As we become increasingly aware about chemicals hiding in consumer goods, the desire for organic materials has skyrocketed.
Above all, most people want something that’s comfortable. They’ll also look at the price tag, warranty, and think about how durable the bed will be.
But do you ever think about what’s lurking inside your mattress? Things like fossil fuels, fire retardants, glue, perfumes, and other natural chemicals?
Whether you are more eco-concious or suffer from allergies, it may be worth it to read the fine print on your mattress to make sure you're not sleeping in a pool of chemicals.
The alternative is to buy an organic mattress, but which one? Often, they come with a higher price tag, so you’re also probably wondering if it’s worth it. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the best organic mattresses available. We hope this guide gives you a nice starting point in your mattress shopping journey!
|Happsy|| ||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
|PlushBeds|| ||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
|Zenhaven|| ||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
|Loom & Leaf|| ||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
|Nest Bedding® Owl|| ||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
Top 5 Best Organic Mattresses
Happsy – Exceptional Value
- Organic Cotton, Wool, Latex
- GREENGUARD Gold Certified
- 120-Night Trial
- 10-Year Warranty
- Environmental Charity Initiatives
- Made in the USA
According to Happsy, Mother Nature provides the best materials, and this company wants to deliver a more organic sleep at a more affordable price, making it an exceptional value.
Happsy is packed top to bottom with high-quality natural materials and has certifications from GREENGUARD Gold and MADE SAFE, which both have rigorously strict standards for what passes muster for safe and clean. Certified organic wool, cotton, and latex are placed on top of supportive 8-inch coils for a high-quality sleep experience.
What makes it special? With all of those high-end natural materials, you might expect a high-end price tag, but Happsy is priced competitively for a bed in the eco-friendly market.
Happsy is vigilant about improving their entire product pipeline from the sourcing of materials to passing standards at the factory that puts it all together.
We think its medium firmness will appeal to a broad population of sleepers, but if you need a little extra pressure relief, the company also offers an optional 2-inch latex pillow topper.
PlushBeds Botanical Bliss – Sizing/Firmness Options
- Certified Organic Cotton and Latex
- GREENGUARD Gold Certified
- OEKO-TEX® Certified
- 100-Night Trial
- 25-Year Warranty
- Made in the USA
PlushBeds’ all-latex Botanical Bliss certainly goes the extra mile to ensure an all-natural sleep experience in different sizes and firmnesses to suit a variety of comfort preferences.
All the building materials have been rigorously tested to surpass safety requirements.
Several layers of Talalay and Dunlop latex are wrapped in breathable cotton and wool to cradle you to sleep while keeping you cool and dry. Latex’s natural bounce helps to ease repositioning while its motion isolation helps you sleep undisturbed by a restless partner.
What’s its best feature? With Botanical Bliss, there are choices. Depending on your preference, you can select a Medium or Firm bed that is 9, 10, or 12 inches tall. Couples ordering a size Queen or larger may opt to split their mattress and customize the comfort level of each side.
The company also offers a 100-Night Comfort Guarantee. If you are unhappy with your firmness selection, they will provide a free consultation and swap out layers to adjust the feel.
Zenhaven – Dual-Sided Firmness
- Organic Cotton Cover
- OEKO-TEX® Certified
- 180-Night Trial
- 20-Year Warranty
- Made in the USA
Saatva’s Zenhaven delivers two mattresses for the price of one.
Both sides offer the comfort and support of natural Talalay latex, except we scored the Luxury Plush side as a 4.5 and the Gentle Firm as a 7, on our firmness scale with 10 being the firmest.
The certified organic cover gives the bed a more natural aesthetic compared to many mattresses that are bleached to provide a uniform appearance. Latex produced using the Talalay process improves airflow and has a less dense, heavy feeling often associated with Dunlop latex.
What makes it unique? The dual-sided Zenhaven is versatile. Not only are two options great for someone who can’t make up their mind, but it’s also an advantage for a bed that’s built to last a long time like this one is.
