Why an Organic Mattress?
Today more than ever before, people are trying to implement a clean, natural lifestyle in all the areas of their lives.
From the food that you eat to the items you purchase for in and around your home, you want it all to be as close to natural as possible.
Natural textiles, untreated woods, and environment-friendly foams are skyrocketing in popularity.
And with latest mattresses now governed by law regarding the chemical composition of their filling, more people are seeking organic and safer alternatives.
Most people, especially those in the younger generations, have a good understanding and knowledge of organic food and other common products, but organic mattresses are not so popular yet. So here is our guide on organic mattresses, with the objective of clarifying the pros and cons.
Organic Mattresses Vs Traditional Mattresses
A big percentage of mattresses in American houses today is made up of a combination of petroleum-based nylon, polyester, press board, polyurethane foam and vinyl, and are treated with flame retardants of chemical origin like, phosphates, silicon, and boric acid. They are also sometimes wrapped in flame-resistant fibers like, polyvinylidene chloride and melamine.
Needless to say, those substances aren’t really what you want on your skin for 8 hours a day…
Just Like Organic Food
Organic mattresses instead are manufactured by combining natural and non-toxic materials like organic wool, organic cotton, and organic latex.
Well, it is quite simple: organic fruits are healthier because they do not have pesticide and fertilizer residues. Similarly, organic milk is healthier because it comes from cows that are not given any antibiotics and can eat simple grass instead of artificial fodder.
Likewise, organic mattresses do not contain the chemicals that traditional mattresses have. Organic cotton and wool are the most common sources of padding and fabric. These natural materials are processed with mechanical means, grown without dangerous chemical products, and used in the manufacturing process without the addition of any toxic substances.
It’s Not Just Black or White
On the market today there are also a number of brands that use a an increased proportion of natural materials, like natural latex, plant-based poly foams, and other natural fabrics that are not completely organic, but are still more natural materials than what is used in traditional mattresses.
Read on to find out the pros and cons of buying organic mattresses as compared to other mattresses.
Advantages Of Buying An Organic Mattress
- Biodegradable (eco-friendly), Sustainable, And Hypoallergenic Materials
- Free Of Chemicals, Synthetic Materials, And Pesticide Residues
- Non-Toxic Fire Barrier methods
- Free Of VOC Chemicals (Volatile Organic Compounds)
- Often Customizable
- Sustainable Manufacturing And Farming
With about one third of your lives spent in bed, what you sleep on does affect you, and your mattress is certainly a long-term investment in your health, not only in your comfort.
As mentioned above, the organic components are cultivated using no chemicals and pesticides, and are manufactured using non toxic and chemical free processes.
In many organic mattresses, the core and main component is natural latex that provides both support and comfort. As you probably know, latex comes naturally from from the rubber tree and then gets processed by various methods to reach the final product.
In contrast, traditional mattresses usually consist of synthetic chemical based materials such as memory foam, glues, polyurethane, etc that can cause respiratory or skin irritation for many people.
Flammabilty Tests and Toxic Materials in Organic Mattresses
Even mattresses advertised as organic can have materials that produce some toxic off-gassing, so it is imperative to know what exactly to look for in an organic mattress. That is mostly because all mattresses in the U.S. must pass flammability tests which can be achieved in a plethora of ways.
Some mattresses use toxic chemicals like, brominated retardant, boric acid, antimony, and chlorinated tris that may cause reactions for some people. Some also believe they are linked with neurological issues, kidney damage, respiratory issues, and skin irritation.
However, the typical organic mattress uses wool layers, especially designed kevlar glasses fabrics or inert fiberglass to reach the same level of safety without any toxic components.
Organic farmers in the U.S. use natural fertilizers to their cotton plants instead of toxic chemicals and pesticides. Also, most organic mattresses are made without glues or adhesives, which are a strong source of off-gassing and chemical odors.
This implies that organic mattresses are more likely to keep the environment clean due to the absence of harmful chemicals. These chemicals can not only create harmful off-gassing, but also expose you and your family to dangerous levels of toxic gasses while sleeping. Some organic mattresses are also tested for volatile organic compounds that are associated with skin irritation, in order to insure further safety.
The other benefit is the reduced environment impact. Organic cotton is grown using materials and methods that have low impact on the external environment. It does not use any synthetic fertilizers, and toxic pesticides.
Additionally, federal regulations prohibit the use of any genetically engineered materials for organic farming. This in turn creates healthy and clean wool, which is produced without stress to the environment or the animals.
Disatvantages Of Buying An Organic Mattress
- Limited Availability
- Limited Options
- Can Be Confusing To Buy
- Can Be More Expensive
With all specialty or newer products, availability can be a problem. Latex-over-foam and foam-over-latex mattresses are widely available online as well as in retail stores.
However, if you are seeking organic mattresses, you may need to shop it online. The disadvantage of this is that you may not be able to test many mattresses before buying, unless the manufacturer offers a good comfort guarantee.
The options are usually limited, with the 100% organic products limited to some innerspring, latex and and wool mattresses.
If you are inexperienced in buying such mattresses, it may be a little puzzling to shop for the same. This is due to the vast amount of technical terms and different features, which are usually very hard to compare.
Some brands may also use misleading information in order to confuse customers and prevent an apples-to-apples comparison. You must gather information on each mattress material and layer, conduct some research and brand comparisons, and question the certification of mattresses. This will not only save you energy and time, but also help you make a smart purchase.
The biggest barrier to choosing organic mattresses is their cost. Depending on brand and type, some can even cost several thousand dollars since organic materials are costlier to produce, more scarce, and getting certifications can be expensive.
An average organic latex or spring bed may cost somewhere between $2000 to $2500 as compared to $1000 to $1500 for an average conventional latex or spring bed. This is where your research can prove helpful to you so that you can make price comparisons.
In Conclusion… It’s Your Choice
Ultimately, whether you buy an organic mattress will certainly depend on your individual needs as well as your budget, and what you desire from your bed. And that is why, it is imperative to take proper time to research the available mattress options before making your final call!
Lauren is an occasional contributor who helps Ted and Stacey at the peak busy times. She's a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, but also studied Marketing and Classical Literature.
Updated at November 6, 2020