Worried about the chemicals in your mattress? Use this ultimate guide to the best organic mattresses to find the right organic mattress for you and your family.
Despite the fact that we’ve all been sleeping on conventional mattresses for years, the truth is that they are bad for your health. In fact, your mattress is probably a major source of air pollution in your home.
From polyurethane foam to formaldehyde-ridden glues, mattress materials dump toxins into your sleeping environment. When you sleep in such close proximity to a chemical-laden surface, it’s no surprise that the chemicals in mattresses can impact your health.
You’re probably spending as much as 7-8 hours per day sleeping on your mattress. But how much additional time do you and your kids spend in your bedroom? If you keep the bassinet in your bedroom, if your kids end up in bed with you, or if they are sleeping on conventional mattresses — they are being exposed to the dangerous chemicals found in mattresses too.
Even if you’ve had your mattress for years, you shouldn’t assume that it would have finished off-gassing. Wear and tear on your mattress means that the chemicals will continue to break down and off-gas over a period of several years.
That’s where health concerns can become a real issue. Chemical flame retardants, for example, can have adverse effects on fetal and child development, cause reproductive toxicity, disrupt neurological function, and weaken the immune system.1 And several agencies, including the EPA, classify formaldehyde as a carcinogen.2
Since children are the most vulnerable to the effects of toxic chemicals, one of the biggest regrets I have as a parent is that I coslept with my kids on a toxic mattress for much longer than I should have. At the time, an organic mattress seemed out of reach. It wasn’t as common to buy an organic mattress and I didn’t give it much thought.
The good news is that there are now several organic mattresses that ensure a healthier night’s sleep. And when you know better, you can do better. (We have since replaced all of our mattresses!) You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg, either. In fact, many of these companies sell direct to consumer and cut out the middle man, so you’re able to get a better deal than you might expect.
Buying a mattress is one of the most important investments you can make in your health and wellness. There’s a lot to consider when buying an organic mattress but I’ve done the research for you and put together my recommendations on the best organic mattresses. I truly think you can’t go wrong when choosing from one of these mattresses.
Do You Need An Organic Mattress?
Are you (or your significant other) unconvinced about whether you need an organic mattress? Organic mattresses may cost a bit more than a regular, conventional mattress, and they are mostly sold online, so is it worth the time and cost?
The short answer is a big fat YES. An organic mattress is definitely worth the investment and effort – as long as you buy the right mattress. (More on greenwashing later.) Buying an organic mattress is an important investment in your health.
Harmful Chemicals Found in Conventional Mattresses
If you walk into a regular mattress store and shop around, you will see the more obvious materials like polyurethane foam and polyester fibers. What you won’t see are all the chemicals that these materials are treated with.
Oh, there are so many chemicals in traditional mattresses.
And the big problem with these chemicals is that they will off-gas and enter your breathing space while you sleep. Considering that you spend up to 1/3 of your life in your bed, this is something you need to be concerned about.
Flame Retardant Chemicals: Polyurethane foam is highly flammable, so most manufacturers will saturate their mattresses in flame retardant chemicals to meet government flammability standards. Flame retardants are used to stop or slow the spread of fire, but they may actually be ineffective in doing so. This means we are needlessly being exposed to these toxic chemicals.
According to Consumer Reports:
“We’re using large volumes of these chemicals in furniture, yet the data suggesting they’re effective in preventing fires is minimal to none.” 3
Flame retardant chemicals can be absorbed by the skin, through inhalation, or by migrating into household dust and being swallowed. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has been working to eliminate dangerous flame retardant chemicals because of their health hazards.4 While there is no current ban on using all flame retardant chemicals in mattresses, the state of California has added a new law that requires companies to state whether the item contains added chemical flame retardants. If you recently bought a mattress, check the tag to see whether it contains flame retardant chemicals. (Most manufacturers won’t make different labels for items sold outside of California, but if you’re ever unsure, just contact the manufacturer and ask.)
The organic mattresses I list below contain no flame retardant chemicals and instead meet government flammability standards using natural materials such as wool that are inherently flame retardant.
Formaldehyde: Formaldehyde is used in adhesives to bind the mattress layers together. Unfortunately, it is a known carcinogen and has also been linked to asthma and allergies.4 Shocking fact: conventional mattresses can contain up to 10 lbs. of glue.
