A growing awareness of human health concerns and the environmental impact of producing mattresses has led to a push towards both organic and eco-friendly models. It can be confusing when talking about green products because there are no official guidelines within the mattress industry to define what green, organic, all-natural, or eco-friendly means.
For purposes of clarity, mattresses made with independently certified organic materials are the only ones that can be said to be truly organic. You should also note that many times a mattress will be labeled organic when that label only applies to portions of the mattress like the cover or certain layers.
Eco-friendly mattresses may or may not be organic. This type of mattress has independent certifications that monitor how the harvesting of materials, manufacturing, packaging, and/or shipping process affects the environment. A mattress can be organic or eco-friendly, or it can be both depending on the manufacturing and construction process. We’ve listed five of the best eco-friendly and/or organic mattresses and have included a guide to help you through the process of choosing your next mattress.
Best Organic Eco-Friendly Mattresses
|Avocado Green Mattress||Available in vegan options, also comes with option to add a pillow top.|| |
|PlushBeds Natural Bliss||Features both Dunlop and Talalay latex for firm support and added bounce.|| |
|Brentwood Homes Cedar Natural||Features zoned support for superior back support.|| |
|Bear Hybrid||Contains graphite-infused foams for cooling comfort.|| |
|My Green Mattress Natural Escape||Features pocketed coils for extra bounce and zoned support.|| |
1. Avocado Green Mattress
The Avocado Green mattress qualifies as both an organic and eco-friendly model. It’s one of the best mattresses for eco-friendly shoppers, having received several independent certifications, including the new MADE SAFE® certification that prohibits the use of all harmful or toxic substances.
Avocado makes its certified organic cotton and wool cover from wool gathered at their own co-owned wool collective. This medium-firm mattress comes with or without a European pillow top. The pillow top adds two inches of organic, GOLS certified Dunlop latex foam. This layer is aerated to improve airflow and prevent overheating.
The pillow top is placed over a one-inch layer of Dunlop latex that, in the model without the pillow top, acts as the comfort layer. Underneath this layer of latex is an eight-inch support core of individually-wrapped pocketed coils that are arranged in five strategic comfort zones to accommodate the body’s high-pressure points.
Avocado offers a one-year sleep trial with a recommended 30 to 60-day break-in period. This model also comes with a 25-year warranty that covers defects and indentations over one inch. The mattress must be rotated regularly and used with a proper foundation for the warranty to be valid.
Avocado Green Mattress Highlights
- Multiple independent certifications that assure their components and materials are organic and eco-friendly
- Two firmness options
- Only natural latex; no blended or synthetic
2. PlushBeds Natural Bliss
The eco-friendly and organic PlushBeds Natural Bliss comes in a six, eight, and ten-inch option. The six-inch mattress is made of a single layer of aerated Dunlop latex foam, while the eight and ten-inch models have Talalay latex foam comfort layers over firmer Dunlop layers.
The GOTS certified organic cotton cover is included on all Natural Bliss models. The Natural Bliss contains natural organic latex, both Dunlop and Talalay, that are GOLS certified. All latex layers are aerated to promote breathability. The models that have both Talalay and Dunlop latex provide a softer mattress with more contouring than the six-inch model. Materials in this mattress are GREENGUARD Gold certified, meaning they’re free of VOCs and harmful chemicals and emissions.
The Natural Bliss comes with a 100-night sleep trial and comfort exchange. They require a 30-day break-in period, after which you can return the mattress for a $99 shipping fee or request a comfort exchange. With the comfort exchange, a new Talalay latex top layer will be sent to you to replace the one that’s either too soft or firm. You must then replace the top layer and return the old one, which incurs a $145 shipping fee.
This model also comes with a prorated 25-year warranty that covers body impressions deeper than 1.5 inches and defects in the latex. After year 10, PlushBeds charges the customer a percentage of the original mattress’s price to replace the defective model.
