What you need to know to choose the non-toxic mattress that’s right for you.
Our mattress was a wedding gift. It served us well but after 20 years, our backs were telling us it was time for something new. Since I know a little bit more about mattresses than I knew 20 years ago, I knew I wanted a non-toxic mattress that was safer to sleep on and healthier for the planet too.
It took a lot of research to finally find a natural, non-toxic mattress that we were comfortable with and that fit within our budget. But we finally did, and we have been very happy with it!
The problem with conventional mattresses
Most mattresses are made with synthetic, petroleum based foam, treated with chemical flame retardants and covered in PVC vinyl – which ultimately means that your mattress is releasing toxic fumes while you sleep. Not good.
Those off-gassing fumes, known as VOCs have been associated with a whole host of health disorders including thyroid, reproductive and behavioral problems, as well as cancer. It’s hard to rest easy knowing you are sleeping in a bed of toxic chemicals – especially since we sleep for approximately 1/3 of our lives.
Criteria for a non-toxic mattress
If you’ve ever shopped for mattresses you’ve probably noticed that the mattress industry is complicated and confusing. The number of options and differences between products is overwhelming and every brand has their own “proprietary” way of doing things.
You’ll need to cut through the hype and the clutter to find the elements of a safe and healthy mattress that are important to you.
Here are some things to look for:
- No chemical flame retardant chemicals – this was my #1 criteria
- No synthetic, polyurethane foam
- Made with certified organic materials including cotton, wool and latex, certified by GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) or GOLS (Global Organic Latex Standard)
- If you want latex, make sure it is natural latex rubber, not synthetic
- If you want memory foam, look for eco foam made with part soy and CertiPUR-US certified to be low-VOC
- If you want waterproof protection, look for food grade polyethylene or ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) instead of PVC vinyl
Choosing the mattress that’s right for you
Choosing the right mattress is a big deal! To avoid information overload, I recommend starting with some online research and then visiting a small, local store that specializes in natural and organic mattresses, rather than heading to a mega mattress store.
Determine your top priorities for a mattress, shop around and by all means test out the product if you can. That means taking off your shoes and getting comfy in a public space. Embarrassing but extremely helpful!
Some things to consider:
- Type – Latex, memory foam, innerspring or a combination
- Feel – Firm, medium or soft
- Certifications – Are the materials certified organic or low-VOC?
- Price – Queen size prices start at $750 and go up to $5000 or more, with many options in the $1000 to $2000 range
- Shipping – Is there an extra shipping or delivery charge?
We had a tight budget for our new mattress. While I was willing to spend extra to get a safe, non-toxic mattress, I could not quite afford the ultimate green mattress I was dreaming of. We ended up buying a quilted, organic cotton innerspring mattress from Naturepedic. It is super comfy and we love it!
Natural & Organic mattress brands
(*affiliate links ahead)
Here are a few mattress brands that stand up to my green & healthy scrutiny. I’ve personally tried Naturepedic and Zen Haven and I’ve heard good reviews about the rest.
For detailed information, additional brands and a handy buying chart, check out my post about Non-Toxic Mattress Brands.
If a natural or organic mattress is simply not in your budget, here are a few things you can do to lessen the negative effects:
- Let your new mattress off-gas in a well-ventilated area for awhile before using it.
- Cover your mattress with a natural latex, wool or cotton mattress topper.
- Consider buying a less expensive natural futon instead of a regular mattress.
Learn even more in my post about Non-Toxic Mattress Brands.
Your turn: Are you in the market for a non-toxic mattress? What are your most important criteria?
(*Note: I purchased my Naturepedic mattress with my own money and was not compensated in any way to write this post. There are affiliate links in this post which may put a small amount of money in my pocket, at no extra charge to you. Thank you for supporting Mindful Momma if you do!)