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What is an Organic Mattress?

Malena Piper

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Recently, consumers are demanding more natural textiles, foams, and woods in their products—especially since people want to live cleaner, chemical-free lifestyles. While a good mattress can improve your health through better sleep, organic mattresses boost sleep quality even more by offering non-chemically processed material alternatives.

Organic mattresses are hypoallergenic, flame resistant, and biodegradable, making them good options for allergy sufferers and active conservationists.

In this article, we will compare organic mattresses and traditional beds. We will also explore the benefits and drawbacks of organic mattresses and how green beds are different from organic mattresses.

Organic Mattresses vs. Traditional Beds

In this article, the term “traditional bed” encompasses all mattresses types, including innerspring, poly-foam, latex, hybrid, water, and memory foam mattresses. Traditional mattresses are mostly made from synthetic materials (polyurethane, polyester fabrics or fiber fills, press boards), which are often treated with adhesives, dyes, antimicrobials, flame retardants, and other harmful chemicals.

Organic mattresses include materials made without chemical processes. GOTS sourced cotton and wool are most commonly used in the mattress’s cover and comfort layers. Dunlop latex foams are another material generally use in the comfort layers or to create an entire latex mattress, which eliminates the use of coil spring systems.

Benefits of an Organic Mattress

Many people buy organic products because of the beneficial impact on their health and the environment.

Fewer Allergens

Organic textiles are grown and processed differently than materials in traditional mattresses. Since organic materials aren’t grown with pesticides or chemically processed, the materials won’t off-gas or emit toxic chemicals that may cause skin sensitivities, eye irritation, and breathing difficulties.

Some of the more common materials used in organic mattresses are wool, cotton, and latex, which are each resistant to allergens. Wool is naturally antimicrobial (bacteria is killed on contact) and resistant to dust mites. Cotton is soft enough that dust and other allergens slide off its surface. Latex is also resistant to allergens as the materials density doesn’t allow foreign particles to penetrate its surface.

Durability

As a general rule, if you’re buying a mattress with natural materials, you can expect a lifespan of 15 to 20 years. Organic mattresses contain high-quality, certified materials.

High-quality materials last much longer and offer more support and comfort. Low-quality materials can wear out quicker and feel uncomfortable after a time; however, organic mattresses have to pass several tests before they can be labeled “organic mattress.”

An organic mattress must consist of 95 percent organic materials and meet USDA organic mattress standards, which means all organic materials built in the bed are regulated and certified.

If you’re unsure how long an organic mattress will last, you can look at the warranty length.  Before companies place their mattresses on the market, they test the mattress’s durability and offer warranties to reflect the bed’s longevity.

Comfort

Organic mattresses are known for their pressure relief and temperature regulation.

Natural fibers often wick away moisture and heat better than man-made fabrics due to the fibers’ cellulose structure, making the material more breathable.

Organic mattresses are available in all firmnesses and can alleviate pressure to encourage rejuvenating sleep. Latex, which is a common material found in organic mattresses, is firm yet conforming.

Positive Environmental Impact

Organic mattresses consist of organic materials such as GOLS (Global Organic Latex Standard) certified latex and GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified wool and cotton, which are textiles cultivated without the use of pesticides and manufactured using chemical-free processes.

A mattress containing chemical flame retardants and adhesives, as well as man-made materials such as memory foam, can have a chemical odor called off-gassing. Off-gassing is caused by emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can cause health issues such as headaches, dizziness, and irritated sinuses for those with respiratory issues and strong allergic reactions to chemicals.

Organic mattresses don’t emit as many VOCs as traditional mattresses. This is because organic mattress companies ensure their materials are organically sourced and don’t contain chemical flame retardants and adhesives.

GOTS and GOLS sourced materials are made of 70 percent or more organic fibers and have to avoid chemical inputs, such as dyestuffs and auxiliaries, to meet environmental and toxicological standards. Generally, organic mattresses are CertiPUR-US® and GREENGUARD Gold certified, but all organic mattresses have to meet Organic Content Standard 100 to be considered an organic mattress.

If you’re searching for an organic mattress, look for these certifications:

  • CertiPUR-US®: The product was made without ozone depleters, phthalates, formaldehyde, PBDEs, TDCPP or TCEP, flame retardants, mercury, lead, and other heavy metals.
  • GREENGUARD Gold: The textiles were made without harmful substances, and the material was found safe to use.
  • OEKO-TEX®: The product is safe to use in enclosed spaces as it emits low chemical emissions to preserve the air quality.
  • Organic Content Standard 100: A product marked with this certification has tested and confirmed to have 95% or more organic materials.

Sustainable and Biodegradable

Organic mattress components are renewable, have a low impact on the environment when they break down, and maintain soil health. The Organic Trade Association states, “organic production systems replenish and maintain soil fertility, reduce the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers, and build biologically diverse agriculture.”

