The thought of having a mattress makes you ill. Bed-in-a-box styles have too much of a reputation for disgusting odors and off-gassing. Showroom mattresses are mostly petroleum based. What’s a person supposed to do? Sleep on the floor?

Stop it.

We’ve put together a list of mattresses that take environmental friendliness seriously. We’ve also answered a few questions you might have about what to look for in the best nontoxic mattresses. Let’s take a look.

Why Should I Care?

Before we start, it’s important to say that many mattresses are safety tested in multiple areas, and you’re unlikely to develop severe illness just from your bed alone.

That said, there are a lot of issues with chemicals and mattresses. traditional memory foam is polyurethane based. It’s a petroleum offshoot that can emit something called volatile organic compounds or VOC. VOC when high enough in concentration can cause respiratory issues or other allergic reactions. VOC is what you smell in the paint, for example, that gives you such a headache.

Other issues are flame retardants such as an old retardant called polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or P.B.D.E. After this was discontinued, manufacturers began using synthetic materials that were flame retardant, but it’s difficult to know what’s in this layer because they’re often proprietary.

Cover materials are also problematic because even things like cotton are often grown with insecticides or other pesticides. There’s some evidence that the production of all these materials does have a detrimental effect on the environment.

What Should I Do?

Getting a nontoxic mattress means rethinking the types of materials you consider for mattresses.

Foam Or Latex

Traditional memory foam is a petroleum-based product, as we said. Latex is a common alternative for memory foam because it can be derived naturally.

Latex comes from the rubber tree. It’s whipped to create air pockets and put in a mold to form the layers. 100% latex is prohibitively expensive and not very durable, so even if it’s all natural latex, there’s always going to be a small bit of synthetic latex mixed in.

Cover Materials

Organic cotton is a huge factor in natural mattresses. Other types of organic materials include bamboo or eucalyptus. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s organically grown or from a sustainable source.

Springs

There isn’t much that can be organic about steel. However, recycled steel has a lower impact on the environment than the alternative.

Other Materials

Mattress companies aren’t required to disclose all the materials within their mattresses. Many will market the environmentally friendly factors of a mattress without revealing the not so environmentally friendly pieces.

Certifications

If you can find evidence of outside certifications, that can help you make a decision. CertiPur US is standard certification. Greenguard certifies for emissions including testing for VOCs. OEKO-TEX is another certification company that tests things like wool (in natural flame retardants and GOTS tests materials like cotton for pesticides and other contaminants.

What Are The Benefits of Nontoxic Mattresses?

If you’ve got severe respiratory allergies, a nontoxic mattress may offer some relief from odors and toxins. VOCs could make respiratory issues worse. At the very least, they can cause some severe off-gassing that can make sleeping uncomfortable for your nose. Quit them entirely.

Environmentally friendly materials produce fewer hazardous materials that might make their way into places like water systems. Anything you can do to reduce your footprint and prevent hazardous materials from getting into the environment is a huge plus.

What Are Some Downsides?

We won’t lie to you. Organic and non-toxic can be expensive. It takes a lot of resources to produce sustainable and nontoxic products, so companies aren’t able to deliver super cheap mattresses.

Another downside is that sometimes you just don’t know what you’re getting when you purchase an “organic” mattress. It’s going to require a lot more research and homework before you might feel comfortable finally making a decision.

What Else Should I Look For?

Nontoxic mattresses should behave like any other mattress. You need to have a layer of contouring materials so that you can relieve pressure on common pain points such as the shoulders or lower back.

Your mattress also needs proper structural support. If it doesn’t, your bed could deteriorate a lot sooner than you’d like.

The List

Here are our top recommendations for nontoxic mattresses. Each one has organic certifications and is made from materials that are sustainable and better for the environment.

Zenhaven – Our Top Pick

Zenhaven is part of Saatva company. It features all natural latex in several contouring and supporting layers. Plus, it’s dual sided so you can adjust the firmness level.

The contouring layer is a latex zoned support layer. It gives way underneath your shoulders and hips where you need less support, and it fills in gaps around your torso and waist to keep your spine aligned. The area underneath your legs is also firmer to keep your legs in the right position.

