What is an organic mattress and are they healthier than other beds?

A couple laugh and cuddle while sat on the Avocado Eco Organic Mattress
(Image credit: Avocado Green)

If you’re looking for the best mattress for healthy sleep, a certified organic bed is a great choice. They use GOTS certified materials such as wool and cotton, and don’t contain any toxins that might trigger allergies or pollute the air. The materials used to make them are also more sustainable, so they're kind to the planet too.

The best organic mattresses are made by brands including Avocado Green, Birch and Awara, and are free from plastics, synthetic foam and polyester. They’ll usually opt for contouring latex over memory foam, but they do cost a lot more. So is that higher price worth it? And what are the benefits of a natural or organic bed for your sleep? Let’s take a look…

What is an organic mattress?

The term ‘organic’ is used for mattresses that have been made with non-toxic organic and natural materials such as cotton, wool and natural latex such as Talalay and Dunlop latex.

This type of mattress doesn’t use chemicals that are harmful to the environment in the manufacturing process. Many of the materials used are also certified as Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS), assuring you that the mattress is truly organic.

There's a growing number of natural mattresses hitting the market too, and while these could be mistaken for organic beds, they differ in that they use more natural materials than synthetic, but synthetic materials may still be present. You can read more about this in our feature comparing organic vs natural mattresses.

The Birch Luxe Natural Mattress placed on a wooden bed frame in a neutral color bedroom

(Image credit: Birch Living)

The benefits of an organic mattress include:

  • They’re hypoallergenic and usually a good choice for allergies
  • They’re made with naturally breathable
  • They have a vastly reduced impact on the environment
  • Latex mattresses last longer than any other type of bed
  • They stay cool at night
  • There’s no noticeable off-gassing during unboxing

How much do organic mattresses cost?

Organic mattresses are typically more expensive than standard hybrid, innerspring and memory foam mattresses. This is because of the care and attention taken to farm and sustainably source the certified organic materials, which also cost more because they have not been manufactured in the same way as bulk synthetic materials.

Organic mattresses are available in both the UK and US as both standard and mattresses in a box, with prices starting around $799 in the US with the Avocado Green Eco Organic Mattress - now the cheapest certified organic bed in America at $699 for a twin. Other manufacturers tend to be pricier, so you can expect to pay from $1,500 for an organic Saatva or Plush Beds model.

In the natural mattress space, brands to look at include Awara (see our Awara natural hybrid mattress review) and Birch (see our Birch Natural mattress review). 

In the UK, you’ll find natural (so not necessarily fully organic) mattresses from brands including Silentnight, with prices starting from £275 for its Eco Comfort Miracoil. Wool mattresses from the Woolroom start from £524, and these are excellent at temperature regulation so a good all-rounder. Monthly mattress sales will lower prices too, and you can find these discounts online most months. 

Organic mattresses also last much longer than synthetic beds, saving you money in the long-run even though they're more expensive upfront. So that’s something to factor in when you’re considering the short term versus long-term cost.

What are organic mattresses made of?

The materials used in organic beds include organic cotton, wool and natural latex. However, in order for a mattress to be labelled ‘organic’ it needs to be certified as such.

The only way to guarantee you’re buying a genuine organic mattress is to look for globally recognized certification labels such as the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS). 

Because organic mattresses are non-synthetic, this also makes them less harmful to the environment when it comes to disposing of them, with the organic materials decomposing naturally. 

Awara Natural Hybrid Mattress cross section showing latex and spring layers inside

This is what Awara's natural hybrid mattress looks like on the inside (Image credit: Awara)

All-foam organic mattresses typically feature natural latex, with moisture-wicking organic cotton covers and breathable wool layers for comfort. Here are the main materials you’ll find in an organic bed:

Cotton – this plant-derived material is breathable, making it ideal if you overheat. It’s typically used for mattress covers because it’s durable, easy to clean and long-lasting. Organic cotton is grown in rainier areas, unlike some standard cottons that use up lots of water for irrigation. Organic cotton is also grown without toxic pesticides.

Wool – This natural fiber comes from sheep fleece and provides superb cooling by wicking away moisture from the skin. And when the temperature drops it will also warm you up without making you too hot or sweaty. Wool is naturally hypoallergenic, dust-mite resistant and fire-resistant too.

Natural latex – This non-synthetic latex comes from the sap of rubber trees, unlike the synthetic and less durable latex found in cheap mattresses. Natural latex is excellent at contouring your body to cushion your pressure points. Like wool, it’s also antimicrobial, breathable and hypoallergenic. To ensure the latex is organic and sustainably sourced, look for accreditation from the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS), the eco-INSTITUT or Greenguard Gold. 

The PlushBeds Botanical Bliss Mattress photographed in a bedroom overlooking the ocean

The Plush Beds Botanical Bliss uses natural materials to help you sleep cool (Image credit: PlushBeds)

Are organic mattresses healthier than other beds?

Organic mattresses are made with a higher volume of certified organic materials that naturally perform the jobs some synthetic materials are created to handle. For example, naturally breathable wool and bamboo versus gel-infused cooling foam. Or 100% natural Talalay latex for comfy contouring versus memory foam.

Many people believe that organic mattresses are healthier than other types, and while it's true that they are made with toxin-free natural materials, other bed types are making large strides towards healthier sleep. The main innovation is CertiPUR-US foam - a certification that guarantees the foam used within the mattress contains no toxins. 

Overall though, if you want to be assured that you are sleeping on as natural a mattress as you can, then an organic model is the way to go.

How long do organic mattresses last?

Organic mattresses typically last for longer than the majority of beds, as the higher-quality natural materials provide more durability. Organic latex, for instance, is naturally durable and resilient. 

100% natural latex can last up to 25 years, so choosing a bed made with this material could end up being extremely good value for money, even if you pay more for it in the first place. 

Organic cotton is crisp and hard-wearing, and because it’s easy to spot-clean, you can keep your bed feeling fresh and clean for years to come (learn how to clean a mattress). Many organic beds also come with longer warranties, such as 20 or 25 years, or even a lifetime warranty – this is a good indicator of the manufacturer’s trust in the longevity of its product.

Who should buy an organic mattress?

An organic mattress is a great choice for all sleep styles, especially if any of the following points are important to you:

  • You want a long-lasting mattress that won’t need replacing for at least 10 years
  • You suffer from allergies and need a toxin-free mattress
  • You want to shop sustainably
  • You sleep hot and want naturally breathable organic materials
  • You want the same perks as a standard bed – such as sleep trials and free delivery – but without synthetic materials

Who shouldn’t buy an organic mattress?

While organic mattresses offer a raft of benefits to your sleep and longterm budget, they might not be suitable for all occasions. These might include if:

  • You’re looking for the best cheap mattress
  • You need a bed for a guest room and have a small budget
  • You’re allergic to wool or latex
  • You need extra support from firmer foam
  • You want extra cooling from gel-infused foams (also look at our cooling mattress guide)

Overall, organic mattresses are a worthwhile investment if you want a bed that will last the distance. And if you live an eco-friendly lifestyle, then making smarter shopping choices like this will be even more crucial.

Grace Franks

Grace is an experienced sleep writer and mattress reviewer who also contributes to our sister site TechRadar, among other Future plc brands. She's a big fan of organic sleep products and has recently invested in a wool mattress topper that she quite happily describes as "life-changing." (Hey, we're serious about our sleep products). When she isn't testing mattresses or writing about sleep, Grace enjoys reading and creative writing, and incorporates meditation and yoga into her wellness routine.

With contributions from