PlushBeds Natural Bliss Highlights
- Four firmness options
- A mix of Dunlop and Talalay latex
- GOTS, GOLS, and GREENGUARD Gold Certifications
3. Brentwood Homes Cedar Natural Luxe
The Cedar Natural Luxe provides an organic and eco-friendly luxury mattress experience. Its removable topper gives you some firmness options that you don’t generally find in a single, non-flippable model.
The topper attaches to the mattress via a strap and coconut husk buttons. It’s made of GOLS certified organic latex and GOTS certified wool. The entire mattress is also certified by the Eco-Institut, which means it’s free of harmful emissions and chemicals.
Beneath the topper is a unique layer made of alpaca wool and a sculpted, aerated layer of organic latex that’s cut into three zones for targeted support. This sits atop a layer of eight-inch individually-wrapped pocketed coils arranged into five support zones.
Beneath the coils is a unique ½-inch layer that’s hand-tufted to foam latex and made from eco-friendly coconut husks. The mattress as a whole is GREENGUARD Gold certified, meaning it gives off minimal VOC (volatile organic compound) emissions.
The Cedar Natural Luxe comes with a one-year sleep trial and a 30-day break-in period. All Brentwood Homes mattresses include a 25-year warranty, which covers indentations over two inches. After year 11, if the mattress is in need of repair or deemed defective, the mattress may be replaced at a prorated charge and a replacement fee.
Brentwood Homes Cedar Natural Luxe Highlights
- Breathable alpaca wool
- Sculpted and aerated latex layers
- GOTS, GOLS, and GREENGUARD Gold certifications
4. Bear Hybrid
The eco-friendly Bear Hybrid stands at 14-inches tall. It includes materials that are both CertiPUR-US® and GREENGUARD Gold certified, which means the contents are free from certain harmful substances and have low VOC emissions.
Bear uses Celliant®, a unique textile that converts body heat into infrared energy, to make the cover. It’s quilted to a hypersoft cooling-gel foam that absorbs heat and moves it away from the sleeper. Next, a premium comfort foam conforms to the shape of the body while a thin transition foam covers the six-inch pocketed coils with Bear’s Quantum Edge Coil System. Finally, there’s a one-inch, high-density poly-foam base.
Bear has a 100-day sleep trial with a 30-day break-in period. The 20-year prorated warranty covers defects and indentations over 1.5 inches. Starting in year 11, Bear will replace the mattress for a percentage of the cost of the original model. The percentage the customer pays increases with time.
Bear Hybrid Mattress Highlights
- Celliant® cover absorbs heat and converts it into infrared energy
- Good edge support
- Provides contouring and responsive top layers
5. My Green Mattress Natural Escape
The Natural Escape contains GOLS certified Dunlop latex and GOTS certified organic cotton and wool for a comfortable and organic sleep experience. This model has a firmer feel, but still contains the responsiveness of latex and coils.
A three-inch comfort layer made of GOLS and OEKO-TEX certified Dunlop latex provides a natural sleep surface that’s aerated for enhanced breathability. It provides cushioning for the eight-inch pocketed coils. These zoned coils provide lumbar support at the lower back and firmer support at the edges to prevent sagging.
My Green Mattress provides a 120-night sleep trial with a 30-day break-in period. Returns are processed after the customer has provided proof that they’ve either donated or disposed of the mattress. This model also comes with a 20-year prorated, limited warranty that covers indentations over 1.5 inches and defects in materials or craftsmanship. After year 11, if the mattress needs to be replaced, the customer pays a percentage of the cost of the original mattress for the replacement model.
My Green Mattress Natural Escape
- Zoned coil support
- Extra edge support
- GOTS, GOLS, and OEKO-TEX certifications
Mattress Types to Consider
There are four basic mattress types, and each has unique pros and cons. We’ll cover what they are and who might benefit from each mattress type.
Memory Foam Mattresses
Memory foam’s viscoelastic properties allow it to stretch and conform under pressure and heat. In a mattress, that means each sleeper gets customized contouring and conforming to the unique curves of their body.
