Lifekind Organic Mattress Profile: The Duet

In the lineup of Lifekind organic mattresses, the Duet can be something of an enigma. It’s made from three internal layers of natural rubber, which would normally lend itself to softness, but the top and bottom layers are made from the firmest natural rubber we use – plus it’s got a closed cover, which makes for a firmer mattress. Then again, the center layer is made of the softest natural rubber, and the firm top and bottom layers are sculpted into contoured ridges, which makes them softer.



So what does the Duet organic mattress actually feel like?




Overall, it’s quite firm – almost as firm as the Euro, which is the firmest mattress we make. The Duet is designed to offer uncompromising support, but also pressure-point relief via the sculpted ridges in the top and bottom layers. This can come in very handy for sleepers who need a combination of firmness (or back support and cushioning for pressure-point pain.

Think of it as a medium-firm mattress that’s cushiony enough even for side sleepers.

To talk about the Duet or any of our other mattresses with a product specialist, give us a call at 800-284-4983 or email

Don’t we have to use flame retardant?

Frequently, callers ask us how it’s possible that we don’t have to use chemical flame retardants on our mattresses. “Isn’t there a law that says you have to?” they ask.
Thank goodness, the answer to that question is no. The federal flammability standard — known as 16 CFR Parts 1632 & 1633 –  requires only that mattresses and certain other types of bedding pass flammability tests, not how  they pass. The tests involve exposing a mattress to open flame using an apparatus that locks down around the mattress (see video of a mattress made by our factory, OMI, passing federal flammability testing at Unlike non-organic mattresses that are sprayed with dangerous chemicals to achieve flame retardancy, we use only our Naturally Safer wool to make our mattresses pass with flying colors. Phew!  :)
For more information about the federal flammability standard, go here.

Good news for California!


In a move that’s sure to please anyone concerned about chemical exposure, California Governor Jerry Brown announced yesterday a new state flammability standard: As of Jan. 1, upholstered furniture sold in the state will be able to meet flammability requirements without the use of with PBDEs or other chemicals.

“Today, California is curbing toxic chemicals found in everything from high chairs to sofas,” said Governor Brown. “These new standards will keep the furniture in our homes fire-safe and limit unnecessary exposure to toxic flame retardants.”

The new rule overturns a controversial 1975 law that Brown himself signed during his first stint as governor: Technical Bulletin 117, which required furniture manufacturers to inject flame-retardant chemicals into the synthetic foam used in virtually all upholstered furniture in the state. That translated into 2-3 pounds for a typical sofa, but over the years research has increasingly shown that such chemicals pose a major threat of cancer and other health problems, with children being most at risk. When state agencies such as the Bureau of Home Furnishings – on whose advisory board Lifekind president and co-founder Walt Bader sits as a member – recommended the change, officials listened.

Now instead of foam that’s been infused with flame-retardant chemicals, upholstered products from recliners to infant swings and strollers will be made fire-safe by focusing on using cover materials that resist common sources of ignition such as cigarettes, space heaters, and extension cords. That, combined with fiber fillings that resist smoldering, will be enough to meet the new standard for most products, though it’s always important to hold retailers accountable: “While many manufacturers may elect to remove the chemicals, others may elect to leave them in due to concerns about liability,” said Judy Levin of the Center for Environmental Health. “So consumers will definitely have to be diligent and ask specific questions.”

Manufacturers may begin making products to the new standards on Jan. 1, 2014, and will have one year to be fully in compliance.

Let’s hope that other U.S. states follow California’s lead and that the trend goes worldwide to prevent chemical exposure for future generations!

Where the Natural Rubber Meets the Road

At Lifekind, many of the products we make contain natural rubber, which can be confusing for some  who haven’t tried it before. 
“Do you use the same kind of rubber that’s in tires?” callers sometimes ask. “Is my bed going to smell like a tire store? What is it made from, exactly?”


While car tires and natural-rubber mattresses have their main ingredient — natural-rubber sap — in common, the similarities pretty much end there. Car tires have a slew of toxic substances added, such as styrene-butadiene co-polymers, oils, halogen, “accelerators,” “antiozonants” and carbon black, a delightful material made from the partial burning of coal tar and other “heavy” petroleum products to make a black, ashy powder. (The International Agency for Research on Cancer has labeled carbon black a “possible human carcinogen,” and it’s a powerful respiratory irritant. Definitely not something you’d want in your bedroom!)
In contrast, 100%-natural rubber foam is a springy, resilient, off-white material that contains about 98% rubber-tree sap in its final form. The remaining 2% is made of non-harmful materials such zinc oxide, sulfur, sodium, and fatty acids – quite a difference. (And it smells nothing like a tire store.) It’s the top choice for organic mattress materials right now, and its popularity is only growing. 

We’re always happy to send a sample to anybody who would like to check it out — just ask. We think you’ll like it.

