Are you worried that buying a wool bed will invite creepy crawling bugs or flying moths into your sleeping sanctuary? Don’t be!
Believe it or not, purchasing natural wool bedding for your home will actually deter bugs from entering your room and even provide you with some relief if you’re an allergy sufferer or have chemical sensitivities, thus allowing you to breathe better and experiencing more restful sleep.
But how can wool do that?
Dust mites are microscopic arthropods (not insects!) and thought to be the most common trigger for allergies and asthma. They thrive in damp, dark places where bacteria and fungus grow. Because wool is naturally moisture-wicking and antimicrobial, it’s too dry of an environment for these bugs and therefore is not an ideal place for them to live. Great for us!
What about moths?
According to The Smithsonian Institute, there are about 160,000 species of moths, but only two that thrive on fabrics made from animal proteins such as silk, fur, leather and wool. In fact, it’s not the actual moth that eats the fabric, but the larvae coming out of the eggs deposited by the female clothes moth.
Unlike other species of moths, these moths detest light and prefer to find a home for their eggs in dark places, such as a closet.
Unless you sleep in a dark room with no sunlight exposure whatsoever (Hello, Dracula!), moths aren’t going to be attracted to your wool bedding (which is probably encased in clean, organic cotton anyway).
When preparing to store your wool, consider these steps first:
- Give the wool item a “sun bath” for at least 15 minutes in full sun.
- Wash them with a natural repellant like lavender or eucalyptus scented Eucalan. The egg-laying females are more attracted to food-soiled fabric or sweat, so washing them will get rid of any attractants.
- Line your closet with cedar. The wood from the cedar tree has a pleasant odor that moths don’t like. It won’t kill any larvae present, but it will deter any mama moths from choosing that space to lay her eggs. Remember to sand the cedar every few months to release the repelling scent.
- If you find any eggs or larvae present or suspect, consider placing the bedding in your freezer for at least 10 days if it will fit to kill of hidden pests.
- Vacuum closets and other areas where your wool is stored regularly and thoroughly.
- Place bedding in the plastic bag that your item was shipped in, if available, or call our 1-800 number to inquire about purchasing a cotton storage bag.
Note: Please please avoid traditional mothballs. They work by using gases from toxic chemicals such as naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene to kill the moths, eggs, and larvae. Not only do they smell terrible, but they’re hazardous to anyone who comes into direct contact with them – in particular, small children or pets who think they’re candy.
Bed bugs, on the other hand, are blood-eaters, so they don’t care what type of mattress you sleep on, as long as there are dark crevices for them to hide in from which they can emerge and feast (on you) while you sleep.
While we won’t be making any false claims that our mattress have magical bed bug exterminating properties here, it’s important for everyone – no matter which mattress you choose to sleep on at night or which hotel you are staying in (expensive doesn’t equate to less chance of bed bug exposure) – to take proper precautions in order to help reduce your chance of an infestation.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has some simple guidelines to follow.
Note that one of the recommendations most commonly made by bed bug experts is to use a mattress encasement (usually plastic) to seal any bugs already present and to eliminate hiding places for future bugs that hitchhike onto your bed.
Unless you know you already have a bed bug infestation, we don’t recommend sealing your wool or natural latex bed as this will inhibit the breathability of the mattress.
We’ve never heard of any of our products having any issues with bugs, but please contact us if you do have a problem and we’d be happy to help.
Take care of your bedding investment. Remember that your Shepherd’s Dream product was made with love, so be sure to continue that cycle of love so that it will last you a lifetime and you can pass your bedding down to the next generation – bug free!
Missed the previous wool myth blogs? Read them by clicking the links below: