White Lotus Home Blog

WHY I’LL ONLY BUY ORGANIC SHEETS

CREDIT TO:  Annmarie Skin Care > Healthy Lifestyle > Why I’ll Only Buy Organic Sheets

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Contributed by our friend Destiny

Any time I buy new clothes or sheets, the first thing I always do is wash them. Detergent, warm cycle, cool rinse. I do it because that’s just what you do, because factories are dirty, and what we buy travels a long way before it makes its way to us.

Short of sanitary reasons, I never gave this little routine of mine much thought, until I got pregnant with my first child and decided, quite suddenly, I wanted to know exactly what I was washing out of my clothes and sheets every time I bought them.

What I learned was that an industry responsible for clothing us and tucking us in at night was doing a lot more than just transporting and dying our fabrics. What goes into the materials that spend all of their time right up against our skin was, to be honest, pretty sketchy. That was when I decided enough was enough — organic sheets and clothes, from here on out.

flame retardant chemicals and our sheets

First things first, your sheets, your bedding, your clothes — just about any conventional fabric you come into contact with — is treated with  flame retardant chemicals. There are federal manufacturing regulations that often require it, particularly since most fabrics these days are synthetic and particularly quick to burn.

When I looked into flame retardant chemicals further, I learned that, while they had come a long way from the proven carcinogenic PBDEs of the 70s, these new chemicals were still linked to reproductive and respiratory disease, and were proven endocrine system disruptors.

As I looked at crib sheets and onesies, the reality of that set in — these fabrics would be right up against my brand new baby’s face.

pesticide exposure in our clothes and bedding

When I had officially written polyester and nylon off, it occurred to me that natural fibers, at the very least, had to be better. They weren’t made of petroleum products, and they didn’t require as much, or sometimes any, flame retardants to be safe to use.

What I didn’t realize at the time was that conventionally grown cotton consumes 24% of the world’s insecticides every year, and 11% of the world’s pesticides. Ironically, this fluffy, pure white plant was one of the dirtiest crops in the world.

Cotton and other fibers go through a lot of processes before they wind up hanging on store racks, but were they being adequately rinsed of pesticides? In a world bent on reassuring us of their safety, I wasn’t so sure.

stripping toxic chemicals from fabric

All of this information lead me to one conclusion — I was about to start taking my new clothes routine a lot more seriously. The bottom line was, I’d rather take my chances with fire than flame retardants, and so I started stripping all of our sheets, clothes, and towels.

There isn’t much scientific research out there to back up how to remove flame retardants and pesticides from clothes, but ultimately, my research seemed to point towards breaking down those chemical bonds with what was essentially an acid soak.

I mixed up big buckets of vinegar and lemon juice to break down the chemical bonds between the flame retardants and the fibers. I don’t know how much it helped, but it gave me peace of mind to see that water change colors. For 48 hours, I soaked buckets of fabrics, then washed them thoroughly, hoping to make the best with what I had.

It’s worth noting though that removing flame retardant chemicals from flammable materials is a catch-22. On the one hand, I felt better about snuggling up next to these fabrics, but on the other, I was trading chemicals for an increased flammability.

Which was worse? I’m still not sure.

the alternatives i can’t live without

I decided I didn’t want to have to keep making these choices.

I decided, from here on out, my family would spend one third of their life in bed next to cotton sheets that weren’t grown with pesticides. They would sleep in pajamas that didn’t have to be saturated with chemicals to keep them from bursting into flames. And we would support clean, sustainable agriculture that didn’t endlessly consume our planet’s resources.

I didn’t throw everything out and start from scratch. Even as I write this, I’m sitting in an ancient black polyester spandex tank top. Not being of celebrity wealth status, replacing my entire wardrobe and linens collection all at once just wasn’t in the cards, nor was it how I wanted to do this.

What I did instead was start looking at alternatives, so that when it came time to replace those hole-y socks or those threadbare sheets, I could do so with materials I felt great about buying.

ORGANIC COTTON

Soft and breathable and made 100% without pesticides or insecticides, organic cotton is my go-to fabric for sheets and pillowcases, in addition to socks, underwear, and shirts. It’s easy to care for, and getting cheaper all the time.

WOOL

Wool is a natural insulator, which doesn’t just mean that it keeps you warm, but keeps excess heat out, too. Naturally antimicrobial, it’s worth the extra trouble to treat it delicately in the wash, and I LOVE it for duvets and shirts!

NATURAL LATEX

Memory foam, move over, because your eco-friendly buddy is here, and he doesn’t stink. Natural latex is a natural thermal regulator, so it doesn’t make you sweat like a memory foam mattress does, it lasts longer, and it’s free of flame retardant nasties. If you like the floating-on-a-cloud effect of sleeping on a memory foam mattress, you need to try a latex mattress—you’ll never look back!

