Understanding Organic Mattress Labels


bamboo mattress label

Is it bamboo, cotton, sustainably harvested, organically grown? Know your labels when you buy a new mattress.

If you are starting to research getting a new mattress, you have probably run across the growing niche of organic mattresses. Reading the labels on them or about them on the internet can be confusing if you do not know what the words mean. Here is a quick guide to seven terms you may encounter.

Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)

The first government-set standard is the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). These mattresses must contain 95% certified organic products. There are stringent standards that companies must follow for the other 5%, including not using chemical flame retardants and polyurethane.

Some manufacturers use wool in their mattresses as it is a natural chemical flame retardant. Others use organic cotton to cover a steel innerspring. Some companies use food-grade polyethylene to create the outer cover for their mattresses.

Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS)

The second government set standard is the Global Organic Latex Standard. Manufacturers must make mattresses bearing this label from 95% certified organic latex. The government also sets strict limits on what other products they can use in these mattresses. They must use eco-friendly, sustainable manufacturing processes. Workers must harvest the latest at an organic rubber plantation that does not use chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Inspectors check the entire process, including seeing that the company disposes of any waste from the manufacturing process in a way that does not harm the environment.

Oeko-Tex Standard 100

The Oeko-Tex Standard 100 does not ensure that the materials used to construct the mattress are organic. Mattress manufacturers can only add this label to mattresses that meet stringent regarding the amount of harmful chemicals that the mattress can give off. These chemicals often include formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds.


Testing for the CertiPUR-US is done by the nonprofit Alliance for Flexible Polyurethane Foam, Inc. The nonprofit certifies that manufacturers have made these mattresses without ozone depleters, specific flame retardants, formaldehyde, heavy metals, and particular phthalates. Memory foam mattresses like these sold with this label must also meet strict standards for low volatile organic compound emissions.

This test performed by independent OEKO-TEX® partner institutes ensures there are no harmful chemicals in any mattress part. They update the stringent test annually by incorporating any new scientific evidence into it. Numerous locations perform the tests globally.


Mattress manufacturers can apply to UL Inc to have this label attached to their products as a symbol that the finished mattress puts off very low levels of volatile organic compounds. You may also see a Greenguard Gold label. These mattresses can put off even fewer volatile organic compounds.

To keep using the Greenguard or Greenguard Gold labels, at least one of each type of mattress must undergo annual testing to prove that it does not contain any of more than 10,000 individual volatile organic compounds. Air Quality Inc. developed the test, which workers at UL Inc. perform.

Organic Content Standard 100

Manufacturers use 100% organic cotton in mattresses tagged with Organic Content Standard 100 label. They may still have nonorganic flame retardants, volatile organic compounds, colorants and dyes in them. This verification can come from several independent organizations.

This certification is different from Global Organic Textile Standard because it sets standards for environmental issues during the manufacturing process, particularly how the manufacturer disposes of water during the process. Manufacturers must also prove that they are using international Labor Organization societal norms in their factories.

Now that you understand what the different terms mean, you will be able to pick out the mattress best meeting your needs. If you are worried about your family’s health and the world, you will want to look for these words on mattress labels. After all, you want to select a comfortable mattress that is healthy for you and your loved ones because you will be spending eight hours per night on it. Choosing the right mattress can make all the difference in your life because you will wake up refreshed and ready to tackle the day.

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