Underneath are layers of solid support. Talalay foam is natural and doesn’t use petroleum-based foams. It’s resilient and does give a lot of support for your spine and lower lumbar region.

The soft side is the side with the zoned support layer. It’s rated at about a five on a ten point scale, so it’s medium soft and suitable for side sleepers. The firm side is the opposite side, and it’s rated at about a seven and a half and is better for back and stomach sleepers.

Zenhaven doesn’t combine its latex with any synthetics, making it one of the few without even a small mix. Both the cotton and wool cover materials are certified organic. It contains no lead, VOCs, PBDE flame retardants, or phthalates. Zenhaven uses sustainable harvesting methods and reduced byproducts to mitigate environmental effects.

Zenhaven gives you 120 nights to try the mattress out before deciding if it’s the right one. Be sure you sleep on the bed for at least 30 nights so that you can determine if it’s the right one. It will take some time for the latex to break in.

You’re covered by a 20-year warranty against mattress defects. Zenhaven’s latex mattress is estimated to last about twice as long as the average bed, so the warranty reflects that estimate.

You can’t compress this type of latex, so Zenhaven offers free white glove delivery. They’ll deliver the mattress at a specified time and help you set things up. They’ll even haul off your old bed and all the packing materials, making your transition very smooth.

Avocado – Runner-Up

Avocado’s mattress uses 100% natural latex, another rare company which does so. The cover materials are natural wool and organic cotton. It doesn’t use any polyurethane based foams or PBDE flame retardants. There’s also a vegan option that doesn’t use wool.

The contouring layer is made of two inches of Dunlop latex. Dunlop is firmer than Talalay and reduces motion transfer. Below, another inch of support foam rests on top of individually pocketed coils. The coils are arranged to provide targeted support. The coils are upcycled steel.

There’s an optional pillow top layer that adds an extra two inches of Dunlop latex on top of the existing layers. The original mattress measures about ten inches in depth while the pillow top is 13 inches.

Avocado is certified by a variety of organizations including Greenguard Gold, Eco-Institut, OEKO-TEX, and the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).

You have 100 nights to try the mattress out before deciding if it’s the right one for you. Makes sure you give it some time to break in and for your body to adjust. You’re also covered by a 25-year warranty against mattress defects. Your mattress needs to be supported correctly to prevent sagging and accidentally voiding the warranty.

You can choose free standard shipping, and your mattress will arrive in a box ready for you to unpack when you’re ready. You can also add white glove shipping for $199. The delivery person will help you get everything set up and haul your old mattress away.

Honorable Mention

We have a few different options for those of you who might have unique needs. If you fit into one of these situations, you might consider one of these other choices.

Tuft And Needle – Best Budget Option

Sometimes you just can’t swing more than $1000 for your mattress. Tuft and Needle’s simple mattress is an excellent budget alternative without sacrificing safety. None of their bed sizes are over $750.

The original Tuft and Needle uses just two simple layers. The first is T&N’s proprietary Adaptive foam. It contours to your body throughout the night, but rebounds quickly, so it never feels like quicksand. Underneath, dense support foam provides excellent support and keeps your spine aligned. It also gives the mattress structural integrity.

The top layer is infused with heat wicking graphite. Open cell foams help air flow, and the cover materials are highly breathable. It keeps heat from building up in the core of the mattress and reflecting back to your body.

T&N is certified by several different organizations including CertiPur-US, OEKO-TEX, and Greenguard Gold. The company doesn’t use any harmful chemicals, and the entire mattress is certified as safe as fabrics intended for use close to the skin (think underwear or t-shirts).

You have 100 nights to try your mattress out before deciding if it’s the right one. Make sure you give it a few weeks so your body can adjust, and the bed can break in just a little. You’re also covered by a ten-year warranty against mattress defects. Just make sure your mattress is adequately supported.

Your T&N mattress arrives compressed in a box. You unpack it when you’re ready and allow it to inflate. The delivery person isn’t available to help you set things up so make sure you enlist help if you need it.

