SAN ANTONIO – You know that smell that sometimes comes from a new mattress? It’s often from chemicals used in the manufacturing process. If you want to find a mattress with fewer chemicals, it helps to know what to look for.
When you’re shopping for a new mattress, you’re likely to come across the term “off-gassing.”
“It basically refers to that chemical smell you notice when you cut into the packaging around a new mattress. What you’re actually smelling are volatile organic compounds, or VOCs,” said Consumer Reports’ Paul Hope.
To find a mattress with fewer VOCs, Hope says to start by looking at the labeling.
“But don’t be fooled by a mattress that’s labeled ‘natural,’ because there’s no formal certification for what that means,” Hope said. “And, a mattress can be labeled ‘organic’ even if it only has a small amount of organic material.”
CR says a reliable label is the Global Organic Textile Standard, or GOTS. It requires the materials used in a mattress to contain a minimum amount of certified organic materials and ensures that no hazardous chemical flame retardants and polyurethane foam were used to make it.
You’ll find a similar standard for latex mattresses with the GOLS label, or Global Organic Latex Standard.
But labels don’t matter if your mattress isn’t comfortable. That’s why CR performs tests that include determining how well a mattress supports different sized sleepers in different positions.
If you like a mattress on the firmer side, CR recommends the Avocado Green for $1,600. It’s certified by GOLS and GOTS and tests showed it does a great job at keeping a sleeper’s spine aligned, no matter their size.
My Green Mattress Natural Escape for $1,500 (also certified by GOTS and GOLS) is another very good option for all types and sizes of sleepers, according to CR.
If you prefer a softer mattress, they say consider the Birch by Helix Natural Mattress for $1,299 (GOTS).
Its support is just so-so for large or tall side sleepers, but CR’s tests found it fits the bill for everyone else.
And once you’ve got your new mattress, CR recommends a 100% cotton set, the L.L. Bean Pima Cotton Percale, for $149 for a queen set.