Shopping for a Healthy Mattress?
Avoid getting bamboozled. Here are the TOP 5 things you should know before buying a natural mattress or non-toxic mattress to keep it healthy.
1) Organic Fabrics
Go Organic! Look for unbleached organic cotton with organic fill and organic dyes to avoid harsh chemically treated fabrics.
25% of the world’s pesticides are used for cotton crops. ¼ pound of pesticides are used to make 1 t-shirt. Choosing organic materials makes a huge difference to our health and the environment.
Warning, industry standard Certified Organic Cotton Cover is:
a) Organic Top
b) Polyester Fill
c) Unbleached cotton backing
Make sure it’s Organic all the way through from top, fill and back.
2) Natural Latex
Rubber tree sap that has been frothed up and baked is natural latex foam.
There are different qualities to latex ranging from:
a) Synthetic Latex
b) Natural Latex
c) Blends (varying % of natural and synthetic content
Natural latex is attractive in a mattress because it's healthy, durable (20+ years) and will provide you with a consistent feeling product for years unlike synthetics that dry out and break down.
3) Organic Fill or Batting
Batting is padding that's inside the mattress, over the springs or latex foam. Organic Cotton or Wool is the most common batting you might find while shopping for a natural or healthy mattress.
Fibers soften the surface of a spring or natural latex mattress. Most natural mattresses are quite firm. Natural latex is a relatively firm rubbery foam. Topping the mattress is necessary to improve its comfort.
Maintenance is always required with animal fibers as they should be cleaned at least once annually. Most companies do not mention this. Make sure these fibers are removable for easy cleaning. Unless they are chemically treated, animal fibers should be cleaned to maintain a healthy mattress / sleep surface.
Warning - Wool as a Fire Retardant does NOT work.
Wool is a natural fire retardant but wool does burn. Most organic mattress makers claim wool pass fire barrier tests. We tested thick 20 ounce and even 30 ounce wools, both failed. We did not test any further since beyond this weight the surface of the mattress becomes very rigid and no longer comfortable.
Key industry suppliers informed us that all manufacturers they know work with 10 ounce wool, backed with fire retardant fiber (boric acid) and promote the wool as the fire barrier. Most salespeople don't know this fact. Read our blog post on wool.
4) No Springs or Coils !!!!
The least expensive way to go is a coil mattress with natural padding, however this may not be the healthiest mattress.
The spring system acts as an incubator for dust mites, mold and mildew as it’s a damp dark area. This is why spring mattresses double their weight after 10 years. Skin, dust mite feces and dust accumulates in this area.
A solid foam mattress like a natural latex mattress is ideal as there are no open areas where accumulation and reproduction can occur. We will always have dust mites but the goal is to reduce them to a “normal” level.
5) Fire Retardants
Every mattress sold in the United States must contain enough Fire Retardant to withstand a 2 foot wide blowtorch open flame for 70 seconds.
A doctors note will allow you to buy a mattress without any fire retardant.