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Many consumers today prefer to buy products that are made from natural materials, have a relatively minimal environmental footprint, and contain few (if any) chemicals that are hazardous to human health. Mattress shoppers are no different. The current mattress market includes a wide range of models that are suitable for eco-friendly buyers – as well as mattresses that are erroneously advertised as being ‘green.’
When shopping for a green mattress, certifications are a major concern. Beds made from organic and/or natural materials should carry certifications that indicate low human health risks, such as OEKO-TEX Standard 100 and CertiPUR US. Other certifications, such as the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and GreenGuard, indicate the materials have a low environmental impact.
In our Buyer’s Guide, you can learn more about selecting a natural, organic mattress that’s good for the environment and good for your sleep. First, we share our top picks for the best eco-friendly beds sold today. These are all based on verified customer and owner experiences, as well as intensive product research and analysis.
Hop down to our Buyer’s Guide for a crash course on finding the best organic mattress.
Our Editor’s Pick, the Awara Mattress, is a standout organic bed for several reasons. Its eco-friendly components include a cover made of organic-cotton and natural wool, along with a certified-organic Dunlop latex comfort layer. These soft, breathable components offer great temperature neutrality. The latex also has a ‘Medium Firm’ feel that provides excellent support for side, back, stomach, and combination sleepers who weigh at least 130 pounds.
The Awara Mattress has a multi-gauge pocketed coil support core, which offers strong support for the sleeper’s heavier areas (such as the shoulders and hips) and thinner coils beneath the head, legs, and other lighter areas. This allows the bed to distribute weight very effectively. Compared to other hybrids, the Awara Mattress also isolates motion transfer very well and produces very little noise. This makes the bed suitable for couples who commonly wake up due to movement or noise from their sleep partners.
Awara offers free shipping to customers in all 50 states. Additionally, the mattress is backed by a 365-night sleep trial and a lifetime warranty. Both of these are exceptionally longer than average.
Sustainability and Green Certifications: The Awara mattress is handmade from Rainforest Alliance Certified latex, 100% natural wool, water-based adhesives, and chemical-free fire retardants. The company plants a tree through ClimatePartner for each mattress sold.
The Awara Mattress is made from sustainable materials that have a low environmental impact. With its Medium Firm feel, durable Dunlop latex, and breathable cover, this mattress has broad appeal for sleepers in multiple weight groups, regardless of their sleep position, and anyone who tends to sleep hot.
Our Runner-Up Pick is the Birch Mattress, a luxury hybrid constructed with natural and organic materials that are sustainably sourced. The comfort system contains a top layer of natural and organic wool, followed by a second layer of natural Talalay latex. These materials create a ‘Medium Firm’ feel with moderate yet consistent conforming, resulting in pain and pressure relief for sleepers with bodily discomfort. A layer of natural/organic wool batting also reinforces the pocketed coil support core.
Temperature neutrality is another key strength of the Birch Mattress. The comfort materials absorb minimal body heat, resulting in a comfortable sleep surface for most owners, while the coil layer promotes strong airflow that helps cool off the interior of the bed. The wool layer has moisture-wicking properties, as well. And because latex is naturally resilient, the Birch Mattress has a longer-than-average expected lifespan of about eight years.
The mattress has a much lower price-point than most competing hybrid models made with similar components. Birch also offers free shipping to customers in all 50 states. The Birch Mattress is backed by a 100-night sleep trial and a 25-year warranty.
Sustainability and Green Certifications: The Birch Mattress is made from OEKO-TEX Standard 100 and Rainforest Alliance Certified latex, and Wool Integrity NZ wool The mattress is GreenGuard Gold Certified. The company donates 1% of all Birch Mattress sales to the National Forest Foundation.
The Birch Mattress is a very strong competitor to the Awara, so we’ve featured it as our Runner-Up pick. The Birch sleeps just as cool as the Awara, and features a sustainable construction that should outlast the average mattress. However, it doesn’t isolate motion as well as the Awara, so it has some potential for noise and motion transfer which could be an issue for those who sleep with a partner and wake easily from sound or movement.
