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Best Natural Organic Mattress

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Shopping for a new mattress can be a daunting task – and it’s especially difficult if you’re in the market for something unique like a natural or organic mattress. Searching for the best natural mattress is a task that many sleepers find challenging after learning about the dangers of harsh chemicals and fire retardants that may be lying on their bed.

It is my hope that after reading this guide, you will have all the tools you need to successfully pick the best natural or organic mattress. Already know the basics and just want the recommendations? Click here to go straight to the highlights!

Organic cotton

Is your cotton, organic cotton?

Why the surge for natural and organic mattresses?

It should be no surprise that the word “organic” is slowly creeping its way into the mattress market. It’s in the supermarkets, up and down every aisle. It’s on your cereals, your produce, and even your milk and eggs. But what is the hype all about—and is it worth carrying your love for “organic” into the bedroom?

First off, let’s ask the question: why the sudden push toward natural or organic mattresses? In the 1970s, we saw the first required use of flame retardants in mattresses. This law was imposed to address fires caused by smoldering cigarettes, the leading cause of deadly mattress fires at the time.

The turn of the century brought a decline in smokers, but the need for a new law. In 2007, a law was passed that required mattresses to not only resist the smolder of a dying cigarette, but also the open flame of a lighter, match, or candle. While this decreased the number of deadly mattress fires, it also opened the door to a new and dangerous threat: highly toxic flame retardants.

Loom & Leaf Mattress Cover

Close up of the Loom and Leaf mattress cover (organic cotton + natural thistle fire barrier)

Flame retardants are extremely harsh chemicals that can have lasting effects on your body, the worst of which is polybrominated diphenyl ethers (also known as PBDEs). PBDEs are linked to decreased sperm count, thyroid problems, slow brain development in newborns, and even cancer. These particles can be released into the air and absorbed from products when TVs or computer heat up, while sleeping on a mattress, or when products degrade.

As the world began to explore fire retardant chemicals and barriers to satisfy the new regulation, people began to slowly wonder about the effect on their bodies from these chemicals, especially while they were sleeping. The result ended up being a strong push toward natural and organic mattresses.

The Organic, Natural, & Healthy Mattress Spectrum

In this guide we’re going to talk through a number of different mattress recommendations, however, it’s important to remember through all of this that all mattresses fall on a spectrum of organic, natural, and healthy.

It is true, some mattresses are 100% all natural and all organic from top to bottom. However, most fall somewhere along a spectrum from 0% organic / natural to 100% organic / natural. 

Generally speaking, the closer to 100% organic the more you’re going to pay. While having a 100% natural mattress is wonderful, it’s not always in the budget for many sleepers.

There are a number of quality mattresses that are, 20-50% natural / organic, but are still excellent mattresses because they are targeting the material components that come closest to sleepers. Loom & Leaf is a good example of this type of half-organic mattress. Loom & Leaf uses a natural thistle fire barrier, organic cotton cover, and some plant-based foams. Of course, some of the foams are not plant-based and the percentage of plant-based material is not tremendously high, but it is a good step in the right direction and quite affordable.

Lastly, I do think it’s important to note the distinction between natural / organic and healthy. A mattress may not be organic / natural, but the materials may still be healthier than many other mattresses on the market. There are many mattresses that use certi-PUR certified foams (see below for more info), which indicate the foams exclude a number of harmful chemicals and substances. These types of mattresses can still provide a healthy sleeping surface, even if they are not organic or natural certified.

natural organic spectrum

Natural Organic Spectrum

For this guide, we’ll be focusing on those mattresses that are certified with one or more natural, organic, and eco-friendly standards and/or those mattresses that utilize one or more organic / natural components, but if you are interested in general mattresses see my full mattress reviews list.

How do organic and natural mattresses meet high flammability standards?

There are several different ways a mattress can meet the high standard set by the 2007 regulation. The first method is that the surface of the mattress can be sprayed or soaked with fire-retardant chemicals. However, this method is no longer permitted due to the obvious risk of coming in direct contact with these dangerous chemicals.

The second method involves the use of fire-retardant foams, but this method also uses PBDEs and other hazardous material. The first two methods obviously are not organic in any sense of the word.

The last method is the one that most manufacturers use today (natural and conventional) and that’s by using fiber or fabric barriers to enclose the interior core of the mattress, where most of the combustible material is found.

Silica-based fire socks that encase the mattress (between the foams and the exterior mattress cover) are the most common. These fire socks melt in the event of a fire, smothering the flames. Thistle and wool are more natural alternatives, both of which prevent fires in a similar way.

What is an organic mattress?

So what makes a mattress truly “organic”? Beyond the fact that it doesn’t contain harmful flame retardants and chemicals, are there other criteria it has to meet? Absolutely. To bear the name “organic,” a mattress must be tested by a USDA-approved third party “certifying agent” and earn a special certification.

There are many different types of certifications a mattress can earn, but most of them mean that a large portion of the raw materials are organic-based with organic processes being used in the manufacturing.

What makes an organic mattress organic?

