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Organic Vs. Regular Cotton Mattress

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

We are trying to sift through the massive amount of info on chemical free/non-toxic mattresses which is overwhelming.  Primarily, I don't want any flame retardant on a mattress for my son.  This probably is a silly question, so please enlighten me...  If we cover the mattress with organic sheets, is there really any difference (besides environmental) in buying a regular cotton mattress versus an organic one?  They are much much less expensive and money is a huge consideration for us.   Also, if anyone has purchased one, how did it hold up?  We cannot do wool due to allergies. 

post #2 of 9

Hi - I don't know of any regular cotton mattresses without chemicals - but I'd love to hear about them! Are you talking about futon-type mattresses? We also did not want our children sleeping on mattresses treated with flame retardants. 


So we purchased 100% cotton futon mattresses (6 to 8 inches thick). It is not organic cotton, which is why we could afford them! There is no wool, no foam, etc. By law, mattresses need to be flame resistant, so the company would normally sprinkle them with borates. We had to get a doctor's note from our pediatrician to avoid this.


They have held up fairly well, but after several years I feel they are creating a lot of excess house dust. They are basically thick cotton canvas covers with "raw" cotton stuffed inside. They also need to breathe. We bought slatted platform beds for them. One time we put them on plywood, and they began to mildew!


They are still very comfortable, though. They're not perfect in any way, but they were half the price of an organic mattress, and I don't have to worry about what my kids are sleeping on.


Hope this helps!

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

Taubel--Thanks for your response!  Where did you buy them?

I am looking at the ones made by White Lotus.  The regular ones are half the price of the organic ones which is why I'd rather buy them if there isn't a huge difference as long as they're covered.  I was able to get a note from my doctor which I am going to use for my son's if I'm not able to get one from his doctor.


How many years have you had them?  Could an adult comfortably sleep on them?  TIA!

post #4 of 9

We actually bought ours from White Lotus! That's the place in NJ, right? We are in NY and had them shipped to us, which wasn't too bad expense wise.


We do have the regular ones. We couldn't afford the organic either. Not for three kids! Like I said, they're not perfect, but they have held up very well. We've had one of them for 5 or 6 years. That one is the least comfortable, but it seems to be made differently from the next two we bought. The others are very comfortable, although I don't sleep on them that often. No complaints from the kids!


We use regular sizes sheets and quilts and they look almost like "real" beds.


My only complaints are the dust and that they mildew easily. Make sure you have a slatted foundation. We also use wool mattress pads to protect from bed wedding, vomit, etc. Those actually work really well!



Best of luck with your purchase! Let me know how it turns out. I would definitely buy from that company again.

post #5 of 9

I don't suppose there's a chance someone could make their own mattresses?

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 

Taubel--Thank you!  I went ahead and ordered one for my son so I guess we'll have it in 5-6 weeks.  Thanks for the tip on the slatted bed.  Where did you get yours?  I saw Ikea has them.  DS would probably fall out of bed so we were thinking of putting it on the floor but I don't want to have mildew problems. 


ARandomPhrase--You can make them.  I have read through a couple threads on here where people were able to, but I don't think I'm crafty enough for that!

post #7 of 9

I wasn't crafty enough to make them either - but I wish I was!


As for mildew, our house has high humidity, so this is a problem for us. The ones that got mildewed (and it was only a small area) were the ones that are in the bedroom over our unheated garage. Our third bedroom is not over the garage, and we have not had mildew problems in that room. I did have that one on the floor for almost two years with no problems. Recently we moved our son who is 3.5 into a bed so the mattress is no longer on the floor.


If your house has low humidity, you may be OK.


We had hand-me-down beds with three slats across and then a bunky board. We ended up giving away the bunky boards and buying bed slats made by Pacific Rim. They were expensive, but they're maple, so they're strong and they are connected with a natural jute material. The edges are also smoothed so they won't tear the futon.


Ikea does seem to have a good collection of slat beds. We just didn't investigate them since we already had beds and just needed slats. 


I think you'll be very pleased with the futon!

post #8 of 9

Wool is used in almost all natural mattresses as the flame retardant. THe wool is inside the matress, not on the outside.  If they aren't using wool, what are they using?


I wouldn't worry about organic vs. nonorganic cotton on the cover.


We got ours from Organic Grace.

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

Taubel--Thanks for all your help!  We should have the first one in about a month so I'll post how it turns out.


JudiAU--  They are actually not using any flame retardant since I was able to get a prescription from my doctor saying I needed a mattress without it.  I am allergic to wool, and that probably wouldn't be a problem for me since my skin wouldn't touch it, but I have also read that wool naturally contains arsenic and I don't want to expose our next baby to that with co-sleeping.

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