This post started out with my journey to find the best mattress that suited my own extreme sensitivities. There are so many more options now. Still, many I don’t think are good enough.
We will look at my top picks for the best healthy spring mattresses (no latex or polyurethane) with price comparison (2023), all wool mattresses, and other futons, and why I don’t use natural latex.
There is no all-around “best” mattress for those with sensitivities. Sensitive folks can have a hard time with any of the following main materials used: cotton, wool, hemp, natural latex, and polyurethane. You will have to find out which materials work for you.
The article includes a look at more unusual options for those who don’t do well with any of those main materials, or who just want something simple.
I recommend all of the products here, some products have affiliate programs and some do not. Upon purchase, I earn a small commission through affiliate links at no extra cost to you.
First, a Quick Backgrounder on the Chemicals in Our Mattresses
Conventional Mattress Materials
Conventional mattresses are usually made of polyurethane foam or, more rarely, synthetic latex which both offgas VOCs. It’s difficult to find out exactly which chemicals were used in a particular mattress.
The worst offenders in terms of offgassesing VOCs are synthetic memory foams, followed by polyurethane (though almost all polyurethane can meet CertiPUR certification which I discuss here), and then synthetic latex, which usually does not meet any green certifications on its own. Polyurethane that comes rolled up also takes longer to offgas than if it’s not rolled up.
Going with a spring mattress does minimize the amount of foam and therefore chemicals in it.
“Soy Foam” is polyurethane with some soy.
Flame Retardants Might be Added
Look for mattresses that specify no chemical flame retardants – I list them in this post. Sometimes boric acid is added but not disclosed. Newer flame retardants include Kevlar and silica which, from what we know, are safe. Silica is similar to but distinct from fibreglass (source), make sure the company isn’t calling their fibreglass silica.
Natural Latex Can be a Problem
Most “natural” or non-toxic mattresses contain natural latex which I have some concerns about. First, I have found and many others have sent photos of it moldy, and two, many chemically sensitive folks react to the natural odorants it gives off. I discuss that in the article as well as the best alternatives.
You also want to avoid mattresses that are stain-resistant, as they contain harmful perfluorochemicals.
Some mattresses are also adding an antimicrobial agent which you would generally want to avoid, though there are some natural antimicrobials that might be okay for some people.
1. Foam-Free Mattresses
These options don’t contain latex or polyurethane foam.
I list options without wool for the most sensitive who are often looking to avoid this allergen trigger.
They are also free of flame retardants.
The Naturepedic Chorus contains GOTS certified organic cotton, organic wool (with lower odor than many other brands), and PLA polyester with springs. It’s $2,000 for a queen.
This is my top brand, as I like the construction, it’s high quality and it’s very well-liked and well-tolerated amongst many of the most sensitive who are avoiding foam.
In the kid’s mattress section they have one that comes in a full size that does not contain wool. For those who cannot tolerate wool, this is one of the top picks.
This option is firm though!
It’s $900 directly through them.
You can also find some of their mattresses through Amazon, prices fluctuate.
Royal-Pedic makes a cotton spring mattress with no wool. The All Cotton line is not organic, the Natural Cotton line is organic but not certified.
They also offer options with wool. There is no fibreglass in any of their mattresses.
This is known as a high-end and comfortable option, though like the others in this category they are firm.
It is around $3,000. You can find the All Cotton on Amazon, prices fluctuate over time.
Earthsake is a unique mattress. They make a hemp spring mattress with no cotton and no wool.
For those with sensitivities to cotton and wool, or who are in a humid environment, this may be a better choice.
A queen is $2,795 via their website.
iv. The Futon Shop
The Futon Shop has a good variety of very affordable mattresses.
Those with springs and coils will be more comfortable than conventional futons.
You can choose ones without latex or “soy foam” (which is polyurethane).
They no longer use boric acid, which it seemed like some were reacting to in the past.
Their prices start at $575. (US only. They don’t ship to Canada).
The Eco Comfort mattress is foam-free. It’s made from layers of wool and coils with an organic cotton cover.
A queen is $2,399.
2. Chemical-Free Wool Mattresses
Wool is a natural and healthy choice, as long as you are not allergic to it or sensitive to the lanolin odor of wool.
Many brands that use wool process and wash the wool leaving it with almost no odor. Others use a less processed batting that does have that telltale natural odor.
i. Home of Wool 100% Wool Futon
When I was furnishing my tiny house I was extremely sensitive to toxins. I went with the purest and simplest option I could find, which is a 100% wool mattress.
Home of Wool has an all wool option, that is (relatively) economical at $1,937 for a queen that is made of OEKO-Tex virgin wool and is 4 inches thick.
There are various customizations you can choose from:
- Either a wool or organic cotton cover
- Either OEKO-Tex or GOTS certified organic wool for the fill
- Various thicknesses
This type of wool mattress does have a wool smell. It is firm, as it gets compacted with time. If you don’t like firm mattresses I would recommend using a topper with it or using the thicker version.
Buy through Home of Wool
ii. Heartfelt Layered Wool Felt
For those with extreme sensitivities, a layered option that can be washed can be very functional. Heartfelt Collective sells wool felts that can be layered and washed.
To put together what would come to about a conventional queen feel, it would cost about $1,900. But you may not need that many layers, or you can combine the woof felt layers with something else.
Buy through their website.
iii. Savvy Rest Wool Futon (Cotton Cover)
Savvy Rest makes a futon style organic GOTS cotton covered organic wool mattress for $1,800.
Is Wool Chemical-Free?
When looking at wool qualifications you may want to know various factors, depending on your sensitivities, such as the chemicals used to process the wool.
Certified organic wool is becoming more common, GOTS has expanded to cover wool.
If a company claims all-natural, pure, or eco-wool, you will want to take a look at what they mean by that.
Wool doesn’t need to be organic to be free of harmful chemicals.
3. Natural Latex Mattresses
There are plenty of options for natural latex mattresses made in the US and Canada. In fact, when looking for non-toxic beds, it’s difficult to avoid natural latex.
Make sure it is 100% natural latex and has GOLS certification. And test for odors/sensitivities to make sure it is tolerable.
These mattresses range from $800 to $5,000.
Almost all of the green mattress brands offer natural latex, you can even find this now at Costco and IKEA.
I’ve picked the most affordable clean options:
i. The Futon Shop
Some of the most affordable natural latex options are by The Futon Shop.
Many of their latex options are paired with wool. Some are paired only with coconut coir or with hemp and coconut coir. Others include PLA and cotton.
The simple options start at $800 for a queen.
Buy through The Futon Shop.
ii. Topper from Amazon
The most economical option is to buy a 3-inch piece of latex. For around $250 (plus tax and shipping), you can get 3″ natural latex from Amazon (queen). I find that 3 inches is very comfortable to sleep on.
They sell various thicknesses to choose from and you can double them up.
Buy on Amazon.
iii. IKEA MAUSUND
This non-toxic IKEA mattress is 85% natural latex and 15% synthetic latex with wool wadding. If I was going to go with natural latex I would go with a large established brand like IKEA if not the super simple topper from Amazon.
You will want to check this out in person to make sure the odor of the natural latex and the synthetic latex works for you.
Update: No longer sold at IKEA in the US and Canada this option is only available in Europe.
If you want to go with a more purist natural latex bed, Avocado is the best in this category.
It’s 100% GOTS organic certified cotton & wool and 100% natural GOLS certified latex.
Avocado uses natural latex, with the top organic certifications, no adhesives between the layers of latex at all, wool as the flame-resistant barrier (no fibreglass, and no silica).
For a queen, the affordable options come in at $1,299 and $1,999. They currently have a discount code for $125 off.
Happsy is another great option because they go all the way on healthy materials and they use no glues in the construction at all.
It’s made with 2 inches of GOLS certified organic latex, organic cotton, organic wool and springs.
A queen is $1,399 and they often have a discount on the site for 15% off.
Is Natural Latex Mold-Prone?
After one of my pillows became covered in grey mold after two years in low humidity, in a new, non-moldy house I started looking into this. Over the years I have seen many reports like this.
I have seen melting, disintegration, and visible mold on pillows and on mattresses that were on slats in normal humidity, sometimes even when brand new. Including two recent reports of a popular organic latex brand.
There are other cases of this on a forum, many private messages from people writing to me, and reports in Facebook groups.
It is not clear if this is a defect (these were all different brands), or whether there is a certain condition that leads to the latex breaking down or going moldy.
I would not buy natural latex again myself after going through this, but I do have to say, I have not seen a report of this problem for years now (as of 2022).
Does Natural Latex Offgas?
