Last summer my boyfriend and I plunged into the messy universe of Searching For A Clean, Green, Totally Nontoxic Mattress.
I am going to share a number of our discoveries, notes etc. just in case it may benefit another who is attempting to traverse this confusing, inhospitable landscape.
What Kind??? We Chose LATEX
We went to a natural bedding shop and tried a Savvy Rest with a wool topper and were sold on LATEX. I also read a number of articles on the process of making natural latex and it is very nontoxic. We have never experienced any allergic reaction to the rubber proteins, although I suppose it’s good to be aware of your own sensitivity before investing in a latex mattress.
Which Latex Mattress? What Weights of Latex?
I am 5′ 10″ and weigh about 230 pounds and boyfriend is 6′ 1″ and weighs about 210 pounds.
When we tried the Savvy Rest we liked:
TOP Latex Layer: Medium Talalay
MIDDLE: Medium Dunlop
BOTTOM: Firm Dunlop
TOP: Soft Talalay
MIDDLE: Soft Dunlop
BOTTOM: Firm Dunlop
…and the “Deluxe Wool Topper” priced at $435 for the Queen size on top.
I think I found this information online to translate what the saleslady told us into actual ILDs:
SD – 22-30
MD – 31-19
ST – 20-24
MT – 30-34
FT – 35-40+
We concluded that we would want something between his and my sides at:
Unfortunately….these ILDs ultimately turned out not to help us in any way in the end because we got the latex from another company and the ILDs did NOT translate all that well.
We did not want to pay for the Savvy Rest, so we continued onwards into the land of the internet…
Which brings me to this handy CHART – this is the list of all the companies I researched:
NATURAL MATTRESSES COMPANIES – HANDY DANDY CHART
(links to each are at the end of the article)
|Company||Height||Notes||cover is stretch knit?||price||S+H||TOTAL|
|Sleeping Organic||10||Charleston SC, Free pillows and sheets!||YES||2,400.00||2,400.00|
|DIY Natural Bedding (three 3″ latex 6XTWIN X-LONG, ticking, wool batting)||9||very trustworthy, does good research; LatexCo (Naturalux) and FoamOrder (Natural Sense)||yes||1,690.00||25.00||1,715.00|
|SleepEZ||8||Latexo, Latex International, Dunlopillo, Radium, and Latex Green||1,895.00||1,895.00|
|Habitat||8||“CHEMICAL FREE” COVER – not organic||2,000.00||2,000.00|
|Flobeds||8||uses Latex International which uses silica||2,000.00||2,000.00|
|Sleeping Organic||7||Charleston SC, Free pillows and sheets!||YES||1,800.00||1,800.00|
|SleepEZ||6||only uses wool for fire retardant requirement||no quilted||1,295.00||1,295.00|
|Green Mattress Factory||6||70% synthetic||1,795.00||1,795.00|
|A Happy Planet||6||2,420.00||50.00||2,470.00|
|Organic And Healthy||Certificates||2,195.00||2,195.00|
|The Organic Mattress Store||2,500.00||2,500.00|
|DIY Natural Bedding||3||Price for medium weight twin xl||420||420|
|Bean Products||2||Soft: 18-22, Medium: 23-27, Medium-Firm: 28-33, Firm: 34-38, Extra-Firm: 39-44||259.00||259.00|
|organic textiles||2||2 inch is really 1.75||289.00||289.00|
|SLEEP ON LATEX||3||450.00||450.00|
|EGG CRATE OrganicMattressShop||2||288.20||288.20|
|CLEARANCE OrganicMattressShop||1.8||Eastern King Medium (N28) approx 1.8 x 76 x 80||224.06||224.06|
|CLEARANCE OrganicMattressShop||2.8||Eastern King X-Firm (N36) approx 2.8 x 76 x 80 N36||486.45||486.45|
|CLEARANCE OrganicMattressShop||2.8||Eastern King Soft (N25) approx 2.8 x 76 x 80 N36||308.00||308.00|
|Sleep & Invigorate @ Overstock||404.00||404.00|
|Brooklyn Bedding||3||Latex International latex||404.00||404.00|
|TOPPER “(wool) I think it might be a better product if it were precompressed mechanically and evenly.”|
|Flobeds||1 to 2||8.5 lbs||300.00|
|Sugal Loaf Wool||non organic cotton||350.00|
|Z Wool||non organic cotton||341.00|
|FoamOrder||2 to 3||doesn’t say its compressed evenly||430.00|
|WoolRest Biomag||looks compressed||with magnets!||379.00|
|Moss Envy||3 to 4||1 to 2 is 350||430.00|
|Organic And Healthy||1.50||319.00|
