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Low Tox Mattress Buying Guide

Sometimes I’m hesitant to talk about bigger things like mattresses because these are so expensive to replace but when you need a new mattress, it’s better to know what to look for and what to avoid, right? 🤷‍♀️

We spend about 30% of our lives in bed (and longer for kiddos) so what we’re exposed to from our mattresses matters. Plus, there are countless stories online of people bringing home new mattresses or foam mattress toppers only to experience new respiratory issues, skin issues, asthma, headaches, nausea, allergies, and insomnia. When they realize it might be the mattress or topper, and remove this, their symptoms go away.

Mattresses (crib to adult) are covered by federal mattress flammability standard 16 CFR 1633, which means they must be flame resistant up to a certain point (in this case, 30 minutes). If your mattress was made (not purchased, but made) after 2007, it’s less likely that you’ll find chemical flame retardants in them, as manufacturers have mostly switched to barrier fabrics but it’s still entirely possible for companies to use flame retardants because there’s no law that says they can’t. It’s also not clear exactly what they are using because many tout this as “proprietary”.

In the past, major manufacturers such as Simmons, Sealy, and Tempur-Pedic wouldn’t divulge their flame-retardant practices, because they were considered “trade secrets”. If the company you are looking at won’t divulge this, there are plenty of companies that will.

What to avoid in mattresses:

❌ Any Chemical Flame Retardants 

❌ Memory foam and tempurpedic type mattresses – These are made from polyurethane foam – a petroleum byproduct with VOCs like toluene that can continue to off-gas for years. Because they typically don’t use barrier fabrics, and are highly flammable, they are more likely to use flame retardant chemicals as well.  Also as these age, the chemicals released can increase not decrease as the foam starts to break down.

❌ Adhesives that off-gas formaldehyde

❌ Vinyl with phthalates (especially in crib mattresses)

❌ Cotton with pesticides

What to look for:

🌿 Certified organic materials

🌿 Natural materials like cotton, wool, or natural latex, which are all natural flame retardants

🌿 Certifications like: GOTS, GOLS, MadeSafe, Eco-Institute, OEKO-TEX, GREENGUARD Gold

Note: Be wary of only seeing CertiPur-US certification, because this only applies to the foam layer so there could be other layers that have toxic components. If this is the only certification touted, I’d keep looking.

Better Mattress Brands

Luckily there are a lot of companies making excellent mattresses without all of the toxins. Here are links to some of my favorite brands. 

Note: some of the links included here are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.

✅ – Lower Tox Living is a proud promotional partner with Naturepedic,. Naturepedic has been leading the organic mattress business for over 15 years and is committed to producing the safest, healthiest mattresses possible.

Use code LTL15 at checkout for 15% off your entire order!

✅ HAPPSY – Happsy is a Naturepedic company, and is made with the exact same materials, with the exact same certifications, but at a price-point that’s more accessible to many.

✅ My Green Mattress –  My Green Mattress offers a wide selection of mattresses at an affordable price.  Their adult, child, and baby mattresses are all GOTS, GOLS and GREENGUARD Gold certified. They offer fully latex (no springs), a latex-free mattress (the Pure Echo), and options with both latex and springs, for a more traditional mattress feel.  I just bought a natural latex mattress topper and LOVE it.  For affordable natural mattress toppers or mattresses, check out My Green Mattress.

✅ Holy Lamb Organics – Holy Lamb creates beautiful, sustainably handcrafted products using all natural and organic materials to create a healthy, eco-friendly life and home.  They have lovely mattresses, pillows, sheets and more!  Save 5% with my link below:

If you’re in the market for a new mattress and have questions, feel free to reach out!


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Written by Sara Parsons