The Zenhaven by Saatva is a flippable latex mattress with two different firmness options. One side is ‘Medium Soft’ (4) and the other side is ‘Firm’ (7). This design is well-suited for sleepers whose firmness preferences tend to fluctuate.
Both comfort layers of the Zenhaven are made of natural Dunlop latex, as is the shared support core. This eco-friendly material offers close conforming for improved spinal alignment and pressure point relief. The latex also sleeps cooler than most mattress foams, isolates motion effectively, and produces virtually no noise when bearing weight. The mattress has an organic cotton cover, as well.
The Zenhaven, like other Saatva models, qualifies for free White Glove delivery for customers in the contiguous U.S. This service includes in-home mattress assembly and old mattress removal at no extra charge. The Zenhaven is backed by a 120-night sleep trial and a 20-year warranty, both of which are longer than average.
Sustainability and Green Certifications: The Zenhaven is made in the USA from OEKO-TEX Standard 100 latex and organic cotton. The mattresses uses New Zealand wool as a natural flame retardant.
The Zenhaven is ideal for eco-conscious shoppers who appreciate flexibility. Sleepers can simply flip over the mattress if their firmness preferences change, and they have 120 nights to decide if they want to keep the mattress.
The Avocado Green is a supportive hybrid mattress made from materials that make it suitable for any eco-friendly bed shopper. Comfort layers made of organic New Zealand wool and natural Dunlop latex provide close conforming and good pressure relief for most sleepers. Along with the organic cotton cover, these components also allow the bed to sleep fairly cool. The support core contains another layer of natural latex over the pocketed coils for optimal cushioning and support.
The Avocado Green mattress is available in two firmness settings, ‘Medium’ (5.5 out of 10) and ‘Medium Firm’ (6.5). Both are among the most popular firmness options for sleepers today. The ‘Medium’ design includes an additional latex pillow-top layer that increases the mattress thickness and provides an extra comfort layer, which is more suitable for lightweight sleepers. Avocado Green owners say their bed isolates motion effectively and produces less noise compared to other hybrids.
Avocado will ship mattresses for free anywhere in the U.S. For an added charge, customers can opt for White Glove delivery, which includes in-home mattress assembly and old mattress removal. The mattress is backed by a 365-night sleep trial and a 20-year warranty.
Sustainability and Green Certifications: The Avocado mattress is handmade from GOLS organic certified latex, GOTS organic and OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified wool, and GOTS organic certified cotton. The mattress is GreenGuard Gold and Made Safe Non-Toxic Certified. The company supports the Carbon Fund annually.
The ‘Medium’ firmness of the Avocado Green falls right within the recommended firmness range for lightweight sleepers, but what makes the mattress stand out for this particular weight group is its added pillow-top. This extra comfort layer, only available in the ‘Medium’ design, features latex with a lower ILD rating, and offers sleepers closer body conforming and cushioning than typically experienced with a latex hybrid mattress.
The EcoCloud mattress is an eco-conscious latex hybrid that takes the top spot as the best organic mattress for average weight sleepers. Its blend of bouncy Talalay latex in the comfort layers and pocketed coils in its support core lets average weight sleepers get sufficient contouring but without ever feeling stuck in the bed. The mattress comes in a single firmness option – Medium (5 out of 10 on the firmness scale) and average weight sleepers should find this meets their needs.
The pocketed coils are made with a blend of recycled steel and feature lower gauge coils around the perimeter which makes edge support another standout feature. Because the coils are individually pocketed, they provide a higher level of support to major pressure points, an effect enhanced by the comfort system.
The EcoCloud mattress stays cool, even for most people who usually sleep hot, thanks to airflow through the coils, the low heat retention of the foams, and the breathable Tencel and wool cover. Average weight sleepers are likely to find improved edge support from this mattress compared to many hybrid or foam beds.
WinkBeds ships the EcoCloud mattress for free to your front door and has a White Glove installation service available for an extra charge. The mattress comes with a 120-night sleep trial and a lifetime warranty.
Sustainability and Green Certifications: The EcoCloud mattress is handmade in the USA from OEKO-TEX 100 certified latex, with a natural wool fire barrier.
