How to Shop for Wool Bedding

Before purchasing wool bedding, ask yourself these questions to make sure you get the perfect wool comforter or blanket.

| November/December 2003

Am I allergic to wool?

Request a tester kit or buy a pillow before jumping into a big ­purchase such as a comforter.

How has the wool been treated?

Some manufacturers treat wool in a mild sulfuric acid bath that consumes carbon-based contamination such as seeds, hay, and fecal matter. Another practice is using glues and plastics to help bind the wool. For contaminant-free sleep, buy bedding that was washed with vegetable-based, biodegradable soap and has never been bleached or otherwise treated. Some manufacturers call their wool “organic,” but this catch phrase can mean different things because no certification criteria exist in the wool industry.

What is the sheep's quaility of life?

Ask for a manufacturer’s cruelty-free statement before buying any products. Find out if the sheep are free to roam, if they graze in pesticide-free pastures, if they eat chemical-free feed, and how they’re cared for when ill. The manufacturer should also disclose whether the sheep were sprayed for lice or fed prophylactic antibiotics, practices that aren’t allowed in natural wool production. Vegans should be aware that most wool comes from ewes whose lambs are slaughtered for meat and who themselves are killed once they are past breeding age.

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