WHAT TO ASK WHEN SHOPPING
FOR A GREEN MATTRESS
Separating fact from fiction is a challenge is hard when shopping for a natural mattress, especially when there are so many confusing brands, industry terms and mattress technologies at play. Before we begin, it’s important to note that almost no mattress can be 100% organic or natural, despite what they may claim or suggest. (For example, we use recycled steel in our support unit, which is not organic.)
Therefore, the real goal is to find the greenest mattress possible — one that respects your health and the environment and the wellbeing of everyone in it — at a price point that you can actually afford … and from a brand that you can actually trust. This is where Avocado is uniquely positioned.
When evaluating natural mattress brands, consider the following:
DO THEY USE DUNLOP
OR TALALAY LATEX?
Many brands use Talalay latex, which starts with natural latex, but requires the addition of six non-natural chemicals: acrylate resins, diphenyl diisocyanate, phenol-melamine resins, phenol-urea, polyvinyl acetate and styrene-butadiene copolymer, plus water-based adhesives. Talalay latex can also have petroleum added in the form of artificial vanillin. It also is typically not be made in large sheets, so may need to be seamed with chemical adhesives. In fairness, we agree that Talalay is a much healthier than petrochemical foams. However, it is extremely misleading to consider Talalay latex as 100% natural or organic.
At Avocado, we only use 100% natural Dunlop latex sourced from tree-tapped and sustainable sources in Asia. (Rubber trees don’t grow in the United States.) An eco-INSTITUT® certified material by our manufacturer, our Dunlop latex is naturally hypoallergenic and antimicrobial, cooler than memory foam, and more durable than Talalay latex. Dunlop latex is also more eco-friendly and energy-efficient to produce than Talalay, and as a result, a healthier choice.
Source: Talalay Global
IS IT BLENDED
OR SYNTHETIC LATEX?
Blended means that the foam contains both natural and synthetic latex, which varies by manufacturer. The usual blend is 80% synthetic, 20% natural. Synthetic and blended latex are much less expensive to produce, but aren’t as durable, do not breathe as well, and are more apt to develop body impressions over time. Note that some manufacturers can legally claim that their product is “natural latex”, even if their foam contains only 30% natural latex. Unless they say “100% natural latex”, it may be a blend. Be sure to ask.
Avocado uses 100% natural Dunlop latex. We do not use blends or synthetic latex.
DO THEY RELY
OR MEMORY FOAM?
Most brands rely heavily on petroleum-based polyurethane foams. (Memory/viscoelastic foam is also polyurethane foam, just with more chemicals added to make it “slow to respond.”) But the reality is: prolonged exposure to petroleum-based polyurethane foams may affect the nervous and immune system and cause cancer, neurological disorders, autoimmune weakness, asthma, allergies, infertility, miscarriage and child behavior disorders. Because it off-gasses, some companies add industrial-strength perfumes to mask the chemical odor. Therefore, be cautions with “bio-based” or “plant-based” foams that some companies market as being eco-friendly and green. Most use only a small percentage of soy, corn oil, or other natural materials to make their foam (usually less than 30%), while the balance consists of polyurethane. Don’t be afraid to ask what percentage of their foam is bio-based and what percentage is based on petroleum.
An Avocado Green Mattress is 99% free of polyurethane foams. Our mattresses are designed to be as non-toxic as possible, using natural and organic materials like 100% natural latex, pure Joma® New Zealand wool, and certified organic cotton.
ARE THEY GREEN?
We need to take care of our planet and consider the wellbeing of everyone. Some brands do, but many don’t. We believe we have an obligation to consider the impact of what we do and the long-term consequences of our actions.
At Avocado, we are incessantly seeking ways to improve our sustainability and charitable giving initiatives — to make a positive environmental and human impact — as a fundamental operating goal of our business.
ARE THEY ALL FOAM
AND NO SUPPORT?
Most direct-to-consumer brands don’t use an internal support system. Why? Because it’s less expensive to produce and doesn’t last as long (so you have to keep buying mattresses). If you can find one that does, they may use a support system that doesn’t feature a high coil count, combination of zones for critical spinal support, or perimeter reinforcement. A quality support unit makes a big difference … especially for people that value cushioning and support, and for those in search of back support and pressure relief.
Avocado mattresses feature one of the most advanced multi-zone innerspring support units available. There are up to 1,330 coils individually encased — arranged in three distinct zones — that float independently to further improve airflow, support and spinal alignment. Made from heat-treated and stress-relieved wire, these recycled steel coils enable our mattress to deliver firm edge support for the life of the mattress and benefit those in critical need of pressure-point relief and hip, back and shoulder support.
ARE THEY GENTLE, YET FIRM?
To prevent back pain and improve posture, the American Chiropractic Association recommends a mattress of medium firmness to minimize any curve in your spine.
On a scale of 1 – 10 (with 10 being the firmest) our standard Avocado Green Mattress rates as a 7, which is gentle, yet firm, and ideal for back and stomach sleepers, as well as growing children. With the pillow-top option, our mattress rates as a 6 — which is slightly more luxurious, but still supportive and pressure-relieving. Our pillow-top is ideal for side sleepers and those in search of a more slightly luxurious experience. (It is not soft like a cloud.) We do not make a “soft” mattresses because they don’t offer the level of support that most customers need and prefer.