The EcoCloud features an eco-friendly hybrid design of Talalay latex comfort layers and a pocketed coil support core. Together, these create the ideal mix of contouring, responsiveness, and support for sleepers of average weight.
The EcoSleep Hybrid, a two-sided natural latex hybrid made by Brooklyn Bedding, is an innovative and versatile bed that’s well suited to heavyweight sleepers. When it comes to sleepers over 230 pounds, sufficient mattress support is the name of the game. The EcoSleep provides this support and much more.
The EcoSleep is a two-sided flippable mattress with a ‘Medium Firm’ feel on one side and a ‘Firm’ feel on the other. The comfort layers consist of two layers of sustainably made, natural Talalay latex on the ‘Medium Firm’ side and one higher-density layer of the same material on the ‘Firm’ side. Latex conforms moderately close to the sleeper body to relieve pressure pains, yet is more responsive and traps less body heat than traditional foams. We recommend the ‘Firm’ side for heavyweight sleepers, as it will sink less and thus keep the sleeper’s spine better-aligned.
Between these two comfort layers is a support core made of pocketed coils. These coils not only provide a sturdy foundation to support the sleeper, but allow for more airflow throughout the bed, providing a more temperature-neutral sleeping experience. The entire mattress is wrapped in a quilted, sustainably sourced Joma wool and organic cotton cover, which is a highly breathable material with moisture-wicking properties. This all makes for a versatile, 11.5 inch mattress that tested great in heavy-sleeper support, temperature neutrality, and durability.
The EcoSleep comes with a 120-night sleep trial and a 10 year warranty. It also comes at a lower-than-average price point for a latex hybrid.
Sustainability and Green Certifications: The EcoSleep mattress is handmade in the USA from sustainably sourced Joma wool, 100% organic cotton, Rainforest Alliance certified latex, and recyclable steel coils.
The ‘Firm’ model of the EcoSleep mattress provides the superior support heavier sleepers need, with a durable hybrid construction that sleeps cool and offers comfortable conforming.
Below, we share everything sleepers need to consider when buying an organic mattress, along with our best tips for buying a new mattress.
Green technology and innovation have impacted a wide range of industries in recent years — from automobiles and construction to clothing and cosmetics — and this growing demand has led many mattress manufacturers to offer sustainable products as well.
However, terms like ‘green,’ ‘natural’ and ‘eco-friendly’ are often misused or exaggerated within the mattress industry. This trend, whereby companies use misleading terms to promote their products as natural or organic, is known as ‘greenwashing.’ To further complicate the issue, a regulatory body that fact-checks green claims for mattress makers has not yet been created, although certifications are available for certain mattress materials like foam, latex, and fabrics.
This guide will explore green mattress terminology, materials, and certifications, with the goal of giving you the information you need to know to make an informed mattress purchase. By the end, you’ll be able to wade through the lingo and ensure the mattress you’re buying is truly sustainable and eco-friendly.
A true green mattress features natural and/or organic materials in the cover, comfort layers, and support core. These materials include:
It’s important to note: mattresses are never 100% natural or organic. Most green mattresses today range from 60% to 95% natural and/or organic.
Additionally, ‘half-organic’ and ‘half-natural’ mattresses are also available. These include some green components, but are not considered true green mattresses. Some brands use terms like ‘green’ and ‘eco-friendly’ to describe one component or stage of the mattress production process, even though the model as a whole is not primarily natural or organic. This is an example of the greenwashing trend we discussed above.
To find the best organic mattress for you, you need to answer two main questions:
To answer these questions, you’ll need to have some background knowledge on what makes a mattress eco-friendly, and what makes it supportive for you as a sleeper. Let’s start with the eco-friendly question, by evaluating the sustainable materials these mattresses are made from, and the green certifications they can receive for their production and manufacturing practices.
In 2007, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) passed a new flammability standard that targeted mattresses. Under the current regulation, mattresses manufactured for sale in the U.S. must be flame- and fire-resistant. The law originally targeted the high number of annual deaths caused by fires in bed. However, many mattress manufacturers have turned to chemical flame retardants to address the issue — many of which pose a serious health risk to humans.
