With public awareness growing concerning the impact of our modern lifestyles on both our health and the health of the planet, it’s no surprise that interest in organic alternatives to synthetic and non-organic products is on the rise. That extends even into how we sleep, with many mattresses now marketed as organic or otherwise eco-friendly.
The subject isn’t as simple as it appears, however. No mattress is 100% organic, though manufacturers can make efforts to ensure they use organic elements. With many “green” terms still unregulated, a buyer needs to be savvy about how they shop for eco-friendly mattresses.
In this guide, we look at mattresses that aim to use natural materials or are otherwise manufactured with increased eco-awareness. We also look at what makes an organic mattress and what you should consider when buying one. We also give you our top organic mattress choices.
Our Top Picks: Summary
- Best Overall – Awara Mattress
- Best Value – Sleep On Latex Mattress
- Best Luxury – Avocado Green Mattress
- Best Latex – Zenhaven Mattress
High quality natural materials with a lifetime warranty.Check Price
Why We Picked It
The Awara mattress is made with natural and organic materials and constructed to an excellent standard, with strong edge support, comfort, and high durability. As a hybrid latex mattress, it also overcomes some of the design challenges of 100% latex beds.
The bed is made with a Rainforest Alliance certified Dunlop latex layer and is free of lead, formaldehyde, and chemical fire retardants.
The Awara is a 13-inch hybrid latex mattress with a breathable cotton and natural wool cover. The top layer is 4 inches of Dunlop latex, with a 9-inch pocketed coil base. This makes for an extra-thick, medium-firm mattress.
Unlike other latex mattresses, the Awara has excellent edge support. Sleepers who move around in their sleep are less likely to experience the kind of sinkage common to other latex mattresses.
The mattress has a generous trial 365-night sleep trial period and a lifetime warranty.
Keep in Mind
Strong edge support, but the mattress lacks in “hug” factor.
In a Nutshell
- Rainforest Alliance-certified Dunlop latex
- GOTS-certified wool
- Better edge support than many latex mattresses.
The affordable eco-friendly option.Check Price
Why We Picked It
Natural and organic materials can sometimes come at a premium, which locks some buyers out of making eco-friendly choices. The Sleep On Latex Pure Green Natural Latex mattress is an exception, offering affordable, natural materials. It comes in two profile options and three firmness options: soft, medium, and firm.
The Sleep On Latex mattress is made up of a 2-inch 100% natural latex foam layer on top of a 6-inch natural latex foam base and comes with an organic cotton cover. The mattress gets its fire-resistance from GOTS-certified organic wool.
The mattress comes with a 10-year warranty and a 100-day trial with free returns. As an affordable alternative to leading competitors, it allows even budget-conscious buyers to shop organic.
Keep in Mind
Edge support is on the weaker side, but this is common in latex mattresses.
In a Nutshell
- Cheaper than many alternatives
- 100% natural latex, GOTS-certified organic wool
- Three firmness options
Luxury goods that are easy on the environment.Check Price
Why We Picked It
The Avocado Green has made a name for itself by providing organic materials without compromising on luxury. The mattress is GOLS and GOTS-certified, featuring organic wool, latex, and cotton.
The mattress is an 11-inch (13-inch with pillow top) hybrid mattress with Dunlop latex and wool top layers, creating a breathable bed with excellent temperature regulation. Beneath the latex layer, the support layer consists of fabric-encased floating coils, arranged to create 5 separate zones of support for the joints and spine, and reduce motion transfer.
With a medium-firm rating, the Avocado Green mattress strikes a compromise between support for the spine and joints and the comfort of a soft mattress. The encased coils create zones of support where they’re most needed.
Avocado mattresses come with a 25-year limited warranty, broken down into a 10-year non-prorated period and an 11-25-year prorated period. Shipping and returns are free, and there’s a 100-night sleep trial included.
Keep in Mind
Quality natural materials, but it will be over the budget for some buyers.
