When you think about mattress materials, you probably think of things like innerspring coils, memory foam, and latex. While wool usually isn’t on the list of commonly used mattress components, it has excellent properties that make it a highly-sought after material to use in mattresses.
For that reason, wool mattresses and toppers are becoming increasingly popular. Whether used as a main component or as a complementary one, wool in mattresses offers many benefits for sleepers. Read on to find out why it’s good for your mattress and your sleep.
Benefits of wool in mattresses
We’re all familiar with the many benefits of cozy wool socks and sweaters. But what exactly can mattress wool do for us? Here are five very specific benefits of wool in mattresses.
Mattress production can be a process with a heavy environmental footprint, so any steps that can be made to minimize the impact on the environment are welcome. To that end, mattresses that contain wool are one of the best choices you can make. Coming from sheep, wool is a natural material, meaning it’s obtained without any harmful manufacturing process.
Wool is also biodegradable, meaning it’ll break down relatively quickly once your mattress is retired. While all wool is eco-friendly, organic wool—which comes from sheep that haven’t been exposed to pesticides and other harmful chemicals—is the most eco-friendly choice you can make.
Wool in mattresses might be the perfect solution for people with allergies. If you’re allergic to dust mites, know that these pests can’t survive in mattress wool as it’s too breathable for them. Wool is also highly resistant to mold and mildew growth. And if you have animal-related allergies, properly manufactured mattress wool shouldn’t exacerbate your symptoms.
If you’re worried about wool being obtained from animals, know that wool is obtained in a completely safe and humane manner. Shearing is a healthy and pain-free process that actually benefits the animals.
It’s naturally fire-resistant
By law, all mattresses in the US must include a fire retardant. Unfortunately, the most commonly used fire retardants today happen to be chemicals that are harmful to human health.
Wool provides a natural and healthy alternative to that. Because of its water-retaining abilities (wool fibers can hold 30% of their weight in water), wool acts as a natural flame retardant. Many mattress companies that produce nontoxic mattresses include wool as a fire retardant instead of synthetic chemicals.
Sleeping too hot is one of the most common reasons for bad quality sleep. You might not immediately think of wool as something that can help you with this problem because it’s better known for its ability to keep you warm. However, wool’s fantastic temperature regulation abilities actually work both ways.
Because of its ability to retain moisture, mattress wool absorbs sweat and helps cool your body when you’re too warm. At the same time, because it retains some of your body heat, wool will feed it back to you when your temperature drops low.
These Saatva mattresses use wool as a flame retardant
Zenhaven Latex Mattress
Natural latex responds to every curve for pressure-free support and responsive comfort. Natural latex is supple, resilient, and durable, for the ultimate in elevated sleep. (It's naturally hypoallergenic too.)
Latex Hybrid Mattress
This hybrid mattress combines the pressure-free support of natural latex with the classic innerspring feel. Handcrafted with pure materials for the ultimate in cool and healthy sleep.
Memory Foam Hybrid Mattress
This memory foam hybrid mattress features the perfect balance of body-contouring and responsive feel. Enjoy the innovative cooling system, which prevents overheating.
Do mattresses have wool in them?
An average mattress you pick up in a store won’t have wool in it. If you want to make sure your mattress has wool (either as a comfort layer or as a natural fire retardant), you need to do your research. There are a few mattresses on the market that are made entirely of wool. While it can be a great option for some people, do your research before you purchase one to make sure it works for you in terms of support and pressure-relief properties. Most commonly, wool in mattresses is used as a natural fire retardant and/or as a top comfort layer of a mattress.
Is wool in a mattress good?
Mattress wool can do lots of good for your sleep. Besides being a natural flame retardant (meaning your mattress will have fewer harmful chemicals), it’s hypoallergenic and has fantastic temperature regulation abilities.
Can wool in a mattress irritate you?
Some people experience skin irritation from wool—but that usually comes from lanolin, the oils contained within wool rather than the fibers themselves. The good news is that lanolin is washed off during the process of making wool products today, so there won’t be any trace of it in your wool mattress or topper.
And if you’re worried about that scratchy feeling your grandma’s hand-knitted wooly sweater gave you when you were 5? You’ll be glad to know recent research concludes that the most common reason for itchiness is the large diameter of wool fibers rather than the nature of the fibers themselves.
Wool fibers used in mattresses are extremely thin (and we promise your grandma didn’t help knit them), so you don’t need to worry about itchiness. By the way, the same study also concludes that wool is not only not irritating but is actually beneficial to people suffering from dermatitis and eczema.
Does wool in a mattress keep you cool?
Mattress wool has excellent temperature-regulating properties. Because it absorbs your sweat (wool can retain 30% of its weight in water), it can help cool you down if you get too hot. At the same time, if you get too cold, it will help regulate your temperature by feeding back to you some of the body heat it’s retained.
Find wool in mattresses at Saatva
In other words, wool is an excellent material to look for in a mattress due to the many benefits it offers. Saatva uses New Zealand wool as a natural flame retardant in many of our mattresses, along with other high-quality, natural materials, like latex and organic cotton.
When you’re ready to choose your next mattress, take our mattress quiz to find the perfect mattress for you.