|The Clean Bedroom||.5″ thick||219.00|
|Bean Products||buckwheat pillow||37.95|
|White Lotus||buck wool||sleeping with zip||72.00|
|White Lotus||organic jersey cotton sheets||243.00|
|The Clean Bedroom||254.20|
|CLEARANCE OrganicMattressShop.com||not organic||50.00||50.00|
|CLEARANCE OrganicMattressShop.com||not organic||30.00||30.00|
|FOAM BY MAIL TERRY CLOTH||not organic||80.00||80.00|
|Mattress Safe||not organic||67.00||67.00|
|Heart of Vermont||not stretchy||organic||357.00|
What happened next is I researched all the details of Latex Mattresses and found out:
1. SILICA ADDITIVES Some latex is made with silica, which is like small bits of sand that grate on the latex internally and could wear it out sooner than one that does not have this additive. This I found out from DIY Natural Bedding. Their Facebook postings I believe. Debora explained that Latex International adds silica…from my notes “Latex International talalay has fillers, they are chalk feldspar silica. Because of the additives they will break down sooner. The latex is in the mold 2/3 of the way, then they add 1/3 air. But with Dunlop they fill it all the way with latex. Dunlop holds up better. ”
“There is latex product you should be aware of that is technically natural but is not 96% natural latex. That is a latex made by Latex International who adds silica into their Talalay processed natural latex. Silica is natural, it is merely very finely ground sand. However, as a sleeper puts pressure on the latex, the silica acts like sandpaper against the rubber cells, rubbing them and destroying them; thus shortening the foam’s life. ”
Some additional Latex Manufacturing Info:
“The quality of our latex can be determined by its manufacturing procedures. Let me give you some names in case you like to be in the know. Most of our latex we get through Foam Order (www.foamorder.com) and some we get through LatexCo/Sleep Comp West. LatexCo pours their own latex, called Naturalux (http://www.latexco.com/usa/our-products/); Foam Order gets their latex cores, called Natural Sense, poured though Arpico or Richard Piers Natural Foams Ltd. (http://www.arpicolatexfoam.com/process/index.html). The link displays some pictures of the process used to turn the natural latex into a buoyant foam. The certification of natural latex as well as the VOC test results can be seen at this link. http://www.foamorder.com/certificate_natural_sense_foam.html Both companies source their raw latex from Sri Lanka. Foam Order’s latex through Arpico comes from the Kegalle Plantation and LatexCo pours their own natural latex. There are no rubber trees in the United States, particularly the Hevea Brasiliensis species that makes the latex for rubber. Our latex is intentionally Dunlop process; more on that in the next post.”
2. STRETCHY COVER The latex is super stretchy. A normal kind of mattress cover will not conform enough to give you all the comfort and benefits of the stretchy latex. It doesn’t make sense to pay for the comfort of latex and then use a cover and sheets that destroy that comfort. Therefore, the best cover, and sheets actually, will be of a stretchy material.
When we found DIY Natural Bedding we decided to get our latex pieces from them because she answered our questions so well.
Placing The Order – We Got All Our Latex Weights Wrong!
OK, so… I called and got some translations of ILDs for DIY Natural Bedding company:
Soft – 21-25
Medium – 26-30
Extra Firm 36-42
Remember we had decided we liked – from trying SavvyRest and looking online for the ILDs:
So it made sense to get a Soft, Medium, and Firm – although I guess Extra Firm would have made more sense but I guess I thought – it will be way down there at the bottom what difference would it make?
GOTS Organic Knit Ticking (this has plenty of stretch and is soft)
2 x 3″ latex soft – twin x-long
2 x 3″ latex med- twin x-long
2 x 3″ latex firm- twin x-long
Well, it was bad.