In a Nutshell
- Organic and natural materials
- Wool construction wicks away moisture and offers more cooling
- GOLS and GOTS certified
Natural, high-quality latex with a double-sided design.Check Price
Why We Picked It
The Zenhaven is a 10-inch, 100% Talalay latex mattress, topped with a layer of organic wool. Beneath the wool topper is the latex top layer featuring Zenhaven’s proprietary “5-zone” design. This sits on a base of dense, 100% latex.
We chose Zenhaven as the best latex mattress because it combines robust natural design and quality materials with an excellent sleep experience.
The Talalay construction combined with the 5-zone design provides excellent motion isolation and a supportive sleep surface. With a double-sided design, you can simply flip it over and enjoy a firmer sleeping experience.
Being 100% natural latex, the Zenhaven is hardy and durable, resistant to damage, stains, mold, and allergens.
Keep in Mind
Being 100% latex, the mattress lacks some edge support.
In a Nutshell
- 100% natural latex
- 5-zone design provides excellent support
- Free white glove delivery with old mattress removal
How We Chose the Best Organic Mattresses
To choose our top mattress picks, we look at the key categories that help us put together an overall rating for the mattress. Here’s a quick look at the categories we use—you can find out more about our process here:
- Material Quality
- Edge Support
- Temperature Neutrality
- Motion Isolation
What is an Organic Mattress?
Consumers are savvier than ever about where their products come from, how they’re made, and what impact they can have on the body. With mattresses being an item we spend a significant portion of our lives in contact with, it’s no surprise that buyers want more information about what they buy.
Mattress manufacturers have become aware of this and many now make their organic and green materials a selling point. However, many apparently eco-friendly terms are still unregulated, and some manufacturers are guilty of “greenwashing” or using eco-friendly terminology to suggest their mattress is better for health and the environment than it truly is.
Natural or organic mattresses incorporate as many naturally-occurring materials into their construction as possible. They may guarantee only 100% natural latex, for instance, rather than offering a natural-synthetic mix. Many green mattresses will also claim to have a reduced environmental impact. The exact extent of this eco-minded manufacturing varies from one mattress to the next.
Green Marketing Terms Defined
Eco-marketing uses a wide array of different terms, some of which have regulatory definitions. Many of them don’t, however, and their use in marketing can sometimes be nothing more than a way to appeal to eco-minded consumers. As a buyer, it’s important to know what you’re actually getting and whether some popular terms hold any water.
One of the few regulated terms in eco-marketing, organic applies to natural materials that were grown without chemical pesticides. To claim organic status, a product must be certified by one of a variety of official programs.
“Natural” is a broad and unregulated term. It’s used to indicate that the materials used in the product come from a natural source and is frequently used in relation to cotton, latex or wool. However, these could contain only a small percentage of natural materials. Natural also doesn’t imply organic.
As with “natural,” there’s no regulatory definition for “green.” It’s also a broader term, with green implying everything from natural materials to environmentally-conscious transportation methods. You’ll often need to look closely into the company’s materials to find out exactly where the green label applies. Another (almost interchangeable) term is eco-friendly, which likewise suggests non-specific efforts to limit the impact of manufacturing on the environment.
Non-toxic is often used to mean that a mattress doesn’t have harsh chemicals, like formaldehyde, VOCs, and vinyl. However, it’s another unregulated label, so companies will occasionally use it to imply their mattresses have an edge their competitors don’t, even if those mattresses are functionally identical.
VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) are gasses emitted from certain solids or liquids and have been linked to respiratory problems and other health issues. As with “non-toxic”, there’s no real authority defining what is and isn’t a VOC or regulating the VOC-free label.
Green Mattress Certifications
There are a wide variety of certifications available for green mattresses. If you’re in doubt about the credibility of a manufacturer’s claim, looking for a certification from one of these groups could put your mind at ease.
GOTS is an international organic textile standard introduced in 2006. GOTS ensures the organic status of textiles throughout the supply chain and includes provisions of transparency for consumers who want more information about organic products.
GOLS is a global standard for organic latex, which gives it a particular prominence in sleep products. To reach GOLS status, a latex product cannot contain less than 95% certified organic raw material.