Depending on the formula and manufacturing method, memory foam can be made in different densities and firmnesses that range from soft to firm. Memory foam layers are often mixed with poly-foam or latex foam to provide comfort for different types of sleepers.
When memory foam first came on the market, overheating was a concern because the foam trapped heat against the body. Today’s manufacturers counteract this problem with infusions of gel, copper, or graphite. They also create foam layers with convoluted structures or aerated channels for increased breathability.
Memory foam mattresses work for almost any sleep position. However, side, back, and combo sleepers find its custom contouring to be the most beneficial. Stomach sleepers whose hips sink into the mattress can find comfort on memory foam as long as it’s firm enough to prevent too much sinkage.
Latex mattresses are becoming increasingly popular. They’re often a preferred option alongside memory foam mattresses.
Today, consumers are more aware and concerned about the environmental impact of products. Not to mention the potential health risks of certain chemicals and ingredients.
Latex mattresses can be made of either synthetic latex, natural latex, or a mix of the two. Natural latex comes from the sap of the rubber tree and goes through either the Dunlop or Talalay manufacturing process. Talalay latex is generally airier and lighter for a spongy, bouncy feel. Dunlop, on the other hand, has a denser, firmer feel.
Natural Latex Mattress
A natural latex mattress uses sap from a rubber tree. The sap is harvested and then baked in a special process to turn it into a firm but bouncy material. There are two different types of baking processes which result in different textures for the mattress.
Dunlop Latex Mattress
The Dunlop manufacturing process has existed in latex manufacturing since 1929. The collected rubber sap is turned into a froth in a centrifuge. This frothy sap is transferred into a mold, which is then covered and steam baked. The end product is firmer on the bottom side because natural sediments settle to the bottom of the mold.
This makes the Dunlop layers more durable. Organic Dunlop latex is typically used as a base core component.
Talalay Latex Mattress
The Talalay latex manufacturing process is newer and adds a couple of steps. Once the mold is sealed, it heads into a vacuum chamber where air bubbles “inflate” to fill out the mold interior. The mold is then flash-frozen with CO2 to stabilize the materials prior to the final bake.
This process makes the latex more soft and breathable. The natural Talalay latex is better suited for a top cushion layer.
Synthetic Latex Mattress
Synthetic latex is made from man-made components in a lab. The latex foam is made from petrochemicals and was first created to make up for a latex shortage. Over time, the latex can deteriorate and lose the bouncy characteristic latex mattresses are known for in the market.
Blended Latex Mattress
To deal with the less desirable aspects of a synthetic latex mattress, manufacturers will mix the synthetic material with natural materials. This results in latex beds at a more affordable price. These mattresses will have organic components but are not entirely organic.
Synthetic latex is completely man-made and mimics natural latex in its qualities and characteristics. It’s often mixed with natural latex. However, it’s not as durable as the natural alternative.
Organic latex mattresses must adhere to certain guidelines. They are made with environmentally friendly materials to earn various certifications. But understanding these labels and certifications can be confusing. After all, not every organic latex mattress is created equal.
Latex foam is often used as an alternative to memory foam, although it doesn’t have the tight conformity of many memory foams. Latex’s natural responsiveness gives it a bouncier feel and is a good option for sleepers who don’t like to sink into the mattress. Latex foams are aerated to prevent too much heat build-up. Aeration may consist of air channels or designs cut into the surface of the latex foam.
Latex works for side, back, and especially combo sleepers due to its responsiveness. If you prefer to sleep on top of rather than in your mattress, latex is a great option.
Innerspring mattresses have an internal coil support system. The design of the coils changes the mattress’s feel, response to movement, and durability.
Coil design and type vary from continuous coils, which are all interconnected, to Bonnel coils with their hourglass shape. Today, the best innerspring models have individually-wrapped, or pocketed coils. These coils are the same diameter from top to bottom and are not interconnected. Their independent movements prevent motion transfer while providing more targeted pressure relief than other coil designs. Some innerspring mattresses have a coil-on-coil design where a layer of micro-coils is used to further absorb movement and pressure.
