A Quick Guide to Buying Chemical-Free Mattresses

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Chemical-free mattresses don’t have chemicals embedded within their fibres from manufacturing. This is either because the chemicals were removed during a processing stage or that no chemicals were used at all.

There isn’t any difference between these situations from an end-use perspective – both mattresses have no chemicals when they go on sale. However, “true” chemical-free mattresses are the most eco-friendly product since alternative methods of production were used that did not require the use of chemicals.

Chemicals in mattresses

All synthetic materials, including foams, fibres, adhesives, and fire retardants, are manufactured from chemicals. Additionally, some natural materials are processed with chemicals to cleanse them.

It’s crucial to note that these are safe, regulated chemicals that are proven not to harm human or animal health. Here are some examples:

“Off-gassing”, where chemicals evaporate off the mattress, is the only real complaint from new mattress owners (it’s what gives a mattress that new chemical smell).

Some people get headaches and asthma episodes from chemicals evaporating, and the smell can last for months, even with specialist cleaning.

The chemical-free alternative

Chemical-free means without chemicals – you will get a mattress with 0-1% chemicals by weight. Manufacturers achieve this feat with:

  • Natural materials like wool, cotton, bamboo, and natural latex require no synthetic chemicals during manufacturing.
  • Natural flame-retardant layers, such as rayon, latex, and wool, are approved for use as flame retardants in place of chemical treatments.
  • Water-soluble, low-carbon chemicals that are easily leeched out of foams and fibres with a water rinsing stage during production.

Some mattresses have 100% natural materials, while others use a combination of natural and synthetic layers, such as wool for the comfort layers, and polyester

Do chemical-free mattresses feel different?

Most people can’t tell the difference in the way a chemical-free mattress feels, but they can notice the difference in smell when the product is new. These mattresses have no scent from manufacturing, so there’s no annoying new mattress smell.

Chemical-free mattresses are also just as comfortable, supportive, and long-lasting as the best synthetic ones, but you won’t get memory foam or polyfoam, so if you adore that soft, cushioned feeling, you might miss it.

Natural latex foam is an astonishingly comfortable substitute for memory foam, so much so most people prefer it – that’s because it’s responsive and bounces back to provide excellent motion isolation and support.

Mattress recommendations

Silentnight Just Dream

The Silentnight Just Dream is a pocket spring mattress with ReVo foam, a dense yet breathable foam with excellent cooling qualities.

The knitted outer cover is super-luxurious and has foam encapsulation to ensure decent edge support. The medium firmness rating is ideal for side sleepers, and you get a huge 10-year guarantee against manufacturing defects.

Check out the Silentnight Just Serene if you want a medium-soft mattress – it’s best for people who weigh less than 140 lbs.

Silentnight Just Serene 4FT 6 Double Mattress. Chemical-free mattresses.
Pictured: Silentnight Just Serene 4FT 6 Double Mattress. Priced £999 (Save £300 on RRP)

Sleepeezee Wool Supreme 2,400 Pocket Spring Mattress

The Sleepeezee Wool Supreme 2,400 has 100% British wool comfort layers, a pillowtop for plush cushioning, and a chemical-free Damask cover.

This mattress has a medium-firm rating and is best for back sleepers, with the pillowtop helping reduce tension and providing an airy feel. It’s part of Sleepeezee’s Natural Wool Collection, so it’s a top choice for a chemical-free mattress.

The Sleepeezee Wool Deluxe 1,200 is a top choice if you have a smaller budget – it reduces the mattress depth by 2cm and halves the spring count but still provides a luxurious sleep.

Sleepeezee Wool Deluxe 1200 4FT 6 Double Mattress. Chemical-free mattresses.
Pictured: Sleepeezee Wool Deluxe 1200 4FT 6 Double Mattress. Priced £599 (Save £119 on RRP)

Summing Up

Chemical-free mattresses are cleansed of chemicals during production or use no chemicals at all during manufacturing. They are better for the environment than standard mattresses and do not have a new mattress smell that can give you headaches.

The downside is that chemical-free mattresses usually cost more because of the additional steps involved in removing chemicals or processing natural materials. Try to buy during the sales and shop around for the best deals.

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