GREENGUARD certification assets chemical emissions standards, targeted at reducing health risks and indoor air pollution. Two levels of certification are available: GREENGUARD and GREENGUARD Gold.
OEKO-TEX Standard 100 is a certification focused on sustainability goals in the clothing and textile industry, so it also applies in certain areas of sleep products.
MADE IN GREEN by OEKO-TEX is a label for textiles and textile accessories to certify the product has been tested for harmful substances. Additionally, it must also meet sustainability standards in concert with environmental and working condition standards.
CertiPUR-US is a program that certifies foams for health and VOC standards. Certified foams are free of formaldehyde and made without PBDEs, TDCPP or TCEP (“Tris”) flame retardants, among other standards.
The National Organic Program was established by Congress and is a federal regulatory program enforcing national standards for organic products in the US. NOP works with companies to accredit organic products and provide consumer confidence.
Eco-INSTITUT partners with companies to offer VOC analysis, including emissions testing, ecological evaluations, and toxicology tests. Products certified by Eco-INSTITUT can receive a Tested Product certification.
As the name suggests, the Global Recycled Standard is about certifying goods with recycled content. It helps brands using recycled materials to establish transparency in their supply chain and provide information to customers.
Cradle to Cradle is a globally-recognized certification for safety and sustainability in products, with a focus on reducing waste for a so-called circular economy.
Organic Components by Mattress Type
The potential for a mattress to be organic or natural depends on the materials used in its construction. For instance, memory foam is a man-made material, while latex occurs naturally, even if synthetic versions are available. Knowing which aspects of your mattress could have natural alternatives can give you a clearer picture when you search for an organic mattress.
Below, you can see how the mattress material affects its organic potential.
|Natural/Organic Materials that Can be Incorporated|
The Consumer Product Safety Commission’s 2007 standard lays out the required expectations for flame-resistance in bedding, defined by the ability to resist cigarette ignition.
Some materials used as chemical flame retardants have been linked to health problems, presenting possible cancer risks, reproductive toxicity, and compromised immune function. Many of these flame-resistant chemicals are used to treat mattresses and other bedding, which could pose serious health risks, given how much time the average individual spends in contact with a mattress.
Organic mattresses use alternatives to synthetic flame retardants to avoid these health risks. Common alternatives include wool, silica, and thistle, all natural products that have inherent flame-resistant properties.
Benefits of Organic Mattresses
Organic mattresses can appeal to a range of customers with different interests. Here are a few reasons why an organic mattress might appeal to some sleepers.
Modern life exposes us to a wide variety of toxic substances, many of which can build up in the body over time. As awareness of these substances has grown, it’s become clear that they can present serious long-term health risks. Fire-resistant chemicals post a particular risk and many organic mattresses only use natural fire-resistant materials.
Long supply chains, detrimental manufacturing techniques, and toxic materials are just a few ways that mattresses can have an impact on the environment.
It’s not easy to escape the impacts of our consumerist society but choosing eco-conscious brands is one of the steps an average person can take to make a difference. Choosing an organic mattress means your mattress is likely to have less of an overall impact on the environment.
Some natural mattress materials have hypoallergenic properties, so they can be the right choice for allergy or asthma sufferers. Natural latex is hypoallergenic, for instance.
Some pesticides and synthetic materials used in non-organic mattresses can act as allergy triggers, so choosing an organic mattress could alleviate symptoms.
Memory foam is the poster child for synthetic mattresses, but it’s also famous for something else: off-gassing.
Memory foam isn’t the only synthetic culprit, either. Many man-made materials can produce off-gassing as chemicals used to treat the mattress disperse. This can be unpleasant, particularly in the early days of owning the mattress.
Mattresses made of natural materials typically last longer than their synthetic counterparts, and even synthetic mattresses often have organic or natural additions to strengthen them and increase their lifespan. Natural latex is one of the strongest mattress materials available, usually lasting at least eight years.
If you’ve found this guide useful, take a look at some of our other in-depth guides for sleepers: