There has been a bit of an explosion of natural and organic mattress retailers, many of them have been in business for years in Europe and are just now popping up state-side. Conventional mattresses these days are made with an array of materials and chemicals, especially the popular memory foam mattresses.
Unfortunately many of the mattress producers are also required to add toxic flame retardants although there are more natural ways around this. Still, many compound the issue by using petroleum synthetics, unsustainable materials, and manufacturing practices that release harmful VOCs (that really bad chemical smell from paint or a new foam mattress), and that are not biodegradable or recyclable only to waste space in landfills.
Lucky for us there are now a pluthura of all natural mattress manufacturers out there which use all natural, organic an sustainable materials such as:
- Natural Rubber (Latex)
- Organic Cotton
- Bamboo Frames and Support
- Sustainable Wood Frames
- Coconut Fiber Batting
- Horse Hair
- Cactus Fiber
Some of the larger names using 100% natural rubber and various other sustainable materials include Coco-Mat, Essentia, and US based Earthsake. A few other companies such as Keetsa offer ‘natural’ mattresses which only use a percentage of natural rubber or organic materials.
Beware of marketing gimmicks in this arena, ‘natural’ and ‘eco-friendly’ are buzz words frequently used to greenwash products that have no real guarantee or certification.
So what makes a mattress ‘natural’ or ‘organic’, and why is it important? you are probably wondering.
The many materials which go into mattresses today can include many types of chemicals, metals, petroleum based polyurethane foams, pesticide-laden cotton, flame-retardants, all of which you are in constant contact with and breathing in for a good portion of your life.
Natural and organic mattresses attempt to solve this by using sustainable, natural, and organic materials, and restrict the use of chemicals in production.
Questions to ask when purchasing a natural mattress:
- What is inside the mattress, and can I see it?
- How much of the mattress is natural? What parts are natural and which aren’t?
- Is this 100% natural latex and are there any additives?
- Are there adhesives used to glue the mattress, and are they adhesive formaldehyde free?
- What’s the mattress cover made of?
- Does the mattress contain any fire retardants, volatile chemicals, or volatile organic compounds (VOCs)?
- Are the mattresses certified as chemical free? Ask for the testing board certifications.
- See if the mattress has an odor, this can hint to the off-gassing chemicals.
So once you have decided to chuck the old mattress in favor of a new organic mattress, you may find that you actually sleep better!