The Best Non-Toxic Mattress on the Market (it feels great and you can afford it)

by Mariel Heiss

tuft&needle mattress dog poking head out

I was diagnosed with an autoimmune condition called vitiligo. When my doctor prescribed a cream that treats the condition by suppressing the immune system AND carries a warning for leukemia, I decided it was time to take my health into my own hands.

If you’re just getting started on this journey, I suggest starting where I did – with some free info from Steve and Jordan. This article helped me understand that it wasn’t any one thing, but likely a combination of my genetics, my gut health, and my environment, that had caused autoimmunity to develop in my body.

I can’t do much about my genetics (thanks Mom and Dad!) but tackling the health of my gut and my environment are both in my control…

Which is why I’ve spent the last several years focusing on improving my diet and healing my gut using diet and some key supplements. I also realized that getting good quality sleep has also been critical to healing my body.

However, in the Last Year, My Sleep Quality Began to Decline

That’s when I started rotating my mattress and turned to some other fixes: sleep masks, blue light-blocking glasses, oil diffusing, nighttime baths, and a strict sleep schedule. Despite all my best efforts, though, I was tossing and turning and waking up bleary-eyed when my alarm went off.

A few months ago, I knew… it was officially time to buy a new mattress and get back the rest I needed to continue healing.

I wasn’t just your average mattress consumer though; I wanted my new mattress to pass the same tests I put any other product – be it food, cleaning product, or toothpaste – through, to know it was safe for me.

I knew the mattress I purchased couldn’t be produced with the use of dangerous chemicals, like formaldehyde, or contain high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that could compromise my health. But I also had to be able to afford it, which ruled out a lot of the obvious eco-friendly options.

I wanted to sleep soundly on my mattress – not just because it was comfortable, but because it was safe for me and for everyone else who came into my home.

I set out to find – is it possible to get a non-toxic, green mattress that doesn’t cost $2,000?

(Spoiler: Yes!)

Are You Sleeping on a Cloud of Chemicals?

cloud of chemicals

While my mattress was over 10 years old and getting uncomfortable, a worn out mattress isn’t the only reason you should think about upgrading. Even if your mattress is old but comfortable, it likely contains very dangerous chemicals that could be harming your health.

Most mattresses are made primarily of several different layers of polyurethane or latex foam, along with springs and cotton batting. These materials contain many harmful ingredients on their own (like VOCs, flame retardants, heavy metals, pesticide residues, and more). These chemicals get into our bodies when we breathe them in (off-gassing), through dust, and by contact. They can impact the indoor air quality of your entire home. This means you don’t have to be touching or even sleeping on the bed to be affected by the chemicals if you’re in the same area.

The longer you own a mattress, the less it will off-gas (as most of these chemicals have been released). Think of the way a new car loses that famous smell – the same thing happens with a mattress over time.

But every time you disturb your mattress (by moving it, vacuuming it, changing the sheets, letting your kids jump on it) more chemicals and dangerous dust particles can be released (too small to see or smell). And in older mattresses this can include a dangerous class of chemical-fire retardants called PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) that are not typically used in new mattresses (much more on PBDEs to come).

However, a new strict law for flammability was passed on July 1, 2007 – called the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s standard for mattress flammability – that ensures new mattresses contain even HIGHER levels of fire retardants, especially close to the surface of the mattress (as this law was designed to help prevent fires caused from things like candles and lighters being used near mattresses).

The even stricter California Technical Bulletin 117 was also enacted in 2007 and requires an even higher level of fire retardancy in foam products. This means you can’t just buy any new mattress and expect it to be safer than your old one.

And because mattress and other foam products are not required to state what fire retardant they use, you have no way of knowing what material was used, be it PBDE, formaldehyde, boric acid, or something else entirely.

If you think you’re safe from off-gassing by keeping around an old mattress, consider what year it was manufactured and look for a tag on your mattress stating that it meets California Technical Bulletin 117 (TB 117) – unless you know specifically it was made using alternative fire-retardant methods, this means it almost certainly contains a chemical-fire retardant in addition to other harmful chemicals.

Spring Mattresses Are Likely the Most Toxic

mattress layers

While I’m no expert, when I started researching I hypothesized the two most dangerous things in a mattress were likely the synthetic foam and the fire retardants.

However, what really shocked me when researching the safety of foam was that it is actually the GLUE used to hold the materials in a mattress together that contains the most harmful compounds.

I found this chart, provided by foam maker Essentia, that shows chemicals and VOCs found in common mattress materials. While latex and memory foam had worrisome ingredients, it was glue that contained almost all the listed VOCs.

The dangerous chemicals in these glues include lead, acetone, and chlorofluorocarbons. One type of glue, methylene chloride (used commonly into the 1990s as a “safe alternative” to ozone-depleting glues used previously) caused up to 30 deaths a year in factory workers and was commonly called “methyl ethyl bad stuff.”

“Methyl ethyl bad stuff” was replaced with another “safe alternative” – n-propyl bromide (nPB). But as you can probably guess, nPB wasn’t really safe either. Now, thousands of people who work with these chemicals in the U.S. in the production of foam are suffering permanent physical and neurological symptoms.

Chemical glues are obviously toxic – fortunately, water-based glues exist as an alternative. And while water-based glue does sound better than solvent-based – resulting in many companies claiming to use it instead – even water-based glues contain many of these chemicals. The VOCs in them can pollute the air indoors and cause symptoms ranging from asthma to cancer.