Heavy People Need Firmer, Light People Need Softer Latex
We learned this the hard way. Because of our weight – over 200 lbs – we compressed the soft/medium/firm latex combo into a very VERY hard, horribly uncomfortable, sleeping surface.
You see, I was reading reviews from people of various weights and latex from various places.
I saw a couple who got latex from the foam factory:
top – 3″ 20 ILD
middle – 2″ 32 ILD
bottom – 6″ 36 ILD
They loved it. The husband weighs 230 and wife 95. I would think he would have a lot of trouble with it but if he sleeps on his side he would need it more cushy perhaps. Perhaps ILDs just don’t translate well between different manufacturers of latex? Here is the link to their story. And here is a link about problems with Foam by Mail – maybe The Foam Factory has similar issues or ordering pieces from big warehouses is just a tricky business.
Some Pics of our first latex order:
We had to exchange some layers.
What we have now is great though (IMO).
We have our bed set up like this:
All is latex from DIY Natural Bedding.
Top – Extra Firm
Middle – Extra Firm
Bottom – Firm
Top – Extra Firm
Middle – Firm
Bottom – Extra Firm
We didn’t get a chance to try out Hard, because we used up our 60 days for making exchanges and this is comfortable enough.
Wool Batting – Did Not End Up Using
We ended up not adding the wool batting around the mattress (under the cover) because we move our layers around and don’t want to have to deal with the raw wool on top of the layers every time we rearrange them.
I created a big pillow with some wool batting. Wool batting compresses, and you have to fluff it frequently to get it to feel soft and fluffy – otherwise the pillow feels VERY hard.
Cover – I Wish We Got Quilted
We wish we had gotten the quilted cover. I was afraid it would not be stretchy enough. It probably is. We need more protection for the mattress.
So far I have not bought stretchy sheets, so we just sleep on the mattress cover – totally not ideal, it gets the cover dirty – but we are at least sleeping soundly and not breathing any horrible toxins from our mattress now.
Latex Has No Smell
The Latex itself is – as far as I can tell – scent free. There was never any smell or odor from these latex pieces. If you are sensitive to the rubber proteins, you may have some issues though.
I find the mattress to be supportive of my spine and comfortable. I wish it was more conforming, especially when I lie on my side. Overall I am happy with it. I’m glad I am not sleeping on any toxic materials or metal springs.
Boyfriend is not that happy though. 😦 He says he doesn’t like the feel of rubber. To quote, “I feel like I’m sleeping on a rubber band.” I think he wants it even more conforming and much more natural feeling. He thinks that things might feel more conforming and natural if we get some stretch cloth and sew a case for the wool we bought, and then add that as a topper, although we are concerned about the way wool compresses and becomes really hard feeling over not too long a time. We were thinking it would be interesting to get a whole bunch of millet or buckwheat hulls and make a topper out of that as well.
Wool and Horse Hair
The true ultimate ingredients for a natural bed are horse hair and wool. I did look long and hard for a wholesale source of horsehair that would be good to use for a mattress, but never found one.
Watch this to see the ultimate natural bed you can get for $60,000: Video – Hastens Mattress
And the other one for $33,000: E.S. Kluft & Co.’s hand-tufted, king-size Palais Royale mattress
So, that is our journey. I hope it can help you find a great natural mattress!
Latex Insider Info /A Mattress Guy Speaks: http://www.mattresses.net/lamaco1.html
Measures of Mattress Purity and How SavvyRest Greenwashes: http://www.comparetosavvyrest.com/
Latex Firmness ILDs Chart: http://www.flobeds.com/information/latex/firmness-spectrum.htm
How to pick the right firmness – nice aligned spine pics: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/is-your-mattress-soft-or-firm-154375
Comprehensive Lists of Companies:
DIY – Making your own:
DIY Natural Bedding – http://www.diynaturalbedding.com/
Nirvana Safe Haven – http://nontoxic.com/latexmattress/makeyourownmattress.html
wool, buckwheat plus – http://www.whitelotus.net/wholesale-organic-fibers.html
buckwheat, millet, plus – http://openyoureyesbedding.com/
buckwheat hulls, kapok: http://www.shop.bodyfriendlyfurniture.com/Accessories_c6.htm
And here are the links to the companies: