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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.
Read on to learn more about selecting a natural, organic mattress. Below you will also find our picks for the best eco-friendly beds sold today. Our picks are based on verified customer and owner experiences, as well as intensive product research and analysis.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 pocketed, they provide a higher level of support to major pressure points, an effect enhanced by the comfort system.
This 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.
The Botanical Bliss Collection from PlushBeds includes 9″, 10″, and 12″ profile options. The beds are constructed with an organic wool comfort layer, followed by three to four layers of natural Dunlop latex (depending on the thickness). The cover is made of organic cotton. These materials sleep fairly cool for most, and also conform closely to alleviate pressure points and isolate motion quite effectively.
Customization is another benefit of the Botanical Bliss models. Customers choose an initial firmness – either ‘Medium’ (5.5) or ‘Firm’ (7.5) – but can adjust the firmness at any time by swapping the order of the latex layers. The Botanical Bliss models are quite durable and typically have lifespans of at least eight years.
To ensure owner satisfaction for the entire product life, the mattress comes with a 25-year warranty that includes 10 years of nonprorated coverage. PlushBeds also offers free shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S. and a 100-night sleep trial.
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, and also share our top-rated picks for the best eco-friendly/organic mattresses sold today.
A true green mattress features natural and/or organic materials in the cover, comfort layers, and support core. These materials include:
Mattresses are never 100% natural or organic. Most green mattresses today range from 95% to 60% natural and/or organic. Additionally, ‘half-organic’ and ‘half-natural’ mattresses 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 detailed in the previous section.
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. Most green models feature fire socks that act as flame barriers. Fire socks are usually made from silica, but some mattresses feature 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 for foam, innerspring, hybrid, and latex mattress models.
Foam: 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.
Innersprings: 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.
Hybrids: 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.
As with innerspring mattresses, hybrids typically have coil and/or comfort layer components that are produced using industrial processes. As a result, most should not be considered green or organic. However, they may have materials in the comfort layer or cover that have been certified as organic, such as natural latex, organic cotton, or organic wool.
Latex: 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.
Benefits of using a true green mattress include the following:
Drawbacks of using a green or organic mattress may include:
Now that we have covered pros and cons of green mattresses, let’s look at some important considerations for shoppers who are comparing different green mattress brands and models.
As you browse and compare different green mattress brands and models, here is a final checklist to help you choose the mattress that’s best for you.
Mattress Brands and Models