Coils are also made in different gauges, which affects their firmness. Some mattresses have zoned coils that provide more pressure relief at the shoulders while others have thicker gauge coils at the edges to prevent sagging.
Innerspring mattresses come in all firmness levels. They typically provide firmer, more responsive support than either memory foam or latex models. Coils, however, are not as efficient at preventing motion transfer. Sleepers of all sleep positions can generally find an innerspring mattress that meets their needs. However, their firmer support may be too much for sensitive sleepers who like to sink into the mattress.
Hybrid mattresses have memory, latex, or poly-foam comfort layers over an innerspring support core. They combine the added responsiveness of coils with the conformability and contouring of memory, latex, and poly-foam. Hybrids often have better breathability than all-foam, mixed-foam, or memory foam mattresses because of the extra space around the coils. On the downside, there’s usually more motion transfer in a hybrid compared to other mattress types like latex and memory foam.
Couples with different mattress preferences often find hybrids are a good compromise. The coils generally add a firmer, stiffer feel to the support, but sleepers of all positions can find a hybrid that’s comfortable as long as they like the firmness and response of coils.
Mattresses come in a wide budget range from as little as $200 to well over $10,000. Budget mattress models fall in the $200 to $700 range. In these models, you can expect similar comfort to more expensive mattresses. However, they’re often made of low quality, inexpensive materials, so their longevity and durability may be much less than their pricier counterparts.
In the mid-range are models between $700 and $1,200. These models balance material quality and comfort with the price. High-end and luxury mattresses start around $1,200 and go up to about $5,000. These models typically have good durability.
However, these two categories, mid-range, and luxury, aren’t divided by a hard and fast rule. Some affordable luxury mattresses, like those with intricate stitching in the cover and high-quality materials, start at around $1,000. Many of these models also have the durability that rivals much more expensive mattresses.
Premium mattresses start around $5,000 and go up to well over $10,000. These models have hand stitching, high-end fabrics, all-natural or organic materials, and layers upon layers of premium foams and coils. While some of these models are truly amazing in the comfort they offer, many premium models have extras like gold in the thread and brass fittings that do nothing more than add to the price. Many less expensive mattresses offer just as much comfort at a more reasonable price point.
Potential Mattress Toxins
There are several potential toxins in mattresses that are screened prior to the certifications mentioned above. Here’s a look at what those toxins could mean for your body.
- Mercury: This is present in chemical adhesives. It can cause headaches, mood swings, muscle weakness, and numbness.
- Lead: Lead is dangerous for the cognitive health of young children. The solvents used in adhesives for the manufacturing of mattresses may contain lead.
- Heavy Metals: These could also be present in the adhesives used to put together different layers of conventional mattresses.
- Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs): These may be used in the manufacturing of synthetic foams in some mattresses. CFC exposure can cause headaches, dizziness, and skin irritation.
- PBDE Flame Retardants: These are banned in Canada, Europe, and several U.S. states. They cause thyroid problems in some people and can damage your immune system.
We all switch sleep positions throughout the night. However, there’s usually one you prefer above all others. A mattress that caters to your dominant sleep position can help keep your spine in a neutral position and relieve pressure, so you get a better night’s rest.
With the curves of their bodies pressed into the mattress, side sleepers need the best in pressure relief. No matter your sleeping position, your goal is a neutral spinal position with the spine at the same level from the tip of the head to the tailbone. Therefore, the best mattresses for side sleepers relieve pressure at the shoulders and hips while supporting the head, waist, and knees. A too soft or firm mattress can cause side sleepers numbness, aches, and pain.
Memory and latex foams that contour and/or conform to each sleeper’s individual shape work well for side sleepers. However, side sleepers can find comfort on almost any type of mattress as long as it has the right cushioning and support. They typically sleep better on softer mattresses in the medium-soft to medium range, although sleeper weight may necessitate a firmer mattress.
Back sleepers have an advantage because their spines naturally stay in a neutral position while sleeping. However, they still need support in the lower back to keep their spine aligned. They also need cushioning that relieves pressure according to their personal preferences. Many mattresses for back sleepers are in the medium-firm to firm range.
