The 10 Best Places to Buy an Eco-Friendly Mattress

Sweet dreams are one click away with these sustainable sleepers

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The Rundown
"Birch is the sustainable offering from larger online-mattress brand Helix."
"PlushBeds offers handmade elements, including side stitching and hand-stitched organic cotton covers."
"With just one type of mattress available in six sizes and two firmness options, this company keeps it simple."
"Saatva tailors its sustainable mattresses to your body and age."
"Avocado uses 100 percent certified organic latex, which is farmed in Kerala, India."
"For each of their sustainable mattresses sold, Awara plants 10 trees."
"If you are looking for the most budget-friendly but natural mattress, this is it."
"The latex is GOLS (Global Organic Latex Standard), Oeko-Tex Standard 100, and harvested from Sri Lankan rubber trees."
"The Cedar Natural Luxe from Brentwood Home has every green touch you can imagine."
"If you’re not sure whether you need a medium or firm mattress, this hybrid mattress is flippable."

A mattress is one of the more pricey expenditures we make for our home, and because we spend about a third of our lives in bed, choosing a mattress that’s made from materials that don’t harm the Earth or our health makes sense.

It’s a great time to buy a sustainable mattress, because there are plenty of options, including a plethora of well-priced, high-quality options, as well as Earth-friendly mattresses made with fewer or no potentially toxic chemicals. You’ll notice that there are a handful of materials common to the green or sustainable mattress market, including 100 percent natural latex, CertiPur-certified foam, GOTS-certifed organic cotton (and non-GOTS cotton) as well as wool and other non-toxic materials. 

Some of these options are even available to roll around on before you buy—read on for details on that. Here are the best places to shop for eco-friendly mattresses:

Birch Mattress

Birch Living

Birch is the sustainable offering from larger online-mattress brand Helix. The whole mattress is Greenguard Certified at the Gold level.

At the individual components level, the organic cotton cover is Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) Certified, and the latex in the mattress is made from Rainforest Alliance-certified sustainably tapped rubber trees. Coils are made from steel manufactured in the United States and the sub-cover and cushioning is Birch wool that comes from New Zealand sheep. The sheep are from farms managed under the PGC Wrightson Wool Integrity Program which “guarantees best farming practices with free range, pasture fed sheep.”

There’s only one mattress on offer from Birch, and its feel is medium-firm, but you can add an organic cotton mattress topper for extra softness if you prefer. Birch offers a 100-night sleep trial period during which you can return the mattress if you’re not satisfied.

PlushBeds Mattresses

PlushBeds Mattress

The company offers a wide range of mattresses, including four regular mattresses of various thicknesses and firmnesses, two memory foam-only options, three sofa bed mattresses, and four for RV beds. All are made in its California factory and all are vegan (no animal products are used to make their beds).

An unique aspect of PlushBeds is that they include handmade elements, like side stitching, compression tufting, and hand-stitched organic cotton covers. All the mattresses contain layers of Arpico latex which are made from rubber trees that are pesticide- and fertilizer-free (though these trees don’t generally need either), and they also have an Eco Fire Barrier layer for a chemical-free fire retardant).

PlushBeds offers a 100-night sleep trial period during which you can return the mattress if you’re not satisfied, although there is a $99 return fee.

Eco Terra Hybrid Latex Mattress

Eco TerraHybrid Latex Mattress

A combination of OEKO-TEX Standard 100 Talalay latex layers and responsive-support coils, this hybrid mattress includes layers of GOTS-certified organic wool and GOTS-certified organic cotton. With just one type of mattress available in six sizes and two firmness options, this company keeps it simple, and its lower price reflects that idea. The mattresses are manufactured in California, and come with a 15-year warranty and a 90-day sleep trial with free returns.

"When it was time for my husband and I to replace our old mattress, we knew we wanted to support an eco-friendly company. We purchased na Eco Terra Mattress, because it struck a nice balance of cost and sustainable credentials. When it arrived, we could tell immediately that it was also an upgrade in comfort. We're still very happy with this purchase." ~ Treehugger Senior Editor Margaret Badore

Saatva Mattresses

Saatva Classic Mattress

Select Macy’s stores have Saatva mattresses on site for testing, so if you want to check them out IRL, you can look online to see if a Macy’s has that option near you. Saatva offers innerspring, 100 percent latex memory foam, and hybrid mattress choices like others on this list.

