Horsehair has been a filler in mattresses for many hundreds of years, however today it is only found in the finest, most luxurious mattresses on the market. There are many reasons why companies choose to use horsehair in their mattresses, and it’s often down to the uniqueness of the properties of horsehair in comparison to less natural fillings that are used more often today.
Mattresses need to be two things, comfortable and supportive. Horsehair brings both elements. If you’ve ever stroked or patted a horse, you will know how smooth they feel, and this brings comfort. But horsehair, though smooth, is also very sturdy, offering great support.
Horsehair is hand-teased, which allows it to act like very small springs. These adjust and contour to a person’s body when you lay down on your mattress. In more ordinary mattress fillings, which are processed in bulk through factory machines, there are more uniformed and bland properties. With hand-teased horsehair, this will not happen.
Horse hair is quite different to other fillers in a mattress because it doesn’t flatten. While many other synthetic materials flatten over time, the properties in horse hair have proven to be durable and resilient, which means they maintain form and structure for many years.
The horsehair we use in mattresses here at Ely is sterilised before incorporated into our mattresses. This gets rid of any harmful bacteria.
Horsehair is a wonder of a nature, because it is naturally repellent to any form of mites, thus creating a healthier sleeping space. Trust us when we say that mites are definitely an issue if you get them on your mattress.
Since horsehair is not an attraction for common bed mites, like dust mites, it means it is naturally hypoallergenic.
We all release moisture during the night from our bodies, and this often gets trapped in our mattress, which then attracts nasties. It is physically recognised as a yellow stain on your mattress and pillows, which doesn’t look very nice, and can be difficult to get out. It can also smell.
Horsehair helps with this by wicking away moisture. This natural property helps horses withstand outdoor elements.
Horsehair strands are hollow, which helps with the free flow and ventilation of air. Its natural properties increase the circulation of air, which also helps your mattress dry much quicker than other synthetic materials used more commonly in mattresses today.
If your mattress is unable to breathe, you might end up with a stale smell emitting from the fabrics after a length of time. This doesn’t mean you’re not clean – it is natural for us all to sweat during the night – but it isn’t hygienic to have a mattress that’s so saturated with sweat that it smells bad.
Temperature regulation is very important if you want a healthy night of sleep. Mattresses that are breathable regulate your body temperature and stop you sweating in the first place.
Because horsehair is a natural material, it was not designed by nature in a way that traps heat, otherwise horses would be in real trouble.
These properties in horsehair encourage a cool, comfortable sleep.
When it comes to fire retardant qualities, nature knows best again. You don’t see too many horses catching fire, and that’s almost certainly in part because their hair is a natural fire repellent.
You really want your mattress to resist fire, which is why we use not only horsehair, but also wool and cotton, which are natural fire retardants in their natural form.
This means we don’t need to use toxic materials to make your mattress safe.
Lots of people are worried about how horsehair is sourced from a horse, in case it is done inhumanely. People who have horses and care for them will tell you that the shearing process is good for them.
As an ethical mattress producer, we want to reassure you that our horsehair collection processes are humane and cruelty-free. The hair we use is a by-product of the grooming process the horse would undergo anyway in order to keep it healthy.
Following the grooming of the horse, the hair is taken to be cleaned. It’s then hand-teased into miniature springs for both a comforting and supportive layer.
Through hand-teasing, we are able to distribute the layer evenly within the mattress and run our checks in the process, to check the integrity and quality of the horsehair.
This takes longer than the machine processed way of doing things, but it means we are able to provide the best quality possible for our mattresses. This process is a craft, and we use craftspeople who have spent many years carrying out this procedure.
If you buy a mattress that includes horsehair, you’re getting more than just comfort and support. You’re getting a mattress that has had a lot of time and skill invested in it. If you choose one like the Ely mattress, which incorporates other natural materials too, you’re getting the best mother nature has to offer.
Our mattresses are: