We spend our lives surrounded by potential toxins. They can be hiding in what we eat, the cleaning products we use, and even our dishes. With new and emerging research showing the harm these chemicals can do, the face of our world is changing. People are paying closer attention to what is in the products they buy, and for good reason too.
But the question today is, do we know what is hiding inside our mattresses? The bed which we long for after a hard days work, the place we spend 1/3 of our lives; what are we really sleeping on?
Many mattresses today are made with synthetic fibers. Companies do not have to disclose the makeup of their fibers; the formula is proprietary. Did you know that your memory foam mattress contains petroleum? Can you even find an entirely non-toxic memory foam mattress?
Are these substances harmful? The jury is still out on that one. Many sources point to the presence of flame retardants known as PBDEs in mattresses. They say these chemicals are harmful to humans. However, the Sleep Product Safety Council says that a new mattress will not contain PDBE’s, as production was discontinued back in 2004.
It can be scary to know that a mattress, regardless of where it’s made of where you purchased it from can be potentially toxic, especially if you own one which is quite old. The truth is, nobody wants to sleep on potentially-harmful substances. If you are the kind of person that needs peace of mind, then buying a non toxic mattress is probably a good idea.
The 5 Best Non Toxic Mattress Comparisons
|#||Brand & Model||Thickness||Type||Standards Met||Our Rating||Price|
|1||Zenhaven||10"||Natural Latex||Oeko-Tex 100|
|2||Spindle Mattress||10"||Natural Latex||Oeko-Tex 100|
|3||My Green Mattress Pure Echo||9.75"||Cotton and Spring||GREENGUARD Gold, GOTS, Oeko-Tex|
|4||Sleep On Latex Pure Green||9"||Natural Latex||GREENGUARD Gold|
|5||Sunrise Bedding||8"||Latex and Spring||CertiPUR-US|
How To Choose a Non Toxic Mattress
Like any other new mattress selection, a lot will depend on your personal preference. Do you like a firm mattress? Or perhaps soft? Is memory foam something you like well enough to risk the possibly harmful side effects?
First, determine where your comfort level is. Will you reject any option that does not have the GOTS or GOLS label? (More on labels below). Maybe you are okay with having a little bit more wiggle room. Set those boundaries first so you know where to focus your selection efforts. It might be helpful to write these down and have them handy when searching online.
Next, decide what your definition of comfortable is. Hard, soft, hot, cold, thick, or thin. It all depends on your preferences, and there is just as much choice out there for everyone.
And finally, set the budget. When you have it down to the two best non toxic mattress options, the price may be the only determining factor left. Of course, if they are both easily within what you want to spend—you might have to resort to more arbitrary methods to make a decision.
All About Mattress Labels
Unfortunately, you cannot always trust the labels on every natural mattress you see for sale. They may say “best organic mattress on the market” or “100% natural mattress.” That, however, might not be the case. No government agency regulates the use of the term “organic” on mattresses. Even terms such as “eco friendly” and “non-toxic” are not entirely trustworthy. With all this uncertainty it can be difficult for conscientious consumers to shop, finding it difficult to know which are in fact eco friendly or organic.
If you’re on the market for a non toxic mattress, be cautious, because there are a few extra things you should know (on top of the standard mattress buying considerations). The first step when looking for the best eco friendly mattress is making an informed decision, knowing which labels you can and cannot trust. Consumer Reports has published an article about supposed organic mattress labels that you can trust, and what standards they impose. Here is a summary of the information from that article:
The Top 2 Organic Mattress Labels
Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) got the top rating from Consumer Reports.
To qualify for the GOTS certification, a mattress must contain 95% organic materials. For GOLS, the percentage of organic material required is the same. These two standards all put restrictions on what is allowed in the remaining 5% of the mattress. You are unlikely to find a memory foam mattress with either of these labels.
The 5 Runner-Ups:
CertiPUR-US, Greenguard, Greenguard Gold, Organic Content Standard 100, and The Department of Agriculture. These five labels tell consumers something valuable about the mattresses they are considering. But they are not as stringent and helpful as the GOTS and GOLS. Below is a chart that should help you interpret these labels.
|Label||Applies To||Relevant Standard |
|CertiPUR-US||Polyurethane Foam||Prohibits harmful substances such as PDBE. Requires testing for several chemicals including formaldehyde.|
|Greenguard||Finished Mattress||Testing to measure for emissions of volatile organic compounds such as formaldehyde.|
|Greenguard Gold||Finished Mattress||The same as Greenguard, but with more stringent requirements.|
|Organic Content Standard 100||Percentage of Organic Materials||Identifies the portion of organic materials used. Does not restrict the use of harmful chemicals such as flame retardants.|
|The Department of Agriculture “Organic” Label||Only Certain Portions of Mattress||Can be used if any part of the mattress is considered organic, e.g., Organic Cotton. No restrictions on other components of the mattress.|
Armed with the knowledge of what the seven labels above really mean, you should be prepared to make a better choice when purchasing. These distinctions are not easy to obtain, so remember that you will be paying a premium price for a premium product.
After You Buy
It’s recommended to air out your new mattress after you receive it. Most eco friendly mattresses will need no more than a few hours, but for those with less organic materials, 48 hours should be enough to dissipate any odd smells or gasses. This is known as off-gassing, and though not harmful, might be unpleasant.
While you are airing out the mattress, don’t put any bed sheets or other coverings on it. Let it breathe for a while. Airing a mattress is an important step, so if the company delivering your new mattress offers to take away your old one, you may want to think about where you’ll sleep for the first night or two.
Another thing to remember about airing is that most bed-in-a-box solutions mean the mattress is vacuum rolled, and out of the packet are only about one inch thick. Airing the mattress also means letting it expand into full shape and size.
When you finally get your new mattress in place, make sure that you either store or dispose of your old one correctly. Most mattresses are made up of recyclable materials, whether organic or not. Investigate mattress recycling options in your area.
Top 5 Non Toxic Mattress Reviews
Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t give up yet. The five eco friendly mattresses reviewed below are the top on the market today. All relevant standards and material information are included when available. Use the comments section to ask us any questions that are not covered in the review.
The Zenhaven by the Saatva Company is made up of American Talalay latex. Like other latex mattress options, it has a 100% natural latex core as its core build. It also features a 100% organic New Zealand wool layer and an organic cotton cover. The Zenhaven uses a 5-zone design as the maximum comforter. Their 5-zone comfort layer uses alternating patterns of pin holes to change the density of the latex. The strategically placed zones are supposed to make the mattress even more supportive and comfortable at the same time.
There are two firmness options which are called “Luxury Plush” and “Gentle Firm.” According to their website, 80% of latex customers choose luxury plush, which is conforming, supportive and ultra luxurious. The gentle firm is 18% firmer than the aforementioned, designed for a more orthopedic outlook, for those who require a little less give but without compromising on luxury.
The bottom line is Zenhaven looks like a very comfortable, high-end organic mattress which meets standards for non-toxicity. This is one of our favorites at the moment and probably will be for the foreseeable future.
- Sold directly from the factory
- American Talalay latex
- Manufacturing process clearly explained
- Soft and springy, or firm and uplifting
- Hypoallergenic, resistant to mold, microbes and dust mites
- Works with electric adjustable beds
- 20-year warranty
- 120-day in-home trial
- A tad expensive
Standards Met: Oeko-Tex Standard 100
The first thing you will notice about Spindle’s website is that they have a calculator designed to help you select the perfect firmness. However, they do encourage you to go with what works best for you, regardless of what the calculator says.
The eco friendly mattress is made in the USA, and although the raw materials come from all over the world, it is manufactured, woven, and carded in the states. And you get to assemble the mattress at home, which means you will know for a fact what is inside it. The Spindle is made up of a bottom layer of quilted organic cotton, followed by three inches of latex. On top of that is a one-inch natural wool batting. The case is made of organic cotton twill. Spindle claims to use organic cotton and wool from sheep raised Eco-Wool compliant.
Spindle is very open and transparent about the source of their raw materials and the process used to transform them into a natural mattress. They even name the manufacturer of their latex foam and have a link to their Oeko-Tex certification certificate. The Oeko-Tex standard was not mentioned by Consumer Reports, but it has been around since 1992 and seems to be relatively formal.
If you like total transparency, and the ability to see the product as it comes together in your home, the Spindle is for you. Another excellent feature is the 25 Year Comfort Life program. The program allows you to purchase additional layers at a 30% discount. Their money back guarantees also lasts 365 days.
- Transparency about sources and processes
- Comes in Soft, Medium, Firm, and Extra Firm
- You see everything inside the mattress
- Made in the USA
- 25 Year Comfort Life program
- Few Certifications on their raw materials
- Assembly required
Standards Met: Oeko-Tex 100
My Green Mattress Pure Echo
My Green Mattress’s Pure Echo may be a mouthful to say, but it is a latex free, medium-firm organic mattress. It consists of a GOTS certified organic cotton quilted cover, all-natural American eco-wool, heavyweight organic cotton batting, and a 3-zone pocketed coil spring system. The Pure Echo not only uses GOTS certified wool but it is also washed with GOTS certified soap. So those concerned with the economic impact of the manufacturing process will find this a good choice.
