We spend about one third of our lives in bed — it is a time when our body regenerates itself. We release water while we sleep, and our bodies go through cycles of cooling down and heating up. We also absorb substances through our skin and through our lungs. We often hear how important it is to sleep well and have a quality rest so most of us try to make bedrooms as comfortable as we can. Comfort feeling in every step is leveled up really high. We need soft, lustrous, smooth textiles, we need anti-wrinkle fabrics for bedding, unimaginable color pallet for sheets. We need comforters to be washable no matter what is inside of them. Here industry says “It’s all about the customer” and therefore gives them everything they want.
We used to trust the industry so blindly that we forget to use our brain to evaluate how real things are. We buy stuff without thinking how much we are really paying for that. Our mind deceives us, leads to the abyss of civilization. Brands, commercial manipulation… We live extremely “comfy” but paying more than it is worth — with our health.
Could you just think about the wool and its products for bedroom? Wool has been a precious raw material for ages. Today we are able to select between a huge variety of fibers with varying properties, but nevertheless, the continuing use of wool in spite of the competition with other natural fibers and new synthetic fibers can be attributed to the unique properties of wool.
Anyone who has seen how sheep naturally live probably understands that you can’t train sheep to stay clean as a poodle and sheep do not wash like kittens. Firstly, after shearing, wool needs to be cleaned. Industry processes wool in huge quantities and uses technological advances for that. They wash wool with harsh and efficient detergents. Here machines as human hands work which can’t have a contact with these agents. At the end of the process wool is being rinsed with an additional amount of lanolin that was lost during the washing. After all the wool is handed for people to use. But the way it passes damages the wool fiber and loses the major part of the unique features. So the label published loudly “natural wool” does not mean that it is treated naturally.
The most widely used wool cleaning process is carbonizing. It’s a continuous process which combines scouring to remove the wool grease and a chemical process which removes floral matter such as seeds, burs and grass. Most of the impurities contained in wool are cellulosic in nature, which is broken down into carbon, by firstly immersing in a strong solution of sulphuric acid then followed by baking in a dryer set. After the sweeps have been turned into carbon the wool is passed through a series of heavy metal fluted rollers which crush the carbonized burs into dust. Then it goes into a solution containing sodium carbonate and finally, the wool passes through a final bath containing a solution of hydrogen peroxide bleach to improve the color before it is dried.
But people desire not only clean wool. They want it to be machine washable although wool itself as a fiber is not suitable for that. Small, barbed scales cover the surface of wool fibers. When wool is machine-washed and dried, these scales can become interlocked, causing the wool to felt and shrink. To prevent interlocking, wool is usually dry-cleaned or hand-washed. Machine-washable wool was made possible by pre-treating the barbed scales with chlorine, then, applying a thin polymer coating. This makes wool fibers smooth and allows them to slide against each other without interlocking. Talking simple, washable wool is made by exposing the fiber to a chlorine that erodes the scales and then it is treated with a sort of plastic. Since washable wool is coated with plastic, can we really consider washable wool a 100% natural?
And it’s not the end of the list. We love colorful wool blankets and clothes, so industry is ready to offer any color we can imagine, of course, it will add more chemicals but do we care?
A lot of people regret to use wool because of allergies, but only a few know that in fact our bodies respond to harsh detergents, sulfuric acid, chlorine, fire repellents, insecticides and other aggressive chemicals remaining after commercial wool preparation.
We are not always able to identify what we really need although industry always knows how to make us really want. All we need is remember that an option to choose is always here.
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