Organic Twin Mattresses: What to Look for and Where to Find them

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Mattresses are more than just foam, springs and cotton, they contain (surprise!) flame retardant chemicals, mercury, boric acid, and formaldehyde. Pretty disgusting when you think we spend (hopefully) 6 hours plus sleeping on that every night.  What’s worse is that all non-organic mattresses from the U.S. are required to be flame retardant (enough so that they can’t catch on fire from a blow torch!) so manufacturers douse mattresses with highly toxic chemicals like polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE), a chemical that is banned in Canada and Europe. This is especially alarming since according to Mercola.com, PBDE is “associated with numerous health issues like brain and reproductive damage, decreased sperm quality, thyroid problems and even cancer at high levels.”

As we peacefully sleep, we are breathing in these nasty chemicals without even knowing it. The best bet is to have a “safe” or organic mattress that does not contain chemicals and is made from 100% organic cottons and/or wools.

When looking for an organic mattress you will need to do your research. This starts by understanding the materials in an organic mattress such as natural rubber, wool, and cotton.

Natural rubber
is a renewable resource that many organic mattresses are made from. Generally, they are made from the milk or the sap tapped of Hevea Brasiliensis tree whose juice is extracted, poured into a mold and then baked. This system called the Dunlop method is how many chemical-free mattress are made.

Wool
used in organic mattresses should be G.O.T.S certified (an independent organic certifier) and used from sheep that have grazed in pastures free from pesticides and herbicides. The wool should also be washed without detergents, chemicals, chlorine or bleach.

Cotton
in organic mattresses should be made from pure, organically grown and harvested cotton and should have a tag that says 100% organic certified cotton. This generally means that cotton was hand picked and grown organically without the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides or defoliants to fertilize the crop, control plant growth or pests.

After you do your research, be sure to test out the mattress and ask tons of questions. Organic mattress are generally more expensive than traditional mattresses so you want to make sure your are getting the most out of your investment.

Some organic mattress companies:

East Coast Organic Mattress Store: East Coast Organic specializes in the Dunlop mattress method for mattress production. Essentially this involves harvesting milk juice from the Hevea Brasiliensis (a rubber tree). This milk is then poured into a mold with hollow pins and baked to produce a blend of organic and chemical-free wools used for their mattresses. Additionally, their mattresses do not use any synthetic blends or any artificial fillers. The company has a store in Pennsylvania but if you can’t make it out there you can call for a free consultation in order to decide which mattress is right for you. Some products they offer is The Key West, ($1,560 for a twin mattress) a 6-inch mattress made from organic cotton and wool; The Saluna ($2,099.00 for a twin mattress), a certified organic cotton mattress and The Mount Shasta ($1,299 for a twin mattress), a 5” thick all-wool mattress. They also sell organic pillow tops, duvets, pillows, foundations and baby cribs.

Life Kind: A Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified Eco–Factory, Life Kind sells bedding, and products for the bath and home and a huge line of organic mattresses. All products from Life Kind are made without polyurethane foam, chemical flame retardants, formaldehyde, anti–fungicides, pesticide–treated cotton, or other harmful chemicals. Life Kind features The Euro, a 100% natural rubber and metal-free mattress ($2,195 for a twin mattress) that includes a double-stitched quilted cover of pure wool and organic cotton. The also sell The Traditional (8” deep), an organic mattress made with wool and certified organic cotton that has a medium-to-firm feel. The mattress has four layers of certified organic cotton canvas and six layers of certified organic cotton padding.

Woodstock Organic Mattress: Woodstock Organic Mattress, a family-owned company, specializes in producing handmade organic mattresses. They offer several products like the WJ Southard Organic Innerspring ($799 for a twin) an 8” handmade mattress made from organic and eco-friendly wool, 100% organic cotton and a 460 offset coil innerspring unit. They also sell The Van Patten Collection ($1,599 for a twin mattress), a 7” handmade mattress composed of 100% natural Dunlop latex core and 100% hand-sewn organic fabric.

Savvy Rest: An organic company that sells all-natural latex (Dunlop or Talalay) mattresses. The Serenity ($1,739 for a twin mattress) is made of 3” layers with a sturdy organic cotton casing and organic wool batting. The wool fill promotes a cooler, drier environment and more comfortable sleep. The Savvy Rest Organic casing closes with a strong brass zipper. They also offer the Tranquility ($1,469 for a twin mattress) is made just like the Serenity, but with two 3” layers of natural latex. It’s a good choice for toddler beds, bunk beds, or for smaller adults who like a quite-firm mattress.

IKEA: IKEA supposedly also carries organic mattresses although they don’t use the word organic – they use the term natural. On various forums such as on mothering.com we found that Sultan Erfjord ($699 for a twin mattress) mattress is covered in natural latex, 100 % lamb’s wool and 100% eco-cotton that is grown without pesticides. IKEA also describes this mattress as 85% natural. All of the other mattresses on their site are made from latex or foam.

Have you found one you liked? Do you think the expense is worth it?

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4 Comments

  1. Tracy- this is GREAT info. Thanks for the info on Terra Verde. I also got obsessed with buying an organic crib mattress for our 2nd baby and didn’t consider getting a twin one. Instead, I just bought whatever was on sale at Macy’s. I regret that and am saving to buy a twin mattress for my older son.

    I did buy 2 toddler pillows from Woolly Boo that I love bc they are organic cotton– made from sheep from her family farm and the owner lives in Brooklyn. Two pluses. I feel good about those at least and at $50 each, I felt like it was a good compromise when I couldn’t afford the organic mattress.

    Thanks for the info on the distinction between certified organic cotton and natural cotton. I did not know that.

  2. Great article!

    When I was pregnant with my first child in 2006, I did an obsessive amount of research on organic crib mattresses and I purchased the Terra Verde organic crib mattress. It was a special order and took a few months to receive—and it wasn’t cheap (close to $400 back then; they now go for close to $500, or more, depending on where you purchase), but I feel it was totally worth it. So much so, that I ended up buying a second one for my second child that was born in 2008. They are both still sleeping on these mattresses in toddler beds. There was no way that I was going to bring a child into this world and let them put their face near a formaldehyde & PBDE off-gassing, synthetic, petrochemical-ridden mattress (not to mention pesticides & herbicides used on non-organic cotton) for most of their day/night. Keep in mind that fire retardants have been banned in Europe—for good reason.

    Here is the info I could find on the mattress I purchased: The Terra Verde is a 280-coil innerspring extra firm mattress made with several layers of organic cotton and Pure Grow Wool™ on each side, and then the mattress is covered with fabric that is made of organic wool. The organic Pure Grow Wool™ cover provides additional fire retardant protection, and meets stringent state standards without dangerous chemicals (wool is a natural flame retardant). This crib mattress is 100% free of chemicals and toxic additives. Pure Grow Wool™ comes from sheep raised and sheared in a natural, clean environment resulting in pure, natural material free from chemicals. I believe it is manufactured by Vivetique.

    Also, be wary of cotton sheets touted as “natural” or “green”. They aren’t necessarily a safe bet because, although they may be dye- or formaldehyde-free, their base material is usually conventional, pesticide-intensive cotton. Certified “organic” cotton is completely chemical and pesticide free.

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