Non-toxic mattress buying guide: Everything you need to know to choose the natural, organic, eco-friendly 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. As much as we wanted the best luxurious organic mattress on the market, we needed to find an affordable non-toxic mattress that wouldn’t break the bank.
After lots of research, we finally sound an eco-friendly but affordable mattress that was a perfect addition to our non-toxic bedroom! Since we all have different criteria for purchasing mattresses, I put together this guide to help YOU find the non-toxic mattress that you’ve been dreaming of!
First, let’s talk about what’s wrong with most conventional mattresses you’ll find on the market today.
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:
- Zero 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 really want memory foam, look for eco foam made with part soy and CertiPUR-US certified to be low-VOC. This is not a perfect option, but much better than most foam mattresses.
- If you want waterproof protection, look for food grade polyethylene or ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) instead of PVC vinyl
RELATED POST: 4 Good Reasons to Buy Natural, Non-Toxic Products for Your Home & Life
Choosing the non-toxic mattress that’s right for you
Choosing the right non-toxic 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.
Of course, purchasing a mattress online is becoming more and more common and with the happiness guarantees they offer, this could very well work for you!
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, Oeko-Tex or CertiPUR-US certified? (learn more about mattress certifications in this post)
- 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?
Affordable Non-Toxic Mattresses
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 a super comfy, affordable, non-toxic mattress and we love it!
Non-Toxic Mattress Brands
I may receive commissions from purchases made through links in this article. Full Disclosure
Here are a few non-toxic 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 mattress topper or an organic cotton mattress pad.
- 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?