The Case for Buying a Latex Mattress

The Case for Buying a Latex Mattress

Laurie McGinley
Mar 30, 2012

The mattress is rarely a design element. It is always covered up, hidden, and never the showcase of a bedroom. Because of this, it's hard to imagine spending 200 times more on the mattress than on the next most expensive item in your bedroom. With that in mind, I'd like to present to you the case for purchasing a latex mattress.

If you are lucky, you'll spend one third of your life laying on your mattresses. If you buy an inner spring mattress, I assume you will have many of them over the course of your lifetime. That brings me to argument number 1:

One mattress, 30+ years
We have had our latex mattress for less than six months, so I am not a credible source on the longevity of a latex mattress. I will say that the claims that a latex mattress will endure for at least 30 years seem believable, because there is nothing to break in there. It is all latex foam. That means it won't be taking up space in a landfill, or getting burned as trash does in Minneapolis, until at least 2040.

About six and a half years ago I bought a mattress for about $650. We replaced it recently because it had worn out. As someone who wants to use things until they are absolutely broken, it was difficult to accept the fact that so much fabric, padding, foam, wood, and metal was now obsolete. When it was time to buy a new mattress, being the research fiend that I am, I searched high and low for information about buying a mattress that more closely matched my values. I wanted to know if it could be reused, or broken down at the end of its useful lifecycle. I wanted to know that I wasn't going to be be inhaling off-gassed toxins in my sleep, and I wanted to know that the money we spent on a new mattress wouldn't be thrown out six or seven years down the road. All that research led to a latex mattress. Considering that I was willing to spend about $100 per year on a traditional mattress, I decided it was time to invest in a mattress that would last a long time, could be broken down after its useful life, and wouldn't off gas nastiness. That was a latex mattress.

Fire retardant and non-toxic
Mattresses sold in the US must conform to fire safety standards. As a result of this, mattresses are soaked in flame-retardant chemicals. Unfortunately, some fire retardants are quite toxic. If you are concerned about this, as I am, it is always a good idea to ask a manufacturer what they use as a fire retardant. In the case of Saavy Rest Latex Mattresses, the flame retardant is untreated, natural wool. This allows the mattress to meet fire test requirements and be non-toxic.

End of life
The most intriguing, and admittedly, difficult claim about latex mattresses is that they can be composted at the end of their natural life. It is easy to believe that a natural material will compost, but I am not sure I'm sold on the two claims that the mattresses have a useful life of 30+ years and they will compost. I guess I'll have to wait to find out.

Do any of you have research to share about mattresses?

Organic Serenity Natural Latex Mattress
The 10 Best All-Natural and Organic Mattress Sources
Reviews of IKEA (& Other Brand) Latex Mattresses?
Review: NaturaLatex Tranquil by Natura
Review: IKEA Sultan Erfjord

(Image: Laurie McGinley)

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