Folks with MCS vary greatly in their ability to tolerate the natural smell of rubber and different brands work for different people. Here is a list of some of the ingredients that can be in natural latex.
Essentia, which makes natural memory foam claims that the VOC levels of their foam 36 μg /m3, about the same as that of natural latex. From my research, this is around the same levels as outdoor air – but it is not zero VOC or zero offgassing.
There have been dramatically different odors from different brands and even from the same brand over time. So you may want to check out more than one option.
4. Natural Memory Foam
Most memory foam is made of polyurethane and it’s usually more toxic than your standard polyurethane foam, though they are not all the same.
There are a range of chemicals added to produce polyurethane memory foam for different brands.
The only non-toxic non-polyurethane memory foam out there is Essentia, which is natural latex-based. The VOC levels are extremely low, 36 μg /m3.
When researching “background VOC levels” I did find this to be within background levels (though everything adds up). Here is one study and here is another study to confirm this.
Background levels of formaldehyde can be found here.
This mattress contains essential oils – grapefruit seed, coneflower, and jasmine. I tested a sample and it has a noticeable scent (though it’s very faint). Though I would not say it is flowery, it is a bit sweet.
It contains Kevlar as a flame retardant.
You can find them through their website and on Amazon.
5. Non-Toxic Polyurethane?
I would consider polyurethane as well. I personally would consider this material over memory foam (of any type), and usually over natural latex.
It does offgas a little bit, but for some folks who are less sensitive, this could still be considered non-toxic, especially if you give it some time to offgas. It will become tolerable with time.
If you have serious back or neck problems and need something with more cushion than the firm cotton and wool options, you may want to consider polyurethane.
This is the least expensive mattress type, so for some people, this is the only option.
If you don’t want or need a full bed, polyurethane slabs can be useful as simple sleeping solutions. I have used them many times.
White Lotus has a non-petroleum-derived foam that many have done well with.
I would consider IKEA polyurethane beds. They don’t use flame retardants in the foam. Just go as simple as you can.
The MINNESUND for $75 is the least expensive. But for a little more you can add springs and reduce the amount of foam even more. The HASVÅG is $179.
Despite being a budget option, IKEA mattresses do not use fiberglass as the fire barrier. Some of the mattresses contain modacrylic fiber wadding and some do not. Be sure to check the materials section in each description.
IKEA mattresses in North America use an inherently fire-resistant barrier made of rayon/polyester batting. Flame retardant chemicals are only used for some stitch bonds, piping, and zippers.
I may use the aluminized tarps to sequester the offgassing, if needed.
Buy through your local IKEA.
ii. White Lotus Eco-Foam
White Lotus makes a simple mattress based on their naturally derived polyurethane. It also has a wool layer and cotton cover.
It’s $986 for a queen through their website.
iii. Purple Mattress
The Purple Hybrid mattress is made of a non-toxic plastic grid and minimal polyurethane.
The Purple Hybrid with coils really minimizes the amount of foam used while keeping the comfort level high.
Moderately sensitive folks have done well with this brand so I certainly would consider it myself.
However it does contain fiberglass. A rep said “It contains silica fibers that are woven into wool and then covered by our mattress cover so it is never comes in contact with your skin. Silica fibers are also commonly referred to as fiberglass.”
You can buy the Purple Mattress (original) from Amazon or from their website.
The Purple Hybrid Mattress, which you can buy from their website, is $1,800 for a queen.
Saatva mattresses have been vetted by the chemically sensitive – a number of folks have reported that their foam seems to be very low in offgassing.
It does contain memory foam, which is usually higher in offgassing than standard polyurethane yet it still has good reviews.
Alternative Beds for the Chemically Sensitive
1. Buckwheat Hull Beds
Open Your Eyes Bedding sells organic cotton canvases and buckwheat hulls that you twist together yourself!
A mattress topper or pad may be needed for comfort.
You could fill the canvas with organic cotton batting, wool batt, Kapok, foam, or even recycled wool sweaters, and use the same twist system to make your own truly DIY chemical-free mattress.
What I like about this is it can be totally customized, as well as taken apart, washed, and refilled.
2. Cotton and Kapok Futons
Futons are more affordable than regular mattresses and often don’t use flame retardants. Look for organic cotton or wool filled. Avoid conventional (non-organic) cotton batting which still retains a lot of pesticide.
Look out for antimicrobial and even added pesticide treatments.
i. The Futon Shop is an obvious option for very affordable futons that many sensitive folks do well with. Starting at about $300.
ii. Rawganique has 100% organic cotton futons as well as cotton and wool. The company focuses on reducing chemical processing as much as possible.
iii. Zafu kapok fiber futons are really cool. They don’t compact as much as cotton and wool batting. They have an organic cotton cover, with eco wool and kapok fiber. This brand came recommended by sensitive folks.
3. Silk Mattresses
I have seen silk-filled mattresses in the past, though they are hard to locate. They may be good if you cannot tolerate cotton, wool, hemp, kapok, or latex.
Silk mattress toppers or pads are easier to find, and you could build them up to make a mattress.
This silk comforter from Allergy Buyers Club has a silk encasement (not cotton).
You can find them on Amazon or Allergy Buyers Club.
4. Cotton Sleeping Mat
This organic cotton mat by Dream Designs in Canada is thin but may be enough for some people who need a simple solution. It was recommended by someone extremely sensitive.
The futon companies above also make simple sleeping mats.
An organic cotton hammock is a simple option that does work well for some folks.
A good brand that is clean and healthy is La Siesta. Try the undyed organic cotton if you want the purest option.
A metal hammock stand works well with many models (no trees necessary).
6. Camping Beds to Use Indoors
i. Camping Cots
For a quick and easy solution, maybe a camping cot will do!
Let it offgas a bit first. The plus side is there is not much to offgas there, so some time in the sun should do it.
ii. Camping Pads/Mats
Camping mats can be used inside regular housing for those wanting a simple solution, or for those with trouble tolerating regular beds.
They may also be needed high moisture locations like tents, trailers/RVs, and shelters.
a. Closed Cell Camping Mat
For sleeping pads, the most basic type is closed-cell foam.
This aluminized Thermarest is considered the most tolerable of the camping mats. I found it really good and very easy to clean.
They have non aluminized versions as well.
b. Open Cell Polyurethane Self Inflating Mat
I use the most deluxe Thermarest – the 10 cm thick Mondoking (it has polyurethane it in). I find it very comfortable.
It takes a bit of time in the sun to offgas, but many MCSers can use these. I used it after two days in the sun. After a week it was ideal for me.
Setting up a camping cot inside
The general consensus for those with sore backs or who need the most comfort is a Thermarest on top of a camping cot.
Though with the MondoKing, most people likely don’t need a camping cot under it (though I would raise it or put a waterproof cover on it).
Thermarest claims to be flame-retardant-free.
For a more permanent setup, the MondoKing fits into this inexpensive Amazon Zinus Daybed.
iii. Polyester Fill Mat
Another type of simple sleeping mat is a Nufoam polyester fiber mat.
This may be more tolerable than the camping pads that have polyurethane foam in them.
Plus polyester does much better with moisture than cotton, wool, and other natural fibers.
This is ideal for an RV.
a. TPU Airbed
This phthalate and PVC-free TPU air bed by Lightspeed comes highly recommended by many chemically sensitive folks.
This is the alternative to PVC and foam mats.
I found it offgassed in 2 days. Which is faster than many types of beds with more material inside.
b. Polyester Airbed
Another PVC-free airbed is this polyester bed from Intex. Some tolerate polyester better than TPU.
How to Prevent Mold in Mattresses
In any house or trailer, tiny or big, make sure your mattress can breathe underneath (slats or box springs are used for a reason). Only certain types of beds like an air mattress may be able to go straight on the floor.
When building a tiny house, find a way to incorporate slats under your bed. I see too many tiny houses with the mattress on a solid floor. This is not a good solution if you want your bed to stay mold-free.
The picture above is my loft. The slats are built right into the loft. It works great!
When camping, I do think a waterproof cover is the best idea, in a trailer you may be able to use something simple like this Hypervent for airflow, though I have heard that this does not create enough airflow in many situations.
Corinne Segura is a Building Biologist Practitioner with 8 years of experience helping others create healthy homes.
Did you find this post helpful? If so you can buy me a coffee to support the research behind this blog. Thank you!
Did Shepherds Dream get taken out of the list?
Yeah readers didn’t seem to like that option. Home of Wool is a little more customizable and they seem like a great company.
Mary Bina says
Any thoughts on the Vaya mattresses? And what about the issues with fiberglass in many brands?