This bed comes with a 20-year warranty, and your life can change a lot in two decades. We think most sleeping preferences and body types will be best suited by the Gentle Firm side, but should your needs change–by age, injury, or perhaps a pregnancy–a softer mattress is just a flip away.
Loom & Leaf – Memory Foam
- Organic Cotton Cover
- CertiPUR-US® Certified
- 180-Night Trial
- 15-Year Warranty
- Made in the USA
With Loom & Leaf, Saatva introduces a luxury memory bed designed to reduce heat retention.
Because the bed is never compressed into a box, the company also believes they can provide longer-lasting materials from more sustainable sources.
The cover is certified organic cotton woven together with thistle, which provides an all-natural flame retardant without dangerous treatments. The cotton was processed using the company’s exclusive Guardin® botanical treatment that inhibits the growth of bacteria.
What stands out? The 3 inches of quality memory materials provide a cozy cradled feeling that should never leave you feeling stuck in the bed like some traditional memory foams can. Additionally, the company works to reduce their carbon footprint during the manufacturing process and use recycled materials.
The organic cover is made with breathable cotton fabric. Additionally, a spinal zone gel layer is incorporated into the top of the memory foam for additional support and cooling. These features help reduce some of the heat retention associated with memory foams.
Nest Bedding® Owl – Great for Couples
- CertiPUR-US® Certified
- OEKO-TEX® Certified
- 365-Night Trial
- Lifetime Warranty
- Lifetime Comfort Guarantee
- Made in the USA
Our choice for couples is Nest Bedding®, which offers a blend of natural latex and coils to provide bounce, temperature regulation, and pressure-relieving comfort that can be customized on both sides to either Medium or Firm.
The top layer includes wool, certified organic cotton, and 3 inches of OEKO-TEX® certified Dunlop latex. The 6-inch pocket coils provide superior edge-to-edge support both in the middle and on the sides, which is great for couples who need to maximize their space.
Who will love it? We think environmentally-conscious couples will adore the split comfort of this hybrid that lets each partner choose their own firmness level. Both latex and coils deliver a great bounce, which is ideal for those who are sexually active.
In addition to a generous sleep trial and warranty, Nest Bedding® also offers a Lifetime Comfort Guarantee. For the first 365 nights, you may return or exchange it for a full refund. After that, the original purchaser may exchange the bed for a new one for 30% of the current retail price.
Benefits of Owning an Eco-Friendly Bed
Avoiding chemicals is the number one benefit of owning an eco-friendly mattress. Beds that aren’t classified as natural, or that lack organic certifications, can be made with a toxic cocktail of chemicals, including petroleum, formaldehyde, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, benzene, and toluene.
Some of these compounds, like petroleum and formaldehyde, you’ve probably heard of, and you may be wondering why these would be in a bed at all! A discussion of these chemicals is beyond the scope of this article, but it should be noted that many of them are known carcinogens. Some are also linked to reproductive issues, skin allergies, and respiratory conditions, like asthma and wheezing.
As horrifying as the effects of these chemical compounds sound, some people reason that since their skin isn’t directly on the mattress, they’re not as dangerous. Ultimately, it’s your decision and completely up to you whether exposure to these substances is acceptable for you and your family.
Besides the obvious benefit of avoiding toxins, another reason to consider a natural mattress is that they’re better for the environment. The distinct lack of chemicals is better for air quality, but more important than that is the fact that eco-friendly beds are made using renewable resources rather than fossil fuels.
Further, many of the materials are biodegradable, so if the mattress ultimately ends up in a landfill, it will decompose naturally instead of remaining intact for thousands of years.
Understanding the Different Certifications
This certification is for foam-based products, including mattresses, bedding products (like toppers and pillows), and upholstered furniture. The process tests for product content, emissions, and durability.
If a bed is CertiPUR-US Certified, you can be sure that levels of the following chemicals are acceptably low:
- Ozone depleters (like CFCs – chlorofluorocarbons)
- Chemical fire retardants
- Mercury, lead or heavy metals
They also limit the amount of VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, that can be present. This precaution is to ensure better air quality. However, it should be noted that can be up to .5 parts per million, enough to cause a familiar, and slightly obnoxious, off-gassing smell.