Again, none of their mattress sizes go over $750. They even offer financing if that’s too much for you to swing right now.

Real Sleep – Best (Nontoxic) Memory Foam Option

Real Sleep is the brainchild of the magazine you know and love. It uses two simple layers with FloraFlex foam. The layers were created after polling thousands of dedicated Real Simple readers, so this mattress company really listens to what the people need.

It has an open cell design, so air flows through, preventing heat from building up in the core and reflecting back on your body. It’s responsive, and as you change positions throughout the night, the foam follows to provide contouring.

The dense support layer keeps your spine aligned and supports your back and hips. You decompress your lower lumbar region and prevent painful pressure points from appearing. The cover materials are breathable organic cotton, and they stretch with the contouring layers.

The mattress is certified by CertiPur US and is cruelty-free. It uses no phthalates or ozone depleters. VOC levels are extremely low, and there are no synthetic flame retardants. It doesn’t’ test these materials on animals.

You have 100 nights to try the mattress out. Make sure you give it a few weeks so it can break in. If you decide it isn’t going to work out, make sure to return it before the trial period is over for a full refund.

Real Sleep backs the mattress with a 10-year limited warranty. Support the bed correctly, so it doesn’t risk sagging, but if you notice abnormal wear and tear, you’re covered. Abnormal sagging and indentations are part of this coverage, but if your mattress is poorly supported it could void the warranty.

The mattress arrives in a neat little box on your doorstep. Once you unpack it, it will inflate and should be ready in just a few hours. If you need help setting things up, you’ll have to find your own. The delivery person isn’t available to help.

Happsy – Best Hybrid + Accessories

Happsy can overhaul your entire sleep situation. The organic hybrid mattress also features an organic accessories line that includes bed linens, pillows, and foundations. Everything is certified non-toxic.

The mattress itself is a blend of latex and coils. The latex layer provides contouring for the broadest points of your body, reducing pressure in places like your shoulders or your lower back. Latex is breathable and highly responsive. Underneath are individually pocketed coils for targeted support and overall mattress structure.

The organic cotton filling helps reinforce the edges of the mattress, and the organic cotton cover materials are highly breathable while producing no odors or toxic off-gassing. The bed is simple but very effective.

The company is certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS). The green materials are MadeSafe and UL certified as well.

You’ve got 120 nights to sleep on the mattress before you decide if it’s the right one for you or not. Give it a few weeks though. Your bed needs time to break in for full support, and your body needs time to adjust. If you still don’t like it, you can return it.

Happsy also covers you for 10 years against mattress defects as long as your mattress is correctly supported. They’ll replace any mattress showing abnormal signs of wear and tear.

Happsy delivers your mattress compressed into a box without scheduling a delivery time. It’s there when you’re ready, so you can unpack it on your own timeline. Make sure you’ve got reinforcements if you aren’t able to handle the full weight of getting the mattress set up. Once you unpack the box, it should be ready in about an hour for a good night’s sleep.

Final Thoughts

Organic mattresses might be the newest trend, but that doesn’t discount their importance. Eventually, we’ll have to atone for environmental waste, so it’s essential that we begin thinking about some of our most significant waste factors.

Having an organic mattress might be hard to measure, but all of the beds on our list are certified by outside groups for different elements of the mattress. If you want to get the most nontoxic mattress you can, look for multiple certifications for various aspects of the bed. If there’s only one certification, you might be missing some crucial factors.

Also, if you have respiratory illnesses or allergies, a nontoxic mattress may also benefit your healing. Your bedroom is a huge part of allergies, so get it clean and get a better night’s sleep. We think you’ll be thrilled with any of the mattresses listed above with their clean materials and multiple certifications.

We don’t mind spending more on our health, so be aware that nontoxic and organic may add an extra expense. For us, it’s definitely worth it.

How important is nontoxic and organic to you when choosing products? Do you think it’s just a gimmick or is there value in paying for environmentally friendly things? Let us know what you think in the comments below, plus some of your tips for living a healthier, cleaner life.

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