The sad truth is that the glue used in manufacturing mattresses and other furniture is dangerous – it is ruining the health of real people.

This helped me decide that I wanted to seek out simplicity in a mattress – fewer components meant less dangerous glue. A spring mattress is composed of several layers of foam and cotton batting surrounding a spring core – this requires a lot of glue to hold all the components together.

While foam might seem more dangerous at first, it has less glue and fewer components overall – meaning fewer places for dangerous chemicals to lurk.

There would still inevitably be SOME glue in my mattress. With my health as my primary concern, I wanted the glue used in my mattress to be certified safe for indoor use by a third party I felt I could trust – like GreenGuard – not just claim to be water-based or approved by the Environmental Protection Agency.

PBDEs: The Dangerous Chemical You’re Sleeping, Standing, and Sitting on Right Now

PBDE Dangers

Based on my glue research, I knew I wanted to go with a foam mattress instead of a spring one. However, there are still many different kinds of foam to consider and all the chemicals and potential hazards inherent to foam.

One easy decision was to rule out memory foam. Memory foam contains the most harmful chemicals (things like methyl benzene), which narrowed my search to natural latex or a synthetic foam.

Foam, however, requires flame retardants to meet safety laws mentioned above. And while these laws were put in place to protect Americans, they have had unintended health consequences.

Chemical-fire retardants used in foam are associated with reduced IQ, male and female infertility, and thyroid and endocrine disruption, among numerous other health issues – not exactly what I want to promote while I sleep. Californians have some of the highest levels of PBDEs in our house dust in the WORLD due to TB 117.

PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers), the long-time, most-used fire retardant, are very dangerous to human and animal health – so dangerous they’ve been phased out of use in new materials. However, there are many loopholes that ensure you’re still being exposed – either through older materials (PBDEs were still legally manufactured in the U.S. until 2005 and their use is not illegal) or through imported items from places like China.

Upon researching their dangers, I found they’ve even been linked with thyroid disease in cats – that is how widespread their dangers are. When I thought of the amount of time my cat spends snoozing on my bed per day (23 hours by my estimates) – as well as my ever-sleepy golden retriever – I knew I had to have a mattress free of these dangerous fire retardants… and not just for myself, but for the health of everyone else who I have in my home.

While PBDEs are being phased out, the new industry replacement, Firemaster 550, isn’t much better. No proven-safe chemical alternative has been found to date. Firemaster 550, in a 2012 study, was shown to be an endocrine disruptor in lab animals, causing early-onset puberty and extreme weight gain.

And while all this might be a bit scary, what’s even worse is not knowing.

Big Brand Chemical Cover Up?

big brand cover up

Even more frightening, according to the site Mattress Inquirer, is big brands like Sealy and Tempur-Pedic won’t even disclose what fire retardants they DO use instead of PBDEs – calling them “trade secrets.” This means inquiring consumers like myself cannot even make an informed decision about what they bring into their home. In doing my own research for information about fire retardants or any of the chemicals or ingredients in Tempur-Pedic mattresses, I came up empty handed.

Replacement chemical-fire retardants for PBDEs (whatever they are!) might be better, but the reality is that understanding the long-term implications of widespread chemical use is impossible before its implementation in a population leads to disaster. PBDEs stand as an example as to why it is better to be safe than sorry and avoid as many unnecessary chemicals as one can.

Reading this might have left you feeling frustrated and scared – I know that is how I felt when I started researching these chemicals. However, you can find alternative foam products that do NOT contain either PBDEs or other chemical-fire retardants – you just have to look farther and ask questions.

If you’re concerned about PBDE exposure (a real danger for all Americans), I encourage you to check out Green Science Alliance’s site for more info on where you may be exposed and what you can do to mitigate the effects – as well as more information on the dangers.

When you do purchase items that contain foam – like a new mattress, a couch, or carpet pad – you can look for items that have a third-party certification for no PBDEs or chemical-fire retardants, as well as other VOCs, formaldehyde, and more. And typically this means you’ll be avoiding all the “Big Brand” mattress manufactures as they currently won’t disclose what chemicals they are using.

How Much Do You Need to Spend to Protect Your Health?

A big name comes with a big price tag – but what else does it mean?

The average cost of a traditional (not “green” or “eco-friendly”) queen size mattress is $1,500-$1,600.

For the big-name brands, like Tempur-Pedic, the price jumps up to $1,999 for the lowest price model and the mid-range beds, which I preferred, were around $3,500.

I already knew from my own research, however, that there was NO information readily available about any of the chemicals excluded or included in Tempur-Pedic mattresses – all I could find were lots of reports of years of off-gassing smells. Clearly, that price didn’t buy me safety.

I also found some amazing companies, like Astrabeds – they make safe, organic beds out of natural latex with exactly the kinds of certifications I wanted. However, starting at $1,800, their prices were a bit higher than what I wanted to pay.

At this point, I knew I wanted a mattress that was simple in design, made of foam and a water-based glue with third-party certifications for both – just like an Astrabed – but it had to be one I could afford now.

My New Mattress – The Tuft & Needle

Fortunately, I found it from Tuft & Needle.

Tuft & Needle mattresses are made of synthetic foam with the third-party CertiPUR certification.

Synthetic foam means they are more affordable than the natural latex Astrabed (a queen size mattress is just $600!). But the CertiPur label means it has no known harmful chemicals (including formaldehyde), carcinogens, or heavy metals. It also guarantees it has low VOCs for good indoor air quality. Although it is a synthetic foam, this certification gives me peace of mind.

The mattress itself is made of only TWO layers of foam, which means only ONE layer of glue is needed to hold those together (and that glue is made of rubber and water). The glue is also independently GreenGuard certified for low VOCs.

Tuft & Needle’s biggest competitors, like Casper, use 3 or more layers – meaning multiple layers of glue. And while Tuft & Needle points out that the more glue there is, the less air circulation can occur (meaning a hotter night’s sleep), for me the importance of less glue was less chemicals under my pillow.

Most importantly, Tuft & Needle does not use PBDEs or other chemical-fire retardants.

Instead, my whole mattress is bundled up in a fire sock. This fire sock (literally like a sock for your mattress, it is an extra case that goes under the cover but over the mattress) stands in the place of dangerous chemical-fire retardants. The flame-resistant fire sock (made of polyester-rayon blend fabric infused with silica instead of chemicals) encases the foam, and is TB 117 compliant.

On top of the fire sock is a silky-smooth cover made of rayon and polyester and certified by Oeko-Tex 100 Standard – again meaning it is free of known and suspected harmful chemicals.

The best part – no “new car” smell – no plasticky, toxic fumes emanating from my new mattress – I slept soundly the first night with zero off-gassing.

According to Tuft & Needle, it off-gasses less than 0.05 parts per million of CO2. While they couldn’t provide comparison numbers for the amounts other mattresses off-gas, we all know that “new” smell – my mattress did not have it at all (in fact, the new pillows I purchased to go with my new mattress actually had a far stronger smell!).

Note: CertiPUR confirms that no mattress can be completely free of off-gassing (even people off-gas!) but Tuft & Needle gets pretty close.

It May Be Safe, but Is Tuft & Needle Actually Comfortable?

The safety of my new mattress was the most important thing to me, but I couldn’t forget the reason I started mattress shopping in the first place – I needed a comfortable place to sleep at night.

I’m not just sleeping like a baby because I’m no longer worried about breathing in PBDEs all night long – my new mattress is so much more comfortable than I ever expected.

Foam mattresses, of course, have a very different feel than spring mattresses. Compared to a traditional memory foam mattress (like a Tempur-Pedic), however, my Tuft & Needle mattress is more “springy” and responsive – it has more bounce when I flop down on it. I think it is softer and it DEFINITELY smells far better than a traditional memory foam mattress, which, in my opinion, never loses the chemical smell, even after years of ownership.

Compared to other new-style foam mattresses, like a Casper mattress (which my sister owns and I’ve had the chance to sleep on and test out extensively), I think the Tuft & Needle mattress is softer, springier, and more comfortable. It has more “give” when you lay down but it never feels like you’re sinking in.

The bottom layer is 7 inches of support foam and the top layer is three inches of Tuft & Needle’s proprietary foam, which has more give and provides the “springiness.” I would describe it as firm, but as a stomach sleeper I don’t feel it is too firm for me to be comfortable. (My dog Gus, a back sleeper, says it’s comfortable for him too 😉 )

Tuft & Needle doesn’t sell in traditional mattress stores and they only have one showroom in Phoenix and one in San Francisco. Instead of focusing on brick-and-mortar stores, they sell online.

Having a mattress shipped might seem costly and inefficient, but my mattress came straight to my house in one big giant box rolled up and compressed – shipped free and delivered less than one business week later. (There is something about being delivered a GIANT box that just can’t be beat.)

You can use it on the floor, on a slatted bed frame, or with a box spring you already own (they don’t sell box springs). I opted for a slatted bed frame.

Tuft & Needle also offers a 100-night home trial. If you purchase, you can sleep on your new mattress for 100 nights to decide if you like it. If you don’t, all you have to do is donate the mattress to a charity in your area and provide proof of donation to Tuft & Needle to be refunded. If a mattress can’t be donated for any reason, it can be recycled into carpet pads and other broken foam products by Tuft & Needle.

I’m not interested in donating my mattress though – I want to keep this thing for a LONG time 🙂

I love everything about it (less toxins and deeper sleep) and I’m excited to share how much I love it with the SCD Lifestyle community.

My only sincere complaint is that when I sit on the edge of my bed to put my shoes on or take them off, I do sink down a bit more. I’ve decided to start sitting on the floor to take my shoes on and off – it is better for my health anyway!

I hope this helps you on your search for a non-toxic mattress that support your health, let me know what questions you have in the comments below.


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About the author

Mariel Heiss Mariel is a Customer Happiness Engineer at SCD Lifestyle. When she began college, she started having digestive symptoms that spiraled into chronic food intolerances, autoimmune conditions and fatigue before beginning her own journey to better health with the help of Steve and Jordan. If she isn’t at her treadmill desk connecting with the SCD Lifestyle community via email, comments, or Facebook, you can find her outside in the sunshine with her golden retriever, Gus.

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{ 75 comments… read them below or add one }

Lori February 23, 2018 at 4:03 pm

Tuft and Needle looks good, but some comments I’ve read on it question whether it is really nontoxic. I’m not sure how much to worry about the off gassing issue, but I did come across another mattress that is made of natural latex, which I guess is not supposed to off gas. Funny how much we fret about the rectangles we sleep on, but on the other hand my health is kinda important to me. I’m considering the Eco Terra ( because it is supposed to not off gas, and it’s hybrid – so not the expensive price tag of 100% latex. What do you think, Mariel, do you have the scoop on the Eco Terra mattress?


Mariel Heiss February 26, 2018 at 10:42 am

Hi Lori – thanks for your comment! I’m not familiar with Eco Terra – but if I were you, I’d reach out to their customer support team and ask some questions. It’s a good sign if they have lots of info for you about the ingredients they use, 3rd party certification, etc.


Dani R November 21, 2017 at 1:41 am

Have you researched the lull bed at all? I’m curious to know how it compares to the tuft and needle mattress. Thanks!


Mariel Heiss November 21, 2017 at 12:41 pm

I’m not familiar with that brand – but definitely reach out to them and ask them about their safety standards, if they have 3rd party testing, etc. They should have readily available info about all of that -and if they don’t, I’d go with a different brand.


Bob S November 20, 2017 at 1:20 am

It’s funny that tuft and needle is one of the cheapest mattresses available, and uses generic standards foams that almost every US manufacturer uses in their mattresses. This means that virtually all mattresses and as “safe” as tuft and needle, and arguably many are better as the higher costs translate into better quality materials.

This website also says articles written may have received compensation from the company… I’m “guessing” tuft and needle paid something for this article. Sigh…


Mariel Heiss November 20, 2017 at 3:11 pm

Hi Bob – while the Amazon link to Tuft & Needle is an affiliate link (check out our affiliate disclosure if you have questions about how affiliate links work) we weren’t asked by T&N to write this review, nor did we receive any compensation for it. I bought the mattress on my own after doing a lot of research and the opinions I share an entirely my own.

As I mention in the article – if you have more money to spend, there are probably safer/better mattresses available – but I think for the price, T&N does a great job of producing a comfy, safe mattress. I am still very happy with mine almost 2 years in 🙂 I can’t speak to anyone else’s experiences, however – just my own!

Do you have a mattress brand that you like and would like to recommend to other commenters who don’t like T&N?


Sharon November 6, 2017 at 11:46 am

Does anyone have any experience with a Morgonava from IKEA??


Sharon November 6, 2017 at 11:32 am

Are T&N mattresses available in Canada? Or are you aware of a Canadian equivalent? I live in Ottawa, Ontario. I aspire to an Obasan or Essentia but cannot afford those prices.


pam October 29, 2017 at 1:47 pm

So is there any bed out there that doesn’t stink to high heaven?
You had me until I found out it came in a box and you unrolled it. There is no way foam is not going to smell. Just like the others on here have experienced, I know foam and latex stink. Why can’t they just make beds like they used to?
I soooooo wish I had my old bed.( made way before 2007)


Melinda Wilcox October 21, 2017 at 2:11 pm

I have 6 month old latex mattresses made locally and have been airing out since then with no sheets etc on them. I still can’t go into the room they are kept in because of the latex smell. I am very sensitive to voc’s and don’t recognize this scent as from memory foam or fabric, etc. It smells like rubber to me. The mattresses are comfy but not off-gassing as quickly as I had hoped. Any feedback on this?


Lori Jo Berg October 23, 2017 at 1:43 pm

Hi Melinda – it sounds like you need to contact the company!


Lori October 7, 2017 at 2:15 am

Thank you for your great recommendation and well researched info. My T&N Queen Bed arrived today, I absolutely love it. No odors, very comfortable and a fantastic price. It was very important to me to purchase a non-toxic bed and this is The One. Many thanks.


Laura June 10, 2017 at 1:56 pm

Ha, apologies for all the unintended ? marks!!


Laura June 10, 2017 at 1:39 pm

Greatly? appreciate your article but fear you were a bit naive in relying on Certipur-US – my understanding is that this so-called certification is just self-reported info from foam mfrs with no oversight by independent agents. My search for a comfortable, safe, affordable? bed continues?…


Rita Silverman April 23, 2017 at 6:34 pm

Naturpedic does have 3rd party certification. T&N does not. They are certified by the mattress industry. Looking into buying a new, safe, mattress and it is very confusing. If I could spend the money I would most likely go for the Naturepedic because it really does seem to be the most non-toxic with genuine third party certification. However, considering something more in our price range, we are leaning toward Casper. They can deliver the next day using white glove service. This means that someone, for a little extra money, removes your old mattress and sets your new one up for you.
After a 100 days, if you are not pleased, they send someone to remove the Casper mattress free of charge. You are not burdened with the responsibility of trying to find a charity that will pick it up before they give you a refund, as with the T&N mattress. Many charities do not want your old mattress. Sounds like it can be quite a hassle if you are trying to return the T&N mattress. Casper’s customer service sounds much more promising and worth paying a bit more for the services they provide.


Mariel Heiss April 24, 2017 at 2:39 pm

Hi Rita – thanks for reaching out!!

Buying a mattress CAN be really confusing and overwhelming.
Just want to clarify a few things….

T&N does have 3rd party certifications… as I discussed in my article.

There are other mattresses out there they have certifications, too – T&N isn’t the only safe mattress, just one option.

As far as Casper goes, like I discussed in my article – I think T&N is a better choice because it has fewer layers (less glue). Having slept on both, I also like the feel of the T&N mattress better.