The most damaging fire retardants used in mattresses are polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs, which have been linked to liver, thyroid, and neurodevelopmental problems. PBDEs are monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and have been banned in Maine and Washington state. Initially, mattresses were doused in PBDE-based retardant, but this method is now prohibited. However, some mattress foams are treated with PBDEs to make them more fire-resistant, and these may also pose similar health risks.
A true green mattress will not contain any chemical flame retardants. Instead, most green models feature fire socks that act as flame barriers. Fire socks are usually made from silica, but some mattresses have fire socks made from more natural materials like wool or thistle. Kevlar, a material that requires no chemical treatment, may also be used. In any case, a chemical-free fire sock is considered much greener and healthier for humans than any chemical flame retardant.
Some mattresses do not utilize chemical treatments, nor do they feature a fire sock or flame barrier; because their mattress materials have a higher fuel load and take longer to burn, these manufacturers are able to meet state and federal flammability standards.
How can customers differentiate between green and non-green mattresses? Certifications that focus on human health and/or environmental impacts are one way to tell these products apart. Certifications are awarded to mattresses at different stages of production, and may focus on human health risks and/or environmental impacts.
The most prominent certifications that focus on human health risk factors include the following:
The following certifications focus primarily on environmental impacts:
This is not an exhaustive list, and some mattress models will display additional certifications. Be sure to research each certification listed to determine if it is independent and trustworthy.
Most mattress manufacturers will provide all current certifications for each model. This information is typically displayed on individual product pages, and may also be found in other areas of the brand’s website (such as FAQ and About Us sections).
Beyond certifications, criteria for green, natural, and organic mattresses vary by specific mattress type. This section will look at green standards for hybrid, latex, foam, and innerspring mattresses.
Hybrids are designed to bridge the gap between all-foam/all-latex and innerspring mattresses. Technically speaking, a hybrid mattress has a coil-based support core and at least two inches of memory foam and/or latex in the comfort system. Most hybrids have pocketed coils, which are encased in cloth or fabric.
Hybrids typically have coil and/or comfort layer components that are produced using industrial processes. As a result, many are not considered green or organic. However, they may have materials in the comfort layer or cover that have been certified as organic, usually natural latex, organic cotton, or organic wool. These latex hybrids will also use recycled steel for the pocketed coils in the support core.
Most green mattresses are categorized as latex models. Latex is a natural substance processed from rubber tree sap. Two types of processes are used to produce latex:
In addition to the process, the latex used in mattress can also be categorized by its ratio of natural to synthetic components. The table below provides a detailed breakdown for the three most common latex types.
|Type of Latex||Source||Natural Latex Composition||Ingredients|
|Natural Latex||Rubber tree sap processed using the Talalay or Dunlop method||At least 95%||Natural latex processed using a cure package, which is needed to produce latex foam.|
|Blended Latex||A combination of natural and synthetic latex||30% to 94%||Natural latex and synthetic latex blended together.|
|Synthetic Latex (SBR)||Petroleum-based chemicals||0%||All-synthetic latex with no natural components.|
Greenwashing is particularly common with latex mattresses. This is due to the fact that ‘100% natural’ or ‘100% organic’ latex is nonexistent; some chemical components are needed to produce latex foam. Nevertheless, some mattresses are sold as ‘all-natural,’ even if the latex used to create them is primarily synthetic.
Additionally, the USDA Organic label for latex mattresses evaluates the way the rubber trees are grown, not the process used to derive the latex from rubber tree sap; for this reason, a USDA Organic latex mattress may not be organic at all. The GOLS certification, which takes raw materials and derivatives into consideration, is considered the more accurate certification for organic latex mattresses.
The term ‘foam mattress’ can refer to two different mattress materials:
While polyfoam and memory foam mattresses are tested and certified to ensure they pose minimal risk to human health, it’s important to remember that mattress with any polyurethane components (including foams) are not eligible for the GOTS or GOLS certifications.
