If you’re like most people when it comes to mattress shopping, you’re looking mainly at the level of comfort. If it looks good and feels good, then it’s a good choice for sleeping.
But, did you know that in the U.S. alone, over 3% (8M) of the population are vegan? A vegan is someone who refrains from consuming animal products, whether in food, clothing, or household items. And believe it or not, there are some who prefer to sleep on a vegan mattress. Yes, vegan. With that in mind, what makes a mattress vegan?
A vegan mattress is a mattress that was made using no animal products at all. That means no products derived from animals was used to make the mattress and no animal testing was done in the production of the mattress.
If you are looking for a vegan mattress or simply want to learn more about what makes a mattress vegan, then read on.
What is Veganism And What Does it Have to do With Mattresses?
Veganism goes beyond food and drink. Vegans reject animals as a commodity and consider that in everything they purchase. It is a lifestyle. We all sleep, and so it would make sense that vegans would be in the market for a vegan mattress — to fit their lifestyle.
If you’ve never considered a vegan mattress or did not know they existed, maybe you should continue reading. Odds are if you’re not currently vegan, you may be some time in the future since data shows that the percentage of people who become vegan increases every year.
Many mattresses labeled as natural or 100% natural may contain products derived from animals. So, is it possible to buy a mattress that is 100% vegan? The answer is, yes it is.
What Makes a Mattress Vegan?
Just as explained earleir, a vegan mattress is a mattress free from animal products. That means the mattress would not come into contact with any animal products or synthetic materials during the manufacturing process or materials that have toxic chemicals.
No Animal Products
A vegan mattress cannot be made from materials derived from animals. Wool and feathers are the most common examples of animal products found in mattresses.
Wool is sheared from various species of fluffy-type animals including, but not limited to sheep, llamas, alpaca or yak. Wool is a soft product and explains why it is so widely used. However, instead of wool, a similar but plant-based fabric like cotton and hemp may be used.
Feathers from various birds like chickens, geese, or ducks have been used as the inner fillings for pillows, comforters, futons, and mattresses. Then there are some materials, although known for being all-natural, that should not be considered vegan because they contain toxic chemicals or synthetic fillers and are bad for your health. Notice the table below:
No Toxic Chemicals
Although some materials may not be made from animals, they may still contain petrochemicals, chemical flame retardants, and other compounds that can contribute to what is called “off-gassing”.
Memory foam is a popular mattress where volatile organic compounds or VOCs are contained. Some synthetic mattresses may contain benzene, propane, napthelyne, and styrene, to name a few. Exposure to these chemicals through off-gassing and beyond can cause health-related issues such as headaches, fatigue, depression, and hearing loss.
Also, a product advertised as “vegan” is not necessarily synonymous with organic or all-natural. Chemical-based products like synthetic latex or polyurethane foam can still technically be vegan if they do not use any animal products or animal testing in their manufacturing process.
Lack of Contact With Animal Products
Even if a mattress is vegan, it’s possible the vegan components came into contact with non-vegan materials during the manufacturing process. However, that is not easy to know. The best way to know the answer to this is to contact the manufacturer and pray for a truthful response.
The other thing is animal testing. A mattress that has been tested on animals cannot be considered vegan, even if it is otherwise made from synthetic or plant-based materials.
What Are The Benefits of a Vegan Mattress?
Vegan mattresses have benefits in addition to not being an animal product. Vegan mattresses are firm, comfortable and durable. They are typically more breathable, allowing air to pass easily through the various layers without retaining excessive heat or moisture. They are naturally resistant to mold, mildew, bacteria and many other nasties due to their “true” vegan state.
That is in direct contrast to animal-based fibers like wool or feather-based mattresses, which would need to be treated significantly just to limit the build-up of bacteria, mold, and dust mites. That in itself is a huge bonus for people who suffer from allergies and produce symptoms from these build-ups.
What Should I Look For in a Vegan Mattress?
The qualities you seek when looking for a traditional mattress should still apply when trying to select the vegan option. You’re going to be looking for the right support for your body weight.
You’re going to want comfortability from the overall feel of the mattress, and then you’re going to want upholstery layers that are either plant-based or synthetic. Here are four steps to help you ensure you’re getting a vegan mattress:
1. If a mattress is truly vegan it will be certified as such
Here are some certifications that carry some weight in the vegan community:
- The Vegan Awareness Foundation or Vegan Action;
- PETA Approved;
- USDA Organic;
- Arpico Certified Organic Latex;
- Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS), and
- Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).
2. The cover and filling should be plant-based
Consider the cover and the surrounding fibers that are used as fillers and layers. GOTS-certified organic cotton is a good cover to be on the lookout for. This material is soft and breathable. Also, pay close attention to the filling and barrier layers to ensure they do not contain an animal product. Some vegan alternatives can include 100% GOTS certified organic batting, coconut fibers, palm fiber, and hemp.
3. Layers should be latex
When it comes to choosing the layers for a vegan mattress, your options are either synthetic or natural latex materials. Since synthetic materials carry the risk of off-gassing, the best option is natural latex. Look for natural latex that has been GOLS certified to ensure the product has been made with at least 95% organic materials. It may not be easy to find 100%.
4. Check that the fire barrier is made from a vegan substance
Because many organic mattresses will often use wool as part of their fire barrier to meet federal flammability standards, check to ensure the fire barrier is made from a vegan substance. Avoid mattresses that use hazardous chemicals like boric acid, antimony, fiberglass or PBDEs.
The 5 Best Vegan Mattresses on The Market
To make selecting your vegan mattress even simpler, we’ve identified five of the best mattresses of 2021:
1. Nest Bedding
Nest Bedding offers a 100-night risk-free trial with a lifetime warranty on their mattresses.
- Nest Bedding has a cooling foam mattress (Love & Sleep mattress) made without latex and is free of animal-derived ingredients such as wool.
PlushBeds offers a 100-night free trial on all of their mattresses, backed with a 25-year warranty.
- PlushBeds has a mattress (12′ Cool Bliss Gel Memory Foam Mattress) designed for a cooler night’s sleep and has no chemical odors or off-gassing, so you can rest peacefully and breathe easily.
- PlushBeds has a 100% natural latex mattress (Natural Bliss mattress) that is handcrafted with the finest quality 100% natural latex, organic cotton and wool-free.
Avocado mattresses come with a one-year trial, backed with a 25-year warranty.
- Avocado makes a vegan mattress (Avocado Vegan mattress) that is hand-crafted with natural and organic materials. It combines the finest natural cushioning with an internal, zoned, pressure-point system for proper back support and extended durability. This is a PETA-approved mattress.
- JoyBed has a mattress (Joybed LXC mattress) made strictly from mother nature. There is no foam, latex, or chemicals. To meet federal fire safety certifications, the mattress has an all-natural plant fiber layer with flame-resistant properties. The layer is made from potato plants, which are breathable and free of chemicals.
A vegan lifestyle is one that reflects your values and your quest for better health. You should be able to reflect those values in every area of your life. Keeping the harmful ingredients found in traditional mattresses out of your home is another step in the right direction for your health and the health of your family.
Whether you’re a vegan or not, if you’re looking for a high-quality, cruelty-free option for your bedding, a vegan mattress may be just right for you.