KAPOK FIBER

This interesting little fiber feels like silk and cotton had a baby together. Soft and fine, it’s a great vegan alternative to down for pillows and duvets!

BUCKWHEAT HULLS

I discovered buckwheat hulls when I met a girl who slept on a buckwheat hull mattress, and it blew my MIND. They feel like a beanbag when stuffed into a pillowcase, and are incredible because they’re non-toxic AND 100% biodegradable.

we’re all just doing the best we can

I get a lot of funny looks from friends and family when I pass up crazy sales on sheets and baby clothes because of what they’re made of.

“Huh? Wha—. But…it’s on sale!”

And I get it, because in the end, we’re all just trying to keep our families clothed and our beds made, and what they’re actually made of is often the furthest thing from our minds.

I’m not perfect. Sometimes I see an ugly Christmas sweater at Target, and I lose all resolve — retail instinct kicks in, and before I know it, I’m on my way home with a tinsel-covered abomination.

But now that I know better, I try to do better. I only buy organic sheets. I’m really picky about the clothes I buy for my family. And when I shop, I look at more than just the price tag. I see the manufacturing plants that were responsible for producing what I’m putting in my cart, and I take pause, I think about what that purchase means a little more before I make it.

If you’re ready to know what’s in your sheets and feel good about what you sleep on, check out White Lotus Home. Organic sheets, mattresses, and pillows for babies, kids, adults, and even futons, this store has it all!

Indoor Air Pollutants

Indoor Air Pollutants

Indoor Air Pollutants

One of the most important functions of a home is to control the temperature of the air inside of it, right? We want our homes warm when it's cold outside, yet cool and comfortable when it's too hot outside. All that climate control means insulating our homes as best we can to keep all the warm or cool air inside when we want it there, but what else are we keeping inside at the same time? 

There are loads of indoor air pollutants that are commonly found in modern-day homes, and while some may go unnoticed, others can have direct physical effects on your daily health and well being. It's important to be aware of potential indoor air pollutants because you could be facing them on a daily basis, and prolonged exposure could result in long-term health issues.    

What Are Indoor Air Pollutants? 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's list of indoor air pollutant sources includes: 

  • Fuel-burning combustion appliances (like gas stoves)
  • Building materials and furnishings like:
    • Deteriorated asbestos-containing insulation
    • Newly installed flooring, upholstery, or carpet
    • Cabinetry or furniture made of certain pressed wood products
  • Products for household cleaning and maintenance, personal care, or hobbies
  • Central heating and cooling systems and humidification devices
  • Excess moisture

What Are Symptoms Caused by Indoor Air Pollutants? 

Knowing whether or not you're experiencing health issues related to indoor air pollutants can be tricky since the symptoms often present themselves like the common cold. However, if you've noticed that you have recurring, continuous, or chronic symptoms, you may want to consider what pollutants are floating around your home since you’re more than likely encountering them on a daily basis. Common symptoms caused by indoor air pollutants can be: 

  • Eye Irritation 
  • Headaches
  • Sinus Congestion
  • Nose and Throat Irritation 
  • Fatigue 
  • Dizziness 
  • Problems Sleeping

How Can I Improve the Air Quality in My Home? 

The first thing to consider when improving the air quality in your home is the type of climate that exists outside your home. For example, if you live in an area of the world where it rains a lot, excess moisture may be one of your greatest problems and perhaps the first one you'll want to tackle. However, there are other smaller, simpler steps anyone can take regardless of their location and climate. These factors are more related to the things we keep and use in our homes on a daily basis, which are more easily controlled and perhaps require less of a financial investment:  

  • Take a good look at your cleaning products. Household cleaning and body products can contain harsh chemicals that are tough on our respiratory systems. Choosing gentler, more natural home cleaning and body products is an easy and great first step to take when working on improving your indoor air quality. 
  • Let the outside air in. Most residential forced air heating and cooling systems do not bring outdoor air into the house mechanically at all. That means you are relying entirely on natural ventilation to rid your home of indoor air pollutants and bring in the fresh air. Any time the weather permits, open the windows and doors in your house to bring clean air in and send lingering unwanted air pollutants out. 
  • Consider natural furniture. From sofas to mattresses to throw pillows and cushions, furniture is often made with petroleum-based foam products that release gases into your home. Avoiding off-gassing furniture can help keep your indoor air cleaner and more pleasant. 

