Now that I’m finally getting back to the mattress topic, I’ll outline the choices we made and why we made them. [Go here to read the previous post, Buying a Non-Toxic Mattress, Part 1.]
First, we settled on a latex mattress over the other organic/non-toxic options for the following reasons:
1. Latex foam is pressure-relieving, much like petroleum-based memory foam. This was our most important consideration. Buying an organic inner-spring mattress would have prevented exposure to toxins, but we still would have been in pain. And, of course, the only reason we learned all of these disturbing things about mattresses in the first place was because we were in pain and wanted relief.
2. Latex’s natural antimicrobial properties, along with its resistance to mold, mildew, and other allergens, really appealed to us. Many allergy-sufferers choose latex for this reason alone. We live in Houston where mold and mildew are rampant, and I am allergic to mold. (Pallet-style and innerspring mattresses stuffed with cotton often trap moisture, which creates a perfect environment for mold. If you live in a dry climate, this is probably not a major issue, but beware if you live in areas of high humidity.)
3. Latex mattresses last a long, long time. Their expected life span is between 10 and 20 years, and many manufacturers offer warranties up to the 20-year mark. Just as with buying a memory foam mattress, you have to look at the cost per year or cost per night’s sleep to get an accurate picture of what you’re buying.
4. We simply liked the feeling of a latex mattress, and that hasn’t changed since our purchase several months ago. We still love it! Like memory foam, it perfectly conforms to your body, both cushioning and supporting it. But I think it feels even better than memory foam. Latex adjusts to you instantly, rather than after a second or two of delay. This makes it much easier to move around or roll over.
Of course, that wasn’t the end of the decision-making process. Next, we had to decide on a manufacturer, and, wow, that was tough! Not one store in Houston carried any of the organic/non-toxic latex mattresses, so we visited a couple of different cities to try them out before making the commitment. Here are some of the brands we tried:
1. Green Sleep (also known as Vimala). Very nice . . . and very expensive. We experienced the Vimala Sleep System in Phoenix while visiting my grandparents over Thanksgiving weekend. This was the first latex mattress we ever encountered, and we were quite impressed. It felt fabulous! The Vimala mattress is composed of 3 layers: firm, medium, and soft, from bottom to top. The company harvests its latex from its very own rubber tree farm, so quality control is guaranteed. They promise never to use any synthetic fillers or chemicals. They weave the cover of cotton, wool, and silk. Vimala also offers a unique frame for their mattress that allows for more “give.” If you’re willing to spend $4,000 to $5,000, check them out.
2. Natura. We luxuriated on the organic EcoHaven in Austin, Texas at a fantastic store called Wildflower Organics. If you’re ever in the area, you should seek out this place. In addition to great mattresses, they carry non-toxic and organic furniture, bedding, home decor, towels, and baby supplies. Wonderful, wonderful store with great staff! Anyway, back to the mattress. We really liked the EcoHaven, although we both agreed that something slightly softer would suit us better. It consists of 2 layers: one medium dunlop layer with a thinner layer of soft talalay on top (for more on dunlop vs. talalay, go here). This mattress runs about $2600 for a queen and $3300 for a king, although individual dealers may offer you a nice discount.
3. SavvyRest. This is the company we eventually selected, and I have no regrets. They make mattresses with either 2 or 3 layers in dunlop and/or talalay. We lovedthe flexibility offered by SavvyRest. Not only can you pick the softness level of each layer, you can split the individual layers so that each side of the bed is different. The SavvyRest website claims that testing the bed in person isn’t necessary, and, believe it or not, I agree. Dominick, one of the company’s representatives, was amazingly helpful! He asked me lots of questions and eventually guided me toward what has turned out to be an ideal configuration for my husband and me. We selected a 3-layer mattress with medium dunlop (my side) and firm dunlop (Justice’s side) on the bottom, a split layer of soft talalay in the middle, and a solid layer of soft talalay on top. Heaven!
If you choose SavvyRest, I strongly recommend discussing your layer choices over the phone with a representative before ordering, rather than using their online tool. I thought I knew what I wanted, but Dominick’s knowledge and experience of the product was invaluable in making the decision. One of their best customer service features is the option to exchange a full layer of the bed for a different firmness level for free. So just in case you don’t get it quite right the first time, you can fix it. Please do check out their website for much, much more information. I love this small company for their commitment to quality and absolute honesty, their green-ness (which has been recognized with rewards), and their efforts to provide safe products at a reasonable price. Speaking of price, a dunlop queen costs $1,849 (talalay is $2,299), while the dunlop king is $2,299 (talalay is $2,699).
You might be overwhelmed right now. Am I suggesting that all reasonable people must dash out and purchase an organic latex mattress to avoid toxins right this minute? Not at all. I am saying, however, that if you’re in the market for a mattress, why not make it a safe one? It’s easier and more affordable than you might think (if you go with the right company), and you’ll serve your body, your unborn children, and your environment well.
Soon, I’ll write a post about the bed frame and linens we selected. But right now, it’s late, and my fabulously safe, soft mattress awaits me. Until tomorrow…