The Truth About Organic Mattresses

The Truth About Organic Mattresses

Did You Know That For A Sprung Mattress To Meet Organic Criteria Only Approximately 30% Has To Be Officially Organic?

So, which items are used in an Organic Mattress?

  • Pocket Springs – Steel – Non organic. Please bear in mind that most of the weight of a mattress is the springs.
  • Pocket Spring Covering Material – Polyester (this is durable and lasts longer due to rubbing of spring) or cotton (not so durable)– Non organic – approximately 8-9 square meters.
  • Cover – Cotton – Can be organic – However cotton does not pass the UK fire regulations on its own unless chemically treated.
  • Cottonsafe® cover – Made with only organic cotton and pure wool. Cottonsafe® does pass UK fire regulations naturally and even passes the higher contract (hotel) standard without the use of fire retardant chemicals.

When purchasing a natural mattress, make sure chemical adhesives are not used. Also, despite the term organic you may also want to ask if the organic cotton is chemically back coated to make it fire retardant. Beware of “Greenwash”. This is a term used by companies who try and convince their customers that their chemical fire retardants are safe, by claiming they passed by certain accreditation organizations.

The advantage of organic cotton over standard cotton is that it uses less pesticides and water in its production than normal cotton. But like all cottons its inherently flammable and does not pass the UK fire regulations. When tested, the fabric chars and smolders leading to the burning embers moving rapidly over its surface. To solve this problem, we developed our Cottonsafe® fabric.

Cottonsafe®, organic cotton that passes the fire regulations naturally.

Please note: Some manufactures claim that if wool is placed under the organic cotton it helps the cotton to pass the fire test without chemical back coating.  When we tested it the cotton sample still failed (see our test here). The failure was due to charring on the surface rather than the flame burning through the wool under layer.  If in doubt, insist on seeing the manufactures UKAS certificate which proves the product meets UK fire regulations. It is also good practice to make sure the certificate is up to date.


Check out “Questions You Should Always Ask About Your Natural Mattress” here.


Which items are used for filler or padding layer over the springs?

 Wool Organic Lamb’s wool and sheep’s wool is used for its springy rebound texture as well as being naturally resistant to fire.  Sheep are shorn once a year for their fleece but lamb’s wool is removed when the animal is processed.
Animal Hair Non Organic As the cotton and wool layers only make up a layer on the top of the mattress, a “filler” layer is also used to bulk up the padding on the top of the mattress. In organic mattresses this is can be non-organic horse hair (tail hair) or non-organic cow hair (tail hair).  This hair can then be mixed with latex to make it springier and placed under the organic wool layer.
Natural Latex Organic – not UK legal. Another product used in organic mattresses is latex. This can be organic or non-organic.  Latex is a natural rubber from the rubber tree or Hevea tree.  Latex is registered as foam under UK fire regulations therefore must be treated with chemical fire retardants or it can be treated with a mineral “graphite” which then passes UK fire regulations. This makes it a grey colour. Simply to cover latex with wool is not sufficient to meet the fire regulations in the UK.  Untreated Latex is highly combustible therefore make sure its treated.
Coir Fibre Can be Organic Coir fibre or coconut husk is normally mixed with latex in order to make it springy so giving a loft to the top of the mattress.

See more about natural wool vs organic wool here.

Our Mission

We have not joined organic accreditation organisations because, as a manufacture, we would have to pay a cost for their services which can be considerable, substantially driving up the retail price of the mattress. Although we are a big supporter of the organic suppliers in food, clothing and cosmetics we feel that to call a mattress completely organic is misleading. We also believe that a natural mattress should be affordable to everyone and not just the wealthy. We have spent years developing our product to make sure it is safe and natural with a very low carbon footprint. We use no adhesives, fire retardants or chemical sprays. Most of all, we are honest about what we do.

So What Do We Use At Cottonsafe® Natural Mattresses?

  • We use organic cotton because we believe in its advantages. We use organic cotton to make our natural Cottonsafe® material, which does pass UK fire regulations naturally. Ask for our fire certificate which is readily available.

As filler layers’ we use: 


Our Topsham mattresses contain hand-teased silk.

Silk adds a super-soft and cool finish to the mattress. Dust mites hate silk, making it the ideal choice for anyone suffering allergies.


Our Budleigh, Dartmouth and Topsham mattresses contain horsehair which adds to the durability (hence its use in traditional upholstery), and as the strands of hair are open-celled, moisture passes through easily, wicking dampness away. The individual hairs never squash into a permanent shape, so this gives the mattress fillings added “spring”.

Natural wool Used as a natural fire barrier.  It has rebound properties to improve the comfort of the mattress, helps disperse body heat as well as being bedbug resistant.

All our mattresses contain wool. Some mattresses like the Widecombe have all wool fillings with up to 19kg of fine British wool per mattress.

Our Budleigh, Dartmouth and Topsham mattresses use hand teased Dartmoor wool.

Cotton filling Our Pure Choice and Appledore mattresses contain a cotton and wool filling.

We have 35 years of experience in using cotton as a filling for mattresses. We know its advantages and disadvantages. Cotton has many advantages being natural, cool and a low allergy level. The problem with cotton is that it mats down over use.  This leads to low ventilation and the fibre holding moisture, which in turn leads to bacteria and mould spores.  To get around this problem we add a small amount of pure polyester fibre.  This keeps the cotton separate increasing its loft and also its ventilation, allowing the mattress to breathe and expel moisture.  The result is you have the benefits and advantages of cotton without the matting down. We use recycled polyester as supported by GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard)

Coir Fiber Coir or coconut husk is dipped in latex to produce a firmed feel to your mattress.  Used in our Futomat mattresses.
Latex Our Latex meets UK fire regulations with the addition of the mineral Graphite. Latex provides a natural softness and is used in our Latex Futomat mattresses.
  • We guarantee that we don’t use any chemical fire retardants, spays or adhesives in our fillings or covers. We even hand-stitch our fillings with natural flax.
  • For those people who don’t want springs, have a look at our flexible Futomats which come with, and without, springs.
  • And, most importantly we are safe! We pass all UK fire regulations, naturally.

Click here to see all our mattresses

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