Keeping a clean, green home is a practice that takes time to master. Let us help you on your journey by subscribing to our newsletter! We’ll make sure to send you all the latest and greatest tips for living an eco-conscious lifestyle inside and out.

Your Clean Green Laundry Routine

Your Clean Green Laundry Routine

Your Clean Green Laundry Routine

Toxins and unwanted chemicals lie in more places than you might think, and when it comes to bedding and linens, the last thing you want is to sleep in residue all night long. Naturally laundering your linens and avoiding harsh chemicals benefits you and your local environment in a number of ways. If you're looking to clean up your laundry routine, here are some natural practices you might like to consider: 

Use Vinegar and Wool Dryer Balls 

Fabric softener and dryer sheets are perhaps one of the biggest offenders in conventional laundry practices. Quaternary ammonium compounds, called "quats" for short, are the chemical compounds found in liquid softeners and dryer sheets that make your clothes feel soft. The problem is that these compounds can trigger asthma and linger on the clothing you wear and linens you sleep in long after they've been removed from the dryer. That means you're carrying these chemicals with you all day and sleeping with them all night long. Combine quats with all the other fragrances, colors, and preservatives found in fabric softeners, and you've got yourself a wearable chemical cocktail that sticks to your clothes, pollutes the air in your home, and gets dumped right into your local water source with every wash. 

The great news is that avoiding fabric softeners doesn't mean you have to wear stiff clothing or sleep in scratchy sheets. You can use vinegar in the washer and wool dryer balls instead to help soften your clothes and linens naturally. Wool contains a natural oil called lanolin that is released from its fibers when heated by your dryer. As an added bonus, if you want to naturally scent your clothing, just put a few drops of your favorite essential oils right onto your wool dryer balls before each cycle. Most wool dryer balls are about the size of a baseball and can be purchased online, or you can make them yourself by balling up and felting some 100% wool yarn. 

Sun Your Stains Out

Chemical bleaches and stain removers might be effective at removing stains, but they are harmful for the environment, harsh to breathe in, and can damage your skin if you accidentally come into direct contact with them. Did you know that you can actually remove stains by drying your clothes and linens out in the sun? Even some of the most stubborn stains can be bleached out in a sunbath. The next time you have a rough morning and spill your coffee on your shirt, don't sweat it. Save yourself the cash, time, and hassle of dealing with stain removers by simply hanging your stained fabric outside in full sun after it's just come out of the washer. Usually, two to three hours will do the trick. Keep in mind that sun bleaching is often more effective when the fabric is wet, so even if you don't want to wash the whole thing, wet down the stained area before hanging your fabric out in the sun to get the best results from this all-natural, chemical-free, age-old stain removing method.

Consider Natural Laundry Detergents 

Fortunately for conscious consumers, new all-natural laundry detergents are being added to the market all the time. You can find a small selection at almost any grocery store, and if you're someone who enjoys an occasional DIY project, you can even make natural laundry detergent yourself! There are all sorts of easy DIY laundry soap recipes online, so you can experiment as much or as little as you please to find whatever concoction works best for you.   

Want more info on how to keep your home cleaning routine simple and natural? Subscribe to our newsletter for weekly inspiration on living a greener lifestyle!  

How a Green Bedroom Changed My Life

How a Green Bedroom Changed My Life

Still feeling a little skeptical about how an all-natural mattress can directly improve your daily life? We talk a lot about how going green with your bedding and furniture benefits the environment, but for some, investing in a more natural bedroom hits even closer to home. 

This week on the blog, White Lotus Home founder, Elizabeth, shares her incredible story about how switching to all-natural mattresses and bedding changed her life and improved the daily health of her children. She writes:

"My first experience with White Lotus Home products was when my firstborn was 7 years old. He is now 14. He was born very early, at 29 weeks, and only weighed 2 lbs 13 ounces. He spent about 9 weeks in the NICU, including his first Christmas and New Years. It was a very tough time for us all. 

At that time, I had not been informed or made aware of the chemicals and toxins in mattresses and bedding, nor the health benefits of pure natural fibers instead of the conventional products we had been accustomed to. That all started to become popular at that time. He is my firstborn, so I made sure to do everything by the book as best as I could. Luckily, a few years later, my brother, Marlon, started to work at White Lotus Home, and that is when we all became more aware of how important our home environment is to our health.

I don't suffer from allergies and neither does my husband, but one day my son got a cold that would not go away. He would wake up with puffy eyes every morning and could not stop coughing most of the day.  After about 2-3 weeks of giving him cold medicines, one doctor decided to test him for allergies. Poor thing was allergic to everything from dogs and cats, to dust and many environmental allergens. Fortunately, Marlon was able to provide us with information on the importance of wool and natural bedding. He explained to my husband and I that wool is a natural dust mite repellant and a natural fire retardant that is also used in mattresses. Marlon suggested we change all of my son's bedding to include wool fibers, so that is what we did. 