The Shredded-Rubber Pillow (and Why I Love It)

On October 9, I celebrated my tenth anniversary at Lifekind. During that time I’ve had the opportunity to try pretty much everything we sell, and year after year one product remains my favorite above all others: The Wool-Wrapped Shredded-Rubber Pillow.
Why am I so enthusiastic about it?
 Customizable Wool-Wrapped Natural Shredded Rubber Pillow


I love the feel. With tiny pieces of natural rubber inside a zippered chamber and a separate outside chamber filled with organic wool, the overall feel is one of substance and buoyancy. It has some of the softness and “poufiness” of a down pillow, but is firmer and heavier — it can be “shaped” like a down pillow by holding up one end and letting the filling fall to the other, and my neck appreciates that. The inside chamber holding the natural rubber can be zipped open and some of the rubber taken out (or more put in) to make it just the right height. I take it everywhere I go, from hotels to friends’ houses to tent-camping trips in Yosemite. I know that if I’m using any other pillow, my sleep won’t be as good. It’s a little bit of home that I can have with me on the road.

It smells great. The smell of natural rubber represents health, comfort, purity, and happiness for me. It makes me feel calmer and makes it easier to fall asleep, and if I wake up during the night it’s easier to go back to sleep. It’s natural aromatherapy!
It lasts forever. Well, not quite, but a long time. I’ve had mine for about six years, and it shows no sign of slowing down. When it does, I’ll buy another one immediately — case closed! No other pillow will ever be able to take its place.
 Lifekind Customizable Wool-Wrapped Natural Shredded Rubber Pillow


Have a favorite product you just can’t do without? Write and tell us.


How Long Will It Last?

Recently a customer called to ask how long the sheets in our Organic Cotton Sateen Bedding Collection should be expected to last. It got us thinking about the lifespan of different products we sell, as well as how they show their age as the years go by.


The organic cotton and wool we use isn’t mixed with polyester or other petrochemicals to artificially strengthen the fibers, nor are our towel collections treated with a coating of beef tallow and/or chemicals to make them feel softer and more appealing on store shelves. This results in a purer product, as well as one that will actually become softer than artifically-treated products over time. It also means that their lifespans aren’t artificially prolonged based on chemical content, however. For that reason, the possibility exists that they may experience a shorter life than artificially enhanced items – although I have to say that I’ve never experienced it personally in the 10 years I’ve been using Lifekind. Our customers appreciate this for the most part, knowing it’s part of the sacrifice we sometimes make in order to use natural products and to live lives as free of exposure to hazardous chemicals as possible.

Based on that knowledge, here’s a basic estimate of the expected average life of a few of our more popular products when cared for as recommended:


clockFlannel Pad:  Five years

Moisture-Protector Pad:  Five years

Sheets and duvet covers:  Five years

Wool or cotton:  Five years
Natural rubber:  Ten years
Buckwheat:  Five years

Comforters:  Five years

Pillow tops:
Wool:  Five years
Natural rubber:  Ten years

Towels and bath mats:  Five years

Keep in mind that these are not warranty time lines, but simply basic averages that can be directly affected by the amount of usage and quality of care. Items that are washable can also be affected by water quality and temperature, detergents, and the use of fabric softeners. Pillows and fitted sheets tend to wear out most quickly, since they bear most of a sleeper’s concentrated weight. Sheets and pillowcases may develop thin spots that are more susceptible to tearing, and cotton and wool pillows will compact substantially as they’re used — wool pillows by about one-third, and cotton pillows by about one-half. It doesn’t indicate that the product is defective, but rather that it’s been working hard and slowing down a bit as time goes by, like people do.

If you ever have a question about how a Lifekind product is holding up over time, feel free to give us a call here on the sales team at 800-284-4983 or click on the “Chat with a live product specialist now!” link on our home page. We’re here to help.

We’re Lifekind…Pleased to Meet You!

One of the things we hear quite a bit from customers is that it’s nice to be able to talk to a real person when they call us. Maybe you can relate. I know I can in this age of “voice-mail hell,” when it’s not all that common to be able to talk to a customer-service representative without navigating a labyrinthine maze of choices — or maybe never getting there at all.



It’s true that when you call Lifekind, you’re only a few seconds away from getting to talk to a real, live human. The first thing you’ll hear is a brief outgoing message, which offers a list of options to help you get where you need to go. (That’s me speaking in the outgoing message, by the way — I’m the “voice of Lifekind.”  :) If you reach us during regular business hours it’s the only message you’ll have to hear, unless you’re calling for someone who’s temporarily on another call or away from her desk. The message lets you choose whether you want to enter an extension, ask a general question, talk to a Product Specialist like me, or access a company directory. (If you’re calling after hours, you’ll also be given the option to leave a message in our General Mailbox.) Once you develop a relationship with a product specialist, if you keep her extension handy you can enter it as soon as the outgoing message starts — and then never have to listen to it again!

When taking an order, doing a mattress consultation to help someone figure out exactly the right mattress, or helping with a return or exchange of product, we take great pride in offering the kind of personal attention that can be truly unusual to find in today’s corporate world.