Like Casper, T&N offers a 100 night home trial. If you’re unhappy, T&N will help you find a donation center near you to return the mattress to. If there isn’t a donation location close to you, T&N arranges for the mattress to be picked up, completely free of charge. While some people might call this a hassle, I’m happy to do my part to help the mattress be put to use by those in need, instead of landing in a landfill.

As far as set up – for me it was really easy. I’m only 5’3″ but I was able to move the boxed mattress on my own, open it up, and situate it on my bed frame.

Good luck finding the mattress that is right for you!!


Dane March 6, 2017 at 6:36 pm

Just opened my Tuft and Needle mattress and am very disappointed in the “new car” smell permeating the room and house. Can you comment on where you got your information about the mattress? Not seeing anything on their site suggesting it is “clean” as you suggest. Not blaming you. Wondering if they have changed their materials since your original posting. Thank you


Lori Jo Berg March 7, 2017 at 11:44 am

HI Dane – sorry you’re disappointed. Our team member Mariel has one of these mattresses, so she was basing that particular opinion off of what happened for her.


Joel Lauer January 28, 2017 at 9:26 pm

We really appreciate you taking the time to describe your experience, as well as responding to emails. My wife and I have been sleeping on a shiki- buton, one hundred percent wool product for some time now, and just recently I am starting to experience back pain. Probably because the wool is starting to lose it’s quality. We just ordered a tuft and needle, and we will use the shikibuton as a Topper. Will give you an update after several weeks of use. Thanks again.


Lori Jo Berg January 30, 2017 at 1:57 pm

Great, Joel, we’d love to hear from you!


Gabrielle December 27, 2016 at 3:17 am

I’m astonished to hear you say your mattress didn’t smell. After doing my research, I just purchased Tuft and Needle mattresses for my family. We opened my daughter’s today, and now the whole house smells like nail polish remover. We have her on her old mattress in the living room for now. I’m so disappointed. I’m going to give it some more time, but this was NOT what I expected from a mattress that supposedly doesn’t offgas.


Mariel Heiss December 27, 2016 at 11:48 am

Wow, Gabrielle – I’m so sorry to hear you had that experience. Mine did not smell at all – even when I first opened it. I really encourage you to reach out to Tuft and Needle (their customer support was really helpful to me!)


Jim December 28, 2016 at 2:26 am

Ugg, thanks for the post, I was really set on buying a Tuft and Needle but after reading your post it worries me. I noticed amazon was also currently out of stock to in the size I need. Now I’m concerned I might get a mattress freshly made, instead of one that has been stockpiled for a while and fully cured and gassed off. Also with all the holidays i wonderer how much the manufacturing quality may vary.


Mariel Heiss December 28, 2016 at 12:46 pm

Hi Jim – thanks for commenting. According to Tuft & Needle, their mattress off-gasses less than 0.05 parts per million of CO2. When I heard this it didn’t mean a lot to me – but then I thought about something else I know – for a food to be certified Gluten-Free, it must contain less than TWENTY parts per million of gluten – it helped put into perspective for me how incredibly small .05 ppm is. I truly experienced no smell whatsoever from my mattress – even immediately after I opened it and when I really leaned in and took a good sniff. I hope you won’t let one comment dissuade you from giving T&N a try – after doing a lot of research (and sleeping on it for about a year now) I couldn’t be happier.


DJ March 3, 2017 at 10:53 am

I’m having the same experience as Gabrielle. I let my new Tuft and Needle mattress off-gas for four days in a well-ventilated bedroom, and the entire room smelled like strong, plasticky nastiness. I started sleeping on the mattress 7 days ago, and it still smells relatively strong, but not quite as bad. I’m going to take off the sheets and take off the fire sock (which I should have done in the first place) to let it air out for a few more days before sleeping on it again, as I’ve awakened every day this week feeling unusually foggy-headed and fatigued. My wife has not experienced these symptoms, for what it’s worth.


Lori Jo Berg March 7, 2017 at 11:56 am

Hi DJ – thanks for the feedback here. The company does guarantee it off-gasses less than 0.05 parts per million of CO2. Perhaps taking the fire sock off will help:)


Justine November 7, 2017 at 1:08 am

Hi Gabrielle,
We just opened my son’s tonight and it smells just like nail polish remover. I am wondering how long it took for the smell to go away or if it ever did? We are letting him sleep on his old mattress in his sister’s room for the night. But I’m disappointed that it’s such a strong smell. Please let me know how it went with you.


Joy J December 26, 2016 at 4:28 pm

Hi, we have been looking for organic mattresses for 4 beds in our home (2 kids plus guest room and master) and narrowed our research to Obasan and Naturpedic before reading your awesome article. As you know, these are much, much more expensive than tuft & needle. I don’t expect T&N to compare to these luxury organic options but I would like to know your thoughts on if T&N is non toxic enough and if the large price jump into these other brands would not be worth the additional investment? I am trying to decide if we go for something more reasonably priced like T&N because it is much better than the mainstream. Do you think the the large price jump to the other brands is worthwhile – are they really that mug better than even T&N? We can afford the other brands, however I am reluctant to spend that much more money unless they are way, way better than something like T&N. Please let me know your thoughts!


Mariel Heiss December 27, 2016 at 11:59 am

Hi Joy – I’m glad you liked my article!

I haven’t had one-on-one experience with the other brands you’ve mentioned. The only two mattresses I’ve compared are Tuft & Needle and the Casper mattress (because my sister has one!). I have also had experience with lots of traditional mattresses. My opinion is that my T&N is WAY more comfortable than any other traditional mattress I’ve ever laid on. I also like it better than the Casper (which is a little more expensive).

Had I been able to afford a very-high quality mattress like the Obasan, I probably would have gone for it – just because you can’t put a price tag on a good night’s sleep. But since those were out of my budget, I’m really happy with the T&N – and I’ve been sleeping on it for just under a year now.

Maybe you could order just 1 Tuft & Needle actress for one of the rooms and see how you like it? They also offer a 100-night trial, so that is a great option too.


Courtney December 18, 2016 at 10:04 am

Have you looked at IKEA mattress vs the tuft and needle? From what tuft and needle sent me and what the IKEA beds are made out of, they look almost exactly the same but IKEA is cheaper. Any insight?


Lori Jo Berg December 19, 2016 at 1:07 pm

HI Courtney – looks can be deceiving and we’d recommend doing your research before purchasing any mattress! While I’m not familiar with the details of that mattress, I’d definitely not go by how it appears on the outside. It’s important to know and understand what is on the inside:)


Melissa December 12, 2016 at 10:44 pm

Thank you so much for sharing your insight! You addressed the matters most concerning to me! I’m searching for a new, affordable foam mattress with low odor. I hate my stinky off-gassing Tempurpedic. It has smelled terribly toxic from day one. Seven years later, the smell is still making me nauseous. I wish I’d known about off-gassing back then.


Lori Jo Berg December 13, 2016 at 1:01 pm

You’re Welcome, Melissa! This is a great purchase:)


Janna Jamieson November 24, 2016 at 5:39 am

You really cleared up a lot of things for me. It’s really hard to find proper info about mattresses that isn’t just some commercially sponsored blurb. I’ve been looking for a good mattress. I’ll be shifting to Tulsa around New Year’s and I’m throwing out the old Spring mattress cause i think it’s lived its life. Is there a affordable brand you recommend? I’m really set on Memory Foam mattresses, but the ones with the cooling gel things get a bit expensive. I have mild spondylitis and so a good mattress is really crucial. If you have a recommendation for pillows, I’d be willing to listen to that as well.


Lori Jo Berg November 28, 2016 at 10:07 am

HI Janna, the brand we recommend is the one mentioned in the article – Tuft and Needle. Look for an email with pillow recommendations as well:)


Geesha September 11, 2016 at 4:52 pm

Hi Mariel,

What are your thoughts, if any, on the Leesa, Ghostbed, Yogabed, Novosbed vis a vis the T&N?


Mariel Heiss September 12, 2016 at 2:36 pm

Hi Geesha – I haven’t researched all these new beds. I mainly focused on comparing the models mentioned in my article (traditional mattresses, the Casper, and the T&N plus Astrabeds). That being said, I’m SO happy with my T&N bed and would highly recommend it.


Geesha September 20, 2016 at 4:44 pm

Hey Mariel,

Thanks for your reply. What platform bed did you end up getting? Also, what kind of sheets do you use?



Mariel Heiss September 21, 2016 at 3:44 pm

Hi Geesha – I chose a wooden platform bed. Any bed that uses slats instead of a box spring is a great choice for this kind of mattress. I use 100% cotton sheets!


Geesha September 24, 2016 at 1:36 am

Thanks so much, Mariel! 🙂 I appreciate your responses. Wishing you the best and may you keep writing!

Priya August 22, 2016 at 1:20 pm


Has anyone had experience with Plush Beds – specifically their gel memory foam mattress? I found it through a site that claims something called GreenGuard Certification and looks to be pretty legit. Supposedly they test for thousands of harmful chemicals and voc emissions and only the safest beds are included. I do not see Tuft & Needle on their list though.


Mariel Heiss August 22, 2016 at 4:18 pm

Hi Priya – GreenGuard certifies the glue in mattresses and the glue used in Tuft and Needle IS GreenGuard certified (I mentioned this in my article, too!)


Priya August 30, 2016 at 1:25 pm

I’m still on the search to find a poly-urethane free mattress. Polyurethane foam is essentially petroleum and no matter how many certifications you give it, it is still toxic at some level. Certi-Pur only guarantees that PBDE flame retardants are not used. Ikea has two mattresses however that do not use ANY flame retardants and you can get a queen for $999. Yes, definitely more than T&N but even if I keep the mattress for only 7 years, that comes out to less than $12 a month. Small price to pay to keep toxic FR’s away from my family.


Mariel Heiss August 30, 2016 at 2:10 pm

I hope you find what you’re looking for!You might also consider looking for natural wool mattresses too


Terah August 16, 2016 at 4:31 pm

What are your thoughts on the Intellibed? This is supposed to be a green
bed option and I’m wondering what your thoughts were on it. Thanks!


Mariel Heiss August 17, 2016 at 12:06 pm

Hi Terah – I checked out Intellibeds and wasn’t terribly impressed, personally.

They have info about toxic mattresses on their site all over the place – but not a lot of info on how their mattresses are different. I couldn’t find any 3rd party certifications for Intellibeds either.

Also the price was pretty high – if I was going to pay that much for an Intellibed, I’d rather have gone with my top choice, the Astrabed. Astrabed has a lot more info available about not just why traditional mattresses are toxic, but HOW their mattresses are different.