In a few weeks, he had a wool topper, wool pillows, and a wool duvet. Shortly after that, his mattress was upgraded, and he still uses it now. It was astonishing to me that after all of his bedding was changed to include pure wool, he no longer woke up with a stuffy nose and his coughing pretty much stopped. Ever since then I have made sure our bedding was always natural, and of course my entire home has been transformed into only using natural mattresses, futons, throw pillows, bedding, and natural furniture to ensure we avoid toxins and chemicals in our home. 

When my second son was born in 2008 and also decided to join the world earlier than expected at 33 weeks, weighing 4 lb. 15 oz., we were ready for him with his organic cotton and wool crib mattress. I even use his crib mattress as a cushion now on the floor for him to read or watch TV. 

Not only do I feel blessed that I was able to learn about natural products at the best time of my life, I continue to learn how to keep toxins out of our home by using plants to help clean the air, natural ways to clean our home, natural soaps and shampoos, and also using essential oils to help keep us healthy.  It has just been a way of life we are accustomed to, and I am glad that now my boys know the importance of keeping harmful toxins out of our home and will hopefully be able to take it with them towards adulthood and do the same with their families. Now that my boys are 9 & 14, I am happy to say that even though they were both born as preemies, I have been able to give them the healthiest life I can. They’ve grown into young boys who are active in sports, healthy, strong, smart, and just amazing to be around."

While we believe very strongly in creating products that are safe for our planet, our mission at White Lotus is to educate the world on the importance of living in a healthier home and the benefits these changes bring to our health. For more stories like Elizabeth's and additional info on how you can naturally improve your health, subscribe to our newsletter here

12 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

Everyday is Earth Day at White Lotus Home.Get involved.Here are ways to celebrate Earth Day. Don't restrict yourself to just April 22: learn about how you can help Save the Earth.

  1. Sleep on organic bedding.  Try a Kapok pillow, organic cotton sheets or an organic mattress or topper. Whitelotushome.com has Earth Day specials to make it affordable to achieve your first Organic Dream.
  2. Spread the word. Just talking about the environment with people who may not think about it that much is a good way to celebrate Earth Day. Talk to kids, co-workers, friends, neighbors and siblings about the environmental issues you care about most. Recycling?  Energy conservation?  Organic food choices?  You get the idea.
  3. Attend an Earth Day event. You’ll be introduced to new environmentally friendly products, eat locally grown food and chat with people who are making a difference. 
  4. Make a recycling plan. Know what you can and can’t recycle, and start separating out recyclable goods!
  5. Cook a special Earth Day meal. Invite friends and family over for menu that uses locally produced vegetables, fruit and other produce. Consider a totally organic meal.  If you still would like meat, look for locally produced, organic meat. 
  6. Fix a leaky faucets. Drip, drip, drip. You’ve put off repairing that leaky faucet project for some time now.  Only 1 percent of Earth’s water is drinkable, and our supply is endangered. Use Earth Day as motivation to stop wasting water and fix those leaks.  
  7. Carpool. Taking cars off the road is one of the best ways to combat climate change. Find people in your neighborhood to share the daily commute, or find a ride-sharing partner online.
  8. Skip the bottled water.  Bottled water consumes huge amounts of fossil fuels to produce and transport, and most of those recyclable water bottles end up in landfills. Get yourself a refillable and permanent water bottle to carry with you.  Save money, and the environment, too.  
  9. Organize a community cleanup. Get a group together to clean up your local park, schoolyard or beach.
  10. Write your elected representatives. Reaching out to elected officials to voice your concerns about local environmental issues.  Letter-writing is one of the best ways to have your voice heard.
  11. Go carless!   Walk, ride a bike or use public transportation.   Leave the car at home.  Plus, its great exercise!  
  12. Share Earth Day with children.  Help children use recycled products to make art projects. Talk with them about Green living and the importance of preserving Mother Earth.
What do you do to help SAVE THE EARTH? Leave your comments below.

ANOTHER GOOD GREEN QUESTION!

Another good GREEN question!

Another very good general question...

*  *  *

Please help me understand what makes a bedding product Organic or Green?

Sincerely,
Inam

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About

We believe that we can make a difference in the green and organic bedding industry by setting an example for others. We believe that quality and fair value are more important than low prices and a quick profit. We are opposed to the exploitation of the planet and all its inhabitants. Above all, our people, products and business practices are socially, politically and environmentally responsible.