Cotton Pesticides: Cotton is sprayed with more pesticides than any other crop. The cotton found in household products and clothing contains pesticide residues and can cause neurological issues, disrupt the immune system, and contribute to depression and anxiety.5 Cotton is also one of the world’s top four GMO crops. By choosing an organic mattress, you can safely avoid GMOs and pesticides because organic cotton is grown without the use of synthetic pesticides.
Boric Acid: Boric acid can be used as a flame retardant in some mattresses, and it can also be used to deter bacteria, bed bugs, and dust mites. It sounds ok until you realize that boric acid is actually a neurotoxin and is often used to kill pests like cockroaches. Ew!
Benzene: Benzene is also a known carcinogen and a byproduct of petroleum. That said, if you have foam in your mattress, you likely also have a good dose of benzene along with it.
Antimony: Antimony is a heavy metal that is commonly used in mattresses as a preservative in flame retardants. Just as with other heavy metals, antimony can accumulate in your body over time and cause a host of health issues like cancer, reproductive disorders, and impaired brain function.
Vinyl: While this is less common in adult mattresses, vinyl is usually used for waterproofing. (This is why we usually find this toxic material used in crib mattresses.) Vinyl often contains phthalates and is known as the most toxic plastic for a reason. It is truly something you want to keep out of your home and definitely out of your bed.
Bonus: Organic Mattresses Last Longer
If you buy one of the organic mattresses below, you can rest assured that you aren’t breathing in toxic and dangerous chemicals. These mattresses are made with safe, natural materials that aren’t harmful to your health. And that will make you breathe a huge sigh of relief.
But as if that wasn’t enough, the other main reason to go organic with your mattress is that these mattresses may last longer than conventional mattresses. Natural mattresses have the best durability in the industry. Many salespeople will tell you your conventional mattress will last you 10 years, but in my experience, they always begin to sag by the time they reach their 5-year mark.
Purchasing an organic mattress may be a larger initial investment up front, but I always find it comforting to remember how much I would spend if I have to replace my mattress two or three times in the time that an organic mattress will last.
The Best Organic Mattresses [Reviews]
After much research into the organic mattress industry, here is my list of the best organic mattresses. As you will see, there are a number of options at varying price points to help meet every budget.
Some companies that I left off this list intentionally are Sleep on Latex, Brentwood Home, SleepEZ, and ZenHaven due to concerns over their certifications (or lack thereof). Others were brands like Saatva or Nectar that contain CertiPUR-US foam (which is a deal-breaker).
I have only listed the mattresses below that meet my selection criteria. So even though a company is listed here, I don’t necessarily recommend ALL of their mattresses. Please pay attention to the mattresses listed below and their descriptions. And as always, do your own research because sometimes companies make changes to their products — and you also want to make sure that the mattress you buy is a good fit for you and your family.
These are the top brands of organic mattresses. These companies go the extra mile to make fully certified-organic mattresses, with even the final product being GOTS and/or GOLS certified (as applicable).
Made in USA. Naturepedic is one of the original makers of eco-friendly mattresses and one of the companies I trust the most. Naturepedic is my go-to brand for organic mattresses.
Naturepedic is dedicated to making the best organic mattresses and uses only the very best materials. Their dedication to sustainable sourcing materials is one of the reasons I think they’re an excellent choice. (For example, they only use certified organic cotton grown in the USA that they buy directly from USDA-certified sources. That means that with each mattress you purchase, you are directly helping our farmers and economy.)
All of their organic certifications are current, written out to Naturepedic, and posted here on their website. This is the kind of disclosure and transparency that you want from your organic mattress maker.
Naturepedic is based in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Skilled Amish craftspeople focus on quality and take pride in their work. Durability is something you can expect from their mattresses.
Certifications: GOLS latex, GOTS cotton and wool, Non-GMO Verified, OCS100 Organic Content Standard, Made-Safe, Rainforest Alliance, and GREENGUARD Gold. View details.
Mattress Sizes: Crib, Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, and Cal King
Check out the following organic mattresses I recommend from Naturepedic
Chorus Certified Organic Mattress: The Chorus is a universal firm mattress that Naturepedic says is great for all sleepers. It features a layer of 1.5” micro-coils over premium-encased coils for comfort. The mattress uses GOTS-certified organic cotton as well as organic wool batting to wick away moisture and add natural fire protection. Unlike their other mattresses, the Chorus is compressed and roll-packed in a box for easy shipping.
