The Ultimate Guide to Chemical Free Mattresses

We spend a big majority of our lives sleeping, 28 years (on average) in fact, so it makes sense to limit or eradicate any exposure to toxic chemicals in our bedrooms. With new regulations to protect our health the amount and types of chemicals used in mattresses today are being slowly reduced, compared to styles from the past. Yet, this is not often discussed at length, if you are looking for a new mattress or simply just inquisitive to know more, we’ve compiled all of our expert knowledge into this ultimate guide...

Firstly, what is a chemical-free mattress?

A chemical-free mattress avoids using any toxic chemicals in the raw materials and during the production process. This includes any nasty additives from the farming process, right through to the glues used to combine the layers of the mattress together. This means there are no dyes or treatments used on the fabrics involved, allowing you to rest and sleep easy on a soft bed, provided by nature. By ensuring no chemicals were involved in the making of your mattress you are protecting your health, the biodiversity of the environment and everyone involved in the process.

In the UK one of the main areas that you should be wary of is the use of chemical fire retardants. There is currently no UK law that states that any chemical additives must be listed on your mattress (unlike food and cosmetics for instance). Despite the USA and Europe restricting the use of flame retardant chemicals, the UK is actually increasing their use. Here is where organic cotton and natural, untreated and undyed wools help, as they have natural fire-resistant properties that have proven to be just as good as the chemicals that are often used. Infact, sheep wool is a natural fire retardant that can be used to create a fire barrier, and is recommended by the British Standards Institution for mattresses to meet BS 7177 Fire Safety testing.

Why are chemical-free mattresses better than regular mattresses (for your health)

Like most things in life, the more natural the better, especially as we all have to focus on how sustainable our day to day routine is, for the sake of the planet. It’s a fact that the fewer chemicals we are exposed to, the less we are at risk of certain health problems.

For instance, most synthetic foams and chemical fire retardants will break-down over time and release their toxic elements in gas form “off-gassing”. These gases often contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals that can enter the body as they are either skin permeable or contained in dust form that is inhaled or ingested, which can then cause a whole raft of damage to the pulmonary system, and have been linked to the development of cancerous tumors, birth defects, and other developmental disorders.

The natural approach significantly reduces your exposure to chemical off-gassing whilst promoting healthier indoor air quality, protecting your overall health.

We also recommend chemical-free mattresses if you suffer from allergies, as organic, chemical-free mattresses are more breathable with their naturally open structured materials like Cotton, Sheep wool and Natural Latex. This creates an aerated dry environment in the mattress, which is hostile to dust mites, as they thrive in damp stale spaces. Most pulmonary bedroom allergies are caused by the dust mite, so by having a natural chemical free mattress you are massively reducing your exposure to them, and the negative impact that the allergies they cause can have on your sleep and general health.

As we usually sleep in light, minimal clothing our skin contact with our mattresses is very high. This means if there are any chemicals present in the mattress materials it is likely that your skin will be aggravated by them to some degree, especially around your face, causing skin reactions, irritations, pulmonary issues and poor quality sleep, due to health interruptions.

Another important health benefit to look out for when selecting a natural mattress is that no bleach is used in their material dying and no pesticides are used in the material farming process. In Snoozel Green mattresses we use 100% natural latex, organic wool and cotton. Allowing you to breathe and rest well, without annoyance.

Why are chemical-free mattresses better for the environment?

The farming, growing and production process has a huge impact on the environment. Chemical-free options pollute the environment less and often have sustainable farming practices. At Snoozel Green we want to preserve and protect the land we use, that's why we work with approved farmers and manufacturers to ensure that everyone and the land can benefit from the process.

Materials & production

At Snoozel Green we use natural rubber tree tapped latex from the Forest Stewardship Council approved plantations in Sri Lanka, offering a highly sustainable and durable option and doesn’t harm the trees in the process. These Hevea Brasiliensis trees do not require the use of pesticides and can be tapped many times (over 30 years) before being cut down. This natural sap is then whipped into a froth, blended with a small amount of natural graphite for fire retardant, and then poured into moulds. Resulting in a natural latex that is not only natural, clean and green, it is also resilient, supportive and durable as well! As an extra bonus, natural latex is antimicrobial, biodegradable and resistant to mold growth.

Why cotton and wool are nature’s super fibres

Cotton and wool are key components in the Snoozel Green mattress, and we’re proud to say we only use natural and GOTS certified. GOTS stands for ‘Global Organic Textile Standard’ and is the ‘worldwide leading textile processing standard for organic fibres’ A GOTS certification of ‘Organic’ guarantees the fabrics in the mattress are at least 95 percent organic.

Underneath our organic cotton covers, we have a quilted wool layer. Made from Organic and Fairtrade certified sheep wool from the foothills of the Himalayas. Providing a clever cushion, and at 500 grams per square meter, it offers maximum comfort. Wool is naturally fire retardant (so no added chemicals are needed) and it’s also a great insulator, keeping you warm during the colder months. This is why wool is such a great natural fabric to include in our beds, offering all the benefits and more than its synthetic counterparts.

The same stands for cotton, it’s naturally hypoallergenic, soft and breathable, the perfect qualities needed for a comfortable bed. All of our mattress covers are made with Global Organic Textile Standard certified organic cotton, unbleached and undyed, it’s as pure and irritant-free as possible. Perfect for you and your loved ones to relax, unwind and snooze on!

What are the most toxic mattresses?

Memory foam mattresses are usually marketed as good for your health, however, they often contain chemical adhesives, chemically treated fabrics, petrochemicals and chemical flame retardants which can cause a multitude of issues. This is due to the manufacturing techniques and UK regulations that must be followed.

Memory foam is also known to release a very distinctive synthetic odour, which is due to the synthetic chemical foam that needs to ‘off-gas’. This can be combated by keeping your mattress outside at first, however, it is not a practical option for all! The science behind off-gassing is the memory foam releases certain particles as it settles due to its chemical composition, which cannot be avoided. The jury is out as to whether it is toxic for humans to breathe this in, but we wouldn’t recommend it ourselves!

Maintenance: How to clean a chemical-free mattress

If you can ensure you air out the mattress regularly, this means stripping back the covers and allowing it to breathe, we recommend giving it 20-30minutes every time you change your sheets. To remove stains we recommend spot cleaning as immediately as possible. Water, vinegar, lemon juice blend works well for this or trusty Ecover! Of course, be sure to test your stain removal on a small area first. With natural fibres at play, it's possible that your natural stain remover will whiten or bleach the undyed materials. If they don’t work we would suggest cleaning your mattress with baking soda, which absorbs any smells or liquids, naturally. Ensure you air your mattress, turn over the sides and regularly change your bedding.

Can a chemical-free mattress be as comfortable as a regular memory foam mattress?

Yes indeed, we can guarantee you won’t find a difference in the quality and comfort of an organic mattress than your usual. They are as comfortable, as sturdy and as long-lasting as any mattress on the market. We believe this wholeheartedly, so much so we offer a 101-night trial, so you and your family can try, feel and experience the benefits of our non toxic mattress before you commit. If after 60 nights (a fair testing time in our opinion) and you still don’t find you are enjoying your bed, we’ll collect it for free, as simple as that!

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