Life Coach is an advice column on how to be an even better version of yourself in every capacity. This week’s special guest is Leo Wang, CEO of Buffy, an eco-friendly bed brand that speaks fluently in Millennial. Find out how to practice good bed hygiene with his comforting manual.
Let's face it, most men are terrible at taking care of themselves so do we really expect them to know how to maintain good hygiene in bed? New Yorkers have this longstanding joke about how too many guys choose to live with their mattresses on the floor (you know who you are). CityPages writer Ali O’Reilly published a hilarious piece about the odd phenomenon back in 2017 titled "Dear Men: Get your damn mattress off the floor" and it seems like little has changed since then.
A few weeks ago, I found myself horrified when I discovered that there's a new breed of these creatures that are not only missing bed frames, but don't even have a set of sheets to their name. There's so much to be done in order to improve our home lives, and somehow changing the sheets on a weekly basis clearly isn't enough.
Regardless if you have been persuaded by the MTA advertisements or not, Buffy is doing the work to change how humans sleep. Leo Wang holds the title of CEO, but he has an even deeper background in bedding coming from a family that has been in the business for nearly 30 years. His mission with Buffy is to make comforters, sheets, and pillows that don't compromise the integrity or quality of the ingredients and materials.
"One of the reasons why things were not made very sustainably is because if you think about it like the typical big box retailer with a multiple quality and buyer settings, their whole reason for existence is now their business model relies upon showing you a million different things," he explained. "Variation and optionality, but if there's a thousand items on the shelf then none of those items are really going into much storytelling about why they make it a certain way and why they chose a certain material."
We recently spoke to the unofficial mattress king to find out all of the factors that should be taken into consideration for demonstrably good bed hygiene and what drastic improvements can be made for a better sleeping environment on any budget. Scroll down for the full rundown on how to clean up your sack.
Seek sheets made out of sustainable, hypoallergenic materials
"I think it starts with removing hazards and then talking about the institution. Cotton is grown in parts of the world where water resources are generally quite tight. I'm talking about India, Pakistan, China, the water resources are generally quite political and in terms of just the need that people have for these things and how much of a geopolitical risk it can be. Cotton is this material that is extremely water intensive to grow. In a T-shirt and pair of jeans, we're talking about 1,000 to 5,000 gallons of water just to cultivate the cotton in it... A sheet that's a hundred square feet is up to 10,000 gallons and beyond of water just to grow.
The great thing about eucalyptus is it uses 90 percent less water to grow. It cultivates itself. The other great thing about eucalyptus is that it's a naturally anti-microbial material for skincare, and that's something really amazing in bedding because we don't really talk about how we are creating this wonderful, incredible petri dish for bacteria. Our dead skin is cultivating and collecting in our mattresses which is incredible for eating and corrosion. So having something like eucalyptus and having a company that tries to engineer this not just for comfort, but shutting these things out of our bedding is really important.
The third big difference with the ingredients is the natural dyes. We don't think about this at all, but most dyes are made from petroleum or sulfur, and I think that's okay for putting some dye on a backpack or sneakers, but bed sheets? We literally wrap ourselves and our loved ones in these things night after night, year after year. I don't think there has been enough scientific evidence or studies about what the skin ramifications are from contact... It's more of a mental or emotional dissonance like 'Why buy an organic apple at Whole Foods?' It's just nice to know that it's clean and healthy. I don't think a lot of people really recognize that their bedding is actually a bi-product of that."
Cotton or polyester sheets should be washed every 1-2 weeks
"There seems to be a general consensus around one to two weeks in America. Especially if you are, for example, a hot trooper and you are sweating regularly. Do yourself a favor. You're probably more on the side of on a weekly basis if you are ending up making that setting."
Dry clean your comforter every six months
"If you can, take it to a giant cleaner, especially if you know a nearby one that is aware of the [chemicals] that goes into its cleaning materials. If you have a local laundromat, often they have an XL option in terms of the size of that. Even if you bring it down to a six month basis, you're doing something dramatic in terms of uplifting the hygiene of your bedding situation. If you're someone pretty diligently going on a monthly basis prevents you from actually becoming a problem in your bedding."
Under no circumstance should pillows be overlooked
"Something that we don't really talk about all that often in terms of hygiene is the pretension bacteria and microbes... You buy a down pillow and it's fluffy and light. Why is it like that two years later? The down is all on one side. It's basically a really, really beautiful little microbe and it looks more like chemicals instead of branches on a tree. The way you'd imagine the traditional one and all that's doing is creating even more surface area. It also traps all the downeast lakes dropping into these parts of our bed all the time and it's just an all you can eat typical micro.
So what ends up happening is the microbes are actually coming into our company through our mattresses, in our pillows, and just reproducing and eating away at what's in there. Literally they compost it. That's why the structural integrity is shifting from one side and that's why the coloration is going lightly to a bit of beige and then all of a sudden to yellow.
What you really need to be thinking about, and I know it's hard, is how are you protecting your pillow? And to come to there and ultimately the mattress that's underneath all of that stuff... You can wash your T-shirt, but if you're going to bed sweaty every night after a workout, you're just compromising everything that's in there."
Revisit DJ Freedem's guide on how to sustain your own trap garden.