Serenade: A hybrid mattress, the Serenade features encased innersprings and a layer of GOLS-certified organic latex. The mattress features organic wool batting and a 2” organic latex layer that helps to give pressure-point relieving qualities. The Serenade has two firmness options for you to choose from.
Halcyon Series: Naturepedic’s Halcyon series is their most luxurious line. If you are looking for your dream bed and have an unlimited budget, this is the line for you. Halcyon beds are made with GOTS-certified organic cotton, GOLS-certified latex, and a premium wool blend containing alpaca and cashmere. Yes, cashmere.
Children’s Mattresses: If you are shopping for an organic mattress for your child, choose from a one-sided basic mattress (this is what I bought for my son), a 2-in-1 mattress with a quilted side and a waterproof side, and a plusher version for older children. Shop Naturepedic crib mattresses here.
Save 10% on your Naturepedic order with coupon code GENTLE10 through this link. Expires 9/30/19.
Made in USA. A trusted name in organic manufacturing, Lifekind has been in business for over 20 years. The company makes everything from GOTS-certified towels and bedding to organic mattresses and personal care products. Lifekind is committed to sourcing only the best ingredients and making truly organic, non-toxic mattresses.
Their mattresses are of exceptional quality and are truly among the best of the best organic mattresses. Lifekind is the sister company to OMI, makers of luxury organic mattresses. Both brands are manufactured in the same certified organic facility, but OMI beds are only available from specialty retailers.
Certifications: GOLS latex, GOTS-certified cotton and wool, and GREENGUARD Gold. View Certifications.
Mattress Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, Eastern King, California King
Check out these certified-organic mattresses from Lifekind…
The Traditional: This is Lifekind’s only latex-free mattress. An innerspring mattress that has customizable coil counts, it has a medium to medium-firm level firmness and customers rave about how comfortable it is.
The Combo: A hybrid mattress that has an innerspring core with latex cushioning, the Combo mattress provides more cushion than traditional innerspring mattresses.
The Lassen Plush: The Lassen is Lifekind’s plushest mattress and is great for side-sleepers. Customers rave about how comfortable this mattress is.
The Duet: Lifekind strikes a balance between firm and plush with the Duet. This mattress has three 3” layers of organic natural latex and sculpted surfaces for a better night’s sleep.
The Rose: A hybrid mattress that features pocket coils and latex, the Rose mattress is Lifekind’s medium-firm option.
The Trio: Smartly designed, this organic latex mattress has three 3” layers of latex that make the mattress fully customizable.
The Youth Bed: An organic latex mattress for kids, the Youth Bed is a firm mattress that will offer plenty of support for your child.
Made in USA. Happsy was created with one goal in mind: to create comfortable, healthier mattresses for better sleep. These mattresses use certified organic and sustainably harvested materials and are GOTS- and GOLS-certified. They focus on eliminating harsh chemicals, such as foams and adhesives that are typically used in conventional mattresses and find all natural solutions.
Another reason that I love Happsy is that they use honest and transparent practices in their business. They are trustworthy and that matters. All of their organic certifications are posted online and are current. The mattress itself is made in a certified organic facility and is GOTS-certified for the final product.
Certifications: GOTS, GOLS, Made-Safe, and GREENGUARD Gold. View Certifications.
Mattress Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, and Cal King
Check out the organic mattress from Happsy
Happsy Organic Mattress: This mattress features an organic cotton cover, a layer of organic wool, a 2-inch layer of latex, and pocketed coils. Happsy contains no flame retardant chemicals or glues and adhesives. This mattress is designed to be more breathable than traditional mattresses. Overall great quality!
Made in USA. One of the most popular organic mattress companies, Avocado Green Mattress is probably already on your radar. Avocado Green Mattress is one of the more affordable organic mattresses on the market, and customers rave about the comfort as well as the sustainable materials used.
They have two mattresses: a vegan mattress and a wool mattress. Both mattresses are GOTS and GOLS certified but the vegan mattress uses hydrated silica as a “natural flame retardant system”. Though I don’t think this is necessarily harmful, I have read conflicting information about hydrated silica, mainly that when it is used as a fire barrier it is more like a synthetic product than natural hydrated silica.
Certifications: GOTS, GOLS, and Made-Safe, GREENGUARD Gold. View certifications.