Ultimately, though – I just didn’t want to pay more than $1,000 for a mattress – even an Astrabed (maybe someday!) AND I loved the 100 night guarantee and convenience of Tuft and Needle.

I can’t tell you everything about Intellibeds, but I can tell you I couldn’t be happier with my new mattress from Tuft and Needle (I am 7 months in now and still love it as much as ever!!)


Laura July 19, 2016 at 5:51 pm

Hi, really great information, thank you! I already wanted to purchase a Tuft bed, so your research makes me feel better about it, though I’m curious – did you receive anything from Tuft for writing this review?

I do now feel the need to look into natural latex mattresses. Why did you decide against natural latex?

Thanks, again!


Mariel Heiss July 20, 2016 at 12:10 pm

Hey Laura – thanks for asking. No I didn’t receive any compensation. This post was a chance for me to share a product I have in my home and love. While I did look into natural latex mattresses, I preferred the Tuft and Needle mattress for a few reasons – I felt comfortable with the materials it was made out of (as I discuss in the article) and I loved the convenience of having it shipped to me and the 100-night trial period. It was also very affordable for me.

Natural latex mattresses are a greta option – this is just what works for me!

I hope this helps!


Peter Koedijk July 14, 2016 at 9:48 pm

Hi Mariel, I have been back and forth on the Tuft & Needle, mainly because of the fire sock they use. It is made with rayon and silica. The silica is the FT, but I am concerned that movement on the mattress could eventually release silica in micro fiber form. Silica is a known respiratory hazard, similar to asbestos. I have been told by T&N that they use amorphous silica, which supposedly is inert. But from what I read is that they silica is covered with other fibers or chemicals to encase it. After years of use and regular movement it seems possible that these inert silica fibers could become air born. Nobody seems to be able to tell me for sure if this is a worry that is justified or not. What is your take on this?


Mariel Heiss July 15, 2016 at 11:15 am

Hi Peter 🙂

Thanks for your thoughtful question. I’m definitely not an expert on this, so I did some poking around. I like the website “The Mattress Underground” and found this info there, which put my mind at ease:

I hope this helps!


Peter Koedijk August 3, 2016 at 9:52 pm

Thank you Mariel, for taking the time to dig a little deeper into the subject of silica. I’ll have to read what it says on the site you linked. Thanks again for your reply to my question!


Kathy Page July 5, 2016 at 10:22 pm

How does a sleep number bed factor into this? To me, it’s really large air mattress that sits on a plastic form instead of box springs. Of course, they are on the pricey side, but after the investment, I am really more interested in this toxic discussion!


Mariel Heiss July 6, 2016 at 1:46 pm

Hi Kathy! thanks for reaching out. I didn’t specifically research Sleep Number Beds, but like other conventional mattresses there are going to be off-gassing fumes from the fire retardants used in the mattress. I don’t know much about this, but some people have concerns about the bed being plugged in, as well.


Nick July 5, 2016 at 7:16 am

Awesome, Do you guys know if these are stocked anywhere in Australia? i’m at the right point to follow up on something similar to this mattress. So thanks for posting. I’ve been using my mum’s futon recently and, well, it’s a little like sleeping on a sack filled with sand after a few nights and needs constant realignment. So going to consider the tuft and needle, depending on availability.


Jennifer June 12, 2016 at 5:35 pm

I’m shopping for a new mattress. What would you recommend for. Box spring?


Mariel Heiss June 13, 2016 at 6:36 pm

Hi Jennifer – I found box springs had all the same problems as mattresses (toxic ingredients!) so I opted for a platform bed frame that didn’t require a box spring. You can also put the mattress directly on the floor. If you have an old box spring that has likely off-gassed, you could consider using that as well.


Nathan June 1, 2016 at 4:17 pm

This mattress is absolutely toxic. Have a look at this video I found
Tuft and Needle have double the VOC’s of the 2 other brands tested. For anyone looking for a mattress with low to no VOC’s I would recommend certified organic latex or for a more affordable route a plant based memory foam mattress as a portion of the petroleum is substituted with castor oil. As for the Certipure certification, this was created by the chemical companies themselves to give you the “illusion” of health and safety.


Mariel Heiss June 1, 2016 at 7:48 pm

Hi Nathan – thanks so much for taking the time to comment and share this video.

I watched both the Casper and the Tuft and Needle videos. I take this really seriously because I sleep on this mattress every night (and like I mentioned in the article, my sister has a Casper!!)

However, I wasn’t really shocked by what the video showed. Tuft and Needle does NOT claim that their mattress off-gases nothing, everything off-gasses – even people!

If you watch his other video here: you can see how quickly these chemicals off-gas and the mattress becomes comparable to the outdoor reading. It isn’t a bad idea to leave any mattress outside for a while before sleeping on it if it is brand new.

I don’t claim to be a mattress expert, but even as just an educated consumer I know that there are likely *safer* choices if you have a lot more money to spend. If you’re on a tight budget like I am, I stand by my recommendation of Tuft and Needle.


pam October 29, 2017 at 1:38 pm

“The best part – no “new car” smell – no plasticky, toxic fumes emanating from my new mattress – I slept soundly the first night with zero off-gassing.”

So does it smell or not? When I hear a company with the title Tuft and Needle I don’t think of a boxed up foam mattresses


Mariel Heiss October 30, 2017 at 11:46 am

Hi Pam!

