With waterbeds safely in the rear view mirror, “natural” mattresses have taken over as the new fad in the bedding industry.
This is great, because bedding made from botanical latex, cotton and wool reduces the need for synthetics materials harmful to humans and the environment. However, as with most products, there’s a fair amount of greenwashing to sort through while shopping for mattresses and bedding.
This article will give you the tools to find a mattress made from natural, certified organic materials in the Seattle/Bellevue area. We’ll also grade the “naturalness” of the area’s natural bedding stores on their available certifications and transparency of sources.
Price, style, customer service and comfort were not factored into the grading matrix.
What to look for
According to Consumer Reports, the term “natural” is meaningless because it there is no industry standard to back it. It generally tends to imply that a product contains some amount of botanical latex, cotton and/or wool. Meanwhile, products labelled “organic” may contain only a portion of certified organic materials in addition to synthetic materials harmful to humans and the environment.
When it comes to mattresses, look for these certifications:
- Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS): This certification indicates the product is made of 95 percent certified organic materials. It also prohibits certain substances, like polyurethane and certain flame retardants, in the over 5 percent.
- Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS): This certification indicates the latex in a product is is 95 percent certified organic and prohibits certain substances in the remaining 5 percent.
- Oeko-Tex Standard 100: This standard does not ensure certified organic materials, but ensures every part of the product “has been tested for harmful substances and that the article therefore is harmless in human ecological terms.”
Grading local products
Soaring Heart Natural Bedding – Overall Grade: A
Soaring Heart is a Seattle-based company with 15 employees that was founded in 1982. According to their website, all of the materials in its own products are GOTS, GOLS or otherwise certified organic. Its showrooms in Seattle and Bellevue also carry certified products from other brands like Omni.
Certifications Grade: A Soaring Heart’s certifications can be found on the About Us page of their website and on many of its product pages. They include: USDA Organic, Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS), Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), Oregon Tilth Organic Certified Wool, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Texas Department of Agriculture Certified Organic Cotton, Made In Seattle, The Organic Trade Association (OTA).
Transparency Grade: A Cotton from Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Coop, wool from small family ranchers in New Zealand, and latex from Sri Lanka supplied by Comp West/Latexco.
Bonus: Soaring Heart donates 1% of its annual gross earnings to charitable causes, hosts quarterly community events, and has scholarship programs through Seattle’s Pride Foundation, Bastyr University and Seattle Central Community College.
Bottom line: Soaring Heart is Emeraldolgy approved! This company uses GOTS, GOLS or otherwise certified organic materials in all of its products and is very transparent with its sources.
Bedrooms & More – Overall Grade: B+
Bedroooms & More doesn’t position itself as natural bedding retailer per se, which makes its selection of Natural & Organic Mattresses a welcome surprise. These products come from three manufacturers: Therapedic, Oregon Mattress Company and 45th Street Bedding – the company’s own local manufacturer.
Certifications Grade: A A call to Bedrooms & More revealed that 45th Street Bedding uses GOTS certified cotton and wool, and their latex is QUL certified through eco-INSTITUT. This certification ensures that a product is 100% natural latex, instead of the GOLS standard of 95%, making it the cleanest local option. The Therapedic mattresses feature GOTS certified cotton.
Transparency Grade: B While the certifications aren’t prominently displayed online, 45th Street Bedding was able to verify certified organic sources for its textiles and a certification for 100% pure botanical latex. In this instance, we’d like to see these meaningful certifications proudly displayed to encourage the natural choice.
Bottom Line: The only thing keeping Bedrooms & More from receiving an A grade is that it sells products with synthetic materials alongside its great selection of certified natural products. The 45th Street Bedding latex mattresses deserve an A+, as they are the “naturalest” products on our list. If anything, we’d like Bedrooms & More to display those meaningful certifications to make its truly natural products easier to identify.
Seattle Mattress Company – Overall Grade: D
Seattle Mattress Company is a branch of Canvas Supply Company, which has been in Seattle since 1882 – 100 years longer than Soaring Heart. Its showroom sells its own mattresses, manufactured in Ballard, alongside other brands.
This company doesn’t position itself as a “natural” bedding store, but it has jumped on the green bandwagon with an Eco Friendly section. The Highlands 100% Natural Talalay Latex Mattress is listed as its “greenest” product, boasting organic cotton, natural wool and natural botanical Talalay latex with no added chemicals and no apparent certifications to back it up.
Certifications Grade: D The Magnistretch 12 (Made in Italy) is OKEO certified – meaning it’s been tested for harmful substances, but otherwise there are no apparent organic certifications listed on the company’s website and none have been provided upon request.
Transparency Grade: D There are no material sources readily available from this company.
Bottom line: While Seattle Mattress Company, unlike the others on this list, doesn’t position itself as a natural bedding store, it serves as an example of company throwing around greenwashing terms without backing them up with certifications.
Seattle Natural Mattress – Overall Grade: B
Seattle Natural Mattress is a family owned and operated business with over 45 years of experience specializing in the chemical-free latex Mulligan Mattress.
Certifications Grade: B Upon request, owner Tim Ley said his materials were GOLS and Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified. He did not mention GOTS, which would apply to the mattress’ cotton covering.
Transparency Grade: A+ Seattle Natural Mattress has a sweet video showing the manufacturing process of its latex mattresses. Was the video made in the 90’s? Probably. Does it show you exactly where the product is made? Yes, down to the address of the company in Sri Lanka.
Bottom Line: Seattle Natural Mattress’s latex is certified organic, but perhaps not its cotton. Better yet, its latex source can be traced while the “Braveheart” theme plays in the background.
The Sleep Store Bellevue – Overall Grade: B
The Sleep Store’s motto is “Specializing in Organic Natural Latex Mattresses,” which it delivers on with certain GOTS and GOLS certified products. I would give this store an A, but Soaring Heart set the bar a little too high by having all of its products are certified organic. Finding a truly organic mattress at the Sleep Store will take a little investigating.
Certifications Grade: B Certain products the Sleep Store carries are GOLS and/or GOTS certified while others are Greenguard or Oeko-Tex 100. For example, the ERGOVEA Valencia Latex Mattress is only Greenguard Gold certified, while the Natures Embrace – The Motif Mattress is GOTS, GOLS, OCS 100 certified and more. Definitely check tags and ask questions as you shop here.
Transparency Grade: B The Sleep Store is pretty good about listing the certifications of its products online. Since they don’t manufacture their own products, it takes an extra step to see how brands like Savvy Rest, Naturepedic and Nature’s Embrace source their materials.
Bottom Line: The Sleep Store seems to live up to its motto, carrying a great selection of GOLS and GOTS certified products. However, it might take a little sifting through products with lesser certifications to find a truly organic mattress.