Mattress Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, and Cal King
Check out this mattress from Avocado Green…
Avocado Green Mattress: The mattress features 100% GOLS certified natural latex rubber and GOTS-certified organic wool and cotton, and up to 1,414 pocketed support coils. You can opt to add a pillow topper to both of the mattresses for additional costs.
One of the go-to places for buying a natural mattress is My Green Mattress. They have some of the most affordable
I have worked very closely with this company and really like them. I chose their Natural Escape mattress for myself because of the quality and value you get.
My Green Mattress recently became fully GOTS and GOLS certified, and their mattresses are made in a GOTS-certified facility. They use the finest materials and really care about making the best-quality mattresses available. To pass the flammability standards, My Green Mattress uses natural wool fiber as their fire barrier. I also love their mattress covers.
Certifications: GREENGUARD Gold, GOLS, GOTS, Eco-Institute latex, Oeko-Tex 100.
Mattress Sizes: Crib, Twin, Twin XL, Full, Full XL, Queen, King, and Cal King.
Check out the following mattresses from My Green Mattress…
Natural Escape: This medium-firm mattress has three inches of organic latex over pocketed coil innerspring for extra comfort. This mattress is great for side sleepers as well as those that prefer a slightly plush top with plenty of support. It is made with GOTS certified organic cotton, eco-friendly wool, and GOLS organic Dunlop latex.
Kiwi Green Mattress: New for 2019, the Kiwi Green Mattress is another great option for a child’s bed or guest room. It is an innerspring mattress made with GOTS-certified organic cotton, GOLS-certified organic latex, and Oeko-Tex certified wool. It’s comfortable and bouncy and I like to describe it as a bouncy cloud.
Pure Echo: This firm mattress that provides excellent lumbar support uses GOTS certified organic cotton and natural wool. It has an organic cotton quilted cover and a 3-zone pocketed coil spring system. This is ideal for kids or anyone shopping for an organic mattress on a budget.
Hope Latex Mattress: The Hope Latex is a medium-firm mattress and is made of 100% organic Dunlop latex, GOTS certified organic cotton, and American eco-wool. There are no coils in this mattress and the latex is not GOLS-certified.
6. Metta Bed
Made in USA. Metta Bed is a non-toxic latex mattress company that is owned by OMI, a leader in luxury organic mattresses. Handmade to order at OMI’s California-based Eco-Factory™, the Metta Bed mattress provides an affordable option for buying an organic mattress.
The company gets rave reviews from customers who love the fact that they can choose their firmness level and don’t have to worry about sleeping in a toxin-filled bed.
Certifications: GOTS, GOLS, and GREENGUARD Gold. View certifications.
Mattress Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, and Cal King
Check out the organic Metta Bed…
Metta Bed Mattress: Made with organic latex, cotton, and wool, the Metta Bed provides a natural and comfortable sleep environment. Choose your comfort level (firm, medium, or plush) when you order your mattress and swap it out under the company’s 120-night comfort guarantee if it’s too firm or too soft for you. What’s even better is that the mattress ships directly to you and no assembly is required. Simply open the package and unroll the bed; it will fully expand within a few minutes and you can sleep on it the very first night.
Made in USA. Nest Bedding offers lifetime guarantees with their products. Nest Bedding makes several types of mattresses, but their only fully certified organic mattress is the OMI mattress they carry. Otherwise their other mattresses unfortunately don’t meet the selection criteria.
Certifications: GOLS, GOTS, and GREENGUARD Gold. View info.
Mattress Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, and Cal King
Check out the OMI from Nest Bedding…
Nest/OMI Certified Organic Mattress: Through a special partnership with OMI, Nest Bedding’s Certified-Organic Mattress combines GOTS-certified wool and cotton with GOLS-certified latex. The core of the mattress is a pocket-coil innerspring system. This mattress ships in a box to your doorstep. And this is great news for anyone who is super sensitive to scents and chemicals: the manufacturer doesn’t even allow its employees to wear perfume or scented deodorant.
Made in USA. A company that prides itself on fine craftsmanship, Soaring Heart is dedicated to using the best materials and making the best organic mattresses. They take great care to purchase the finest sustainably sourced materials.
All mattresses are handmade in Soaring Heart’s Seattle factory – to order. That means that your mattress is built just for you, when your order is placed. They use no synthetic chemicals in the manufacturing of their mattresses, and all are GOTS and/or GOLS certified.
With over 30 years of experience, Soaring Heart is a trusted manufacturer of organic mattresses, bedding, and more.
