white bedding made with organic fabrics

Ironically it wasn’t until several years into my career in sustainable fashion, and learning about eco-friendly fabrics, that I even thought about the fabric and materials used for bedding. We spend nearly a third of our lives sleeping and yet most of us don’t think about our sheets or pillowcases beyond how soft they are — or maybe what the thread count is. So in this episode, we’re talking about how to ensure non-toxic sleep…


Product Recommendations





Tuft & Needle (budget option)


Crib Mattress:



Sheets & Bedding:


American Blossom Linens

Under the Canopy


Boll & Branch







Sleep Goddess

Episodes Mentioned

Listen to the COOKWARE episode here.

Listen to the LAUNDRY episode here.



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Subscribe on Google Podcasts here.


Ironically it wasn’t until several years into my career in sustainable fashion, and learning about eco-friendly fabrics, that I even thought about the fabric and materials used for bedding. We spend nearly a third of our lives sleeping and yet most of us don’t think about our sheets or pillowcases beyond how soft they are — or maybe what the thread count is. So in this episode, we’re talking about how to ensure non-toxic sleep…

A quick disclaimer here: Similar to the cookware episode I previously released, this is an “investment” episode. Meaning that after you listen to the next 10 minutes or so, you may feel compelled to overhaul your entire bedroom — including the mattress. But as you will find, sustainable bedding can add up very quickly. The goal in sharing this information is so that when the time comes, and you need a new sheet set or a new duvet or even a new mattress, that you’ll be armed with the information to make a non-toxic purchase.

I’m going to get into the specific components of non-toxic sleep, including mattresses, linens and pillows but first I want to give a general overview of what eco-friendly bedding is.

Generally speaking, sustainable sheets, duvets and pillowcases are made with fabrics that have natural moisture-wicking and antibacterial properties — instead of being coated with synthetic flame retardants and chemicals like formaldehyde. Eco-friendly bedding is typically easy to recycle, manufactured using less water and doesn’t require the use of other harsh chemicals like bleach, microplastics or pesticides.

If you’ve listened to this podcast before, then you know these chemical pollutants can end up in our drinking water, rain and soil, eventually entering our bodies. So when considering the pollution that is associated with nylon and polyester bedding, as well as the way those pollutants affect your body, sustainable bedding becomes a bit of a no brainer.

When looking for eco-friendly bedding, there are a few guidelines and labels to keep an eye out for that will help you distinguish actual sustainably-made bedding from the companies that may be greenwashing. Some of those certifications are the Global Organic Textile Standard, Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX, Cradle to Cradle, and Fair Trade. Each organization can give their individual stamps of approval on various products, ensuring that they meet certain benchmarks in order to be considered organic, ethically sourced, safe, and responsibly manufactured. To make sure everything is above board, fabrics go through rigorous chemical testing, and brands are reviewed in both the farming and manufacturing processes.

Additionally, some eco-friendly bedding brands practice sustainable production by reducing waste through closed-loop systems, using eco-friendly dyes and less water. In a closed-loop manufacturing process, 99 percent of chemicals, solvents and waste are recycled and used in the next production run of fabric, limiting the effect that manufacturing has on the environment.

Okay, so let’s get into the specifics starting with sheets and other bedding. The main thing here is to avoid synthetic fabrics — a synthetic fabric is usually petroleum or oil based and can be recognized as names like polyester, nylon and spandex. If we’ve learned anything about BPA, microplastic and endocrine disruption, I know I don’t want to be cozied up to a blanket of plastic every night.

What you’re looking for in your sheets and bedding is natural fibers — preferably organic as to avoid some of the chemicals I’ve already mentioned.

In order to be labeled “organic,” the cotton must be grown without using chemicals like fertilizers or pesticides or GMOs. By choosing organic sheets, you’re not only reducing the output of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, you’re helping to protect the health of soil around the world. Fertile, carbon-rich soil helps more plants grow, and those plants, in turn, draw in more carbon dioxide during photosynthesis, continuing the beneficial cycle. It’s a win-win.

An alternative to organic cotton bedding is hemp or linen, both are natural fibers that are up to eight times stronger than cotton. When both fabrics are certified organic, they’re made from 100% natural fiber and manufactured in environments without harmful chemicals. Because heavy chemicals, like bleach, are required to achieve bright white hemp sheets, look for undyed or more natural colors, and the impact on the environment will be much smaller.

But my favorite alternative to organic cotton, hemp and linen is a fabric called Tencel (you may also hear it referred to as Lyocell, Modal or eucalyptus). This is a fabric made from wood fibers derived from birch, beech or eucalyptus trees and it’s the bedding that I have in my own house. The reason I love it so much is not only does it have the silkiest feel to it (without boiling silkworms), but it’s naturally moisture-wicking, shrink resistant, antimicrobial and antibacterial. It’s also one of the easiest fabrics to find manufactured using the closed loop system I mentioned earlier. This is a textile that’s completely recyclable and has made a much smaller impact on the environment through its closed-loop production process — especially if the Tencel is made from organically-grown eucalyptus as it requires 10 times less water to grow than cotton.

Clearly, I could nerd out on fabrics all day as this is what I do in my “real job” but I do want to leave some time to talk about mattresses. So for now, I’ll leave you with the show notes page where you can see all of my recommendations for sustainable bedding. That’s at

If you look at my list of recommendations and get a bit of a sticker shock from the prices, there is an alternative. When my husband (then boyfriend) and I first moved in together and we were both at the early stages of starting each of our businesses, I knew I wanted to buy sustainably-made sheets but we really couldn’t afford it. That is until I was in Marshall’s one day browsing through the sheets section and came across brands selling 100% tencel sheets or 100% organic cotton sheets that were basically on clearance. I got them for a fraction of the price and if you look closely in stores like Marshall’s, TJ Maxx or Home Goods you may be able to find the same.

Of course I have to mention that if you are in a position to buy directly from these sustainable brands, instead of outlet stores, then that makes a big difference in your purchasing power and goes a long way. Whenever possible, it pays in the long run to shop small.

Okay, so mattresses. As I mentioned in the intro, we spend nearly a third of our lives sleeping, yet the average mattress contains 5-10 different toxic chemicals. Those include:

  • Flame Retardants. Many flame-retardant chemicals used in mattresses have been banned in countries outside of the U.S.
  • Boric Acid is used to prevent bacteria growth and pests from living in the mattress — I talked about the dangers of boric acid (or borax) in the laundry episode
  • Formaldehyde. Long-term exposure can lead to health issues, including cancer.
  • Glues or Adhesives. Solvent-based glues and adhesives can contain up to 48 different toxic chemicals.
  • Antimony. Similar to arsenic, this poisonous chemical has been proven to cause reproductive health issues.
  • Synthetic Latex. Synthetic latex is made using chemicals, and is commonly known for its off-gassing properties.
  • Polyurethane Foam. Polyurethane foam is made using petroleum by-products, releasing harmful chemicals into the air.
  • Off-Gassing. Occurs when volatile organic compounds break down, omitting an odor.

Each of these chemicals have been reported to cause health problems, ranging from tumors to hearing loss and depression.

So, if you are in the market for a new mattress or if you’ll need one in the foreseeable future, my recommendation is to look for eco-friendly mattresses that use natural fibers like organic cotton, organic wool and organic latex. 

Wait, organic latex? I just wanted to make sure you hadn’t zoned out on me… 

But yes, organic latex is another natural bedding material made from certified rubber sap and poured into molds to make a firm foam that fills mattresses. Organic latex is naturally mildew, mold, bacteria AND dust resistant which reduces your exposure to nighttime air pollutants and bacteria that take hold of our bedrooms.

In the show notes, I’ve linked to my favorite sustainable mattress options — in a range of prices. The mattress that we have in our home is the Nest and we have the Naturepedic mattress for my son.

And the last item I want to mention is pillows. Generally, you want to avoid polyurethane foam, polyfill or other petroleum-based synthetic materials that make up the majority of the pillows on the market. Think about it, do you really want to be laying on oil-derived plastic for 6-10 hours a night? Even if there’s an organic cotton pillowcase between you, any petroleum-based material off gasses for up to several years — meaning that the material is releasing hazardous VOCs into the air where you’re sleeping. Upgrading your pillow to organic latex or organic cotton is worth a good night’s sleep.

Again, all of my bedding and mattress recommendations can be found on

Thank you so much for listening to this episode of The Clean Living Podcast — I’m your host Shannon Lohr. Did you know that there’s a survey on the podcast website where you can give me suggestions for upcoming episodes? Just go to and click on the button to submit your topic idea. Here’s to creating a cleaner, more sustainable world for all of us.