I can’t speak for other people, but I can tell you that my mattress did not smell. I expected I would need to let it off-gas outside for a day or 2 and I didn’t -it truly had no noticeable odor straight out of the box. I purchased mine in January 2016. Almost 2 years in and I’m still very happy with my mattress! Like I said in the article – if you have more money to spend, there are non-foam options that might not off-gas at all – like natural wool mattresses.


Yuwels April 23, 2016 at 11:44 am

I’ve never heard of mf this company and will do more research and comparisons. Have folks heard of Intellibed?
Much more expensive but none of the issues mentioned above by other comments.


Mariel Heiss April 25, 2016 at 5:31 pm

Intellibeds look cool, but they don’t have any sort of 3rd party certifications (like the CertiPur, GreenGuard, etc.) – that means Intellibed just claims their materials are safe (no one else tests them). I couldn’t find much information other than “Our bed is safe” on their site. Do you know more??

At double the price, I’d go for something with more stringent safety certifications, personally 🙂


Justin August 21, 2016 at 8:48 am

CertiPur is not a third party certification. It is a second party certification created by a trade association (the polyurethane trade association) which Dow Chemical is a donor to. It does contain chemical flame retardants, tuft does not add them CertiPur has it in their material. So they can legally say they added no flame retardants. Please do more research before making articles like this pushing people toward a product.


Mariel Heiss August 22, 2016 at 3:54 pm

Hey Justin – thanks for taking the time to comment. Can you please tell me more about your claim that CertiPur is adding chemicals to foam??

I actually extensively researched this and didn’t come across anything suggesting CertiPur adds chemicals to foam it tests… that doesn’t make much sense because CertiPur doesn’t handle ALL the mattresses – it just tests a sample.

While I understand a CertiPur certification doesn’t guarantee anything about the safety of a foam, it is a factor I considered. For example, just because Serta is on the CertiPur list doesn’t mean I want to bring Serta mattress into my home 🙂 That Tuft and Needle has CertiPur certification was just ONE factor that led to my decision and my recommendation in this article.


Peggy Crawford October 13, 2017 at 10:21 am

Do you know of a mattress that is a safer alternative? I have put off purchase because it is so important to me to not sleep on a toxic pool of chemicals


Lori Jo Berg October 16, 2017 at 3:04 pm

Hi Peggy – are you looking for one instead of the one suggested in the article?

Martin March 27, 2016 at 3:34 pm

Thanks Mariel great blurb
I need to do similar research in Australia
Any ideas?


Mariel Heiss March 28, 2016 at 12:29 pm

Thanks Martin!!

I’m sure you can find something great in Australia if you start looking. IKEA has natural latex mattresses that might be worth looking into.


Tosca February 28, 2017 at 2:39 am

I’ve learned that latex is always hard and doesn’t vent well. I’m leaning towards Tuft/Needle too. My son loves his and he said it’s not sagging yet after almost 2 years. I have a bad back and sleep on my stomach most of the time so it must have support but have some cozy cush too.


Debbie March 23, 2016 at 8:54 pm

Thanks for this article. It came just in time. We are getting a new mattress in a few months and although we eat mostly organic and try to lessen our exposure to toxins, I had not thought about the mattress or furniture. Great info.


Mariel Heiss March 24, 2016 at 12:05 pm

Hi Debbie! Thanks for commenting 🙂 Glad I could help!


Tierney March 23, 2016 at 6:58 pm

I was really excited to see this post but I’m disappointed that a polyurethane foam mattress is what’s being promoted. While I will agree that the Tuft and Needle mattresses sound and probably are wayyyy less toxic than mainstream mattresses… They’re still made of the by-product of crude oil. A few years ago I purchased a “Centi-Pur” foam mattress for my baby, thinking I was making a great non-toxic decision. I sent a sample of the foam to be tested for flame retardants and it tested positive. Even though the company that made the mattress stuck by that it hadn’t added any flame retardants, I was told synthetic foam mattresses “just contain” certain chemicals. This was a Centi-Pur mattress and it was testing positive for chemicals mainstream mattresses would test positive for. I guess all this to say that knowing what I know, I don’t think any kind of polyurethane product is truly non-toxic nor the best decision for a non-toxic lifestyle… I hope I can be convinced otherwise but I still haven’t come to terms with the fact that I regret purchasing a Centi-Pur mattress for my son and I doubt I will ever want to purchase one for myself!


Mariel Heiss March 24, 2016 at 12:00 pm

Hi Tierney – thank you very much for sharing your experiences! I really appreciate hearing what you’ve been through. CertiPur doesn’t claim that their label means a foam is completely free of harmful chemicals or doesn’t off-gas – CertiPur also only guarantees against SOME flame retardants. You can learn more about exactly what CertiPur certification means here:

Because CertiPur only means some protection, it wasn’t the only qualification I was looking for. I wanted my mattress producer to fully disclose what they used as fire retardants and for those NOT to be chemicals – and I found that in Tuft and Needle.

Thank you for commenting!


VBrady March 23, 2016 at 5:15 pm

Rayon? Hmmm. That’s a major turn-off for me. Rayon is loaded with chemicals. Did you investigate that? The search continues…


Mariel Heiss March 24, 2016 at 12:03 pm

Hi – great point!! Fabrics like rayon can have a lot of issues – thats why I was glad the cover had OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 certification. You can learn more about that here:


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