I’ve tried to mention which brands do use fibreglass.
Do you have an evaluation of, or thoughts on, the Parachute Eco Comfort Mattress?
looks good, adding it to the post
What about Happsy mattresses?
looks good, actually I’m going to swap out awara for Happsy
A few random thoughts about mattresses, in no particular order.
Regarding mold (that’s horrible what happened to you, Corrine):
I recommend calling the manufacturer and the place where you plan to buy the mattress if it’s not the same business and ask if the place where they make and/or store the mattress materials and finished mattresses is climate controlled. I know if at least one place that makes natural latex and/or coil mattresses that does not have any climate control. Yikes!
Also, the past couple of years with the supply chain being a mess, products have sat in shipping containers on ships for months and months on end, often going through monsoon season (most latex comes from India). It gives one pause when you consider all the places the materials have been before the mattress lands in your home. Vet as much of it as you can.
Kapok and/or cotton filling are very susceptible to absorbing moisture, whether from high humidity, liquid spills, and/or body sweat, which could result in mold growth.
Naturepedic: As Corrine noted, their mattresses can be quite firm, but be aware they have various firmness options, from the firmness of the coils (if you buy a bed that uses this technology) to the firmness of the latex. I think the company has amazing customer service and they work with you to get it right.
Regarding other kinds of chemicals that might be part of the equation:
There are often trade offs to buying things that have less additives. One of them is importing wool or other materials that have not been exposed to any pesticides. Not that I want the materials in my mattress to have been sprayed with pesticides, but there is a potential concern about critters that you could be importing into your home because this issue has been left relatively unaddressed by the manufacturer.
One more thing: If you want to accelerate off-gassing, vacuum the mattress or topper frequently. Put a clean brush attachment on your vacuum and vacuum away. It stirs up the VOC’s that are settled on the piece. When you do it, open a window and exhaust the air to move them out of the room. I was amazed how strong the smell was when I did this, but it did speed up the off-gassing process.
One more thing (again):
Zippers! Consider buying a bed that has a zipper around the encasement so you can unzip it to inspect what’s going on inside the guts of the bed. This will probably increase the cost, but for anyone concerned about mold growth, being able to inspect the inside of the mattress is a plus.
Rajia B says
This is so great. I wish I’d read this before. I’ve had a nest bed for a few months and had it on wood floor waiting for my antique bed to arrive. The maid picked it up the other day, and it was absolutely covered with mold. And I just left an apartment. Haven’t gotten horrifically sick from mold poisoning. I am beside myself right now. I paid a lot of money for this bed. I thought the all natural gold got latex thing which I did not want latex to begin with, but apparently it was minimally, offgassing, etc. was the best thing for me. I have so many sensitivities now due to the mold poisoning. I’m beside myself right now. I cannot imagine sleeping another seven weeks on the floor. I’m currently looking at a sativa even though I’m sensitive to latex, and perhaps this time I will go for springs, because there seems to be more air circulation with those wish me luck girls.
Any thoughts on the Mygreenmattress?
Any information about birch mattresses?? They claim to use all organic and natural materials…
Thanks so much.!
Materials wise it looks good. I don’t list many in the latex category as I’m not a big fan of natural latex.
The wool smell was overpowering for me, and when we stood the mattress on its side for a bit, the wool layer underneath the top bunched up. It apparently is not att ached to the layers above and below. The smell was still unbearable after several weeks, so we didn’t keep it.
Laura Solis says
I really enjoy simply reading all of your weblogs. Simply wanted to inform you that you have people like me who appreciate your work. Definitely a great post
Any information on gel mattresses?
Love your website!
I haven’t been able to test the gel that is in some mattresses.
Would you speak a bit about PLA in the Naturopedic mattresses? It doesn’t seem that it’s organic, only that it is non GMO, but doesn’t mean it wasn’t grown without pesticides…
Thanks very much!
PLA is pretty divorced from the plant – they use the sugar from the plants as a raw material that is then fermented and turned into lactic acid, which is then polymerized into polylactic acid.
Thanks for your reply, but I have no clue if you think it’s safe or not safe…At Naturopedic they sell PLA pillows – that’s another thing I’m on the search for – and they’ve told me they’re cushy and soft. According to Sarah’s comment below, it seems to be not so soft… So firstly, is is chemical free? Secondly, any experience with the comfort level? Thanks!
I’d like to chime in about the PLA regarding the feel of it. It’s used as the backing material for the top of the mattress. So, for example, the very top is a natural fiber knit material, but the backing is PLA. In between is the filler material (usually wool, but could also be cotton). And then it’s quilted to hold the filler material in place so it remains evenly distributed over the top.
The PLA has no give whatsoever. So you might find yourself spending a lot of money on a mattress that has springs that are the firmness you want and the latex the firmness you want, and a nice cushy looking top over the whole thing, only to discover that the PLA is taught.
In my view, it defeats the purpose of selecting all the other elements for your personal comfort because it stops the body and creates a lot of firmness that may result in you experiencing pressure points.
I wish the company didn’t use this material (or any kind of taught material) in the construction of the bed. I think Naturepedic is a very impressive company with amazing customer service. I think they truly care about what they do. But the use of PLA is a real bummer. At least in my view. I’m guessing they use it to meet some kind of regulation, but not sure.
I just purchased the three EOS mattresses from Naturepedic, and now I am so confused on what to do. I am not sensitive to the smell, but I am terrified about the mold issue. We just completed a very expensive 6-month mold remediation, and I cannot imagine now putting myself in the same position with my new mattress. I know you recommend the Chorus from Naturepedic, and I will consider switching to that mattress, but I am concerned how my husband will feel about it. He is 6’1″, 230 lbs. and is used to a very big and comfy conventional mattress. The EOS seems to be pretty comfy, but will he be unhappy switching to the Chorus? I know this is a preference question, but have you had any experience sleeping on this mattress? Can you recommend a different brand that has a big comfy safe mattress like the EOS? Thank you for your wonderful articles! Truly appreciate it!
If it gives you some peace of mind, that line of mattresses all have zippers, so you will be able to inspect the inside of the mattress from time to time. Also, I’ve had natural latex mattresses for many years and have never had mold issues. What happened to Corrine sounds awful, but I think if it was the rule rather than the exception, there would be a lot of complaints.
Overall, Naturepedic has an excellent reputation and I get the feeling the company really cares about the products they make. That said, could mold develop? Yes, but perhaps that would fall under the category of Anything in Life can Happen.
If you attend to your indoor air quality including humidity levels and use a quality mattress pad that you wash regularly (humans sweat during the night far more than most people think they do) the chances that all will be well likely far outweigh a bad outcome. But, I surely hear your concerns. Right there with you about these matters that so many of us who visit this site and/or comment here care about.
Sleep Center says
Amazing Post! This blog is very helpful for the people in search of the best mattress for them which is beneficial for their body and heath. Thanks for sharing this informative blog with us!
Hi Everyone! I thought I would comment in this section, as I have purchased a handful fo the products above. This will be a pretty detailed review. Sorry for the length but as a consumer who spent dozen of hours trying to find what I am about to type form someone who has bought the products themselves- I want to be very thorough. As far as I can find Corinne has been the ONLY person on the internet to even talk about these product collectively. I would like to add my own experience if it can help people before they spend thousands on a bed that might not work.
A little bit about me. I have MCS. I would say its moderate-is. Its been bad before and its been close to non-existent before. I am sensitive to smells, even if its organic and natural. All of my observations here are based on my own experiences.
Which consisted of: 1- Naturepedic EOS (wool & latex free) $2800 for a FULL 2 – RoyalPedic (wool & latex free) $4500 for a TWIN 3- The Futon Shop (all organic cotton, wool free) $500-ish for a futon size
I have bough all three of these in these since March 2020. I have to say it is SO hard to find a quality organic mattress that doesn’t give an off putting barn smell. I ranked them in order of how nice they are.
So here is the thing. I got test samples of the Nature Pedic and the Royal Pedic prior to buying them since they both were thousands of dollars. I
1 – Naturepedic. Their sample was one of their pillows which was between 1-12 months old when I bought it. It was they PLA fiber and an organic cotton cover. But NO organic cotton batting. (Which might be a mitigating factor). The pillow was basically smell neutral when I got it. In fact it smelled like the local shop in Minneapolis more than the pillow its self. (The store had a classic distinct wool/earthy smell). The NP pillow acclimated to my homes smell rather quickly. I did tolerated sleeping on the pillow from a MCS perspective, however it is on the hard side and so I don’t use it as my sleeping pillow but rather and extra. The pillow being a good fit for me led me to buying the bed.
2 – Royal Pedic. RP sent me a “freshly” cut sample of both the cotton and the cotton cover. Both of them had a very strong odor of that “classic barn smell”. However it completely aired out in about two months in closet in my house. I was super excited based on that result and hopeful.
3 – The Futon Shop. They would not provide me with any samples what so ever. I purchased it anyways because I was sleeping on the floor at the time.
OWNERSHIP. I will actually go with the order I purchased them in.
1 -The Futon Shop. I bought this during the initial pandemic lockdowns and it came completely wrapped in plastic. It had condensation in it. I opened and brought it into my house. The smell however was over powering. When I was younger I worked on a cattle/hobby farm so I know what wet hay grass smells like and the futon mattress smelled exactly like that. It was so overpowering my non-MCS/non reactive girl friend couldn’t even tolerate the smell. We move shut off that room of the house and opened the windows and even ran my back up Airpura R600 in there. Three months later it hadn’t aired out at all. I believe when the wrapped it in plastic the oils on the cotton mildewed. I contacted them and they were very unprofessional and rude and told me if they were to replace it they would charge me a shipping fee both ways. Which came out to more than the mattress cost to buy in the first place. I tried selling it on Craigslist but no one wanted it (due to the smell) so I I gave it to a friend to use as a dog bed out on his porch. He ended up throwing it away because it made his dog smell like “wet moldy hay”. Odor was a 10/10 the entire time I owned it.
2 – Royal Pedic. After their test sample (which was enough cotton to fill a small shoe box!) aired out so quickly and completely. I was SUPER excited about this purchase. I spent over $4500 to get a twin mattress. When it arrived it was shipped in two separate crates and was very luxurious looking. It looked worth the price. The craftsmanship was impeccable. No loose threads. No defects. They even added extra breathing ports for me! It was great. The odor when I opened it was an 8/10 compared to the Futon Shop. It started to quickly air out though.. I was impressed. It dropped by about 20% every month I owned it… then all of a sudden summer hit (I bought it in February and received it in Feb or 2021), it stopped airing out. I was still airing it out mind you. It was in a room on a platform with a ceiling fan on above it and box fan blowing air under it. I had an R600 going a 1/2 capacity for the entire time. When summer hit it when from not being discernible form several feet away to, stinky. I don’t know how to describe it, but the summer humidity with reached 55% max in my house active its odor. It was only 3 months old at this point… and it never aired out after that. I have never been able to use it since. In fact I don’t even own it any more to recover some of what I spent on it. Which is a shame because it truly was an extremely well crafted bed. It was extremely heavy.
3 – Nature Pedic. After my experiences with the Futon and Royal Pedic, my hopes were not that high. But its pillow sample has always been very low odor/non existent odor so I was willing to give it a try. I worked with the local store in Minnesota and she was very nice. I explained to her my MCS and based on our contestations she understood my situation. In fact, I wanted to buy it in the summer of 2021, and she told me to WAIT! She said sometimes the summer batches of cotton are more odors and to weight unit late fall closeted to Thanksgiving and she would even honor the sales price I was trying to get during Labor Day. So to me that meant she cared more about my satisfaction that the sale. I really appreciated that.
I just go the bed around the begging of the New Year. However… it’s smell is very strong. The store said the smell would mostly dissipate in a week. But it hasn’t. It smells more strongly than the Royal Pedic, almost as strongly as the Futon. But it doesn’t smell rancid or like wet hay like the futon did. It does however smell like wood/or PlayDo. Honesty that is the closest thing I can describe it as. Go buy some PlayDo and open the can. The smell is so strong you can smell it as you walk in the door at my house. Its on the main level and its slightly overpowering. I do however have smell neutral home. I do have it in a room with a ceiling fan. But the R600 is not in there for the time being (I need to get new filters as they go saturated) I have the mattress all opened up, so it can maximize air flow. And the odor is decreasing but I have had it opened for 6 weeks now and its still a 6.5-7/10. The main reason I was willing to give it a shot was the fact that I could open it up and air it out more! I hope it works.
I think it’s hard o get a clean organic bed, that is low/no odor. Harder than it should be. It’s sad. For chemical and smell sensitive people I am not sure what options there are. That is why I LOVE this website that Corinne has made. There is nothing like it. I will, however, keep the Nature Pedic. Even if I have to move it to my GF family’s house for now. I however am going to look into the Saatva. I had to get rid of my last bed, which was a queen Sealey and was 6 years old when I got it from a friend. That thing was so low odor and didn’t affect me and it was a traditional polyurethane bed with fire retardant. I was thinking of that even before I saw Corinne had a section on her page about mattresses so I will give that a try and report back to you all well on that!
Corinne I would also love to know your thoughts too on what I shared, and see if you have any additional pro-tips?
Blessings to everyone,
So I know very sensitive and extremely sensitive folks who have done well with all these three brands. Naturpedic is actually the favorite right now amongst extremely sensitive folks. I have also asked these questions of odor of those who have bought these brands and they did fine with and found the odors of naturepedic and royalpedic to be minor.
But it’s clear that you are extremely sensitive to the oils on the cotton plant. This will cause you to smell them as stronger than other people, as the brain ramps up the smell when it’s not happy with it. Your smell likely changes over time as well as you become more sensitized or less.
Naturepedic has probably the lowest odor cotton out there.
You have to get tests and trust your results. After the Royalpedic it’s clear that cotton is a no go.
Unfortunately, this post will probably discourage people from these brands who are not hypersensitive to cotton.
Just want to add, in my experience
Savvy Rest has the best customer service. They are the oldest If you are still searching, request a whole sample from them which would include the wool and cotton, and you can get a great idea of the smell. (I doubt they sell these, but they used to have them for dealers and you may have to pay a small fee. It is like a cute tiny cube of mattress, for display options.)
And Shepherd’s Dream makes a mattress that has no cotton whatsoever. 100% wool! (There might be something else in the thread of course.) This was my bed of choice, and they last 50 years or more.
Normally people associate wool with a strong smell, but based on your comments you seem to do fine with the “earthy” smell and have more issues with cotton, as Corinne pointed out.
Shepherd’s Dream changed owners a few years ago but hopefully they are still making superior products!
Hope you find something that works for you! 🙂
Neobest Mattress says
Very useful information, Thanks for sharing.
Are there any 100% cotton mattresses with a good return policy? You mention a few brands that all seem to not accept returns for mattresses. I can’t justify spending $500-$1,000+ on something I may need to just toss if it doesn’t work out. I tried a body pillow from the futon shop that has a very strong smell so they don’t seem to be an option for me. I recently bought my 3rd vegan Avocado mattress that I now seem to be reacting to despite tolerating them in the past, so I’m trying to find something without latex, and nervous about trying anything with wool because of potential odors.
Max, I had an organic bedding shop over a decade ago so this info may be old – but I doubt you will find a 100% organic cotton mattress with a good return policy. Reason being, any returned mattress legally must be sprayed with chemicals before resale. So the company would be losing tons of money!
I would suggest getting samples no matter what. Sleep with the sample in your bed for 8 hrs, to get a true representation of how you will react.
There is also an old technique of the layered mattress, that I have not seen discussed here. Basically, you get a new 2-4″ layer of mattress every 2-3 years, and stack them. This can be a great, budget friendly option for people who are sensitive to smells. Add the newest layer to the bottom and maximize the distance to your nose, and even it it fails you still have 3/4 of a mattress to sleep on!
Another thing is to place your mattress in the sun, only when there is zero chance of rain of course, to help air it out faster.
(Never ever put natural latex in direct sun!)
Finally, if you find a local futon maker, they may make a chemical free futon for you with a doctor’s note. Then you could at least touch and feel the product before purchasing!
If you have any more info about how to “build” a layered mattress please post!
I’m an older woman with scoliosis and MCS. After trying and returning four mattresses for various reasons,* I want to explore this option.
I have two cotton toppers and one wool futon (hard as a rock!) from the Futon Shop. I have ordered a latex topper from Naturepedic, which I don’t react to. Hoping that will soften the effect of the wool. Any thoughts, most appreciated!
* Naturepedic Trilux (too soft), Naturepedic Serenade (hard as a rock), Naturepedic EOS-all coil- extremely painful, PlushBeds (comfortable but I reacted to their Talalay Latex)
Do you know of any mattress protectors/encapsulation sheets that block PBDEs/VOCs from a regular mattress? I don’t have the funds for a new mattress, so would like to make it work with a hand-me-down mattress.
Karin, most mattresses do the majority of their offgassing the first 6 months or so.
I would take a clean hand me down mattress over a new Ikea one any day.
