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A mattress made from organic and nontoxic materials can offer peace of mind and align with other healthful habits. Here are our favorites.

If you shop organic at the grocery store and opt for nontoxic cleaning supplies, you might want to rethink your mattress choice. Mattresses are often made with synthetic materials like polyurethane foam, which can emit harmful substances known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), sometimes well past unboxing.

The mattresses on our list swap out toxins for eco-friendly materials like natural latex and organic cotton. Here are our favorites, for every kind of sleeper.

Price* MaterialBest for
Avocado Organic Luxury Plush Mattress$4,599latexsleeping in luxury
Saatva Zenhaven Mattress$3,295 latexfirmness options
Birch by Helix Natural Mattress$1,873.80hybridnatural materials
Purple RestorePremier Hybrid Mattress$3,699hybridrestorative sleep
Tuft & Needle Original Mattress$895memory foamaffordable comfort
Naturepedic 2-in-1 Organic Kids Mattress$799memory foamyoung kids
Avocado Organic Crib Mattress$439latexbabies
Nest Bedding Quail Love & Sleep Mattress$1,299foamcouples
Plush Beds The Cool Bliss$3,253gel foam and latexcontouring
The Ecocloud by Winkbeds$1,999latexhot sleepers

*All prices are based on queen-size mattresses unless otherwise indicated. Prices are accurate as of April 2024

When creating this list of nontoxic mattresses, we paid special attention to mattresses with various certifications that demonstrated they’re nontoxic (among other things). Most of the models on our list have several of the previously mentioned certifications.

In addition, every mattress on our list:

While it’s not possible to buy a completely organic mattress, there are ways to limit your exposure to potentially dangerous chemicals.

Many mattresses and other indoor furniture that contain foam let off gaseous compounds called volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. This is especially true of brand-new mattresses in a box. They can release VOCs when they’re first opened, as they don’t get to off-gas much before getting compressed.

The Environmental Working Group suggests that the healthiest mattresses don’t contain any polyurethane foam, chemical flame retardants, added fragrances, PVC, or vinyl. It also recommends choosing a mattress made of at least 95 percent certified organic content with low VOC certification.

Additionally, prioritize natural materials like cotton, latex, and wool. Brands that are transparent about their materials, letting you know exactly what their mattresses are made of, is also a positive sign.

Here are a few certifications you can keep an eye out for when shopping:

  • CertiPUR-US: Foam is known for off-gassing, so it may not be the cleanest choice overall. However, CertiPUR-US certified foam should give you some peace of mind. Mattresses with this certification use foams made without ozone depleters, heavy metals, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, formaldehyde, and phthalates. This certification also means the foams used meet low VOC emission standards.
  • Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS): Mattresses with GOLS certification contain more than 95% certified organic raw material — in this case, latex.
  • Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS): GOTS-certified mattresses use fabrics that contain at least 70% organic fibers.
  • Greenguard Gold: This is one of the strictest certifications. To gain this certification, mattresses must meet a low threshold for VOC emissions. The “threshold” is calculated based on the volume of VOCs you can be exposed to before experiencing side effects. For this certification, products must have 1/100th of the threshold limit value. So, they can’t emit more than 1/100th of the amount of VOCs that could cause side effects.
  • Made Safe: This is another stringent certification. Products with the certification must not contain a whole slew of toxins and potentially hazardous substances, including carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, pesticides, and more. They also can’t emit high volumes of VOCs.
  • OEKO-TEX Standard 100: This material standard accounts for both regulated and nonregulated chemicals that are potentially harmful, and examines everything in a product down to the threads and zippers.
  • eco-INSTITUT: This program tests latex, innerspring, and foam mattresses for emissions and harmful substances and deems it “non-hazardous to health and the environment.”
  • Intertek VOC Indoor Air Quality Certification: Another VOC emissions testing certification, this program has two levels: Clean Air Silver Certification and Clean Air Gold Certification.

Nontoxic mattresses contain little to no harmful chemicals and VOCs. There’s evidence that VOCs emitted by foam mattresses can have adverse effects on your health.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), exposure to VOCs may cause:

  • nausea
  • eye irritation
  • throat and lung irritation
  • damage to the kidneys, liver, or central nervous system
  • fatigue
  • coordination issues
  • headaches

Choosing a nontoxic mattress, or at least one with certifications that demonstrate the product is low VOC emitting, could help you avoid unwanted exposure and potential side effects from it.

Regardless of which mattress you choose, try to let it off-gas for a few days before you sleep on it — ideally in a room where you don’t spend a lot of time.

It’s important to know what your goal is before shopping for a mattress. If you’re looking for proper overall support, the International Chiropractors Association suggests choosing a mattress that’s sturdy enough to support your spine, hips, and shoulders. But there are other factors to consider.

  • Back pain: Back pain is one of the most common complaints people have. Although more research needs to be done, some research suggests that a mattress that falls under the medium-firm category promotes sleep comfort, quality, and spinal alignment.
  • Sharing a bed: If you’re sharing a bed with a partner, you’ll want to choose a mattress that meets both of your needs and provides enough space for the two of you. This also applies if you have children and pets that like to join you in bed during the night. A bed with good motion isolation can do wonders.
  • Comfort: The best way to know if a mattress is right for you is to shop for it in person whenever possible. This will allow you to test various types, ask a salesperson questions, and decide what fits your needs and budget. But if you’re shopping online, choose from a brand that lets you try out the mattress in your home for free.
  • Cost: Mattresses tend to be pricey, which is why it’s important to come up with a realistic price point. Keep in mind that the life span of your mattress makes a difference. A higher price point may be justified if the mattress is made of quality, durable materials.
  • Warranty: Be sure to check warranties before you make a purchase. It’s best to read the fine print and know exactly what the warranty covers.

Nontoxic means a mattress contains little to no harmful chemicals like VOCs. But it doesn’t necessarily mean a mattress is completely free of toxins. While there’s no official nontoxic designation, certifications can help you determine how nontoxic a mattress truly is.

Natural latex is a good choice for people with allergies to chemicals. Certified organic latex is an even better choice, as long as you don’t have a latex allergy. And it’s eco-friendly!

Most mattresses will need to off-gas, or release chemicals leftover from production. Letting a mattress off-gas before you sleep on it, ideally in a room where you don’t spend all your time, can also help to reduce your exposure to VOCs.

Casper mattresses use CertiPUR-US foams, meaning they’re low VOC. Additionally, the covers are OEKO-TEX-certified.

Purple mattresses are made with CertiPUR-US certified foam and are CleanAir Gold certified.

Going the nontoxic route with your mattress is an eco-friendly decision that can give you peace of mind but also weigh a little on your wallet.

Be on the lookout for sales and free in-home trial offers, as well as certifications that let you know the product is free of toxic chemicals.