Photo: What's off-gassing in your bedroom?

Off-gassing in the bedroom is not cool. Does your mattress contain eco-friendlier ingredients? (Credit: kobiz7 via Flickr)

February is "Bedroom Month" where I dish on all things bedroom-y!

Week 1: Pillows. Check.
Week 2: Mattresses
Week 3: Birth control
Week 4: Clothing storage

Fart jokes aside (for now), nighttime gas in the bedroom is not cool. Especially volatile organic compounds (VOCs) off-gassing from polyurethane foam!

Avoid nightmares about VOCs, fire retardants, antibacterial protection (some made with nanosilver particles) and stain-resistant finishes.

Dust mites and fire resistance

Conventional mattresses tackle these with chemical treatments and toxic compounds, but wool naturally repels dust mites and natural latex foam is fire-resistant.

Remember PBDEs — synthetic chemicals added as fire retardants? They're not produced in Canada, but imported by manufacturers and in consumer products (e.g., televisions, furniture and carpets).

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Mattresses made in Canada generally do not contain these flame retardants, but it's always good to ask. Also avoid additives used to repel stains and water.
Although natural fibres are better — wool, organic cotton, hemp and natural rubber — you'll need a separate savings account. Petroleum-based contents are what make regular mattresses affordable (i.e., cheap). Note: Natural rubber is natural latex but latex/rubber can also be synthetic!

Short on (wallet) green?

Choose a mattress protector made from wool or organic cotton to create a barrier between you and that polyurethane foam mattress!
And prioritize a natural crib mattress for babies (see a few options below).

Some eco-friendlier mattresses (claims and products not tested, ranked or rated):

Essentia (made in Montreal) with natural rubber or latex and a 20-year warranty!

  • Queen: $1,790-$2,779
  • Crib: $399-$579

Majestic Sit & Sleep made in Canada from 100 per cent certified organic Dunlop latex (with three per cent unnatural binding agent), wool and organic cotton.

  • Queen: $1,449-$2,949

Obasan made from natural rubber, organic wool and organic cotton — and can be customized.

  • Queen: $3,299
  • Crib: $389

Organic Lifestyle uses wool, natural rubber (made in Canada) and innerspring with organic cotton (from the USA).

  • Queen: $1799-$2279
  • Crib: $349-425

Shepherd's Dream made from wool.

  • Queen: $1,565
  • Crib: $530

What are your reviews of natural options? Comment on this blog to win pajamas for your little one from My Little Green Shop (draw date March 10th, 2014)!

Lindsay Coulter, a fellow Queen of Green

February 8, 2014

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Feb 02, 2017
3:09 PM

Good day Quen of Green and Helpers,

Wondering if you can help me, I live on Vancouver Island Canada and need clarification.

I am wondering about Vita Talalay from Berkeley Ergonomics and Talalay Global certifications in the links below.

They say that their mattresses are Oeko 100% certified. Does that mean that they contain only the rubber sap and no fillers?

What truth can you tell me about Talalay vacuum and flash freezing?

I was almost convinced before reading these 2 links below that 100% Dunlop was the real things, maybe can help me see the light :-)

I weight 50kg and I’m a slide sleeper, what’s the mattress I need?



Jul 12, 2016
12:33 PM

I agree it is very important to sleep on a chemical free bed! By far the best bed that I know of which has a whole system that is designed for the well-being of a person is found here They use chemically free and untreated North American aspen, soft maple and black cherry wood, combined with 100% pure and natural virgin sheep wool from Switzerland, and the mattress is made of the highest quality and chemically free Talalay latex from Radium in Maastricht, Netherlands (Eco-Certified).

Not just is it super comfortable but it is also designed to prevent and/or relieve lower back pain.

Apr 26, 2016
2:45 PM

This US company hand makes beds with generic cotton, wool and natural latex, prices are cheap too

No idea if they ship to Canada, if they do you’ll have to pay PST/GST and possibly duty extra.

Apr 19, 2016
2:45 AM

Hi David!

In order to verify the integrity of VOC levels, the latex needs to be tested and certified. eco-INSTITUT is one of the largest and most reliable agencies in the world for product testing. Only when you have a VOC certification from such an agency can you be certain that you are sleeping with levels that are safe for you and your family.