ARE THEY HANDMADE?
Most brands don’t do handwork because it’s labor-intensive, which means the individual quality of the mattress may decreases and it may be less durable over time. It also means they can pay workers less. Why do so few companies craft products that are meant to last?
Avocado Green Mattresses are made by hand in sunny California, where the environmental laws are the most strict. Our mattresses feature distinctive, hand-tufted button rosettes made from pure white Joma New Zealand wool. (A time-honored technique dating back to the 17th century, it’s functional and actually extends the life of the mattress for years. Tufting prevents trenches and lumps from appearing over time. And button-tufts act as anchors by pulling yarn through each layer of the mattress.) Our mattresses are feature hand-sewn edges and reinforced handles.
DO THE DETAILS SHOW?
Most companies use a simple woven knit top, so they don’t have to do any handwork at the seams. Sure, it may look crisp and sharp in a picture with the knit tightly glued to the core, but how will the edges will hold up over time? How long until you feel like you’re rolling off near the edges?
We use hand-stitched taped edges, double stitched for durability along the perimeter seams, plus heavy-duty upholstered handles.
ARE THEY FLEXIBLE?
Not all mattresses will work on an adjustable base or on a bed with bed slats. Some require a flat and completely solid platform. Be sure to ask if this is a potential scenario for you.
Avocado Green Mattresses can flex and be used on an a bed with slats, a platform, the floor, boxspring (although it is not our preference) and even an adjustable bed.
ARE THEY MINIMALLY PROCESSED?
Because the layers of an Avocado mattress are held firmly in place with hand-sewn button-tufting, we don’t need to use chemical adhesives between the comfort layers of mattress. We only use a single bonding agent on top of our support core. This “radically minimal” approach further reduces your chemical exposure and promotes a healthier indoor air quality.
They use chemical adhesives to bond the internal layers of their mattresses together, as well as to bond the cover to the foam. Slowly, over time, the abundance of these chemicals can emit volatile organic compounds that can impact long-term health.
DO THEY SLEEP COOL?
Polyurethane mattresses — especially memory foam mattresses — tend to sleep hotter than natural and hybrid mattresses. Because they use materials that are dense, they allow your body to sink into them and retain your body heat.
The key to cool sleep is breathability. We use three of the best known materials and technologies to ensure that you sleep cool — 100% natural latex, which breathes naturally; pure New Zealand wool, which wicks away moisture; and a pocketed innerspring support unit, which allows air to circulate more freely while supporting your body’s natural curves.
DO THEY USE CHEMICAL
Some mattresses use toxic chemical fire retardants. Or they use wool with fire retardant chemicals added (which does not need to be disclosed on the mattress’ legal label). And still other use quasi-natural products like “thistle” — which is just wood pulp chemically bonded with polyester.
We use a special fire barrier protectant of 100% natural hydrated silica — the same compounds as the gemstone opal — to protect both sides of your mattress. It is non-toxic and not fibrogenic. (It’s so safe, Tom’s of Maine® uses it in their toothpaste.) We also use a layer of pure New Zealand wool (with no added chemicals), which chars but does not burn easily, as a secondary fire barrier. As a result, Avocado mattresses meet and exceed all federal flammability and CPSC standards without using toxic chemical flame retardants.
Sources: Parents.com — 10 Harmful Chemicals to Avoid
HOW STRONG IS THEIR WARRANTY?
Most mattress companies offer 3, 5, 10 or 20 years, but most, if not all, of that coverage is heavily prorated (which means coverage decreases over time), and the owner is responsible for shipping fees. So despite the advertised warranty term that many companies make, the actual coverage is not very strong. Be sure to read the details.
We believe in our product and craftsmanship, and as a result, proudly offer one of the best warranties in the industry — 25 years. Years 1-10 are non-prorated, which means there is no cost to the owner to repair or replace the mattress; while years 11-25 are prorated.
REVIEWS: ARE THE POSITIVE
Truth be told, it’s easy for companies to “create” reviews. Savvy consumers should look for reviews from verified purchasers, and certified from a reliable third-party source, like Google, YotPo, Amazon or Trust Pilot. Consider exploring the reviews on their Facebook pages as well, to give you more confidence in their authenticity and transparency. Although Facebook reviews are from unverified customers, their complete absence should be considered.
Our product reviews are automatically sent to all verified purchasers of our products within 45 days of their purchase, directly by YotPo. They appear unfiltered and unedited in our Reviews section. We are currently rated 4.82 out 5 (stars). More than 90% of our customers rate Avocado with 5 stars. To see our negative reviews (although there are not many), simply go to the end of the list. We have nothing to hide.
DO THEY OFFER
Many companies will ship your mattress for free, but they’ll charge you to ship the mattress back or pick it up if you’re not happy. And even fewer companies offer the option of in-home delivery and setup, or have the means to help you remove your old mattress at no additional charge.
We’ll ship your mattress for free, or hand-delivery it for just $99 more. We offer a 100-night sleep trial. And if you’re not completely satisfied, we’ll even pick it up or pay to ship it back for free. Purchasing an Avocado Green Mattress is completely without risk — anywhere in the United States, including Hawaii and Alaska.