  • Reply Kate January 23, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    Do you have any updates? Looking into new bedding myself and had remembered this post. Would love to know what you think about Surround Ewe!

    • Reply Fairy March 25, 2016 at 9:38 pm

      me too. would love to hear the feedback as I am in the market for one as well

  • Reply mythic home May 19, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    it s a good informative article. if possible to update it with some pictures and recommendations.

  • Reply anie June 10, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    Hi! I am going to chime in and add my request for an update 😉 I am hot and not sleeping well on our ****sa mattress and so looking for a new one. I have been intrigued by wool mattresses for a while and your opinion would be invaluable!

  • Reply Telson Albert August 20, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    Really very informative, gives a brief idea about Natural living. Wool mattresses and bedding are playing a vital role at the time of sleeping. With out these we can’t have a healthy and comfort sleep. Thanks for such a wonderful post.

  • Reply Janelle August 28, 2016 at 7:54 pm

    Thanks for your article. I’d really appreciate hearing how you’re liking your Surround Ewe mattress.

  • Reply Karen Smith September 21, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    I would be very interested in your opinion now about the Surround Ewe mattress

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