Latex companies tap rubber trees for extracting the sap made into latex instead of cutting down the tree. A singular tree can yield sap for 30 years before it’s cut down to create wood furniture; after which, the field is replanted, making latex a sustainable resource.

Cotton is grown using non-toxic pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Federal regulations prohibit the use of engineered seeds, which prevent genetic modifications. Cotton will decompose over time, making it biodegradable.

Wool is a renewable resource as it can be sheared off a sheep every year. The material is biodegradable, sustainable, and fire-resistant. American federal regulations state each mattress sold in the United States must meet fire code. A layer of wool meets preventative fire regulations without the use of chemical retardants.

Drawbacks of an Organic Mattress

While organic mattresses are a great way to improve your sleep health, they have limited availability as well as higher prices.

Limited Options

There aren’t many organic mattresses options. Innerspring, hybrid, latex, and memory foam mattresses have overrun the market with various features and options, while organic mattresses are limited to latex foam beds, innerspring, and hybrid mattresses with latex, cotton, and wool comfort layers.

Shopping Difficulties

Organic mattresses are hard to shop for as some brands market their mattresses as “organic” when, in fact, only part of the mattresses are organic.

Other companies may mislead customers through false certifications and studies or do not provide enough information to compare to other organic mattress brands. We suggest sticking to organic mattress companies that provide specific information about the layers and materials. The company should freely offer information about the certifications, as well.

Price

One of the deciding factors of mattress buying is its price. The average organic latex or innerspring mattress costs between $2000 and $2500, whereas a traditional latex or spring bed can cost between $1000 and $1500.

Organic materials are more expensive to procure. Certification fees aren’t cheap either.

The value you place on your sleep quality and health will reflect in your budget. There are ways to get an organic mattress at an affordable price. Taking advantage of big sales days such as Labor Day and Black Friday can give mattress shoppers a little wiggle room in their budgets.

Comparison of Organic Mattress Brands

Since there isn’t a wide variety of organic mattresses, we gathered a list of prominent brands to help you start the search for the best mattress for your sleep needs.

FloBeds

Flobeds have an organic latex bed collection featuring mattresses made with Talalay latex, organic cotton, and organic wool. The mattresses come in 8 or 11-inch profiles and range from $1999 to $2899 for a queen size. The mattress is OEKO-TEX® and QUL/TUV certified and comes with a 100-day sleep trial and a 20-year warranty.

LifeKind

LifeKind by OMI sells hybrid mattresses made with Dunlop latex, organic cotton, and organic wool. The mattress comes in 6 and 9-inch profiles, ranging from $2495 to $4795. The firmness level is customizable on some organic mattress models and also comes with GOLS certified latex, OTCO certified cotton, and GREENGUARD Gold certification. The mattresses come with a 100-night sleep trial and a 20-year warranty.

Naturepedic

NaturePedic makes latex mattresses with Dunlop latex, organic cotton, and organic wool and has GOLD certified latex, GOTS wool, USDA cotton, and GREENGUARD Gold certification. NaturePedic’s 9-inch thick latex is sold at $4499; meanwhile, the innerspring models contain organic padding and fabrics and range from $1999 to $6999. All NaturePedic mattresses come with 120-night sleep trials and a 20-year warranty.

Organicpedic

Organicpedic sells organic latex made with Dunlop latex, cotton, and wool and has GOLS, OTCO, and GREENGUARD Gold certifications. They have eight latex bed models ranging from 6-inch to 12-inch profiles. Organicpedic has two innerspring mattresses made with organic padding and fabric, costing between $2795 and $3595. You can choose the firmness on some Organicpedic models.

Are Eco and Green Mattresses Just as Good?

Natural beds are viewed as a compromise between organic and conventional mattresses. Natural beds are made with all-natural materials, including natural fabrics, natural latex, and plant-based polyurethane foam, although the materials may go through a chemical, but still eco-friendly, manufacturing process.

Green mattresses don’t have to abide by the regulations organic mattresses are restricted by. The fact is green and eco-friendly mattresses are not regulated. So, when you’re shopping for a natural mattress, it’s important to research the mattress materials and their manufacturing process.

Since true organic mattresses have certifications that prove the company’s claim, a customer can buy an organic mattress with peace of mind, knowing they’re getting what they’re paying for.

Conclusion

Organic mattresses are more than a trend. They are healthier if you have sensitive skin, chemical sensitivities, or asthma. Concerns about VOCs’ or flame retardants’ effects and a preference for natural materials are cause enough to purchase an organic mattress. Just remember to look for those certifications, especially the Organic Content Standard 100, to ensure your new mattress is completely organic.

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