Saatva has a couple of unique offerings as well. The Saatva HD mattress is specifically engineered for larger bodies that weigh between 300-500 pounds, with extra-supportive layers of latex and springs (view on Saatva.com). The Saatva Youth mattress is created with growing bodies in mind, for kids ages three to 12. One side of the mattress is for kids up to age seven, and then the other side is for the eight to 12 set, with each side designed to support proper spine alignment in that age group (view on Saatva.com). The company even makes an adjustable bed, the Saatva Solaire (view on Saatva.com).

The beds are made in the United States, and materials include an organic cotton pillow top, Talalay latex and CertiPUR-US certified foams, recycled steel innersprings on the mattresses that have springs, and a flame-retardant barrier made from thistle plants. There’s a 180-day free trial and white glove delivery on all mattresses.

Avocado Mattresses

Avocado Vegan Mattress

You can test an Avocado Green mattress at their “experience centers” in some cities, so search online to see if there’s one near you. Avocado offers three mattresses in seven sizes, and two crib mattresses. They offer an all-latex mattress, a hybrid latex and innerspring, and a PETA-approved, vegan hybrid mattress that replaces wool with cotton where it is used.

The company uses 100 percent GOLS organic certified Dunlop latex which is from latex trees from a farm owned by the company in Kerala, India. This latex is eco-INSTITUT certified. Other materials used include recycled steel coils, GOTS-certified organic cotton and wool, and the whole mattress is Greenguard Certified Gold. You get 100 days to test-sleep your mattress and it’s got a 25-year warranty (most other companies offer 15). The company is part of 1% For the Planet.

Awara Organic Luxury Hybrid Mattress

Awara Organic Luxury Hybrid Mattress

Awara just makes one mattress, a hybrid version that’s coils combined with Rainforest Alliance Certified 100 percent Dunlop latex (the same type of latex used by Avocado Green) from Sri Lanka. Its plush topper is made with New Zealand Wool and organic cotton.

Ten trees are planted for every mattress sold. Awara gives a full year as a trial for the mattress—365 nights. If you want the mattress set up and your old mattress taken away (white glove service) it’s an extra $149.

Signature Sleep Honest Elements 7” Natural Wool Mattress with Organic Cotton and Micro Coils

Signature Sleep Honest Elements 7” Natural Wool Mattress with Organic Cotton and Micro Coils

If you are looking for the most budget-conscious but natural mattress you can find, this is it. Available via Walmart and Amazon, this is a “bed in a box,” meaning you will receive a compressed mattress in a box and will have to lug it into your bedroom, open it up and let it decompress for a few hours before using it.

The upper layer is composed of organic cotton and Oeko-Tex certified organic wool, which is moisture-wicking and promises to keep you cool. In the middle is a layer of micro coils. It’s two-sided, so you can flip it every so often, and it comes with a mattress pad made with aloe vera fibers that’s washer-friendly. For every mattress, the company plants a tree. There’s a 10-year warranty on the mattress, and it’s available in four sizes.

Sleep On Latex Pure Green Natural Latex Mattress - Medium Firmness

Pure Green Natural Latex Mattress

As you might guess from the company name, Sleep on Latex only makes latex mattresses (in six sizes), toppers, and pillows. The latex in their 8-inch thick mattress is GOLS (Global Organic Latex Standard), Oeko-Tex Standard 100, and ecoInstitut certified, and harvested from Sri Lankan rubber trees.

The beds have GOTS-certified organic cotton covers and GOTS-certified wool batting via Wools of New Zealand, a farmer-owned collective that adheres to sustainable practices. All the beds are made and hand-sewn together in the United States, in Niles, Illinois. Sleep on Latex mattresses come in a box so installing the bed is up to you. The company offers a 100-day trial, with free returns ("No Questions Asked"), and a 10-year warranty.

Brentwood Home Mattresses

Brentwood Home Oceano Luxury Hybrid Mattress

Brentwood has six mattresses, at various levels of luxury (and so, different price points). The least expensive are the Cypress Memory Foam (view on Brentwood Home) which you can get in a hybrid or all-foam model. It's made up of charcoal-infused, CertiPUR-US certified memory foam with BioFoam (the latter is majority made-from-polyurethane foam, so if you are looking to avoid petroleum-based products, don’t opt for this one).