Give us a call sometime soon so we can get to know you, too!   1-800-284-4983


Understanding Mattress Sizes

Mattress sizes can be confusing. What’s the difference, say, between an Eastern king and a California king mattress? How about a twin vs. a twin extra-long? And is a “full” the same as a “double”?

Here on the Lifekind sales team, it’s one of the questions we’re asked most. In North American countries, mattress sizing has been standardized as follows:RulerBend

Twin (sometimes called a “single”):  38 x 75

Twin extra long:  38 x 80

Full (sometimes called a “double”):  54 x 75

Queen:  60 x 80

Eastern (standard) King, or “EK”:  76 x 80

California King, or “CK”:  72 x 84

Two twin extra-long mattresses placed side by side are the same size as an EK, so they’re sometimes used when two sleepers want differing firmnesses. Twin extra-long mattresses are also a popular choice for dorm rooms.

The full size — popularized as a “double” years ago — was previously the most popular size for couples. Now that couples are choosing mostly larger queen or king sizes, however, fulls are typically used for children or individual sleepers or for guest rooms.

The most common mattress-size question of all, however, is “Should I get a regular king or a California king?” The appeal of the California King size is an extra four inches of length, but four inches of side-by-side width must be sacrificed to achieve it, so for that reason the standard Eastern King is still the more popular choice by far. (And also because sheets for a California King can be hard to find. We do carry them here at Lifekind, however!  :).

Whatever size you need, give us a call. We’ll help you find the right mattress for you.Mattress_Stack

Is your Organic Mattress too SOFT or too FIRM?

Did you know…


…that what you add to the top of your bed can make a difference in how firm it feels? Sure, a super-soft, fluffy 3″ Wooly pillowtop will add softness to a mattress, but what about mattress pads, fitted sheets, and barrier covers?

The truth is, when a mattress is constrained by having tight-fitting bedding applied, it can feel considerably firmer and have a more “hemmed in” feel. When a mattress is in its “undressed” state it’s able to expand in every direction, the way it would have when it was first designed by the manufacturer. The difference in how it feels after having bedding added can be startling.

To mitigate this effect, our popular Flannel Pad and Wool Moisture Protector Pad are held on to your mattress with elastic straps on the four corners, instead of being a fitted product. (Fitted pads, which go all the way around and down the sides of the mattress like a fitted sheet, can affect the feel even more, and should be avoided if you want to keep the firmness as-is.)  Also, deep-pocket fitted sheets will provide more room for a mattress to expand than a tighter-fitting one will, so keep that in mind when choosing.

Finally, if you have a mattress you’d like to make a bit firmer, try using a tighter-fitting fitted sheet or fitted mattress pad. It might just make a difference! 8-24-toohardtoosoft

The Healing Power of a Walk

“It is the best of humanity, I think, that goes out to walk.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
It’s well documented that getting enough exercise is good for both body and spirit. There’s something special about a contemplative walk in nature that can’t be found anywhere else, however: a meditative or spiritual element that can help us find answers to life’s puzzles, a process described by the Latin phrase Solvitur ambuland:  “It is solved by walking.”
Walking as a contemplative activity can seem, well, sort of pedestrian in our fast-paced, multitasking world. But it wasn’t always that way. In past centuries, books and essays with titles such as “In Praise of Walking,” “Walking as a Fine Art,” and “The Reveries of the Solitary Walker” encouraged participation in the “noble army of walkers,” a membership that was open to any able-bodied person, young or old, rich or poor.
Or as Mr. Emerson puts it:

“It is a fine art; there are degrees of proficiency, and we distinguish the professors from the apprentices. The qualifications are endurance, plain clothes, old  shoes, an eye for nature, good-humor, vast curiosity, good speech, good silence, and nothing too much. Good observers have the manners of trees and animals,  and if they add words, it is only when words are better than silence.”


“Plain clothes and old shoes” and “nothing too much”: How different from today, when the highest-tech equipment is practically considered a requirement before heading out. I’ll take it on faith from possibly the most profound thinker America has yet produced, however, and consider it good enough.
When I walk alone in nature, I feel the pressures of the day melt away slowly, leaving me in a quiet, meditative state focused solely on the natural world. I find that when I avoid pondering weighty matters while walking, solutions to them are more likely to come unbidden. Sometimes I’ll realize with delight at the end of a walk that something that’s been bothering me for days has a clear solution that wouldn’t have occurred otherwise. When our busy brains are spinning the whole time, it’s difficult for that to happen.
“I am alarmed when it happens that I have walked a mile into the woods bodily without getting there in spirit. The thought of some work will run in my head, and I am not where my body is — I am out of my senses. What business have I in the woods, if I am thinking of something out of the woods?”
– Henry David Thoreau


Good question. It sounds to me like what we might call being “in the moment”…and that’s a good thing, no matter what we’re doing.