We don’t recommend stomach sleeping due to the extra pressure it puts on the lower back. A firm mattress that prevents the hips from sinking but relieves pressure at the shoulders helps keep the stomach sleeper’s spine aligned. If you’re looking for the best mattress for stomach sleeping, consider a firm bed.
Sleeping Cool and Airflow
The body maintains a lower temperature while you sleep. You typically won’t reach your normal temperature again until your body starts the wake-up process. Consequently, a mattress that traps heat makes it hard to fall asleep or wakes you up too early.
Foams of all types can trap body heat if they don’t have structures and designs that maximize airflow and reduce heat build-up. Open-cell foams and those infused with gel, copper, and graphite either promote airflow or pull heat away from the sleeper. Some foam layers have aeration channels and convoluted structures to make more room for heat to escape. Finally, coils create the most space and generally make for a cooler mattress.
What is the difference between eco-friendly and organic?
There’s not an official definition for what constitutes an eco-friendly or organic mattress. However, generally speaking, eco-friendly products, and mattresses, in this case, are produced, packaged, and/or shipped in ways that reduce the use of natural resources. Many eco-friendly practices also tend to reduce the number of harmful chemicals and emissions the mattresses emit. There are independent organizations that test mattresses for eco-friendly/environmental impact and offer certifications. A few to watch for include:
- MADE SAFE®
- GreenGuard and GREENGUARD Gold
- OEKO-TEX Standard 100
- OEKO-TEX Made in Green
- Global Recycle Standard
- Cradle to Cradle
- Rainforest Alliance Certified
Organic mattresses have components that are certified organic, which means the harvesting and/or manufacturing were done without the use of certain harmful chemicals. The finished product will also be free of those same harmful chemicals. Organic mattresses are often found free of substances like formaldehyde, PBDEs, chemical flame retardants, and heavy metals because they’re not exposed to them during the harvesting, transportation, or manufacturing process.
Two more certifications to watch for when you’re searching for an organic mattress include the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS).
The difference between eco-friendly and organic mattresses can be confusing, in part because you can find both eco-friendly and organic certifications on the same mattress. A mattress can be either eco-friendly or organic, but some are both. And, you have to be watchful because sometimes the certification only applies to one component of the mattress. For example, many mattresses have an organic cotton cover, but just because the cover is certified organic doesn’t mean the rest of the mattress is. Others may have eco-friendly shipping and manufacturing processes but lack any organic components.
The list of certifications we’ve mentioned isn’t exhaustive, but it’s a good representation of the certifications that could indicate a mattress with a smaller carbon footprint or one that could reduce your exposure to harmful emissions and chemicals.
Are memory foam mattresses eco-friendly?
There are eco-friendly options in almost every mattress type. Memory foam is made by combining polyurethane foam with other chemicals, giving it a viscoelastic feel. Manufacturers can replace some of the chemicals with plant-based oils, which reduces emissions and the chemical off-gassing smell that comes with some memory foam beds.
Memory foam can be manufactured with methods that create nearly zero harmful emissions. They can even be shipped and packaged with eco-friendly methods like maximizing truck space and manufacturing the mattresses near the location from which they’ll be sold or shipped.
What is the most eco-friendly mattress?
We’re not going to pick one model since new models come to the market every year. However, we can tell you some of the practices and materials to look for. Mattresses made of sustainable materials like latex, cotton, and wool reduce the use of natural resources. Manufacturing and packaging processes that reduce emissions or replace the use of chemicals with natural alternatives also keep carbon footprints down. A mattress containing locally sourced materials to reduce transportation emissions is another good green option. Eco-friendly mattresses may be biodegradable or have recyclable components, too.
Thanks to a growing awareness of the hazards of harsh chemicals and unchecked emissions, consumers now demand more transparency— they want to know where and how their belongings are produced. You’ll spend nearly one-third of your life on your mattress. You deserve one that gives you peace of mind in how it was produced and what it’s exposing you to while you sleep.