Be careful of those who advertise their product as being “natural”. As long as the product contains a certain percentage of natural materials, it can be labeled as “natural”. But without a VOC certification there is no way to tell is the levels of VOC’s are safe.

We sell Organic mattresses from Nature’s Embrace that are certified by both GOLS and eco-INSTITUT for organic, purity content, environmental, labor parameters and VOC testing. We offer free shipping in Canada. For more details, please visit our website:

Mar 31, 2016
11:25 AM

Has anyo e heard of or ordered latex mattress from They say they are chem. free…Im just a bit worried. Also anyone used I called them for info but the lady was not to keen to answer my questions. I desperately want to replace the foam and mattresses in my home but it is so expensive I feel like crying

Mar 19, 2016
2:36 PM

Hey David, great post! There is another company who sells natural beds in Canada (made in Canada). The beds are manufactured in NB using a simple combination of wood, organic latex and 100% natural sheep wool (no chemicals, synthetics or metals). I found the adjustable slat-system to be genius as it perfectly adjusts to any individual regardless of weight size or shape or the person. Check it out:

Feb 15, 2016
10:57 AM

I’ve done a ton of research for healthy mattresses and Essentia stands out as an awesome Canadian success story.

They have loads of certifications and have been tested up the ying-yang for things like VOC’s.

I didn’t come across any other mattress company that was anywhere near as transparent as Essentia. Love’em.

Nov 13, 2015
5:09 PM

you might want to remove Essentia…

like the blog!

Aug 13, 2015
2:19 PM

There are awesome handmade organic mattresses, pillows and bedding here in Canada available online at

Jul 17, 2015
3:21 AM

Got a Greenfirst mattress, and it stinks terribly. Any suggestions?

Jul 10, 2015
10:36 AM

Hi! I used to work at Grassroots Environmental Products who carry Sleeptek mattresses — I mention it as I think those would be good names to include for natural mattresses at comparable prices. Unfortunately I am currently looking for a new mattress as the one I got is firm and I should’ve gotten medium firm. I’d like to get another one that doesn’t off gas but I feel like I can only afford something from IKEA.. just trying to get more advice/insight so I stumbled upon this convo etc..

Apr 21, 2015
11:25 AM

I purchased a cool gel mattress about 2-3 months ago…the smell coming from the mattress has kept me from sleeping on it, and I was getting severe headaches (Mattress Factory) and they told me that they have never heard of such a thing and have never had any concerns. They told me to vacuum the mattress and open up all the windows and air the mattress out….which I had already done. The smell has decreased BUT still there. Now I am having sever nosebleeds…which I might add …I have never had nosebleeds in my life. What the heck is going on? The company is going to replace the mattress on Saturday, I am very concerned? Please advise??

Apr 09, 2015
3:32 PM

would be good if you did a little more research on this stuff — see here:

essentia is in there. …. not all natural ingredients whatsoever…

and here:

Jan 03, 2015
9:18 AM

I wish I had options in Regina, this whole mattress thing is scaring the crap out of me and causing much stress. I cannot order such an expensive item online without trying it first. My best options are a Sealy, that apparently uses boric acid., which I understand is safer than pbde’s, although still not desirable. Option 2 is a Kozan Furniture, made in Regina mattress, that uses “soy based foam”. How much soy foam it uses is not known. Mattresses that say this often use 10% or less soy foam, but it has some of it, and is made in Canada. Have to decide today. I have already cancelled two purchases….going mad over this.

Jun 11, 2014
10:27 AM

I am thinking of replacing our trailer mattress. The company says they order memory foam from another company and it is made with soy instead of petroleum. Is soy ok?


Mar 11, 2014
8:25 PM

IKEA has a ‘natural’ mattress made of coconut fibres, horse hair, wool

Mar 11, 2014
12:23 PM

I have a Vi-Spring mattress and LOVE it! It is made of wool but still has springs so it is more comfortable…but also more expensive then a plan wool mattresses. The thing to note about wool is that over time it settles. So with the Vi-Spring you will wonder why your mattress is smaller then your box spring and you will wonder why the edges have no support when you sit on them. That will all change once you have slept on the mattress for a couple months and the wool gets pushed down and out. I will never go back to a conventional mattress.