While polyfoam and memory foam are never 100% natural or organic, plant-based memory foam (or PLA for short) is considered a slightly greener alternative. This material is produced from plant-based oils, rather than petroleum and other chemicals.
Innerspring mattresses get their name from the steel coils that make up most of their support core. The comfort layers typically consist of at least one layer of polyfoam or memory foam; innersprings that feature more than two inches of memory foam are technically considered hybrids.
Some innersprings are labeled as green and may be produced using sustainable methods. However, in most cases, the springs and/or comfort layer materials are created using industrial processes that are not truly green.
Now that you know how to evaluate the greenness of a particular mattress, it’s time to evaluate its suitability for your unique needs as a sleeper. Generally, sleepers have different firmness preferences based on their body weight and sleep position.
For a person of average weight, between 130 and 230 pounds, a mattress with a firmness rating of ‘Medium’ or ‘Medium Firm’ (around a 5 or 6 on a 1-to-10 scale) feels most comfortable. Lightweight sleepers who weigh less than 130 pounds may need a softer mattress, while heavier sleepers may require a firmer mattress to enjoy sufficient support.
Your preferred sleep position can also impact the suitability of a mattress firmness rating for you. For example, side sleepers require more “give” from their mattresses, in order to relieve pressure in the shoulders and hips and enable a straight spine from hips to head. On the flipside, back sleepers and stomach sleepers, may need a firmer mattress to ensure spinal alignment.
Of course, preferences vary by individual. As long as your mattress feels great to sleep on, and you don’t wake up with aches or pains, don’t worry about whether your firmness rating is “normal.” The table below outlines the typical firmness preferences by sleep position and weight group.
|Weight Group||Preferred Firmness for Most Side Sleepers||Preferred Firmness for Most Back Sleepers||Preferred Firmness for Most Stomach Sleepers|
|Below-average (Less than 130 pounds)||3 (Soft) to 5 (Medium)||4 (Medium Soft) to 6 (Medium Firm)||4 (Medium Soft) to 6 (Medium Firm)|
|Average (130 to 230 Pounds)||4 (Medium Soft) to 6 (Medium Firm)||5 (Medium) to 7 or 8 (Firm)||6 (Medium Firm) to 7 or 8 (Firm)|
|Above-average (More than 230 Pounds)||5 (Medium) to 6 (Medium Firm)||6 (Medium Firm) to 7 or 8 (Firm)||6 (Medium Firm) to 7 or 8 (Firm)|
Finally, let’s look at some important considerations for shoppers who are comparing different non-toxic mattress brands and models.
As we’ve discussed above, a true green mattress should be certified by one of the leading certification organizations. A mattress that is sold as organic latex, for instance, should display the GOLS certification; those that do not display this certification may not be true organic latex models.
Remember: mattresses may receive more than one certification and still be considered green, but customers should question the mattress companies that make green claims without citing any of the certifications listed above. Additionally, customers should research brands to ensure their certifications are currently valid and up-to-date, as some display the certification logo even though their certified status has lapsed.
How a mattress manufacturer describes a given mattress can be very telling. Terms like ‘green’ and ‘eco-friendly’ are not directly linked to any recognized certification or standard. If a company uses general terms like these without mentioning any specific certifications, then customers may want to research that brand further to ensure they are up to snuff.
Latex models will generally last longer than hybrid models, but on the whole, an organic mattress is sustainably built to be more durable for the long-term. A natural mattress made from high-quality materials should last at least 7 or 8 years.
Material quality is key for mattress performance as a whole, and can also be used to assess how green a particular mattress model is. Some mattress brands disguise low-quality materials by referring to mattress construction in vague terms.
For example, some mattress brands are much more detailed and transparent about their mattress specifications than others. Mattresses with foam layers should include the density, indentation load deflection, and thickness of each individual layer. Hybrids should list the type of coils used, as well as the coil gauge. Latex mattresses should include the process and type of latex used. As a general rule, consumers should be wary of companies that do not make this information easily accessible.
The material composition and thickness of the comfort layer usually answers this question. Generally, mattress comfort layers that are less than two inches thick will begin to sag and develop indentations much sooner than comfort layers that are at least two inches thick. Sagging and indentations can contribute to mattress degradation, so it’s important to measure the comfort layer to help ensure the mattress will have a decent lifespan.
