Category: Mattress Types
Let’s face it, most mattresses aren’t exactly environmentally friendly, but the growing popularity of Eco mattress models shows that people are trying to address the issue. Eco manufacturers are doing everything they can to ensure their mattresses aren’t harming the planet or your health.
Possible Reactions to Standard Mattresses
If you currently sleep on a memory foam mattress, or use a combination mattress with spring and foam inside, then you may not know that the foam component is usually 100% man-made. Often the foam is manufactured using petroleum-based chemicals like polyurethane that can emit strong odors. Even the flame retardant materials, that are meant to protect us while we sleep, have a potential to harm your health because of their use of chemicals.
Reactions to these chemicals can be irritation to the throat, eyes and nose, difficulty with breathing and even asthma-like reactions.
In addition to this, the carbon footprint from traditional mattress manufacturing is large and the track record of recycling mattresses is not very good – because there are so many component materials that go into the manufacturing process, they are difficult to separate.
The Eco Mattress Alternative
The eco mattress presents an alternative to these chemical-based products and aims for an entirely natural sleeping environment without sacrificing any of the comfort and support we have become accustomed to.
The idea is that they have a smaller carbon footprint to make and deliver, pose less of a health risk and are designed to be recyclable.
You can find them in all the sizes you would expect including Crib size, Twin Extra Long, Twin, Full/Double, Queen, Eastern King/Standard King and California King.
However, to buy one of these mattresses you may have to visit an online store that specializes in Eco-friendly bedding – these are becoming more widespread as the demand for Eco-friendly products in general increases.
You’re might be wondering just what materials would be used in order to be classed as a true Eco-friendly mattresses.
This is normally a combination of certified organic cotton batting, unbleached and uncolored organic cotton or hemp mattress covering fabric, premium Eco wool for the comfort layers, 100% pure natural latex also in the comfort layer ; some mattresses may use tempered steel coils for the support system.
Some mattress makers have also developed a bio-foam; this is a new type of memory foam that adds castor bean oil to the petroleum to make a semi-natural foam without any harmful VOCs or formaldehyde, both of which can cause irritation.
There is nothing man-made in true Eco mattresses, so you are guaranteed to be free from potentially harmful chemicals. They also breathe better than many chemical-based foams so they can stay cooler and moisture-free for a more healthy sleeping surface.
Of course there’s not a lot of point getting an Eco-mattress if the accessories like pillows and comforters are off-gassing chemicals, so if you are heading down the natural products route with your bedding then think about the accessories you will need for your bedroom too.
What’s the Difference?
In terms of comfort and support levels and the overall sleeping experience, most people would find it difficult to tell the difference between a well-made Eco mattress and a standard mattress, in truth.
The extra comfort of Eco mattresses comes more in the peace of mind that you are not exposing yourself to chemicals, and you are being kind to the environment by using all-natural materials.
Most Eco mattresses are designed to be used without the traditional box-spring, because this would add to the “footprint” of making the bed. There are however any numbers of high quality wooden beds that will partner your mattress perfectly. This also saves on costs.
Read the Labels!
Some retailers have used the popularity of Eco-friendly products to label their goods a little misleadingly. If being 100% Eco-friendly and using natural or organic materials is important to you then read the fine print and research exactly what has gone into the making of the mattress – don’t just read the headlines!
For example, using cotton that is bleached or dyed can still expose you to chemicals and so for this reason should not be classed as 100% natural or particularly “Eco-friendly”.
A note about fire retardancy: Eco-friendly mattresses can either use all natural 100% wool padding for a fire barrier or a cotton fabric treated with a non-toxic FR agent to achieve the desired protection.
It doesn’t make much sense to create Eco-friendly mattresses, only for the packaging to be decidedly unfriendly!
Ideally the packaging uses recyclable material and is kept to a minimum. Some mattresses will be flat-packed and compressed, only returning to their shape after a day of de-compressing. If this is important to you, check with the retailer how your mattress will be packaged.
You may pay a premium for going Eco-friendly until this way of making mattresses becomes the norm.
Around $1000-$2000 will be the price-range if you are looking for a well-made queen size mattress containing latex foam, wool etc.
You may find cheaper mattresses using cheaper materials but make sure you can guarantee the Eco-friendliness of the model. You can certainly find latex-based all natural mattresses for over $2000 too.
Friendly Return Policy and Warranty?
As with all mattresses, try to find a manufacturer that offers a 30-day comfort exchange policy, so that you can exchange your mattress if you find that you chose the wrong firmness or plushness. This is especially important if you are buying online.
If you are paying a premium you also want that backed up with a decent warranty. Standard for a good quality mattress is 10 years; some manufacturers offer 12 years or more.
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