A Mattress’s Road to Organic Certification

A mattress may be labeled as organic, but without a sticker of certification, that claim is empty and no one has verified it. Sadly, words like “organic” and “all-natural” are commonly tossed around, but without the certifications, I would advise taking them with a grain salt. Here are some of the most popular certifications to look for:

  • CertiPUR-US certified foams are made without ozone depleters, PBDEs, TDCPP, or TCEP flame retardants,  mercury, lead, other heavy metals, formaldehyde, and phthalates as regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. They also produce low VOC emissions for indoor air quality (less than 0.5 parts per million)
  • GOLS (Global Organic Latex Standard) certified latex is produced in an environment where all materials and manufacturing processes to make latex adhere to strict and specific global organic standards.
  • GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified materials are materials produced in an environment where all materials and manufacturing processes to make textiles adhere to strict and specific global organic standards.
  • Organic Exchange certified applies to products that have been properly tracked from the source as a raw material to the finished product, guaranteeing organic processes and manufacturing.
  • GreenGuard certified applies to a mattress that has been tested to ensure that its chemical and particle emissions meet acceptable indoor-outdoor air quality pollutant guidelines (low emission).
  • Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified latex has been tested for the presence of 100 known harmful substances.
  • USDA Certified Organic applies to a mattress that has been produced without a prohibited method or substances; testing is regularly overseen by a USDA authorized certifying agent.

SHEETS:  Organic cotton sheets

What are the benefits of a natural or organic mattress?

  • Fewer Chemicals – A natural or organic mattress’s biggest draw is going to be its lack of harsh chemicals and toxic flame retardants. Many organic materials are naturally flame retardant.
  • Sustainable and Biodegradable – For the environmentally conscious sleeper, this can be a huge positive. The gentle manufacturing, materials, and methods mean a gentled environmental footprint. Many companies highlight their efforts in these areas if it’s something that is truly important to their product.
  • Hypo-allergenic – Chemicals and flame retardants can sometimes cause allergic reactions, skin irritations, and even respiratory problems. Sound familiar? With an organic mattress, the materials are processed without the addition of any of these dangerous substances all the way from the plantation to your bedroom.
  • Kid-Approved – Infants and children as especially susceptible to the harsh effects of dangerous chemicals. Choosing an organic mattress helps limit their exposure to these chemicals.

What materials make the best organic and natural mattresses?

When it comes to shopping for the best natural or organic mattress, there are some materials that are going to perform better than others, in terms of raw material and sleep performance. For this guide, we’re going to look at latex, memory foams, coils, and poly foams.

Memory Foam

Memory foam is a polyurethane foam that has visco elastic properties. Memory foam is known for its ability to mold around your body. It has a slower response time, but with that, also comes a deeper amount of hug, compression, and pressure relief.

Action shot of the Night pillow responding to pressure

Memory foam

So is there such a thing as a 100% organic memory foam? The short answer is no. By definition, memory foam is made from polyurethane. But this is not to say that there aren’t some companies out there that are creating a MORE natural and healthy memory foam.

Plant-based memory foams replace a portion of the polyurethane with plant-derived oil. The use of plant-based foams or all-natural glues and binders are just two simple ways that you can enjoy all the benefits of a traditional memory foam, but in a gentler and more natural way.

Additionally, memory foams can still be certified Certi-PUR, so while they may not be organic or all natural, they don’t contain mercury, lead, heavy metals, formaldehyde, ozone depleters, PBDEs, TDCPP, TCEP, and have low VOCs.

Poly Foams

Poly foams fall into the same camp as memory foam. You cannot have a 100% organic poly foam because they, by definition, require polyurethane to be manufactured. As with memory foam, this doesn’t necessarily mean they are unhealthy. They may still be certified Certi-PUR in addition to green, eco-friendly, and other health conscious certifications. However, a poly foam will not be organic.

Poly foam infused with copper and gel

Poly foam infused with copper and gel

Latex

Latex mattresses are also foam-based, but their foams are a little different than memory foams. Unlike memory foams that are made of polyurethane, natural latex foams are made from natural sap from rubber trees.

Top layer of Talalay latex on the PlushBeds Botanical Bliss mattress

Top layer of Talalay latex on the PlushBeds Botanical Bliss mattress

Natural Latex vs. Synthetic Latex

All latex mattresses are made up of natural latex, synthetic latex, or a blend of the two. A 100% natural latex only uses the sap from latex trees. Synthetic latex is usually made from styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR). Lastly, you have foams that use a blended mix of both natural and synthetic latex components.

TOPPER:  Natural latex mattress topper

Bear in mind, an all-natural latex mattress is not cheap. Plan on spending $2-4K for this type of natural mattress. A synthetic or blended latex will generally fall more in the $1K range.

Dunlop Latex vs. Talalay Latex

Natural or synthetic latex is usually produced using one of two different methods- Dunlop and Talalay. Dunlop latex is created by pouring a large amount of latex into one large mold, while Talalay latex is created using a small amount of latex with air added to create a lightweight, porous foam. Whether you prefer the feel of Dunlop or Talalay, neither technique affects how natural the foam is, the main difference is going to be in the feel (Dunlop feels a bit denser, Talalay is bouncier).