If you are allergic to latex, then staying away from any of the other latex options listed here is advisable. However, the My Green Mattress Pure Echo does not contain natural latex and is probably the best option for you if allergic to latex.
The Pure Echo only comes in medium-firm. If you need a softer or firmer mattress, then it is best to look at the other options mentioned here. However the 3-zone coil system is very comfortable, to say the least, and considering there are differing 15.5 and 14.5 coil gauges throughout the zones, means each zone is engineered to provide the required support of each part of your body.
A downside to the Pure Echo is the smell. The off-putting odor does not come from chemical treatments but is a result of the natural cotton and wool used to make it. The process of washing the wool might also contribute to the unique aroma. Luckily there is a fix, properly airing out the mattress before use will help with the smell. And if you can stick it out for a little while, the odor should fade entirely over time.
- The company goes beyond just organic raw materials
- GREENGUARD Gold Certified
- GOTS Certified Cotton and Wool
- Website links to certifications
- Does not require any specific frame or box spring
- Very affordable
- Only 1 firmness level
- Lacks the premium feel of latex
- Shorter 10-year warranty compared to 20 years provided by Zenhaven, and 25 years by Spindle
Standards Met: GREENGUARD Gold Certified, GOTS (cotton and wool), Oeko-Tex (wool)
Sleep On Latex Pure Green
The 9 inch thick Pure Green natural latex mattress is made by a reputable company in the industry known as Sleep on Latex. This eco friendly mattress is made of 100% natural latex and is processed using the Dunlop method. Dunlop latex is less bouncy than Talalay. If you prefer Talalay and not Dunlop, then this one is not the option for you.
The 6-inch natural latex base is covered by an inch of GOTS certified organic New Zealand quilted wool. There is also two-inches of soft natural latex above this base. Around all this is a GOTS certified cotton cover.
The Pure Green mattress is durable and well made. The three different levels of firmness (soft, medium, firm) allow for maximum comfort. Choose the one that works best for your sleeping style. Pure Green also offers a 100-day money back guarantee. You can try the mattress and return it if it doesn’t work. A no-risk trial period is especially important because they currently only sell their mattress online.
If you are not ready to make the leap to an entire mattress, Sleep on Latex also makes a mattress topper with its natural latex. And if you end up liking their mattress or topper, you can even get a latex pillow from them too.
The Sleep On Latex Pure Green was developed by a design team based in Boston. It is also assembled and packaged in the USA, helping boost local economy.
- GREENGUARD Gold certified
- Comes in soft, medium, and firm
- Works with adjustable beds
- Competitively price for its type
- 10-year warranty
- GOTS Certified wool and cotton
- Not great for those with latex allergy
Standards Met: GREENGUARD Gold, GOTS (wool and cotton components)
Sunrising Bedding Hybrid Latex & Innerspring
The Sunrising Bedding hybrid latex and innerspring mattress is a product of clear research and testing. The top layer is infused with 100% natural latex. The manufacturer reports that this latex comes from Thai rubber plantations and is created using the Talalay Technology. The covering is made of cashmere, and inside there are just fabric and metal springs.
The CertiPUR-US website confirms that Sunrising Bedding’s product is CertiPUR-US certified. The Sunrising mattress should have no formaldehyde or chemical fire retardants. If you are worried that the mattress might be flammable, it should not be. The fibers it is made up of are fireproof and have a low melting point.
For those who tend to be hot sleepers, the Sunrising hybrid would be a good choice due to its design and materials in use. It does not retain body heat and stays cool throughout the night thanks to the free-flowing spring air chamber. If you are considering a more natural alternative to a memory foam mattress, the cooler latex will be a refreshing change.
Sunrising Bedding offers a 120-day trial, so you can try the mattress and return it if it doesn’t work for you. There is also a 20-year warranty.
- Contains no polyurethane foam
- CertiPUR-US compliant
- Stays cool
- Several all-natural components
- Sunrising is quick to respond to questions
- 20-year warranty
- 120-night in-home trial
- Might be too firm for some
- Customer service is hit and miss
Standards Met: CertiPUR-US
From the top five list above you can see how important it is to know which labels are trustworthy and have value. Certifications are equally important, as too are established brands and the designs they implement.
To conclude, in our opinion the Sleep On Latex Pure Green is the clear winner of the five best non toxic mattresses. It’s multiple, reliable certifications mean you can be assured that it is natural and organic. The many options for firmness suggest that you can choose your perfect fit. And as a bonus, it is made in the USA.
Unfortunately, the Pure Green although a natural mattress will not work for consumers who are allergic to latex. If you find that you react to latex, then going with a mattress that is cotton, like the My Green Mattress Pure Echo is your best bet. But far from a consolation prize, the Pure Echo sports the same reliable certifications and excellent quality.