Going green, or being environmentally-friendly, is popular at the moment. But instead of being a trend, it’s more of a lifestyle change to reduce one’s carbon footprint. From organic food to 100-percent organic cotton, green products are easier to come by and cheaper than they were ten years ago. Many common products have a “green” version, and one such product is a mattress. A typical mattress is made of a combination of cotton and foam, both of which contain several chemicals that are being released into the atmosphere of your home. An organic mattress is an environmentally-friendly alternative that can eliminate these chemicals and still be comfortable.
Organic mattresses come in two types: organic cotton and organic rubber. An organic cotton mattress is composed much like a standard mattress, with cotton on the outside and on the inside. An organic rubber mattress, on the other hand, is designed much like a memory foam mattress with a core of rubber, made from organic rubber from Malaysia, and has no springs. In comparing these two organic mattresses to a standard cotton mattress, a non-organic mattress involves many chemicals in the picking and processing of cotton before it becomes a mattress. In fact, some of these chemicals, including formaldehyde and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE), can aggravate allergies, cause cancer, and can be attributed to childhood diseases like asthma.
Out of the two organic mattress types, a cotton organic mattress is the most popular for its affordability. The organic cotton components of this mattress, before they’re even put together as a mattress, are grown without chemical fertilizers and sprays and, once the cotton is picked, it’s not stripped of its natural wax. The natural wax gives the cloth an off-white color which lightens with a few washes. Cotton composes the outside shell, the inside filling, and even the threads, and metal springs give the mattress support.
Rubber is the other material used to make an organic mattress. The outside of a rubber organic mattress is cotton but the inside is a six to seven inch thick core of medium or firm rubber. For a softer texture, holes are put in the rubber. The rubber for this type of organic mattress originates from a Malaysian rubber tree called Hevea Brasiliensis. Once the rubber “sap” has been gathered, it is molded using the Dunlop system, in which the rubber is hardened with zinc and soda ash to help it expand. Although the organic rubber mattress will have holes in it once put together, mildew, mold, and bacteria cannot live in rubber core.
One property of both cotton and rubber organic mattresses is the use of organic wool. Organic wool is used for its fire retardant properties which, on a standard mattress, would ordinarily be done with fire retardant chemicals like PBDEs. As PBDEs have potency similar to DDT and have been shown to affect brain development and growth in children, having a natural alternative is necessary. The organic wool is added to the outer shell of an organic mattress to give it fire retardant properties.
Going green with environmentally-friendly products is important in all aspects to cut down harmful chemicals put into the environment. Organic mattresses cut out the use of chemicals put into the environment by growing cotton and processing it into a cloth, and, as these chemicals stay with the cotton, using an organic mattress prevents these chemicals from traveling into your home.