Organic vs. All Natural vs. Non-Toxic: What These Mattress Terms Really Mean

naturepedic serenade organic mattress

When it comes to purchasing a mattress, there are a lot of buzzwords out there that can make it confusing. You might see “natural mattresses,” “non-toxic mattresses,” and “organic mattresses.” What’s the difference between these types of products?

It turns out, there is quite a big difference, and we want you to make an informed and educated choice when buying for your family. This blog will explain the difference between natural, non-toxic, eco-friendly and organic mattresses so that you can shop with confidence and find a truly healthier option. 

Natural Mattresses

What’s a “natural mattress” anyway? Unfortunately, this term doesn’t mean much. It could be everything you’re looking for - made with all-natural materials like cotton, wool, latex, etc. Or it could be a marketing gimmick calling out “natural” additives into otherwise chemical-laden products.

It’s tough to know what you’re getting when the label doesn’t call out what specifically is natural about the mattress. The truth is, the FTC doesn’t define “natural” with regard to mattresses, so there’s no real weight behind it without additional criteria. The FTC did recently pass four settlements against personal care brands for describing cosmetics and skin products as “all natural” and “100% natural” when they contained synthetic materials.

It remains to be seen if this will eventually apply to mattresses and other consumer goods, so it’s best to remain vigilant for now and make sure any mattress you’re considering has certifications to back up its natural claims.

Eco-Friendly Mattresses

Commonly used to describe “plant-based” foam, “eco” foam, “soybean” foam, etc., the eco-friendly claim is another one that doesn’t have much behind it. There’s no regulation to dictate what may or may not be used in an eco-friendly mattress. All of these polyurethane foams contain flame retardant chemicals or chemical flame barriers, which are not friendly at all. Learn more about the terms used to define “Natural” and “Eco-Friendly” mattresses.

Non-Toxic Mattresses

Non-toxic has to be better, right? There’s actually not much to support the use of “non-toxic” in the marketplace either. The FTC’s Green Guides PDF advises marketers to qualify any non-toxic claims with a certification or other standard that a consumer can look up for themselves.

According to the FTC (and us, personally), “It is deceptive to misrepresent...that a product, package, or service is non-toxic. Non-toxic claims should be clearly and prominently qualified to the extent necessary to avoid deception.”

What does this mean in English? It means that you can say anything is non-toxic, but you have to back it up and prove it. That’s why we say our products are certified non-toxic to the Global Organic Textile Standard, for example. We know we don’t use any harmful chemicals, but we want you to be able to look up the GOTS standard and see for yourself what non-toxic criteria we hold ourselves to.

The moral of the non-toxic story is: make sure this claim is backed up by something real.

Organic Mattresses

Even within the realm of organic mattresses, there can be a lot of overlap and buzzwords. Watch out for products “made with organic materials,” which might be 99% organic or 1% organic, with no way to really tell how much of your mattress is made from organic or approved materials. While the USDA handles the organic certification of food products, they don’t have anything to do with textiles and finished products.

That’s where the Global Organic Textile Standard comes in. GOTS not only certifies that organic raw materials are used in a product, but this standard can also verify that the completed finished product meets their organic standards. The Global Organic Textile Standard allows for specific non-organic components (like steel coils, or food-grade polyethylene, or plant-based PLA) inside a certified organic mattress. A GOTS certified organic mattress meets a true non-toxic and organic standard you can trust.

Our entire factory is GOTS-certified, and our products are certified organic and non-toxic to the Global Organic Textile Standard. From organic cotton crib mattresses to our organic luxury mattresses and organic pillow tops, you can always trust that you’re getting Safe Healthy Sleep™ with Naturepedic. Learn more about Organic vs. GOTS organic mattresses.

Are You Ready?

Do you feel prepared for your next mattress shopping experience, now that you know what to look for on the label? Let us know what other questions you have, we are happy to help!