Wool Toppers Q & A

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A customer asked: “I’m looking for wool with the following specs to meet flammability standards. Can you tell me if the wool in the wool topper meets these standards?

Consider

One of the most important criteria when selecting wool for a wool topper is its micron count. Too high a count or too coarse a fiber and you have stiff rug wool that is pokey inside the fabric. Too low a count and you have thin, slippery fibers that are fine enough for clothing. Also some breeds of sheep have very straight wool with no crimp in it. You want some crimp in the wool so the wool stays lofty.

Specification 1

High quality organic wool that comes from the back or high on the side of the animal (to minimize contact with the debris the live animal runs across in pasture), and come from a sheep fed an organic diet.

Answer 1

No, we do not separate the wool on the different parts of the sheep’s body. The machines take care of most of the vegetation so it is rare to see any. No, this year’s sheep are not necessarily fed an organic diet. Sheep are grazers and so are pastured all day with green growing grasses that are not harmed with chemicals. These sheep are milk producers and make some amazing cheeses. See Green Dirt Farm‘s page for more info. See also our post on natural vs. organic wool.

Specification 2

The natural lanolin and keratin in the wool must remain intact. This means washing must be minimized, and chemical washing (which can strip lanolin, especially), is right out.

Answer 2

To keep all of the lanolin means to keep all of the dirt and grime. To remove all of the lanolin means the wool must be sacrificed in order to harvest the lanolin. Naturally, the wool is washed. The only substance used in its processing is a surfactant, which breaks the surface tension of the water, allowing the oily lanolin to float away in the washing water. Unlike conventional wool, our wool processing contains none of the following chemicals:

  • NO bleach
  • NO acid bath
  • NO bonding
  • NO resin
  • NO carbonization
  • NO superwashing

Specification 3

High natural lanolin content combined with careful processing that makes wool an effective FR barrier. 

Answer 3

Wool is also an effective fire barrier when it is dense and matted. Reducing oxygen that a fire needs is part of its job too.

Specification 4

Wool that is carded or garneted and then “densified” by needle punching or quilting minimizes the air between the fibers while retaining comfortable loft. 

Answer 4

No, the wool in the topper is not felted or needle punched, our wool puddle pad is though. That would make a firm mat and not a lofty topper. It is also not quilted or it would be a ticking, not a topper. It is tufted. All batting is either garneted or carded, that is the process of laying fiber on top of each other to create a fluffy sheet.

Specification 5

Wool in a thickness of about 1.8 oz. per square foot, properly prepared, makes a highly trustworthy FR option.

Answer 5

True enough, that is the industry standard because it does pass the burn test. Wool also passes the burn test due to its high combustion point, 600 degrees, almost triple that of cotton’s burn point. If you want a fire barrier, you should be looking at our Quilted Ticking, then the wool wraps entirely around the mattress instead of just on top like a topper.

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