Mar 10, 2014
6:44 PM

Definitely going to consider these tips on my next mattress purchase!

Mar 10, 2014
3:36 PM

Thank you so much for your suggestion regarding using an organic mattress cover. I can’t afford an organic mattress but that cover is going into next month’s budget!

Mar 10, 2014
12:30 PM

We just bought twin Suite Sleep mattresses and OMI wool filled pillows for our kids and are pretty happy with both. Just wish someone made more cute organic bedding for kids with fun patterns!

Mar 10, 2014
11:57 AM

Thanks for the post! Our favourite natural option for night time: We love merino wool pyjamas from Simply Merino. Only available in kids’ sizes, alas. They are super soft and cozy (not scratchy), very breathable, and wash very well. They are also great under layers for outdoor winter adventures. My boys often refuse to take them off because they are so comfortable.

Mar 10, 2014
11:37 AM

we need a new mattress and will be heading towards buying green options as our guide!!! its hard to budget for sometimes but so worth the safety factor!

Mar 10, 2014
10:59 AM

We just bought twin Suite Sleep mattresses and OMI wool filled pillows for our kids and are pretty happy with both. Just wish someone made more cute organic bedding in fun patterns for kids!

Mar 10, 2014
10:49 AM

We just bought twin Suite Sleep mattresses and OMI wool filled pillows for our kids and are pretty happy with both. Just wish someone made more cute organic bedding for kids with fun patterns!

Mar 10, 2014
10:24 AM

Agreed with most of the comments, the price need to come down for organic mattresses. When it comes to any claim on “natural” or “organic” products, I always like to ask the manufacture questions on their claims because if the natural part is less than 10% it might not be worth it. We need to do our due diligent or else we’ll be paying a lot just for what’s printed on the tag. As for our home, our bed are made with bamboo fibers and we layers on cotton covers ! My dressers from Ikea are what I should rid off as I’m sure the off gassing of those aren’t pretty !

Mar 10, 2014
9:57 AM

Would love to try natural rubber!

Mar 10, 2014
9:36 AM

You spend almost half your life on your bed, keeping it green and healthy is one of the most important choices we can make!

Mar 10, 2014
9:25 AM

We have an essentia mattress with plans on buying more for the rest of the family. It may be more money upfront but the short and long term benefits far outweigh any expense in my opinion. : ). Plus, we must put our money where we want business’ to focus…on cleaner, greener foods, products and practices.

Mar 10, 2014
9:14 AM

I love my green pillow — made of natural rubber. It has really helped my husband’s asthma. And I sleep more soundly knowing my two little ones sleep on organic mattresses.

Mar 10, 2014
8:17 AM

It’ll be quite awhile before we can afford new healthy bedroom stuff, but most of our things are second hand so hopefully they’ve off gassed enough to not be as much of a problem anymore.

Mar 05, 2014
12:32 PM

We’ll be looking at buying green options when we replace our bedroom mattress this year. We bought green mattresses for the kids and their beds are the most comfortable ones in the house!

Mar 05, 2014
12:32 PM

We’ll be looking at buying green options when we replace our bedroom mattress this year. We bought green mattresses for the kids and their beds are the most comfortable ones in the house!

Mar 05, 2014
8:20 AM

I agree with some of the other readers that natural products tend to be difficult to budget for. It’s worth it in the long run to protect ourselves but the cost needs to come down to a more affordable level.

Mar 04, 2014
10:04 PM

I agree with some of the other readers that natural products tend to be difficult to budget for. It’s worth it in the long run to protect ourselves but the cost needs to come down to a more affordable level.

Feb 23, 2014
9:08 PM

Yikes a few of those are very expensive options, I think a mattress cover would be our best option as our bed is only 5 years old

Feb 22, 2014
6:11 AM

Not so much comments, but questions!

1) My husband has back troubles, so we are quite limited in mattress choices. 6 years ago we purchased a Select Comfort Sleep Number bed. We like it because we can adjust the firmness and because they’re filled with air, they last for a long time. Does anyone know if this mattress is any better/safer compared to ‘normal’ mattresses?

2) Does anyone have an Essentia mattress? There is a retailer down the street from me, I’ve never actually gone in though! I knew they were expensive so I stayed away! Haha!

Feb 19, 2014
1:40 PM

My daughters each have a natural latex mattress by Natura. Hopefully, we will upgrade to that kind of comfort and quality soon.

Feb 19, 2014
12:32 PM

Natural is the way to go, but wording can be misleading. So make certain to research the product you are seeking…

Feb 19, 2014
10:41 AM

Thank you for the great eco bedroom tips. I have forwarded along to my daughter.

Feb 19, 2014
9:16 AM

Our little ones sleep soundly on their crib mattresses made of natural rubber and organic cotton. I just wish these products were more affordable for the average family. We’ve made an effort to have them last longer by using organic mattress covers, and convertible cribs that will allow us to keep using the mattresses throughout their toddler years.

Feb 18, 2014
7:26 PM

Tagging this for when we need to get a new mattress down the road.

Feb 17, 2014
6:58 PM

We have a natural latex mattress from ikea. It’s very comfortable. I’m not sure if it is better for our health and only have a vague idea about natural latex which apparently is the same as natural rubber.

I can’t help thinking about mattresses or not mattresses through time and what humans across cultures and times slept on. Especially in old age. I’ve slept on a thin mattress on the ground recently and it was awful. Compared to as a child and young adult in sleeping bags on the ground it thin air mattresses without a problem…

Feb 16, 2014
3:16 AM

I wish there were more cost friendly options. I will definitely be looking into more options.

Feb 13, 2014
7:22 AM

I just bought an all natural wool mattress topper from Natura while we save our money for a new mattress. So far, we really like it : )

Feb 12, 2014
9:27 PM

We have a Queen ‘Obasan’ with wool pillows and natural rubber. We have the mattress with nine customizable (S,M,H) sections. They have a rigorous organic certification that is impressive. We are happy with this.

Feb 12, 2014
7:38 PM

We love our Obasan mattresses: we started with a crib mattress for our first and we got ourselves one last Valentines!

Feb 12, 2014
4:11 PM

Hi, I bought an organic mattress about 11/2 years ago and LOVE it! Absolutely no chemical smells and so comfortable. They call it 100% Natural Rubber which I was told is organic, however not certified. Certification is more costly. To save more money, as it is expensive, you can buy only the bottom 4” without a topper. You don’t need it. I opted out on the fireproofing and encased it with an organic Twill cotton cover. I also wrapped it a wool blanket.

Feb 12, 2014
4:10 PM

Wool is naturally fire resistant though natural latex foam is not. My mattress from Land

Feb 12, 2014
11:38 AM

Unfortunately I couldn’t possibly afford any of those adult-sized mattresses (mine isn’t a queen, but still)…

Sad that a healthful home seems to be a privilege of the rich.

Feb 11, 2014
5:39 PM

We managed to get a natural crib mattress for our daughter at a fraction of the cost off Craigslist. Yes, beware and inspect very thoroughly before bringing into your home, but this can be a good option.

Feb 11, 2014
12:49 PM

Calgary Mattress Maker should be on this list too!

Feb 11, 2014
9:58 AM

We have a futon mattress — made of felt cotton and high-density foam. The foam is probably not so good, but the cotton I imagine is okay. Our king-sized futon was about $500 and you don’t need a box spring if you use a slatted bed (or just put on the floor), so at least the materials used are fewer!

Feb 11, 2014
4:59 AM

We’re looking at replacing our (almost 20 year old) mattress in the next year for better back support. I didn’t realize latex (which I have allergies to) was a component of them. Yuck!

Feb 10, 2014
11:13 PM

Great timing for a blog post on mattresses! I’ve been looking for a organic or natural option for the last couple of months and although I would love to get an organic mattress, I am leaning towards getting an Ikea queen Sultan Heggedal plus a Snugsleep wool mattress topper (made in North Vancouver, natural but not organic). The two combined together is almost half the price of an organic mattress.

Feb 10, 2014
9:48 PM

I always like finding Canadian sites to buy more eco-friendly things. Thanks for the info!

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