Certifications: GOTS certified, GOLS certified
Mattress Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, and Cal King
Check out these mattresses from Soaring Heart…
The Balsa Mattress: A great option for shopping for an organic mattress on a budget (or even a big kids bed), the Balsa mattress provides exceptional value. This bed features a 6” organic latex core.
Organic Innerspring Mattress: Featuring special aerated sides, this mattress helps you stay cool while you sleep. This mattress contains a blend of organic wool and cotton, and uses hourglass coils that compress deeper than conventional coils to better conform to your body as you sleep.
Organic Latex Mattress: With a 6” organic Dunlop latex core, felted wool, and organic cotton encasing, this organic latex mattress gets rave reviews.
Zoned Organic Latex Mattress: This is pretty innovative – the zoned organic latex mattress features five different zones of latex ranging from soft to extra firm. Each zone provides a different level of firmness to different parts of your body. From what I can tell, people who have this latex mattress love it.
9. Savvy Rest
Savvy Rest focuses on creating non-toxic, reliable mattresses that meet their customer’s needs. One thing I like about Savvy Rest is that they offer two different types of natural latex. I think it’s great that they offer firmness customization specifically for couples. I know I prefer something different than my husband, and I know we aren’t alone in that!
All of Savvy Rest’s organic mattresses, pillows, and mattress toppers achieved the GREENGUARD Gold certification. And their latex – both Dunlop and Talalay – achieved the Eco-Institut certification.
Certifications: GOTS, GOLS, EcoInstitut, and GREENGUARD Gold. View certifications.
Mattress Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, and Cal King
Check out these certified organic mattresses from Savvy Rest…
Serenity: The Serenity mattress is the original mattress and includes three, 3-inch layers of natural latex. Because this is fully customizable, you can choose Talalay or Dunlop latex as well as the firmness of each layer. The latex layers are covered with an organic wool-quilted cotton case.
Unity Pillowtop: The Unity Pillowtop has four 3-inch layers. This mattress is like the Serenity listed above, but it includes a latex topper. The materials are all GOTS-certified, and just like the Serenity, you can customize each side of the larger mattresses.
Tranquility: This mattress is not designed for people weighing over 160 pounds. It’s a great choice for small, petite people, toddler beds, or bunk beds. The Tranquility has two 3” layers of natural latex that are GOTS-certified organic.
Tranquility Spring: This mattress has 8-inches pocketed coils made from recycled steel and one 3” layer of natural latex. You can pick between soft, medium, and firm levels of Dunlop or Talalay latex. And again, what’s amazing about this mattress is that you can customize the firmness on each side – seriously! The materials are all GOTS certified.
10. The Futon Shop
The Futon Shop is in the “okay” category because their mattresses aren’t GOTS-certified for the final product, but they do use certified organic materials. Their certifications span from GOTS-certified virgin wool and organic cotton (this is good) to USDA-certified organic cotton (this is ok, but I would prefer if this were GOTS).
Certifications: GOTS, GOLS, and Oeko-Tex 100.
Mattress Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, and Cal King
Check out these mattresses from The Futon Shop!
Organic Wool Mattress: Handcrafted with 100% GOTS certified organic wool, you get to sleep on 8 inches of pure organic wool. This is one of the few 100% organic wool mattress on the market. It is a bit softer than the latex mattresses, so don’t expect extra-firm support. In addition to the wool, the only other material used is the cotton case made of GOTS certified organic cotton that covers the organic wool components.
Moonlight Organic Latex Mattress: The Moonlight Mattress has 8-inches of GOTS certified organic Dunlop latex. The latex is encased in organic cotton case quilted with organic wool. With this mattress, you can customize the firmness from soft to extra firm, depending on your preferences.
Note: Make sure you pay attention when shopping because some of their mattresses are for futon frames rather than bed frames! Also, you will love that The Futon Shop offers free shipping.
What to Look For When Buying an Organic Mattress
As a consumer, it’s infuriating to invest money in something you think is non-toxic when it is actually just deceptive marketing. You don’t want to waste your money on a mattress that isn’t truly non-toxic.
Greenwashing — when a company misleads you about the toxicity of their product — is rampant in the mattress industry. In fact, I think mattress companies probably invented it!