For example, let’s say a mattress has two layers of natural latex in the comfort system and all specs are included, but the model also has a foam layer in the support core for which details specs aren’t disclosed. This may indicate that the foam layer is relatively thin and/or weak, and that it may reduce the overall lifespan of the mattress. Be sure to inquire about all individual layers and components.
Green mattresses should never include chemical flame retardants or chemical-treated flame barriers. They should have a flame barrier made of materials like wool, cotton, thistle, or Kevlar. Alternatively, if they do not contain chemical flame retardants or a flame barrier, the manufacturer must meet all state and federal flammability standards.
Ready to buy a green mattress? You can use the following checklist to compare different organic mattress brands.
Due to the quality of their construction, sustainable sourcing and production practices, and longer lifespans, organic mattresses do tend to be more expensive than the average, non-organic mattress. This is especially true for all-latex models, and mattresses with a higher number of organic certifications and non-toxic materials. On average, you can expect to spend between $1,300 and $1,900 for a Queen-size organic mattress.
The price-points for green mattresses can be intimidating for first-time buyers, but many of these models are considered high-value because they outperform less expensive models in different areas.
Some — but not all — mattress brands offer free shipping for customers in the lower 48 states; deliveries to Alaska or Hawaii almost always incur shipping charges to some degree. Others offer White Glove Delivery, where representatives from the mattress company will deliver the mattress to your door, set it up for you, and take your old mattress away for recycling. This service comes for free with the Zenhaven, our Luxury pick. It’s available for an extra charge with the Avocado Green or EcoCloud mattresses.
A large number of mattress brands offer sleep trials for first-time customers. These sleep trials allow buyers to test out their mattress for a pre-agreed period, and then return and/or exchange their mattress before the trial period ends. Some sleep trials extend as long as one year in length, as with the Awara or Avocado Green mattresses, while others span less than 30 nights. Keep in mind that some mattresses require several weeks to break in. All of the organic mattresses we’ve reviewed above have sleep trials of 100 nights or more.
Because some mattresses need more time to acclimate, mattress manufacturers may impose a mandatory break-in period that requires buyers to test out their bed for at least a certain number of nights before they can return it as part of the sleep trial. Most mandatory break-in periods are 30 nights in length.
Some mattress manufacturers allow customers to return their mattress in exchange for a full or partial refund, while others allow customers to exchange their mattress for a model of a different size or firmness rating. Some manufacturers allow both returns and exchanges. Customers should read the fine print to determine what is and isn’t allowed.
When returning or exchanging a mattress as part of a sleep trial, some mattress manufacturers agree to cover costs associated with shipping the mattress from the owner’s residence to a company facility. In other cases, the customer will be responsible for these costs.
A mattress warranty guarantees that the product will not be defective for as long as the warranty is valid, which is typically 10 years or longer. There are two types of warranty coverage:
Nonprorated: With the exception of some shipping and handling charges, the mattress owner will not be responsible for paying any extra fees to have their defective mattress repaired or replaced.
Prorated: In addition to shipping and handling costs, the mattress owner must pay a percentage of the original product price in order to have a defective mattress repaired or replaced. This percentage often increases with each year of ownership — and people who are near the end of their warranty may end up paying a large chunk of the original price-point.
The bottom line: Warranties that are entirely nonprorated ultimately cost mattress owners much less than warranties that are partially or primarily prorated.
As you browse and compare different green mattress brands and models, here is a final checklist to help you choose the organic mattress that’s best for you.
The eco-friendliness of your bedroom doesn’t have to start and stop with your mattress. You can outfit your mattress with organic pillows, too. These are made from the same non-toxic, naturally breathable materials that you’ll find in green mattresses, along with other materials that are chosen for their low environmental impact.
Pillow covers may be woven from organic cotton or silk, while filler materials include:
When selecting an organic pillow, you can use the same checklist you used for your mattress. Review the materials and green certifications to determine whether a pillow is truly organic, and not just “natural.”
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