Why should you look for a healthy mattress without chemical flame retardants? In short, flame retardants are chemicals that are applied to different materials in order to prevent the start or at least the growth of a fire. Unfortunately, due to their ability to build up or bioaccumulate, they can stay in the environment for years and years.
It’s well known that flame retardants are associated with negative health effects in both humans and animals, including cancer, reproductive toxicity, endocrine and thyroid disruption, disrupted fetal and child development, as well as neurologic function. Sadly, fire retardants are commonly found in furnishings like upholstery, carpets, fabric blinds, curtains, and mattresses.
Many facts about what makes the best all-natural mattress note that back in 2007, a new flammability standard targeting mattresses was passed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Under the present-day regulation, mattresses produced in the United States are required to be fire and flame resistant. Unfortunately, a large number of mattress businesses have tried to address the issue of fire-related deaths by turning to dangerous flame retardants.
In our humble opinion, any quality green mattress that deserves to be on our list won’t contain any hazardous flame retardants. Instead, the majority of the best organic mattress models have fire socks that protect them from flame. Typically, fire socks are manufactured from silica, but there are some mattresses that utilize more natural materials such as thistle or wool.
All in all, a truly green mattress worth purchasing and sleeping on has a fire sock and is completely chemical-free. Of course, there are some mattresses on the market that skip chemical treatments altogether and don’t feature a flame barrier or a fire sock. These mattresses are created from materials that take time to burn, and they’re thus able to meet the demanding federal and state flammability standards.
The best organic mattresses that are natural and safe for both humans and animals will have certifications. These are awards given at various stages of the manufacturing process. Remember, certifications mainly focus on environmental impact and human health risks.
The following certifications focus on risk factors concerning human health:
This certification analyzes chemical emissions from the polyurethane foam (or polyfoam) utilized in a mattress’s layers. Also, it tests for dangerous materials such as lead and PBDEs. Keep in mind that the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) and the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) won’t award even the best organic mattress models with a certification if the polyurethane foam emits any chemicals.
OEKO-TEX Standard 100
This certification is the standard for the International Association for Research and Testing in the Field of Textile and Leather Ecology, or OEKO-TEX for short. This certification incorporates 18 individual testing and research institutes in Japan and Europe. This standard doesn’t test the mattresses for being natural or organic, but rather it ensures that the product doesn’t pose health risks to living beings.
As an independent certification, the Eco-Institute tests building materials and textiles for dangerous emissions and harmful chemical substances. When it comes to the best natural mattresses, the Eco-Institut certification is most frequently associated with mattresses made from latex.
Furthermore, the following certifications focus on risk factors related to the environment:
Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS)
The GOLS certification evaluates products created from latex, and for a product to be awarded it, the latex is required to be at least 95% organic. Presently, there are zero prohibitions for materials that fall into the remaining 5%. Natural, organic latex can receive GOLS and GOTS certification.
Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)
According to organic mattress reviews, this certification is similar to the previous one, but GOTS evaluates organic fibers as well as the raw materials and products derived from them. For a product to receive a GOTS certification, it must be created with a minimum of 70% organic materials. In addition, the other 30% must not contain materials like formaldehyde or polyfoam.
GREENGUARD Gold and GREENGUARD
The GREENGUARD Gold certification evaluates mattresses for VOC emissions just like GREENGUARD, but the standards are much stricter. Both certifications ensure buyers that they’re choosing from among the leading natural mattresses with minimal VOC emissions. However, buyers need to keep in mind, these certifications do not completely guarantee that when the mattress is removed from its original packaging, the off-gassing odors won’t be present.
USDA and NOP (Organic/National Organic Program)
Even though you may have already seen the United States Department of Agriculture certification on organic food labels, it’s also used for evaluating the agricultural materials and products utilized in mattresses. Instead of raw material derivatives, a USDA Organic certification is used to exclusively evaluate materials that are raw.
Rainforest Alliance Certified
Which mattresses are non-toxic? In order for a mattress to receive a Rainforest Alliance certification, the products must utilize latex from forests that support environmental conservation and that protect indigenous peoples as well as endangered species. Also, sustainable harvesting methods are a must, as well as providing workers with living salaries.
The Global Recycled Standard
This type of certification comes from an independent organization called the Textile Exchange. The mentioned certification ensures buyers that certain materials have been manufactured using sustainable and environmentally friendly practices.
Next, we will look at the different types of affordable organic mattress models on the market, as we believe variety matters. There are four different types of mattresses that interest us:
The majority of mattresses considered green are models that fit into the latex category. To recap, latex is a natural material derived from rubber tree sap. Keep in mind that there are two distinct types of processes companies use to create latex:
1. The Talalay Method
This method involves vacuum-sealing the rubber tree sap, which is later frozen and finally baked. Talalay latex is utilized in the comfort layer of fully latex mattresses, as well as hybrid eco-friendly mattress models.
2. The Dunlop Method
This method involves the stirring, molding, and stem-baking of rubber tree sap. Dunlop latex is typically heavier than Talalay latex, and it’s utilized in the support core of fully latex mattresses.