Mattress companies go out of their way to convince you that their mattress is “green” and healthy when the truth is that they are cutting corners and using cheap or non-certified materials. The misleading claims are rampant — and it’s overwhelming for consumers to know what’s actually organic. You have to read the fine print and even contact some of these companies to know what their mattress is truly made from. Some companies will even throw a layer of organic cotton over polyurethane foam and call it an organic mattress, while others will display meaningless certifications or even make up their own certifications.
When my husband and I first decided to invest in an organic mattress, it felt daunting. Not only was I unfamiliar with how it might feel to sleep on materials like wool or latex, but I was also very skeptical about how so many mattress companies were marketing their products as “natural” and “organic.” Were they telling me the truth or were they greenwashing? How would I know they weren’t simply trying to confuse me by leaving out important facts?
It felt like a major research project to investigate every single “organic” mattress and to understand what was important and what was just clever marketing. I know how overwhelming it can seem when you first start looking into buying a mattress. My advice is to research the company and their products, know every ingredient that’s in your mattress, and make sure you’re comfortable with it what you’re buying.
Here are the criteria I used to compile this list of the best organic mattresses, and what you should look for when shopping. The main thing is that you should know what the ENTIRE mattress is made from. And if the materials aren’t certified – you can assume that they aren’t pure.
1. As Always, Avoid Polyurethane Foam
No matter what, polyurethane foam isn’t healthy. It is made from petrochemicals and contains a cocktail of hazardous chemicals.6 This applies to cheap mattress brands as well as more expensive brands that use polyurethane foam.
But if you’re on the market for a new mattress, there’s a good chance that you may still be considering a foam mattress, especially since there are so many inexpensive “green” ones on the market right now. Several mattress companies are selling low-VOC memory foam mattresses that are made with CertiPUR-US foam at an unbeatable price. And they’re marketing them as a cheaper and healthier version of “memory foam” mattresses.
But don’t fall for it.
CertiPUR-US foam is still polyurethane foam. It is certified to be free from the chemicals listed below, but it is still polyurethane foam. Don’t get me wrong, it is slightly better than traditional foam because it is low-VOC and made without several toxic chemicals. But it still doesn’t mean it’s healthy or organic.
CertiPUR-US foam is free from:
- PBDEs, TDCPP, or TCEP flame retardants
- Ozone Depleters
- Mercury, Lead, and Other Heavy Metals
These memory foam mattresses may be slightly better than a conventional mattress but they aren’t organic, natural, or non-toxic. Just because the company tells you what isn’t in the foam, doesn’t mean they are telling you what IS in it. They just aren’t healthy.
If you are shopping for your own bed, or for your child’s, CertiPUR foam mattresses are not a good choice. If you need a bed for a guest room, for example, it may make more sense to buy one of these if the other mattresses aren’t in your budget.
BUT, if you want a truly organic, non-toxic mattress, you need to avoid polyurethane foam. Foam, even with a natural component like “soy-based” or “plant-based” foam typically offgas some level of toxic chemicals, such as formaldehyde, benzene, toluene, and naphthalene.
Some foam mattresses contain isocyanates, which some researchers believe cause irritation to your eyes, nose, throat, and skin. Studies also show that exposure to isocyanates can cause regular asthma and asthma attacks.7
2. Look For Certified Organic Materials
This is the big one! There are several natural materials that may be used in an organic mattress. The most common choices are:
GOTS-Certified Organic Cotton: Organic cotton is grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. USDA organic cotton is certified organic, but unless the cotton is GOTS-certified or even Oeko-Tex certified, the USDA organic certification is almost useless. Once organic cotton is purchased from a farmer, the manufacturer can do anything they’d like with the cotton, so the final cotton product may have been bleached or dyed using toxic dyes. That’s why GOTS-certification matters. GOTS-certified organic cotton is the highest quality organic cotton available.
GOTS-Certified Organic Wool: Wool is a natural, breathable material that helps mattresses stay cool. In fact, it’s through this temperature regulation, wool can actually help to lower your heart rate and increase the duration of REM sleep. Wool is also naturally resistant to mold and mildew and flame resistant.
GOLS-Certified Organic Latex: When it comes to latex, it’s important to understand the manufacturing process. Natural latex is made from the liquid extracted from rubber trees called Hevea-Brasiliensis trees. The trees are tapped just like you might tap a maple tree for syrup. You will generally find organic mattresses that are made using 100% Dunlop or Talalay latex processing. In both the Dunlop and Talalay methods, the latex is thickened and turned into a foam. Then, the foam is baked into a mold and cured.
