When you decided to “go green”, one of the first things you did was start eating organic foods, right? You eat organic because you know that when you don’t eat organic, you’re contributing to the mess of pesticides and chemicals that hurt our food supply and our environment.
But did you ever consider your non-organic mattress?
Most mattresses are made with synthetic fibers, not natural, organic fibers such as organically grown cotton and wool. Just like your non-organic food, your non-organic mattress contributes to harmful pesticides and fertilizers entering our environment. In fact, according to The Clean Bedroom founder, Christine Chamberlin, just one cotton t-shirt requires a third of a pound of chemicals – and if that’s just one t-shirt, imagine how much fertilizer and how many pesticides are being used to create just one mattress! If you’re green-conscious, your next mattress should be an organic mattress.
The Basics of Organic Mattresses
The National Association of Organic Mattress Industry (or “NAOMI”) lays out eleven guidelines for a mattress to be certified organic. Amongst other things, for a mattress to be certified organic by NAOMI, it must
Be free of synthetic fabrics/fibers
Not have any fabrics/fibers treated with toxic or suspected toxic chemicals, such as the chemicals that make synthetic fibers fire-resistant
Wool fibers must come from sheep who have been raised organically
Similarly, all cotton fibers must have been grown organically
Glues and rubbers must be free from toxic chemicals
A full list of NAOMI’s standards for organic mattresses can be found on the NaturalBabyNetwork.com website.
In addition to being better for the environment, organic mattresses are also better for people with allergies and respiratory problems. An organic mattress’s natural fibers do not trap the heat and moisture that cause a mattress to become moldy with age.
Organic Latex Mattresses
“Latex” is a natural rubber that started to be produced synthetically in the mid-twentieth century. Mattresses with a latex core (as opposed to a mattress with traditional bedsprings forming the core) have become very popular in recent years with US and European consumers because of the great comfort these latex mattresses provide. Latex is also naturally resistant to the dust mites and pet dander that can build up in a normal, non-latex mattress.
Buyer beware: While synthetic latex will keep your mattress from being truly organic, natural, organic latex has two main drawbacks. First, natural latex has a “rubbery” smell which synthetic latex does not. Second, people with latex allergies should stay away from “real” latex. This means that if you have a latex allergy, but still want an organic mattress, you are better off with a regular organic mattress rather than an organic latex mattress.
But if you don’t have an allergy to latex, and you want an organic mattress, an organic latex mattress made with natural latex is the top-of-the-line when it comes to organic mattresses. Its improvement in comfort compared to a normal mattress is quite noticeable, and its hypoallergenic qualities are an added bonus.
In summary, organic mattresses are better for your sleep, better for your health, better for the environment, and ultimately, better for your pocketbook. Although organic mattresses might be more expensive, in the long run their resistance to mold, mildew, and dust mites increases their longevity and saves you from having to replace your mattress too soon. Once you realize the downfalls of your conventional mattress, an organic mattress will become an essential part of your green home.
Anderson, Murray. “Organic Mattresses.” DoItYourself.com
Chamberlin, Christine. “Introduction to Organic Fibers.” Organic.org: September 2006, reprinted in TheCleanBedroom.com.
“Insider’s Guide to Buying a Latex Mattress.” HealthyFoundations.com
Lak Miller, Kristyn. “Your Bedroom’s Dirty Little Secret.” GreenSceneUSA.com