If it has been kept in great condition, in a home without Glade or Febreze or dryer sheets, a hand me down mattress may work just fine on its own! (And pets, smoke, whatever triggers you of course.)
Just make sure whatever you put over it is 100% chemical free. New cotton sheets are processed with more chemicals per pound than mattresses!
Thanks for this post. I have been trying to find a replacement mattress for almost a year now and for the life of me I cannot find anything that alleviates my back pain aside from regular memory foam. I tried a wool and latex mattress from avocado but it was far too firm and all of the options I found for natural mattresses seem to be very firm even when you add the topper that they offer. I have found the smell of wool to be offputting as well and it didn’t dissipate after two months. I tried latex toppers but the smell was horrific, even buying the all natural non-toxic ones. Every natural mattress company I talk to is convinced they have the solution but they’re pretty much all using the same materials which are far too firm for me. At this point I am considering just buying memory foam and trying to encase it in a tarp or something to minimize the offgassing because I’m in such pain. It’s all such a headache. Good luck everyone!
Many people go with polyurethane. It’s not necessarily worse than latex. Memory foam can be worse but it varies by Brand. Try Saatva or IKEA and give it some time to offgas if you have a spare room.
Thanks for the reply! I have a “low-VOC” polyurethane topper from Lucid that I’ve been airing out for 2 months. I still react to it unfortunately, but it’s not that bad. I’m hoping it continues to get better as times goes on.
This is all helpful. Do you have any information on adjustable bases? I didn’t realize they would be an issue, but I bought one from Rize and the smell was so strong I sent it back (with a 25% restocking fee…so I don’t want to do it again).
It is something I would probably have to see in person unless you know a company that can be very clear with all of the components of it. Electronic parts always have some offgassing but there may be a difference between brands.
Hello! Great article!
Do you know if Ikea sources their foam for their spring beds like the hasvag from US foam manufacturers or from foam made in other countries than other than the US?
It wouldn’t matter to me. What’s important is that it is low in offgassing. IKEA also has good oversight and high standards, usually setting the bar for toxins in products for the industry.
Corinne, this is a great article! Thank you! It’s just so hard to buy a mattress that is usable today. The expense of a new quality mattress is daunting and when return shipping is at stake, it makes it more so. Not only can I not deal with off gassing odors, but I have muscle problems that don’t allow me to sleep well if the mattress is too firm or too soft. Then, to top off these two major issues, there’s the heat factor. Wool, despite the sales pitch that it wicks and is cool to the skin, IMO, is hot! Cotton absorbs odors and moisture into the mattress and causes an earthy smell, Laying on cotton for 8 hours gives you hot spots. And anything polyurethane or foam is HOT HOT HOT!
There use to be a company in Philadelphia (we’re talking decades ago) that steam cleaned, air dried and shook your mattresses back into like new shape. Anyone remember them? I never threw my old S&F king mattress away despite buying three replacements, as the new ones were all returned for reasons mentioned above. I wound up taking my old mattress out of storage and am still using it. I’m looking for the elusive unicorn mattress! The one that doesn’t seem to exist for my conditions. 🙁
Many people need to set a mattress aside to air in out because they need a particular material. You will have to narrow in on the materials that suit you and then see what is the best bet in that category.
I was just trying to get clarification on the IKEA Spring mattress you mentioned in the article- There is the Haugesund & the Hasvag? The HAsvag is the less expensive at $129 with polyester felt lining & steel Bonell coils and the Haugesund is $179 and has incased pocket spring coils.
Which one did you mean ?
I really appreciate it and all of the articles and information you share.
I mention MINNESUND (75$) and HASVÅG (179$) in the post. Those are current US prices.
Thanks. Currently per IKEA the HAsvag is $129.00 US and the Haugesund is $179.00 US that is why I was confused and asked for clarification as to which of the 2 in case there was a unintentional interchange of names. Thanks
HASVAG is 179 USD here: https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/hasvag-spring-mattress-medium-firm-beige-70307407/
Oh! Thank you for clarification and link. I apologize I was looking at the twin size which caused my confusion.
We would be using these spring mattresses in a brand new apartment building that has built in routers/ wifi in each apartment.
WOuld you know anything about safety or contraindications for Spring mattress use in this type of environment with EMF from wifi?
Thanks so much
How do you feel about Carpe Diem beds? I currently own one but after 10 years and multiple kids and pets having accidents I think I’m ready to buy new and as I’m a bit older and experiencing back pain I wonder if there’s a similar bed or if Carpe Diem is still considered a great natural option (and cheaper than hastens) or is it all just a bunch of boloney? Thanks!
Thank you for all the information. Very informative and so helpful. I have a question about the Naturpedic mattresses. I see that you recommended the Chorus. That is the only brand that doesn’t have latex. The Chorus is also their “basic” mattress. I was looking into buying a Naturpedic but one of their other brands. Like the pillow top one but all of those contain Latex which you don’t recommend. So my question is do you only recommend the Chorus? Or do you recommend their other mattresses as well, as they do contain latex. Thanks so much in advance for your help. I have purchased coffee and can do that again since this is a long question. Thanks so much!
It’s not the only brand without latex. The first list in the article is about latex free options (that also don’t have foam). Whether you want to use latex is up to you and your sensitivities. I don’t tend to do well with latex plus have concerns about mold that I talk about in the article.
Corinne I wanted to chime in here!
What you experienced is super common. We ran an organic mattress shop and it is a well known fact in the industry that natural latex “melts” or crumbles over time. I have seen some last many years, but if it is ever exposed to direct sunlight, the chemical reaction will start and it is irreversible.
Also I have a theory that any moisture from sweat or the air can also trigger the decomposition. After all, it is natural!!
Lately I have seen companies like SleepOnLatex ship their mattresses fully encased. I am guessing this helps maximize the lifespan of the mattress.
My own belief is that layered is the way to go. Stack wool or cotton futons on topper sized natural latex, and keep the latex on the bottom if possible.
Finally a very specific latex comment – I have only personally seen Dunlop latex deteriorate. I believe Talalay uses a stabilizer, which makes it less “organic” but may also significantly lengthen its lifespan!
It’s all a trade off… 😀
Hope that sheds some light on your latex experience!
Thank you very much for chimin g in, that is very very helpful. Did you ever see it visibly go moldy?
I recently purchased a Naturepedic Chorus mattress. No odor or any problems from an MCS perspective. Did not need any offgassing period. However, I find that my pelvis sinks in to the mattress and I get back pain. I am a 5’11” male weighing 140lb. So I am not overweight by any means. I am a side sleeper. I have had to sleep on the edges of the mattress in order to get proper support and not have back pain.
I contacted Naturepedic and they recommend upgrading to the EOS Classic, where I have more firmness options. However, the EOS is over $1000 more expensive than the Chorus.
Has anybody here, used the Naturepedic EOS mattresses? What is your experience? Is it worth the price?
My Green Mattress makes a spring and cotton mattress (the Pure Echo), which is considerably less expensive than the Naturepedic. Can anybody comment on the Pure Echo? How firm/soft is the Pure Echo, compared to the Naturepedic Chorus?
Returning products is very difficult for me due to CFS and MCS. I would like to select a mattress that I will not need to return.
Any input on the Pure Echo from My Green Mattress would be greatly appreciated.
I would like to know about this one, experiences, as well!!!
I’m desperately searching for a mattress with no odors. My Pure Echo from my green mattress arrived 3 days ago. The smell is worse than my first “normal” mattress I tried. It was ok at first like barnyard smell then has turned into something I can only describe as “thick” that wakes me up in the night gasping and leeches into my pillow clothes and hair. It’s hard as a rock slab and just about as heavy. Read the Amazon reviews before buying it as I did not. If you have an ability to offgas it in the sun it may work out but one review said the smell lingered on and on. I’ll be trying out the chorus as softer/no smell sounds great, thanks for the review. Best of luck!
Instead of ordering a whole new mattress, could you afford to add a medium/firm topper? Make sure it is fully encased before shipping.
You may be able to put this on the bottom or the top, and it should significantly change your sleeping comfort especially if you are a side sleeper.
Also your comment on sleeping on the edge is strange… what is underneath your mattress? Latex must be on 2-2.5″ slats or foundation, or they sag.
Do you have an opinion on holy lamp brand wool mattresses and pillows? Thanks!
I had to return a wool mattress pad to them a few years ago, because the wool was treated. I would be very cautious and ask for samples of the mattress ingredients, before deciding.
I need to purchase twin mattress pads to put on top a camp bunk bed. Most folks just get an egg crate pad.. do you have any non toxic options? Thanks!