The main difference between the Dunlop and Talalay methods is that the Dunlop method creates a denser foam while the Talalay creates a lighter foam. You can remember it this way: Dunlop is denser and Talalay is lighter.
Note: There is also synthetic latex. This is not natural and contains chemicals (often polyurethane foam), so avoid this! Latex must be GOLS-certified, period. Anything called “natural latex” without the GOLS certification may or may not even be real natural latex.
No Added Flame Retardants, Whatsoever: If you are buying an organic mattress, the mattress shouldn’t require any added flame retardants. In fact, companies don’t even need to use chemicals to meet government flammability tests — they do that because it’s cheap. One thing to be wary of is companies that use “natural flame retardant systems” such as hydrated silica; first, this isn’t necessary if you use enough wool in your mattress and second, this usually isn’t sourced naturally. Avoid.
3. Check The Certifications (They’re Important!)
Just like organic food, organic mattresses have to pass certain tests and qualifications to be considered an organic mattress. The products must pass through third-party, certifying agents.
Make sure you check expiration dates on certifications and make sure they are written out to the company you are buying a mattress from. Some companies let their certifications lapse, but authentic, trustworthy companies do not.
When it comes to buying a mattress, the two certifications that are the most important are GOTS and GOLS.
GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard): GOTS is the gold standard in organic textiles and has the most rigorous requirements of all certifying bodies. This certification mostly applies to cotton and wool, but an entire mattress can also be GOTS-certified (and this is what you want). GOTS-certified materials are important, but ideally the entire mattress you purchase will be GOTS-certified, meaning the mattress meets their rigorous standards. For a mattress to be GOTS-certified, all materials need to meet GOTS standards as does the factory the mattress is made in.
GOLS (Global Organic Latex Standard): This certification only applies to mattresses made with latex, and it certifies that 95% of the mattress contains organic latex. If you purchase a mattress that contains ANY latex, please be sure that it is GOLS-certified. Otherwise, any claims of “natural latex” that isn’t GOLS-certified is meaningless; the latex may actually be synthetic or contain toxic materials such as polyurethane foam.
There are a few other decent certifications you can look for while shopping. They are not as meaningful as GOTS and GOLS when you are buying a mattress, but they at least offer some level of assurance that the materials have been tested for harmful chemicals or emissions.
- Oeko-Tex Standard 100: This certification ensures that your mattress won’t emit high levels of VOCs and other harmful chemicals. It also ensures that your mattress does not have some of the most dangerous fire retardants. What is great about this certification is that they test for harmful chemicals that are also not legally regulated. Oeko-Tex is a helpful certification but is a few notches below GOTS. Oeko-Tex also certifies synthetic fabrics such as polyester, so be sure to check the materials used in a mattress even if they are Oeko-Tex certified.
- GREENGUARD and GREENGUARD Gold: GREENGUARD certification uses specific testing methods to set limits for VOC emissions. They test over 10,000 potential chemicals in your products. By having this certification, it shows that the finished mattress product has been tested for levels of harmful emissions from VOCs and other chemicals. GREENGUARD Gold tests for additional chemicals in products with the young and elderly in mind. The certification requires an even lower total VOC emission standard than the GREENGUARD certification. Having this certification also means that the manufacturer follows the same requirements as the California Department of Public Health. While GREENGUARD certification can be helpful when buying furniture, it is less useful when buying a mattress because there are more rigorous and relevant standards such as GOTS and GOLS.
- CertiPUR-US: As mentioned above, CertiPUR-US certifies polyurethane foam to be free of some of the most harmful chemicals commonly used to treat foam. However, while this is an improvement over traditional polyurethane foam, it is still not a safe product.
4. Consider The Firmness Level
Everyone prefers a different firmness level for their mattress, so this comes down to personal preference. Most doctors say that a firmer mattress is better for your spinal alignment, but it also depends if you sleep on your back, side, or stomach. When buying a mattress online, look for the firmness rating and read reviews to see what actual customers have to say.
Some of the mattresses listed below have customizable firmness levels, too.
5. Check The Comfort Guarantee
Check to see if the mattress company offers a comfort guarantee and warranty. All of the options for the best organic mattress I list below have some sort of guarantee. This is pretty important since you’re buying a mattress online, sight unseen in most cases.
A company that stands behind the quality of their products isn’t afraid to offer a guarantee. Many companies offer sleep trials to let you decide if you love the mattress. It can be hard to know if you’ll love it when you’re purchasing online, so definitely take advantage of their trial offers.
