last updated: Feb 17, 2017
Shopping for a Healthy Mattress?
At Essentia, we know a thing of two about making natural and organic mattresses. We've been leading the way for over 10 years!
So we can definitely help you 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.
5 Tips to Choosing a Natural Mattress
1) Go with 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 the environment and keeps you healthy.
Warning, industry standard Certified Organic Cotton Cover is:
1) Organic Top
2) Polyester Fill
3) Unbleached cotton backing
2) Choose Natural & Organic Latex
Rubber tree sap that has been frothed up and baked is called natural latex foam.
There are different qualities to latex ranging from:
- Synthetic Latex (man-made)
- Blends (varying % of natural and synthetic content
- Natural Latex
- Certified organic latex
Natural latex or better yet, a certified organic latex mattress is probably what you're looking for when shopping for a healthy mattress.
However, all types of latex can be durable (can last 20+ years depending on the quality) as well as provide you with a consistent feeling mattress for years.
3) Avoid Fiber Fill or Batting
Batting is soft padding that covers springs or latex foam inside the mattress.
Organic Cotton or Wool is the most common form of batting you'll find while shopping for a natural or healthy mattress.
These fibers soften the surface. Because natural latex is firm and rubbery, topping the mattress is necessary to improve its comfort.
Don't forget to clean these fibers at least once a year. Most companies won't mention this. Make sure the animal fibers are removable for easy cleaning. Unless they're chemically treated, animal fibers should be cleaned to keep things sanitary. Imagine wearing the same wool sweater every night for years. Actually, it would be a full body suit. Gross right? You can read more about this on our blog post on wool.
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 didn't do any further testing beyond this weight because denser wools are no longer comfortable.
Every supplier we contacted informed us, after a little a persistence, that all manufacturers add fire retardant to their "wool fire barriers". So wool is backed with fire retardant fiber but they promote wool as the fire barrier! Most mattress salespeople don't know this fact.
4) Say NO to Spring Mattresses !!!!
The least expensive way to go is a spring mattress with natural padding, however, this may not be the healthiest mattress.
A recent study covered in Scientific America shows a strong correlation between spring mattresses and melanoma cancer.
It turns out that the springs act as an antenna that amplifies the intensity of FM and TV broadcast signals. That's definitely another reason you should avoid spring mattresses.
If that wasn't enough, spring systems act as an incubator for dust mites, mold and mildew since its cavity creates a damp dark area for things to fester in.
This is why spring mattresses double their weight after 10 years. Skin, dust mite feces and dust accumulate 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 so that it doesn't trigger allergies.
5) Avoid 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, even organic mattresses or latex mattresses.
Some fire retardants have been linked to cancer, birth defects and much more. Read more about fire retardants in mattresses.