However, another thing to keep in mind is that latex cannot be 100% organic and natural because companies need to add certain chemicals to create latex foam. Nevertheless, some of these latex mattresses are still advertised as “completely natural,” even when the latex the manufacturers used was mainly artificial.
There are two types of mattress materials that can create a natural foam mattress:
1. Standard Polyurethane Foam
This material is also called “polyfoam.” It’s a substance that hasn’t been chemically treated for temperature response and extra softness. You can find polyfoam in a mattress’s main support core layers, though it can also be present in the comfort layer. These types of mattresses are relatively inexpensive.
2. Viscoelastic Polyurethane Foam
This type of foam mattress material is also called “memory foam,” a substance manufacturers treat with different petrochemicals for added softness. A viscoelastic polyurethane organic foam mattress is known for reacting with the sleeper’s body temperature, and it can become much softer as it comes into contact with a source of heat. Manufacturers usually utilize memory foam in the comfort layer, and it”s typically absent in the support core.
Another thing to keep in mind: even though polyfoam and memory foam mattresses are certified and tested to make sure they do not cause health problems with humans, they do contain polyurethane components. This means that they do not meet the standards for GOLS and GOTS certifications. However, don’t let this completely discourage you, as there are plant-based organic queen mattress options out there that are considered greener alternatives.
Steel coils make up the majority of the support core in innerspring mattresses. Their comfort layer is usually composed of one or more memory or polyfoam layers. Innerspring mattresses that feature over two inches of viscoelastic polyurethane foam are categorized as hybrids. However, research into the best organic mattress of 2019 reveals that even though many innerspring mattresses that are called “green,” the majority of comfort layer materials and spring production methods are not the greenest.
Hybrid mattresses are categorized as a mix of foam, latex, and innerspring. When it comes to design, a hybrid mattress features a support core that’s coil-based, as well as a minimum of two inches of memory foam. Furthermore, hybrid mattresses have latex in the comfort system.
Firmness is one of the most important features that need to be taken into consideration when selecting and purchasing the right organic wool mattress or any other mattress. Typically, different types of sleepers have different preferences when it comes to firmness, as sleep position and body weight are important.
In brief, lightweight sleepers who are less than 130 lbs may require a mattress that’s softer, whereas heavier sleepers will enjoy a mattress that may provide enough support. Furthermore, your sleep position is extremely important. For instance, individuals who prefer sleeping on their side may like their mattresses to be firmer, as this may enable the spine to remain straight from the head to the hips.
The Most Comfortable Natural Mattress for Sleepers Under 130 lbs
For side sleepers: Soft to medium
For back sleepers: Medium soft to medium firm
For stomach sleepers: Medium soft to medium firm
Sleepers 130–230 lbs
For side sleepers: Medium soft to medium firm
For back sleepers: Medium to firm
For stomach sleepers: Medium firm to firm
Sleepers Over 230 lbs
For side sleepers: Medium to medium firm
For back sleepers: Medium firm to firm
For stomach sleepers: Medium firm to firm
As you may already know, anything in life that’s top quality and worth it has a high price. The same is true for organic, all-natural mattresses, as the manufacturers use more sustainable production practices, sourcing, and higher-quality materials than they do in standard mattresses. This is especially valid for the best organic memory foam mattress models that don’t have any toxic materials but do have a much higher number of certifications.
Typically, customers can expect to cash in anywhere between $1,300 and $1,900 for a green queen-size mattress. Of course, remember this doesn’t mean that if the price of the product is higher, you’re guaranteed a better-quality product.
Besides the price tag, individuals looking for a quality mattress need to pay attention to the following points:
Is the Shipping Free?
Even though the majority of the best organic twin mattress brands offer free shipping for their buyers, deliveries to Hawaii or Alaska almost always come with extra fees. On the other hand, there are brands that offer a delivery service called White Glove Delivery, where workers from the company bring the chosen mattress to your very doorstep. Not only that, but they offer to take your old mattress away and prepare it for recycling.
All of the brands on our list featuring the top-rated organic mattresses offer sleep trials for first-time users. This is good news for customers, as they’re able to test out the product for a period and, if it isn’t what they want, exchange or return it before the trial period comes to an end. Remember to check with the brand—some sleep trials last for up to a year, whereas others are only for 30 nights or less. Another thing to keep in mind is that even the best organic mattresses may require a couple of weeks for you to break them in and get used to them.
The Mattress’s Warranty
A warranty exists to ensure customers that the product won’t be faulty for as long as the warranty is legally binding (usually it lasts for 10 years or more). Warranty coverage comes in two variations:
In order to have a faulty mattress be replaced or repaired, the customer is required to pay for shipping, handling, and a percentage of the initial price. Even for the best all-natural mattress model, a prorated percentage will typically increase with each year the customer owns the product.
This warranty coverage is different from the previous one because the customer is only responsible for shipping and handling charges. In sum, mattress owners who have a non-prorated warranty have complete protection and won’t be required to cover any additional costs for the product’s repair or replacement.