Most beds in the US, organic or not, will come with a CertiPUR-US certification. We recommend that even if you decide not to get a natural bed, you at least look for something with this certification.
The OEKO-TEX Certification is a global certification for textile products. It examines every stage of production, from the raw materials to processing, to finished goods. For mattresses and bedding, the materials that would be certified include yarns, fabrics, buttons, zippers, threads, and labels.
This certification became necessary as our global economy meant that parts of a finished good were manufactured in numerous countries. Each country often has different standards and regulations, so being able to hold every component of an item to the same standard became imperative for safety.
Like CertiPUR-US standards, the OEKO-TEX certification ensures that there is no formaldehyde and heavy metals. It also goes a step further by barring this distinction for other chemicals that they deem harmful, even if there are no legal regulations barring their use.
As companies shift sourcing and production, consumers may wonder if a product is OEKO-TEX compliant. Like most certifications, this one also has a finite period in which it is valid. The certificate is valid for a 12-month window, and within that time, manufacturers can be audited for compliance at any time.
This certification is commonly abbreviated to OE-100 and OE-Blended. Starting in 2014, they’ve been phasing this out and replacing with something called the Organic Content Standard, or OCS.
The difference between OE-100 and OE-Blended has to do with the amount of organic fiber that’s in the item. For something to be compliant with an OE-100 certification, it would need to be made with 100% organic fiber material.
The Blended distinction means that there can be a host of other materials, including non-organic ones, and there only needs to be 5% organic cotton to qualify.
Unlike the first certifications mentioned, Organic Exchange doesn’t track or deal with chemicals, environmental safety or social issues (like child labor, fair wages or safe working conditions). Instead, the focus is solely on the integrity and purity of the material and whether it maintains this classification through each step of the production process.
Global Organic Textile Standard
This certification (abbreviated as GOTS) addresses the environmental and human aspect of textile production. The idea is to make sure that materials maintain organic integrity from harvest to production, and every step in between.
The minimum threshold to qualify for this certification is 70% organic fiber, which begs the question of what the other 30% contains. The production facility must also have a wastewater treatment plant that is fully operational if they’re doing anything that requires wet-processing.
To become certified, a textile manufacturer is subject to an in-depth inspection, which includes checking for the integrity and isolation of organic vs. non-organic materials, inspection of all dyes and chemicals, interviews with workers to ensure fair treatment and safety standards, and testing of random samples for compliance.
Despite the questionable 70% threshold, it can be reassuring to know that there is a third party organization testing for worker safety. The Savar building collapse in 2013, which killed 1,134 people and injured another 2,500 employees making clothing for the fast-fashion brand H&M is still fresh in many people’s minds and serves as a constant reminder that there needs to be a governing body ensuring human rights and safety.
The Eco-Institut is a German company that focuses on emissions testing. If you’ve heard about the “new mattress” or “new car” smell that we all love so much, there may be toxins creating that smell that can harm us in the long run. The Eco-Institut tests the composition of these emissions and will certify only products that are safe.
The company has more than 90 test chambers, and they’ll run a mattress through rigorous testing before granting certification. They test for the following:
- Harmful emissions
- Environmental pollutants
- Presence of heavy metals
- Use of flame retardants and phthalates
- Overpowering odors
- Visual quality inspection
- Toxic load and ecological impact
If a company applies for certification and fails, the Eco-Institut will work with them to help get their product up to par. If you’re concerned about off-gassing, look for this certification.
USDA Organic Certification
There’s no official USDA certification for mattresses because the USDA only certifies inputs like food, plants and certain materials. However, a mattress that contains wool, cotton or latex can be certified for those specific materials.
There are three different USDA certifications:
- 100% organic: all of the ingredients are organic
- Organic: 95% or more of the inputs meet this standard
- Made with organic (insert material here): if the makeup of an item is at least 70%, it can get this classification.
Since cotton is a controversial crop due to pesticides and GMO, look for an organic label if you’re buying a mattress that has cotton in it.
