What is OEKO-TEX Standard 100 and what does it mean for my mattress?

OEKO-TEX Standard 100 label
(Image credit: OEKO-TEX)

When shopping for a new mattress, you might come across the term 'OEKO-TEX Standard 100'. In this article, we'll explain exactly what that means. 

Today's best mattresses often come with a whole host of certifications, in relation to different parts of the product, and it can be confusing to figure out what they refer to and which to pay particular attention to. For instance, when looking for a memory foam mattress, you want to ensure the foams are CertiPUR-US certified

OEKO-TEX deals with textiles in particular, and has a handful of different standards that might crop up in relation to your mattress, the most common amongst which is OEKO-TEX Standard 100. 

This article explains exactly what the various OEKO-TEX certifications mean, what the company overall does, and why these standards are important for your mattress.

What is OEKO-TEX standard 100?

OEKO-TEX Standard 100 is a well-known, global certification that ensures there are no harmful substances in a textile, and it poses no threat to your health. The standard is independently tested, and could be applied to any textile article. So in the case of mattresses, we're probably talking about cover fabrics. Every component is assessed – so the fabric itself, including linings and coatings, but also the threads, buttons and so on. 

What is tested for?

The test includes a large number of substances, both regulated and non-regulated, that may pose a threat to human health. It's updated at least yearly to account for new developments in science and statutory requirements. You'll find an in-depth look at the different things that are tested for in the Standard 100 catalog

OEKO-TEX Standard 100 label

(Image credit: OEKO-TEX)

OEKO-TEX Standard 100 product classes

Products are categorized according to their intended use. Different categories are tested for different things, and with varying levels of strictness. Products in class 1 are subject to the most stringent checks, and the rules get more relaxed as the class number goes up. Mattresses fall into product class 2, as the textiles have direct contact with the sleeper's skin. 

Here's a quick overview of the classes:

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Product classApplies toExample products
1Products for babiesBaby clothing
2 Products designed for extensive direct skin contactMattresses, shirts, underwear
3Products designed for minimal / no direct skin contactJackets, belts
4Decorative materialsCurtains, tablecloths

What is OEKO-TEX Made in Green?

The Made in Green certification ensures environmentally friendly manufacturing, and safe and socially responsible working conditions, and can be applied to any kind of textile or leather product. The Made in Green standard also ensures the materials have been tested for harmful substances, including carcinogenic dyes, heavy metals, and pesticides. The supply chain can be traced via a unique product ID or QR code. 

OEKO-TEX Made in Green unique QR code check, showing where the fabric has come from

(Image credit: OEKO-TEX)

What is OEKO-TEX Organic Cotton?

OEKO-TEX Organic Cotton is a different standard from the same testing body. It is specifically for organic cotton, and is awarded to products that have been manufactured without the use of GMOs, and tested for pesticides and other harmful substances. It verifies the product though the entire production chain, from the farm to the consumer. 

The cotton may be certified as 100% organic cotton (you'll find this certification on the cover for many of today's best natural mattresses), or minimum 70% organic cotton (in which case the label will state 'Blended'). For fabrics that are under 70% organic cotton, it'll just be the Standard 100 label.

Ruth Hamilton
Homes Editor, TechRadar

Ruth is currently Homes Editor on Tom's Guide's sister site TechRadar, where she reviews and writes about everything from air fryers to vacuum cleaners to coffee machines, as well as the latest smart home gadgets. Prior to making the shift to Homes, Ruth was Tom's Guide's Sleep Editor. A certified Sleep Science Coach, she has tested more mattresses than her small flat can handle and will talk at length about them to anyone who shows even a passing interest.