Cotton and Feathers (Guest Post)

We not only spend a third of our lives in bed, we spend a considerable amount of our hard earned money making those beds comfortable, warm and attractive. And – while “organic” often conjures images of drab, off-white, burlap looking fabrics… your sheets, mattresses and comforters can look good and be environmentally responsible for no more money than you might spend on those designer sheets! Add some artisan pillows and throws for the finishing touch.

Sorry to inform you this seemingly natural material intensively farmed requires an astonishing amount of pesticides. While cotton covers about 2% of the cultivated land in the world, the pesticides required amount to about 16% of global consumption. So, it’s fair to say this is a nasty business by any “green” yardstick. Yet most of your sheets, pillowcases, duvet covers and throws are made from this.

A pillow made from cotton or feathers?Organic cotton, on the other hand, uses no toxic pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, achieves higher production yields, and from just about any other measure, is so environmentally superior, it should pick up a larger and larger share of the total cotton market in the future. Shop for Certified Organic Cotton Sheets and find an exciting collection of beautiful colors and finely finished fabric.

Down, the layer found under the outer feathers on the chest of ducks and geese, is a by-product of the growing and harvesting of these birds for food. Cleaned naturally and acquired in this process, we consider down to be the “green” blanket for the bed. Care must be taken, as some manufacturers use chemicals to remove allergens vs. natural cleaning. And some producers harvest down from live birds while molting. The EU has strict rules to make sure the birds are treated humanely during this process and the timing is critical otherwise resulting in the practice of live plucking, which is very painful to the bird. For these reasons many people object to this in any form. Do your homework. But, once you’ve found the right feathers, wrap them in some organic cotton and turn down the heat!

What's better?  Cotton or feathers?A Green Mattress
Starting with batting of Certified Organic Wool and a Certified Organic Cotton casing, your preferred green mattress can be of latex or the tried and true “innerspring”. Polyester covers and petroleum based foams used for the core or batting (including most memory foams) should be avoided for maximum “green”. However… comfort comes first. And if that takes the form of memory foam, wrap it right with organic wool and cotton. Latex is a close relative to memory foam and is available 100% natural and organic.

Make it Sing

Your now natural and organic bed needn’t be a wallflower. Accent pillows and throws can complete your design while not breaching your principles. StylishHome offers you a way to view Etsy catalog items right along side your other natural bedding- the perfect place for all decorative, eclectic, unusual, exotic, and even organic accents!

Author of Cotton & Feathers is Michael Samsel of


  1. Steve

    Thank you for a quality story! So often “green” stories leave out the important stuff – like how much pesticide and energy it takes. It is so difficult to make informed decisions. Thank you!

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