The GREENGUARD Gold Certification is one of the more stringent and difficult to get. It’s designed to protect sensitive individuals like children and the elderly from exposure to chemicals and gasses that can cause allergic reactions.
It severely limits the amount of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that can be present in a product. If you’re buying a crib mattress or a bed for a toddler, this certification should be a requirement.
Something that makes this certification particularly trustworthy is that they evaluate both the elements and the product as a whole. The reason that this is important is that often a single material may contain emission-producing qualities that on their own aren’t harmful or over the threshold. However, if combined with other products, it can put the finished good over the top.
You may see a certification called “GREENGUARD” that is missing the Gold part of the certification. Be aware that this certification is not as stringent. While it requires low emissions to be compliant, there can be significant off-gassing for up to 14 days, and the product will still be certifiable.
Cradle to Cradle
One of the most stringent and trusted certifications is the Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard. It looks at five product categories:
- Material health – for both human and environmental health
- Material reutilization – a percentage of components that are renewable, recycled, and recyclable
- Renewable energy and carbon management – either use renewable energy or offset carbon emissions in another way
- Water stewardship – maintain the integrity of community water supply
- Social fairness – treat employees well and make a positive impact on the community
Each category gets a rating of either basic, bronze, silver, gold or platinum. Then, whichever one receives the lowest mark is the certification that the product will have on the label. For example, if a mattress gets Platinum in almost every category, but is rated bronze in water stewardship, then the product would get Bronze.
Within this organization, the certification board also looks to see if the company is engaged in Continuous Improvement efforts. There’s also a check to ensure that none of the components are on the Banned Chemicals List. If any of those materials are present, the product is automatically disqualified from the certification process.
Global Organic Latex Standard
Also known as GOLS, the Global Organic Latex Standard is specifically designated for latex products. It evaluates the integrity of both organic and non-organic materials. In order to be certified by GOLS, the percentage of organic material must exceed 95%.
As latex is experiencing a resurgence in popularity, this certification is designed to ensure the safety and sustainability of the products being produced. The parent company that came up with this certification, Control Union, has its roots in agriculture. Since natural latex is a natural product sourced from a rubber tree, it made sense to expand the umbrella of certification programs to this material as well.
The leadership team at Control Union believes that consumers should vote with their dollars, and by purchasing products that meet strict quality and environmental standards, they’re signaling the importance of these values to manufacturers.
Different Types & Material
Memory foam is that magical material that allows you to place your hand imprint on the surface and you can watch as the outline is still there! It is known for its contouring capabilities, meaning that when you lay down, the heavier parts of your body sink in and cradle you in all the right places. It’s soft, squishy surface results in one of the highest customer satisfaction ratings in terms of bedding.
In fact, it was first developed in the 1960s by a NASA scientist to be used in aircraft cushions and has since been adapted for use in bedding, shoes, furniture, and pillows, in addition to mattresses. It’s made of primarily of viscoelastic or polyurethane or Tempurpedic foam, though mattress companies have increasingly been adding other components to it like gel, charcoal, copper, aloe vera and more. Each of the additions is tied to specific benefits like cooling, skin soothing, and relaxation.
However, memory foam is not a perfect solution for everyone. For one thing, it can tend to sleep hot because your body sinks into the surface, prohibiting air flow. Another issue is that memory foam is not natural. In recent years, the demand for natural and non-toxic materials has inspired manufacturers to blend their bed with plant-based foams, often soy.
If you’re in the market for a bed made out of memory foam, check for certifications as beds made by less reputable manufacturers may contain flame retardants that make them ineligible for basic certifications.
These foams are lower density than memory foam. They’re cheaper to produce, lighter and less durable. This what you see in an egg-crate style construction. It feels great at first but tends to break down over time at a pace more rapid than regular memory foam.
Because of its tendency to contain fire retardants, at a bare minimum seek out a mattress that has a CertiPUR-US standard. Due to the nature of how this type of material is produced you’re not likely to find an OEKO-TEX certification, so make sure at least to get something that is CertiPUR-US certified.