Thank you so much for collecting this information and making it available.
I just wanted to share my experience with the HASVÅG from Ikea.
We recently bought a home that had these in the bedrooms. They were new, but had been there for several months, so one would consider they had had time to off gas a fair bit.
I responded strongly to them and have been incapable of sleeping on them. I can’t be in the same room as them for more than a minute or two before I start to react.
For context, I think I’m in the midst of a very high sensitivity period because we ordered some toppers filled with polyester, and I reacted really strongly to those too – despite having read that that material is often a lesser offender compared to polyurethane. I’ve decided to source mattress solutions that are spring and cotton/wool/hemp based. No more mucking about. In Europe the options are a little harder to source since Brexit (most of the natural bedding companies seem to be in the UK), but I know it will be worth the hassle.
My advice to others is, even though there is a chance you might tolerate a solution that off-gases less than the worst offenders, why not seize the opportunity to go for something that doesn’t off-gas harmful chemicals AT ALL? Remember, just because you might not get a symptomatic response, it does not follow that these chemicals are not harming you. They are toxic, and the effects can build up over years, before manifesting as acute MCS, liver and/or kidney damage, neurological issues, and cancer, amongst other treats. By going all-natural, you also support the right segment of the industry, helping it to shift to offering these healthy options more predominantly.
Good luck everyone!
Aprile Coroneos says
Just want to share my experience with buying an OMI Wave™ Certified Organic Natural Rubber Pillow Top (3″) Mattress Topper. I am very sensitive to strong smells/chemical smells. The store where I bought it put it in a big plastic bag and ran air through it in an attempt to remove the very strong rubber odor of this topper. That did not work- it may have gotten rid part of the odor, but there was still a very strong rubber smell. I paid a lot of money for this topper, so I’ve been trying to let it offgas for seven months now in a sunny room with open windows and fans.. OMI has been nothing but rude in helping me solve this problem. The customer service told me at least four times not to worry what I am smelling is not toxic- it’s often said their toppers smell faintly of roses. I’ve never smelled roses that smelled like rubber. And toxic or not, I don’t want to sleep on a pile of stinky rubber. Then they said to rub baking soda into and vacuum it off to remove the smell. Didn’t even make a dent in the amount of smell still remaining after the topper. I put the topper on the quilt of my bed to finish vacuuming the baking soda out, it was only on my bed for about 20 minutes and the rubber smell absorbed into my quilt — but thank heavens I was able to wash the smell out of my comforter. The information in this post is helpful, and I will read it all again trying to decide what to do next because I know I cannot use this topper and will be donating it soon.
I’m not a big fan of natural latex and how it has become the defacto natural option. But everyone sensitive will need to find out if they tolerate latex, foam, cotton or wool first.
Aprile Coroneos says
Do explain why you are not a big fan of natural latex somewhere on your website? Is the way to find out if you can tolerate a material to ask for a sample of it? Thanks
Objectively it’s not better than polyurethane IMO, the odor is high and does not go down quickly, it’s not as tolerable as people think, many people react to it, and in my experience, it has been mold prone.
Sara Marks says
What is the reason why some air mattress are fine being directly on the floor? We have ours on the floor and have for two years now with no issues, but it’s always worried me, so I was please to see that you said it’s sometimes okay….but you didn’t say why and I’d like to know why. 🙂
Also, do you have reviews for mattress covers and pillow covers?
Thanks for your informative post!
Hi there, I have a mattress cover post here https://www.mychemicalfreehouse.net/2021/01/mattress-covers-to-seal-in-toxins-block-dust-mites.html
Sweat and moisture doesn’t transfer through an air mattress like with regular mattresses where it can condensate underneath.
Hi Corrine! Thanks for all these helpful reviews of mattresses. As a mold patient who doesnt really have MCS (i dont react to perfumes and soaps), i must say i could NOT tolerate the Purple bed. I had horrible muscle and joint pain while it was in our home and for 2-3 days even after we removed it.
Fortunately they came and picked it up and refunded our money. I am not sure if it was off gassing or what was in it that caused problems for me. However, it did come rolled up, which you mentioned to be a red flag for mattresses that off gas.
Just thought i would share my experience for others like me.
Cheers to good health!
Interesting, other mold sensitive folks with mild MCS have done really well with it.
Glad to hear that.
Eileen Oksnevad says
I have acid reflux and so I sleep on my left side for that (as is recommennded) and have to have the head of the bed elevated. I’m menopausal and sleep hot. also. My husband made a wooden platform for two single bed mattresses side by side with the head of mine slightly elevated. But the mattresses have become uncomfortable. We also did mold remediation in our house. We are looking at getting an adjustable bed frame and new side by side mattresses (possibly sleep number), but have been looking at healthier options. Are any of the ones you mentioned good for our situation?
Donna S Jones says
sleep number off gasses and is very expensive and after a few years sinks in the middle no matter what you do I have read many people who say this. I am looking now for new beds and have sleep number bed that elevates and vibrates. I ordered a new insert thinking that might help it came soak in some sort of oil and smelled so bad it couldnt be used. Even after airing it outside for days and then it falls apart when you try to lift it. very poor investment on our part.
I’m interested in purchasing your products for my store located in New Caledonia.
Kindly let me know if you accept:
– Payment by credit card ?
– Pick up and ship by our freight company.
James Earl (CEO)
Earl Sales Inc
74c Amazola Ave,
Canala North Province, New Caledonia
What about Naturepedic mattresses?
Also, the magniflex foam is supposed to be no VOC.
Please comment. Thank you.
I mention Naturepedic in the post. It’s not possible for polyurethane to be 0 VOC especially memory foam. It needs time to offgas.
I just purchased a natural latex matress (GOLS and GOTS certified) from The Clean Bedroom. In NYC. The brand is Obasan from Canada. We are not medically chemical sensitive but just want a “clean”, safe and comfortable option. I received all their certifications and saw very positive reviews, including many folks with MCS issues. Do you have any reservations about this matress? They use the dunlop vs Talaly process – which seems preferable, and I like that they get their latex from one plantation in Sri Lanka they visit, unlike other retailers who buy them from different sources. When I asked what the 5% ingredients were (the matresses are >95% GOLS/GOTS), they mentioned that very small amount of zinc oxide used as a stabilizer in baking process. Obasan seems to be the gold standard and a company that second round matress makers (OMI/Lifekind, Savvy Rest, Natura, Essental, Naturepedic) emulate. I’m ahappy to pay you for a consult if you feel it is better to have a discussion. I received the product yesterday but it is unopened (supposedly non returnable) but would feel more comfortable if you weighed in before I open it!
It’s really up to you I can only supply the information on the different options. Most healthy people will be just fine with natural latex but I don’t use it because of the problems I have had with it mentioned in the article.
Curious what you ended up thinking? I have a mattress from the same company
Hello, Great and informative post! Have you heard anything about Birch by Helix mattresses? Thank you!
Laura Kimball says
Would Casper mattresses be similar to the polyurethane mattresses from Ikea? They don’t use fire retardants. I have option of one that is 3 months old and barely used – to use for my guest bedroom. thank you for so much great information. It has all been so helpful. -Laura
Memory foam is higher offgassing than regular polyurethane, and anything that comes rolled up is higher offgassing.
Hello Corinne,. Thank you for providing such clear information!
My question is, would it be better for a chemically sensitive person to buy a hybrid spring/ foam (not memory foam) mattress or one with natural latex? Almost all the options I can afford are one or the other.
It depends on your individual sensitivities and which of those is better for you (both short term and long term should be considered).
Very interesting and useful initiative, Corinne.
I’m chemcially sensitive, tried natural latex and organic coton matresses (luckily with 100-day money-back guarantees), but they all irritate create breathing difficulties for me.
Before booking a consultation with you, I’d like to double check that you can help me as I live currently in France (you say something about not being able to provide advice on materials ouside North Amercia, but maybe you can help with identifying materials and products which are also available in France and/or could be shipped to France?.)
I also tried to contact you by email, but not sure if you saw this as it also says that it’s only for commercial proposals.
Hi Max, I’m sure you have mattresses out of the same materials choices there. The problem is I don’t know the brands and I can’t read French. I also find that materials are described differently in different countries (and there can be certifications I’m not familiar with) which means the review can easily take 2-5x longer. These are the reasons I don’t offer consulting outside of North America.
Are box springs (foundations) typically treated with flame retardants?
That’s a good question, I don’t see any reliable information on that online. Though if you are going with a company that doesn’t use fR in their mattresses I think it’s very unlikely that they add it to the boxpring. Just ask them to be sure! Though if there is foam padding in the boxspring and the bed’s from the same company are still using FR, that would be a lot more likely.
