By the look of things, it seems like the efforts of environmentalists are bearing fruits. These days, society is very conscious of sustainable living. And a good example is the increase in demand for organic and natural mattresses. From a general point of view, these two things may seem almost the same. But, there is a big difference. And if you don’t understand it, there is a possibility of ending up with the wrong bed.
Organic and natural mattresses are better alternatives to conventional beds. And even though both are safer and environmentally friendlier, they are not the same. In our guide below, we will compare organic vs. natural mattresses so that you can make the right choice.
What are the Differences Between Organic and Natural Beds?
Before we dive into what each of these beds entails, we must clarify the biggest difference between them. Many people use these terms interchangeably, and it’s wrong because one can easily be misled into buying the wrong bed.
Organic beds are those that are made from purely organic materials free from any synthetics. Natural beds, on the other hand, are obtained from nature but do contain some synthetic materials. Nowadays, natural is mostly a marketing gimmick that manufacturers use to persuade buyers into buying their products.
To further explain the difference between natural and organic mattresses, let’s look at an ingredient commonly used in both. The cotton used in both these beds is quite different. The one in organic mattresses is not treated, and it’s free of pesticides. In natural beds, however, the cotton used isn’t subjected to these strict requirements. Whether it has been treated with pesticides or not, it will be used in making the bed.
Another difference is that 100% natural bed materials last longer than their synthetic counterparts. An organic bed will last for longer than a natural one. This is because the latter often features a combination of both natural and synthetic materials. If you are buying a latex bed, confirm whether it combines both synthetic and natural latex. Or it is made using pure organic latex.
This is not a difference, but it is a similarity. Both organic and natural beds must contain natural fire retardants such as wool. If you find out that a bed contains fire retardants such as fiberglass, it can’t be placed into these two categories.
What are Organic Beds?
For marketing purposes, many mattress brands are overdoing it when it comes to mattress terminology. Nowadays, both manufacturers and retailers will loosely use any terms that will make their products sound healthier, safer, and environmentally friendlier. As a consumer, if you are not careful, it is very easy for you to get carried away with these terminologies, only to be disappointed later. In the mattress industry, a term that is commonly misused is organic. Today, we will make sure you fully understand what organic beds are and how to differentiate them from natural and conventional mattresses.
The term organic mattresses refer to beds whose materials weren’t only sourced from natural materials. But these materials were grown, obtained, and processed in high standards. For a mattress to be referred to as organic, it must be free of pesticides and fertilizers. The manufacturers must not add any chemicals to the materials when assembling the bed.
Characteristics of Organic Mattresses
- First, it must be made using natural materials such as latex, wool, or cotton. The presence of synthetic materials disqualifies the bed completely.
- Secondly, the materials must have been grown and processed in standards considered to be organic. During the growth or processing of the materials, there must have been no negative environmental impact caused, and no chemicals should have been used. The farmers of such materials should have relied on natural pest control measures instead of pesticides. Fertilizers used must also be animal or plant-based.
- A bed can’t be referred to as organic if it doesn’t have the required certifications. When shopping for a mattress, you must be very smart. A manufacturer can simply label it as organic. But, when you look closely, are there certifications to back up these claims?
Why Does Certification Matter in Organic Beds?
There is a fine line between certified organic beds and certified organic components. Most mattresses brands feature the latter. With certification for organic components, that mattress only has either one or two components made from organic materials. But an organic bed should have everything made of organic materials.
Examples of certificates for organic components include;
- CertiPUR certificate that shows the mattress is free of heavy metals and formaldehyde.
- OEKO-TEX certificate that proves the mattress emits minimal volatile organic compounds.
- Finally, we have the GOTS certification, which indicates that the mattress has an organic cotton or wool cover.
There is another certification known as USDA organic. This is given to products that fulfill the organic standards set by the US Department of Agriculture. This certificate is awarded to beds that comprise more than 95% organic materials. With the remaining 5%, there is room for the use of inorganic compounds. Therefore, the mattress isn’t 100% organic. This is also the case with GOTS certification, which stands for Global Organic Textile Standard.
From the above, it is clear that even with certification, one can’t fully believe that a particular mattress is 100% organic. It is this uncertainty that makes it harder for sleepers to find purely organic mattresses.
What About Natural Beds?
On the other end of the spectrum, we have natural mattresses. These aren’t subjected to strict standards such as the ones for organic beds. The term natural implies that the bed is made using materials that have been sourced from animals or plants. Whether the plants or animals were grown healthily, that is the least of their concern.
Unfortunately, the term natural is slowly losing its meaning in the mattress industry. Because a bed labeled as natural can comprise of cotton that was treated with pesticides, grown using fertilizers, and processed with chemicals so that it can perform much better in various aspects.
Natural beds can contain both organic and synthetic materials. And even though such beds do have certifications, these mostly aim to verify the quality of materials and not to prove that the bed is organic. Finding a natural mattress is super easy. The market is filled with hundreds of options.
What are the Different Types of Organic and Natural Mattresses?
Most of us are accustomed to conventional mattresses. Organic and natural beds, on the other hand, are made from materials that exist in the environment. Even if some synthetic components are added, they aren’t of significant size. Here are the different types of natural and organic mattresses.
- Latex – there are two types of latex beds. One, is made out of natural latex obtained from the sap of rubber trees. And then, there is the synthesized version of latex.
- Wool – the next mattress that is made using natural materials is wool. Wool is obtained from animals, and it is ideal for hot sleepers. Some manufacturers treat the wool with chemicals to make it more durable or resistant to fire.
- Cotton – this is another popular organic and natural mattress choice. Other than being 100% safe, cotton beds offer a medium level of firmness ideal for back sleepers.
Organic vs. Conventional Mattresses
The above are the different types of organic and natural mattresses. On the other hand, we have conventional mattresses that most of us are accustomed to. These do not utilize natural resources, and mostly comprise of synthetic materials. Even though conventional mattresses aren’t made or obtained through sustainable processes, they are equally as comfortable and suitable for various types of sleepers.
Examples of conventional beds include innerspring, memory foam, air mattresses, and blended foam. Other than differing in materials used, organic beds cost way more than conventional mattresses. The price difference is attributed to how the materials are grown and processed. Synthetic will always be cheaper to produce than organic. Secondly, organic and natural beds offer an added level of safety, contributing to an increment in the price tag.
Are Both Organic and Natural Mattresses Toxic-Free?
Finding a mattress that is 100% organic isn’t easy. And you will have to part with a significant amount of money. Most mattresses fall under the ‘Natural Bed’ category. The reason is, they are made using natural materials as well as chemicals and synthetic compounds. Both organic and fiberglass free natural mattresses do contain certain levels of toxic chemicals. And if indeed the synthetic materials are toxic-free, there should be a certification to prove that. Please do not rely on manufacturer claims because sometimes they may not be completely honest.
The Bottom Line – Which is Better?
Depending on your preferences, both mattress types do have their pros and cons. Starting with organic beds, these are expensive but are strictly made using 100% natural materials. If it’s wool or latex, the material isn’t treated with any chemicals, and it has been grown in an ethical and environmentally friendly manner. Natural mattresses, on the other hand, contain organic and synthetic materials. The materials used in natural beds aren’t subjected to strict standards, like organic beds. They are more affordable and very comfortable.