There are two general types of latex: natural, which is made from the sap of a rubber tree, and synthetic, which is petroleum-based. If you’re looking for a natural, chemical-free bed, you’ll want to look specifically for natural latex.
Whether it’s natural or synthetic, there are also two different types of processes that can be used to manufacture latex: Talalay or Dunlop.
In both processes, liquid latex is poured into a mold for freezing and setting. However, the Talalay process involves an extra step in which air cavities are left inside that are later vacuumed with air. The result is superior heat transfer, meaning you won’t get as hot when you sleep, but the tradeoff is less durability and usually a higher price.
Dunlop latex is an easier and simpler manufacturing process. The sap is placed in the mold, put in the vulcanization oven and treated much the same way, minus the vacuum process. It’s a less expensive and more environmentally friendly product.
You may occasionally see blended latex products that combine both natural and synthetic materials.
As the name implies, hybrid just means a combination of foam and innerspring. Typically these beds are known for providing the best features of both types of mattresses. For example, you get the soft, contouring properties of memory foam with the support and durability of a spring mattress.
Perhaps most notable is that you still get motion isolation because of the foam on the top (and sometimes the base layer as well). For people who sleep with a partner, you may want to have a top layer of foam to isolate their movements. Otherwise, every time that person moves, it will create movement on your side of the bed that is bound to wake you up.
Innersprings are coils in the bed that provide support and bounce. They’ve been around since the 1850s and were designed in buggy cushions. There are four types of coils you’ll find when mattress shopping:
- Bonnel Coils: These were the first made. They have a very simple structure that looks a bit like an hourglass. They’re not known for being durable, and over time they can pop through the surface of your mattress and poke you.
- Continuous Coils: This is a single wire that’s woven together into a coiled support system. Because of the design simplicity, they’re inexpensive and provide firm support, however, they’re not known for durability.
- Offset Coils: These remind of us a honeycomb, not because of the shape but because the offset construction provides more structural integrity than other types of coils. They’re a little more expensive but worth it.
- Pocketed Coils: As you can imagine, each coil comes in its own pocket. This allows isolated support and extra contouring. Plus, there’s the benefit of motion isolation that we discussed above. However, you’ll want to evaluate the quality of the steel used in the coils as lower grades won’t last nearly as long.
Natural Fibers and Natural Memory Foam
The most natural mattress materials you can get will be made from wool or cotton. However, read the labels carefully as most of the time the natural fibers are mixed with synthetics. Again, it won’t necessarily be a deal breaker, but since natural materials cost more, you should make sure you’re getting what you paid for.
Natural memory foam can harder to come by, however, there are many brands incorporating eco materials like plants with initiatives to make their products greener.
How to Choose a Natural Mattress
Since natural mattress will almost always cost more, you may want to consider downsizing in order to save money. With any company, you’ll pay more for a king than a queen, so consider whether you may want to get a higher quality bed that’s slightly smaller.
Or, if you or your partner are a total bed hog, you may prefer to stick with a larger bed and sacrifice the purity of the ingredients.
Not sure what sizes are available and their standard dimensions? This chart should help:
|Twin||39”||75”||For kids and teens|
|Twin XL||39”||80”||For tall teens|
|Full/Double||54”||75”||For teens and college|
|Queen||60”||80”||For a single adult or couples in smaller rooms|
|King||76”||80”||For couples that like to sprawl|
|California King||72”||84”||For people who like to stretch out or have a pet that sleeps at the foot of the bed|
Whether a mattress is on the natural or synthetic spectrum, you should be able to find the ideal firmness level. Typically, mattresses are classified as either soft, medium or firm. Approximately 90% of people will be perfectly happy with a comfort level in the medium category.
However, people who sleep exclusively on their stomachs should opt for a firm mattress, while those with bone and pain-based conditions may prefer a soft mattress.
Depending on your exact preference, keep in mind that if you want a soft mattress, you should consider a natural latex, and if you want something firmer, look for an innerspring mattress. If your mattress ends up being too hard, you can always get an organic mattress topper to soften things up for you.
Construction and Material
Most organic beds will have a combination of natural latex with either a wool or cotton cover. Sometimes you’ll find both wool and cotton. Wool is common because the sheep’s fur is covered with a natural wax-like substance that creates a barrier to moisture. This will help keep you cool.
More often than not, you’ll also find organic cotton. It’s naturally breathable and absorbs moisture.
Some natural beds also use a coil construction of premium metals that are often recycled for a sustainable and eco-friendly product.
The amount of time you can expect your bed to last is highly dependent on the particular model you buy, but in general natural and organic beds tend to last longer. Not only are they subject to higher quality standards to get certified, but the materials themselves tend to last longer. For example, chemicals in synthetic foam products will break down more quickly than a bed derived from natural rubber, like latex.
We recommend always checking which certifications a mattress has, but also use some healthy skepticism. For example, if something is certified as organic, is it the entire bed or just a certain layer?
Also, keep in mind that not all certifications apply to all products. An example of this is the Global Organic Latex Standard. Remember, that only applies to mattresses made from latex, not other materials.
A final thing to look for when it comes to certifications is an expiration date. Just like elevators require constant inspections to ensure safety, organic certifications must be renewed, often yearly. If a certification is expired, it could mean that the company originally used organic materials and then switched to non-organic inputs.
Frequently Asked Questions
What makes a mattress “organic?”
A mattress is organic when it’s made of organic materials. These include organic latex, wool, and cotton. It must also be manufactured without certain chemicals and most pesticides. For cotton, it cannot contain GMO (genetically modified organisms).
For the wool in a bed to be certified organic, the sheep must be on pastures grazing on food that doesn’t contain pesticides. And for latex, the rubber trees have to be grown and harvested on plantations compliant with USDA organic regulations.
Why are they so popular?
In a world of ever-increasing toxins and environmental pollutants, we often seek out natural solutions that are non-toxic and chemical-free. And because we spend so much of our life in bed (on average 26 years!), organic beds are one of the easiest ways to reduce our toxic load.
Organic bedding is also considered hypoallergenic, and with asthma and allergies on the rise, especially in children getting a mattress that’s organic makes more sense than getting one that can cause irritation and allergies.
If you want to see an in-depth analysis of beds that are hypoallergenic, you can check out full guide and top picks here.
Why do organic beds cost more?
You can pay from 30% to 300% more for an organic bed, but why? There are a few reasons that the price tag is higher:
- Rarer materials: organic cotton, for example, is not produced at the same volume levels as conventional cotton, which drives the price up
- More careful processes: many steps are done by hand or take extra effort
- Social responsibility: organic bedding companies sometimes pay higher wages, which get passed on to the final product
- Vendor compliance: to be certified organic, manufacturers can only source their items from select vendors, again driving up the cost
What’s the difference between an Organic, Non-Organic and Eco-Friendly bed?
The first thing we should point out is to watch for fluff words like “eco-friendly” that have no official certifications or criteria attached to them. Any company can say eco-friendly, especially if there is a single component of the bed that is natural.
Organic and non-organic are a little easier to decipher. It simply means that one is made of a certain percentage of organic materials, while the other is not. A non-organic bed will typically contain chemicals, including fossil fuels, while that is not allowable in an organic mattress.
Are they safe for kids and babies?
If you have a kid or baby, an organic mattress is your best choice. Look for one that is GREENGUARD Gold certified, as that is the highest certification for infant bedding. One thing to be extra cautious about is the firmness level, especially for infants.
If a baby is not fully mobile yet, meaning they can’t roll over on their own, the risk of suffocation increases, so avoid the temptation to buy a soft and fluffy bed for your infant.
When we go bed shopping, we typically think of comfort more than anything else, but we should also evaluate what’s actually in our mattresses. And while an organic product will cost more (just like fruits and vegetables in the grocery store), it may be worth it in the long run for our health. And, since these beds are often more durable, you could actually save money in the long run!
And if you want to compare them with other beds, you can check out the best overall picks here.
Sources and References:
- The Stuffing Dreams Are Made Of? – nytimes.com