Jerome Ngugi says
A complete and comprehensive guide to make my nap time as wonderful as it can possibly be. I’d definitely steer towards more organic and healthy options. Anyone looking to improve their sleep would consider this article a treasure. Thanks.
Terrific information – thank you!
Any comments on Saatva mattresses? They claim that none of their mattresses have any outgassing.
I would like to see their testing results that show that they are offgassing the polyurethane foam before it ships out. I highly doubt that claim. But if they are giving it some time to offgas this can help a lot.
I asked Saatva if they could give me testing results and they pointed me to the CertiPUR-US seal on their products. When I review https://certipur.us/about-the-seal/frequently-asked-questions/, they say certified foam is:
“Made without ozone depleters
Made without PBDEs, TDCPP or TCEP (“Tris”) flame retardants
Made without mercury, lead and heavy metals
Made without formaldehyde
Made without phthalates regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission
Low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) emissions for indoor air quality (less than 0.5 parts per million)”
I also heard from someone with chemical sensitivities who bought one of their mattresses. She said that she couldn’t smell anything, but had a runny nose for the first few months.
Just about all polyurethane is Certipur, which is not 0 VOC and I can pick up the odor clearly. They should have responded with why their foam is offgassed.
Jim Jerschefske says
I may have missed it but I don’t see mention of Sleep Number beds. We are considering purchasing one and we are interested in any mold and chemical issues they may have including fire retardant and anti-microbial chemicals.
Thank you very much.
Carly Swift says
Thoughts on BEAR mattresses?
They are conventional polyurethane and memory foam.
Thanks so much for this info , and for the 2020 update.
There is a brand I have read about on MCS sites that I do not see mentioned on your site. I am wondering if you have an opinion on the materials and quality of Joybed mattresses?
I’m surprised Lifekind isn’t mentioned for an organic mattress
It’s good but it can’t beat any of the brands here on price in any of the categories.
So glad I ran across this site – thank you so much for all this information. Do you have any thoughts on a mattress that can be used with an adjustable base foundation?
That would normally be polyurethane or natural latex.
Many individual wrapped coil spring mattresses work with an adjustable base like Saatvas 11.5” Classic. See manufacturer recommendations & warranty.
Hi there – Thank you so much for your helpful, well-researched site. I have been agonizing over what brand of twin mattress to purchase for my three-year-old. I was considering a non-latex spring mattress through MyGreenMattress, however, I’m hesitant to purchase such an expensive mattress during the potty training years. I worry that any moisture/accidents (even with a cover) could cause mold in an all natural mattress. I have been considering the HAUGESUND mattress from Ikea, or the MEISTERVIK. The MEISTERVIK has no added flame retardants, but is all foam, which worries me due to the VOCs. The MEISTERVIK is coils, with some foam, but does have flame retardants on the zipper and stitch bond. I’m thinking one of these would be a good intro twin mattress until we’re out of the night-time potty training years, but I’m struggling which is a better choice. Any insight which is a safer choice is greatly appreciated! Both of my kids had a Naturpedic crib mattress, and I worry about safe sleep!
I’m in the exact same situation right now. Which mattress did you go with? I would invest to a more expensive mattress but only after the potty training years. I’m thinking about buying IKEA HAUGESUND or MORGEDAL mattress and use some kind of encasement to block possible odors. Does anyone have experience with these mattresses?
I have 3 My Green Mattresses – 2 twins for my daughters and a queen for us.. They are all the Pure Echo model, the Kiwi did not yet exist when we bought them. I purchased our first one for our first daughter about 7 years ago. It has had a few accidents take place on it, and we have had no mold issues. If any moisture has reached the actual mattress I’ve surface cleaned, covered in baking soda until dry and vacuumed off. The wool cover on the mattresses is extremely resilient and always ends up with no detectable smell or stains. We are happy customers. I’m about to buy three more Kiwi bunkbed twins for some new beds.
Thank you! I am considering buying My Green Mattress but I am worried because I bought a latex topper that gave me breathing problems and a certi pur memory foam topper and it did the same. I had to mail both of them back, which is a pain. I don’t want to have to return anything else. I am also considering JOYBED. I saw reviews that the Green Mattress was really firm (the Echo). Do you think so? I am a side sleeper but need back support.
Yes that one is firm. All of the cotton over coils options will be firm.
Hi I had a Joybed mattress and was surprised that it smelled good. The problem is it is covered in plant fibers and hydrated slicia that makes everything chemically salty. to the point of burning your skin and all sheets etc are very very salty. Also they have a polyester cover.
Wow interesting, what do you mean by chemically salty? Is it a kind of allergic reaction?
Hi Corrine! Thank you for this SUPER helpful and enlightening post! I first read it a few months ago when I first began thinking of getting a new mattress and now again multiple times since I plan on ordering one this weekend. After reading, I have decided on an all wool mattress. I saw that you personally went with Shepherd's Dream. I'm curious as to why you chose SD over the other two mentioned in your post (Savvy Mattress "pastoral" all wool, 100% organic, and The Futon Shop's 100% organic all wool option?) I am leaning toward the Futon Shop's 100% organic, all wool mattress because it is packed with 63 lbs organic wool as opposed to 39lbs with the other two options. Yet, I am curious as to why you chose Shepherd's Dream in case that would have me reconsider them. THANKS SO MUCH!
Foam mattresses are the only mattresses that seem to be comfortable for my back and I am sensetive to latex so I am considering getting a Magniflex mattress (made in Italy which is OEKO-TEX certified. What is the experience of people with MCS with these mattresses.
I’m guessing that’s polyurethane but it’s not clear. The website doesn’t say.
Don't forget Avocado Green!!
I don’t use or recommend natural latex
Despite the warning about natural latex not necessarily being mold-resistant, I decided to go with it for some other reasons. Would it make sense to use a waterproof encasement to protect it from mold and moisture?
We don't know what's causing it to mould and I continue to hear from folks about this growing mould when new on in low humidity. But yes I probably would make sure it's really dry first and then put a encasement on it to prevent sweat from getting in there.
Does anyone have experience with Avocado Mattresses? Also many comments were about natural latex…natural is an ambiguous term. Dunlop or Talalay or mix (and what is the % of each if mixed)…anyone can claim "Natural" but how much of the matress is actually natural…tricky
Other companies got in big trouble for claiming natural latex is 0 VOC. Plus how can it be natural mould resistant when it's so prone to mould? Unfortunately there is little oversight to what companies claim.
Hi thanks for a ton of great information. The more I read through this article to more I realized that the bed that my husband and I sleep on fits the description – solid wood frame, natural latex mattress, pure and untreated sheep wool, not metal in our bed. It is great that you put so much work into this article to educate others! It seem that our bed may be a good fit for you as well. Take a look at http://www.swissdreambeds.com. I hope it helps other as well. We really love it and always dread going on vacation unless its is relatives that have the same beds as we do!
Little Mouse says
Hi thanks so much for this website its a great resource for those of us struggling with MCS and i really appreciate the amount of work that must have gone into it. May I ask why you chose a pure wool matress as apposed to cotton or a mixture of the two (cotton surrounded by wool)? Does pure wool make for a "better" matress (I appreciate wool acts as a natural flame retardant but apart from that)? Also we are struggling to source a good (stable) metal double bed with integrated slats here (europe) and i was wondering if you could forsee a problem with buying a metal frame and getting some lengths of metal (say aluminium) cut at the DIY store and laying these down to form slats (I have issues with wood!). Found a company called Auping who make metal supports for the bed (the slats) but they seem incredibly expensive for what they are (a metal mesh: 600€ for a double). There seems to be another company that make similar from fibreglass but price is astronomical! Thanks 🙂
Aluminum is toxic…. plain & simple. Read up on what aluminum does to your body, even in small amounts. After I learned about the toxicity of this metal, I discarded every sheet pan, pot/pan, cooking utensil and even aluminum clad SS cookware I had been using and never looked back. We use aluminum free baking powder, deodorants and toothpaste. Check labels! It seems they sneak this stuff into many things! I especially wouldn’t want it in my bedroom where I sleep 7-9 hours a night!
Thre is zero risk with having a metal bed frame. The problem with cooking materials is totally different because when you heat it and it has contact with food it can leach into food.
Yes, metal bed frames attract EMF's.. and don't sleep within 3 feet of electrical
points or leads or reading lamp. There are protective blankets for inner spring
mattresses if you have one. Here is the link. http://www.scenar.com.au/
Metal bed frames are safe? What about EMFs? I just read about this somewhere. Please help!