The most eco-friendly model from Brentwood is the Cedar Natural Luxe (view on Brentwood Home), a hybrid mattress which has every green touch you can think of, from buttons made from coconut shells, to up to almost 1,000 recycled steel coils, and zoned layers of GOLS certified organic latex, GOTS certified wool, and alpaca. Made in California, Brentwood offers a year free trial, 25-year warranty, and free shipping and return.

EcoSleep Hybrid Mattress

EcoSleep Hybrid Mattress

If you’re not sure whether you need a medium or firm mattress and loathe the idea of testing mattresses out, this hybrid mattress is flippable, with a medium feel on one side and firm on the other, so you can figure out which you like best. It has a 1.5-inch topper of firm latex on one side, and a softer version on the flipside.

The 100 percent natural latex is Rainforest Alliance certified and in the center layer of the mattress, springs work to dampen movement on the bed. Its exterior layers are a quilted organic cotton and Joma Wool that’s sustainably sourced. This mattress is custom made in the United States, and EcoSleep has a 10-year warranty and 120-night trial period.

FAQs

What chemicals should I avoid when shopping for an eco-friendly mattress?

You may have concerns about the chemicals used in conventional mattresses. Many of these chemicals have cumulative effects, and because bodies handle them differently (kids bodies vs. middle-aged bodies vs. elderly), it’s difficult to know whether a specific chemical could harm your body. For example, some people might be exposed to heavy metals at home from several sources, and at work, whereas another person might only have occasional exposures. 

Because of the difficulty in determining where and when we are exposed to chemicals with known toxic effects in larger doses, some people endeavor to eliminate as many sources of those chemicals as they can control, and so they opt to buy an organic or eco-friendly mattress. Like in the mattresses listed above, these mostly natural materials are used in place of memory foam, conventional cotton or polyester, polyester fills, and other chemicals. 

Here are some of the chemicals in conventionally-produced mattresses that you may wish to avoid: 

Mercury and Lead
Mercury and lead may be used in solvents and adhesives in conventional mattresses. Mercury exposure can cause headaches and mood swings, as well as breathing difficulties and skin irritation, and there is no safe amount of lead for children, for whom it can cause cognitive issues. 

Chloroform
Chloroform, which is also used in adhesives, is linked to depression and liver issues, according to the EPA

CFCs
Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are used to make synthetic foams in some mattresses, and those have been linked to headaches and skin irritation. They are also depleting to the ozone layer.

Cyanide
Cyanide is also sometimes used in bedding manufacture and is linked to dizziness and eye irritation. 

PDBEs
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PDBEs) are banned in Europe and Canada and are known to cause thyroid problems and endocrine issues.

What are the pros and cons of buying a mattress online?

Quite a lot has changed about how we buy mattresses over the last 20 years. People used to shop for one at a big department store or a business specializing in just mattresses, and tried a few out before settling on one that fit their space, budget, and comfort level. 

You can still do that. Or, like roughly half of American shoppers, you can order a mattress directly from the company that makes it via the internet. This eliminates the hassle of taking time out of your day to go roll around on some mattresses at a store, haggle over price, and then wait for delivery, which is a huge advantage. The direct-to-you mattress brands are also a significant savings: they are usually 25 percent to 50 percent less expensive. 

However, there are downsides to online mattress ordering. You don’t get to try the mattresses out before one is in your house, though most companies do offer free trial periods. At a mattress store, you can try out six or seven mattresses in your price range, but most people are unlikely to order and return that number of mattresses, even if they are very picky. Not going to a store also means you also don’t get the benefit of the mattress seller’s experience and expertise. Choosing a mattress comes down to reading descriptions on the sellers’ website and, if you’re like us, researching which manufacturers have a lower environmental impact and are free of potentially harmful materials. 

All that being said, surveys have shown that most people are pretty satisfied with their online mattress purchase. Overall, buying directly from a company means they stand behind the quality of its product, so if you have an issue, you can go directly to the seller. All the mattress companies mentioned above have very good ratings for durability and quality. 

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Starre Vartan has been covering ethical and environmentally friendly products for over 15 years. She has slept for the past five years on a Sleep on Latex mattress.