Vegan Mattresses

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A few months ago, Huyen and I decided that we needed to look into getting a new mattress.  Our cheap old one that we bought right out of college was nearly nine years old and sagging in the middle.  Plus, we wanted to move from a full to a queen because the dog takes up a lot of room.

I spent an absurd amount of time reading about mattresses and the disgusting things that go into themPBDE‘s are a controversial flame-retardant found in all sorts of furniture (including mattresses, although hopefully not for much longer).  I decided I’d rather avoid any nasty chemicals used in the production of the mattress since, after all, we spend 1/3rd of our lives on that mattress.  It should be something that’s not so… chemical.

And if the decision to get a more “natural” mattress wasn’t already made, it was sealed with two words: mattress mites:

Menchavez said he recommends that people with allergies or asthma get their mattresses cleaned every three to four months; while those concerned with their health but with no asthma problems, should get it done twice a year.

Twice a year?  I don’t know anyone who’s ever had their mattress cleaned!  *shudder*

As I started looking into so-called “natural mattresses,” I saw that almost all of them have a layer of wool.  This is because wool is a natural flame retardant (warning: do not set a sheep on fire to test this theory) and is used in place of the chemical-based retardants in standard mattresses.  Apparently, the lanolin in wool also helps repel dust mites and bed bugs.

Of course, I don’t want to sleep on anything with wool in it.  So I went looking for vegan mattresses and sure enough, they exist (hit CTRL-F and search for “vegan”).  It’s a bit expensive, but it’s got lots of nice, organic cotton and will last twice as long as a regular mattress.  Interestingly, California has stringent flame retardancy laws, which means that some stores won’t even sell natural vegan mattresses in the state and those that do require a doctor’s note.

We also decided to buy a platform bed with wooden slats, which eliminates the need for a box spring and helps air circulate which I think I read somewhere helps keep dust, mites, and bed bugs from settling in (can’t find a reference for that now, though, so don’t hold me to that).

I never thought I’d spend so much time researching something like a mattress, but I’m really looking forward to donating the old one and trying out the new one.  It should be very nice (“6 inches of natural rubber covered with our organic cotton ticking”… mmmm… ticking…).

15 Responses to “Vegan Mattresses”

  1. berrykat

    Holy Smokes! 1,400 for a mattress?! Yikes

  2. ryan

    Lots of money, I know! But, like I said, hopefully it’ll last twice as long as a regular mattress. And I remember reading somewhere that since you spend a third of your life in bed, a good mattress is something worth investing in. *shrug* Who knows if that’s valid, but it makes me feel a little better about plunking down that much money.

    I should note, too, that I got it last month on discount and with free shipping (which is significant for a mattress), so it was a few hundred less than that.

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  4. shamir

    what about pillows? everything out there (besides buckwheat hulls) seems to be down, fake down (=fossil fules), or wool. are the organic cotton ones even any good?

  5. JD

    what’s wrong with wool? it’s a great natural product: flame retardant, clean, and comfortable. wool can be humanely harvested, no?

  6. ryan

    JD — I suspect that like “humane” meat, humane wool doesn’t really exist.

    This video shows what goes on wool production. Read more here.

  7. DTK

    When we shopped for an organic, vegan mattress we discovered that some states have laws (maybe this is a federal law?) that require a mattress to have a flame retardant applied or to contain wool (natural flame retardant). To get around this, we needed a doctor’s note explaining that my husband had chemical allergies and could only sleep on organinc cotton. I guess it releases the manufacturer from liability if you fall asleep smoking or something.

  8. ryan

    shamir — that’s a good question. We’re not getting new pillows at this point, but I suspect I’ll have another post a few years down the road covering my experiences in researching vegan pillows. :)

  9. Kathy

    I know this post on mattresses is old, but I’m hoping to find out how the mattress worked out. Is it any good? Is it comfortable? I am in the market for one and the only one I can find that doesn’t contain wool is by Royal Pedic and for two pieces, it is $2280.00. Gobs of money for something you sleep on…. want to know if its worth the investment. Anyone??

  10. Ryan

    The mattress has worked out well. It’s firm, which is what I was looking for and I find it comfortable.

    Kthy — $2280 is an awful lot. We paid about half that for ours, which is still a lot… but one way to look at it is that you spent 1/3rd of every day on it, so if it lasts you for 15 years, that’s 43800 hours, which comes out to only 5 cents an hour, even at that extravagant cost of $2280. :)

    Keep looking around, though, and see if you can’t find a coupon or something less expensive.

  11. Jason

    We, http://www.essentiadirect.com, developed a natural memory foam.So much more comfortable than latex mattresses or spring. ;-)

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  13. Linda Bower

    I went to the link you gave: purerest.com and I noticed they do use wool. maybe not with all their products, not sure. I called essentialdirect.com and all of their products are vegan (albeit expensive)

  14. Pamela

    We are now on the hunt for a vegan, natural mattress, too. Found a lovely option in Colorado (too bad we are in BC, Canada):

    http://www.haikudesigns.com/tatami-bed.htm

  15. Chelsea

    What’s the website you purchased the mattress from?

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