Hi Corinne! You wrote "Poplar wood on the interior too (should have used maple)." Why would you prefer maple over poplar? (I ask because I'm chemically sensitive, and am looking at a new Dapwood bed that has poplar slats). Is poplar prone to mold? Thanks!
It's fine for a bed. It's just hard to work with when you are building anything.
Thanks so much, Corinne!
Is LULL mattress good? They responded to my email. Their response…..
To keep you happy & healthy, Lull only uses CertiPUR-US certified memory foam, conventional foam & polyurethane foam. Our foams meet rigorous standards for content, emissions, performance and durability. Lull mattresses contain: No ozone depleters No PBDE flame retardants No mercury, lead, and other heavy metals No formaldehyde No phthalates regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission Low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) emissions for indoor air quality (less than 0.5 parts per million) Out of curiosity what were you looking for in your next mattress
That’s standard polyurethane foam.
No answers coming my way????
If you don't find one on Google you may have to try and custom make it.
Is it possible to get a shaped foam pillow for those with neck problems and MCS,
needing the support shape up under the neck?
I know this is an old comment but I’ve had good luck with core products tri core pillow. I got the firm but they have a soft one too. It’s not memory foam. I think it’s polyester. I have a lot of issues with my neck and this, sometimes combined with a cheap soft pillow, works pretty well for me. I’ve been avoiding memory foam even though my neck would appreciate it.
Hi! Thanks so much for the great info!! Is there a reason you didn't look at Rubio Moocoat?
I mention it in the post on sealers.
Pawan Yadav says
Also check http://reviewkid.com/tag/organic-mattress/ as well.
That is polyurethane. Quite misleading.
Hi Corinne. A quick mention that I have had natural latex mattresses for about a decade, both purchased through Organic Grace and I have had no detectable issues. We have toppers and then a layer of wool protection and on slats etc. I'm starting to think about replacing them despite no detectable issues, just because spores and bugs do tend to accumulate over time. Our pillows which we adore are from European Sleepworks and I've given their mattresses a try-out and will probably purchase there. They are pricey but I have a better feeling than I do about the other natural latex options around here. Btw I love the feel of inner spring but have come across too many studies like this: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/left-sided-cancer-blame-your-bed-and-tv/
Oolaa Love says
I am a Sr w/ severe MCS ( detergent on other's clothing bothers me) as well as all petroleum & usual cleaning & body care products. A foam mattress in the 90 started the MCS. A wool or futon mattress is too firm. what choice or choices do I have? Aren't mattress toppers foam? Help.
You can find all the options in this post. I would go for a spring mattress from the ones I mention.
Dorothy Barnett says
For me the best option is the natural lattex mattress and especially when it comes buing a kids mattress! I bought recently a kids mattress from Coco-mat brand which is all metal free and made only with top natural materials, with no chemicals included (like the memorry foam mattresses) and it offers great body suuport. you could check their website and make a review for this brand, i would really like to see what you think about it! https://www.coco-mat.com/store/us_en/children-mattresses
I don't recommend these. The reason is in the post. Please read the post before posting ads.
This is great information, and pretty much the same conclusions I reached after years of research and bad choices (like a latex rubber mattress to which I reacted.) Now I am in Italy and the choices are different. I am trying to decide between a solid natural wool mattress with cotton cover (they do not use antiflame treatments with wool, thankfully) or a traditional mattress which has springs in the center and about 2 inches of wool surrounding them on all sides. I'll see if I can send you a picture. Since Baubiologie started in Germany, I wonder if they have similar choices there and have any discussion in your classes on this kind of traditional mattress?
Springs with cotton is good. Building Biologists are against springs because of possible EMF issues. I am no concerned about that. I think you would have to be extremely sensitive to EMFs for that to be on your radar. 100% wool is good and yes it is very compact. I use a 3inch wool mattress and it's FIRM. Sometimes my arms fall asleep but not enough for me to change it! It's find on wooden slats if you don't mind super firm. But something springy is a good idea. A topper can help but then again I'm not for any type of foam.
How to buy it ?. I found this site it reputable? There are here
Have you trust its? are You help me?
Romilda Gareth says
What bedframe do you have?
I have wooden bed slats custom built into the loft area. I'll post a pic in this blog post.
I'm surprised at some of the inaccurate information on here. Essentia has a history of false advertising. I have a natural organic latex mattress from an online company with GOTS, Okeo-tek certification and it has absolutely no smell. True latex shouldn't have an odor. Nest Bedding has some quality control issues. If you do a thorough search on the internet you'll discover the problems. I'm also suspicious about the objectivity of people that review mattresses when they are getting free samples and a small commission. Too many bloggers are selling themselves out to the mattress industry and promoting false information based on questionable marketing tactics.
I have sampled 4 different brands of natural latex (that is meant for bedding) and it all has the same rubber smell. If you are not super sensitive you may not smell this. I have MCS and this blog is written for people who have a heightened sense of smell as well. Essentia used to say they are zero-VOC – their levels are 36 μg /m3. The same as natural latex. If you ask most naural latex companies if they are zero-VOC they will also say that they are. I agree though Essentia should have stated this level and now they do which is an improvement. It is actually rare for a company to disclose the actual VOC level of a foam so I respect them for doing that and not just saying low-VOC. I don't believe there is any false information on this post, please be specific if there is false information. I received some samples from Nest and Essentia to tell people what kind of smell it has. Whether a company has an affiliate program or not only comes in after I have chosen the products that I recommend.
I am now checking out Nest Bedding and realizing they have completely changed their products since I wrote this post. They used to sell simple natural latex with covers. I will update this post regarding Nest.
May i ask which online company you chose…i am hunting for a company i can trust and am so confused!
I used Shepards Dream for an all wool mattress and Coyuchi for blankets. The Amazon pillow I listed is what I use for a pillow. Simple GOTS organic sheets are from Amazon as well.
Richard BlackRose says
Last I checked, Essentia added essential oil to their foam, which is problematic for many with MCS. The Clean Bedroom is no longer open, as of May 2016
Thank you, I will update this.
The Clean Bedroom reopened last fall under new management.
Very informative information. This definitely helps us in our search for chemical free bed. Thank you.
Gotta ask yourself why so many comments have been deleted by the administrator. Talk about lack of transparency.
it's all Spam. Major spam.
Niki Dimitrov says
Thank you for sharing! Very helpful information! I tend to wool mattresses (very simple and natural solution, and I always have more confidence in nature than in technology). My search shows that wool mattresses are very expensive, but I found an Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheHomeOfWool which I liked very much. Very affordable and trustworthy. I look for reviews. It would be great if someone could help!
Gary Puntman says
I would love to get a foam mattress. I think I will have to shop around. I want to get something that is free of chemicals. I'm sure there are some shops in my area that offer these. http://www.sureline.ca
l latex, or wool mattresses with cotton (or wool) covers are two great … furniturecovers.blogspot.com
Who did you use to make the custom latex cushions for the couch you had built?
just re-sizing mattresses from nest bedding. will then get a dressmaker to sew the cushion covers.
The Multiple Chemical Survivor says
Excellent ideas. I am worried about latex. I know everyone says it's non-toxic to MCSers, but latex gloves smell and there are so many people with latex allergies. I can say "well, I'm not allergic to latex" and not care, but that would be like my neighbor bathed in perfume and saying "well, I'm not allergic to perfume so why should I care about you?"
I like the idea of the mattress pads piled on top of each other. Does anyone have personal experience with this. I like the idea they can be washed in a washing machine. Beds harbor all kinds of dust, dust mites, and maybe mold. It would be cool to be able to wash a bed!
Hi, there's a big difference between natural latex and synthetic latex rubber. The natural one still does have a rubbery smell but it is dissipating with time. I don't believe that it is technically toxic though natural scents bother many people.
I'm loving the all wool mattress, It's very firm but Im sleeping so much better than I was when I was breathing flame retardants all night.
Joe Alexander says
Hi,Joe from Nest Bedding! Thanks for the link. So, here are some hopefully helpful comments.
My friend Lynne makes the twist buckwheat mattress, but that $300 is for the covers only, you still have to buy the buckwheat and stuff them. They are very firm. The Shepherds Dream mattress is very nice and also very firm.
Latex is a good option for those who like a little comfort as well as support. I have recently added USDA certified organic latex and talalay to my product selection.
Joe, Nest Bedding
Thanks for the info Joe! Look forward to checking out the samples from Nest Bedding!
Good info, if we can ever help out any of your east coast customer we would love to http://www.theorganicbedroom.com.
If this posted twice my apologies…