However, be sure to read the fine print before you buy so that you fully understand their return policy and comfort guarantee policy. For example, some companies will only give you a store credit and allow you to exchange your mattress for another one of their mattresses. Some companies require that you keep the mattress for 30 days before exchanging it. Check each individual company’s policy.
6. Look Into Your Delivery Options
Believe it or not, the delivery experience matters. Would you prefer to have your king-sized bed dropped off at your doorstep or brought into your bedroom with white-glove delivery service? Are you willing to pay extra for white glove service? Do you have the patience to lug a mattress upstairs?
7. Innerspring or Latex? The Choice Is Yours.
Innerspring mattresses are a common choice, but there is some level of concern around EMF (electromagnetic fields) in coil-spring mattresses. Some research shows that electromagnetic radiation could suppress the immune system and promote cancer.8 But there is a lot of debate about whether innerspring mattresses work as antennae for EMFs. Until I can provide my own testing data, I remain on the fence about this topic and continue to use my innerspring mattress. (Though please note that I will not buy a metal bed frame, for this reason, out of caution.)
Natural latex comes from the Hevea brasiliensis tree. It is naturally hypoallergenic and resistant to dust mites, mold, and mildew. While it is a great natural alternative to foam in mattresses, it is also an allergen. Some people have allergic reactions to latex by breathing in the fibers while others have reactions from skin contact. While most mattress companies will tell you that this is a non-issue, I personally don’t know anyone with a latex allergy who would risk sleeping on a latex mattress. But, latex allergies are rare; less than 1% of the population is allergic to latex.9
But a 1999 study found that varying amounts of latex proteins could be extracted from natural latex mattresses. “Because the natural rubber of the mattresses contains latex allergens, these allergens are a potential source of sensitization and could constitute a risk, at least to allergic individuals.” 10 If you are concerned, some mattress companies will send you samples of their materials for you try out.
There are benefits and drawbacks to both innerspring and latex mattresses. Choose what you are most comfortable with.
Final Thoughts on Buying an Organic Mattress
It’s a lot to take in when you first start researching organic mattresses. I want to leave you with a few final thoughts about picking the best organic mattress for you.
Set a budget and go for it. Organic mattresses are expensive, but plenty of companies offer more affordable choices. This is an investment in your health and wellness, but you still have to be comfortable with the price.
Don’t shy away from wool. It has a bad reputation for being hot, but it’s actually the opposite. Wool is breathable and will help you regulate your temperature. If you’re a sweaty sleeper, wool might be for you! You may need to air out a wool mattress for 2-3 days before sleeping on it. This is totally normal.
Read reviews and research each company. You are making an investment, so I suggest you read reviews and thoroughly research the company before making a purchase. This investment should last you at least one or two decades.
Grab the organic sheets too! If you’re doing all this researching into organic mattresses, don’t top them with pesticide or chemical-ridden sheets. Grab a few sets of organic sheets and pillows as well, and you’ll be good to go.
I would love to hear from you. What did you think about this guide to the best organic mattresses? Are you looking forward to swapping out your mattress for a non-toxic one?
- National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences: Flame Retardants Overview
- National Cancer Institute: Formaldehyde and Cancer Risk
- Consumer Reports: New Warning to Consumers: Avoid These Flame Retardants
- Mother Jones: Should You Ditch Your Mattress?
- The World Counts: Cotton Pesticide Statistics
- EPA: Health Concerns About Spray Polyurethane Foam
- NIH: Diagnosis and Prevention of Diseases Induced by Isocyanate
- NIH: Effects of Electromagnetic Field on the Reproductive System
- Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
- NIH: Protein and Allergen Analysis of Latex Mattresses
Founder and CEO | The Gentle Nursery
After learning about the toxic chemicals found in mainstream baby products, I created The Gentle Nursery to help other parents make healthy choices for their babies. With a 10-year background in research, analytics, and leadership for a Fortune 100 company, I apply the same principles and attention to detail to every article I write. I consult with an amazing team of moms, medical professionals, chemists, and other experts to ensure accuracy.
My driving mission is to help reduce the rates of disorder, disease, and trauma in mothers and children and to inspire others to lead a healthier, happier, and non-toxic life. I am a graduate of the University of Southern California and have studied newborn baby care at the University of Colorado. Read more >