PILLOW:  Natural latex pillow

Lastly, there are other latex production methods, however Dunlop and Talalaly are by far the two most common.

Coils

An organic coil mattress typically uses organic cotton batting or natural pillow-top foams in combination with traditional spring or pocketed coil systems. While these may not be the most organic option on the market, it can be a great choice if you prefer the feel of a standard spring mattress.

As an off-shoot to traditional coils, there are also hybrid mattresses. A hybrid mattress is a mattress that combines a coil-based foundation with foam layers on the top- typically memory foam or latex foam. An organic hybrid mattress is made with organic plant-based memory foam or natural latex foam.

Saatva mattress layers (top to bottom) - Euro-style pillow top, 0.5" coil encasement foam, 4" foam encasement coils, 7" high-profile coils, 0.5" coil encasement foam, & 5" of edge support foam

Saatva mattress layers (top to bottom) – Euro-style pillow top, 0.5″ coil encasement foam, 4″ foam encasement coils, 7″ high-profile coils, 0.5″ coil encasement foam, & 5″ of edge support foam

What’s the best mattress for natural or organic sleepers?

There are a number of reasons you may want to go natural or organic for your mattress. Whether it’s for the environmental impact, health benefits, eco-friendly manufacturing, or just to sleep on something a little closer to nature, a natural organic mattress can offer excellent sleep performance without the extra synthetic components. Below is our list of the best natural organic mattresses.

See below for the complete list of certifications on each mattress.

MattressDescriptionNatural SpectrumPriceReview
Available in medium and firm, memory foam feel, uses organic cotton cover, natural thistle as the fire barrier, and plant-based foamsModerately organic / natural$1,099Read Review
Available in soft, medium, and firm, memory foam feel, uses plant-based foam, zero emission manufacturingSlightly organic / natural$999Read Review
Available in soft, medium, and firm. Traditional coil + pillow top feel, uses organic cotton cover, natural thistle as fire barrier, and plant-based foamsModerately organic / natural$999Read Review
Available in medium and firm, 100% all organic natural latex, organic cotton cover, wool fire barrierAll organic / natural$1,899Read Review
PlushBedsAvailable in soft, medium, and firm, 100% all organic natural latex, organic cotton cover, wool fire-barrierAll organic / natural$1,799Read Review
Available in soft, medium, and firm, 100% all organic natural latex, organic cotton cover, wool fire-barrierAll organic / natural$1,099Read Review
Available in medium and firm, 100% all natural organic latex, 50% organic cotton cover, wool / silica blended fire barrierSlightly organic / natural$1,599Read Review

FAQ:  What mattress firmness do I need?

Loom & Leaf

  • Plant-based foams
  • Organic cotton cover
  • Thistle flame retardant
  • CertiPUR-US and Sustainable Furnishings Council certified
Loom &n Leaf mattress - King size

Loom &n Leaf mattress – King size

Amerisleep

  • Plant-based memory foams
  • VPF zero emissions manufactauring
  • GreenGuard certified fire sock
Amerisleep Liberty Mattress - King size

Amerisleep Liberty Mattress – King size

Saatva

  • Thistle flame retardant
  • Organic cotton cover
  • Coils constructed from recycled steel
  • CertiPUR-US and Sustainable Furnishings Council certified
Saatva mattress - King Size

Saatva mattress – King Size

Zenhaven

  • 100% natural Talalay latex
  • Organic cotton cover
  • Organic wool flame-retardant barrier
  • Confidence in Textiles & Sustanabile Furnishings certified
ZenHaven mattress, King size

ZenHaven mattress, King size

Plushbeds

  • 100% organic latex
  • Organic cotton cover
  • Organic wool fire-retardant barrier
  • GOLS, GOTS, Oeko-Tex, Confidence in Textiles, USDA Organic, and GreenGuard Gold certified
PlushBeds Botanical Bliss mattress - King size

PlushBeds Botanical Bliss mattress – King size

Sleep on Latex

  • 100% natural latex
  • Organic cotton cover
  • Wool flame-retardant barrier
  • Confidence in Textiles, Oeko-Tex, eco-INSTITUT, and GreenGuard certified
SleepOnLatex mattress - King size, medium firmness, 9" thick

SleepOnLatex mattress – King size, medium firmness, 9″ thick

Nest Bedding Hybrid Latex

  • 100% natural organic latex top layer
  • 50% organic cotton cover
  • Wool blended with silica-based flame-retardant barrier
King size Nest latex hybrid mattress

King size Nest latex hybrid mattress

Brooklyn Bedding

  • CertiPUR-US and Oeko-Tex certified
Brooklyn Bedding mattress, King size

Brooklyn Bedding mattress, King size

Summary

An organic or natural mattress is a great way to remain environmentally conscious, even when you sleep! There are numerous benefits, including decreased exposure to chemicals and fire retardants, and the fact these mattresses are hypo-allergenic, sustainable, biodegradable, and in general healthier. To prove the organic nature of a mattress, look for some of the most popular certifications these natural mattresses can receive and don’t buy into false marketing claims.

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