Mattress Shopping? Don't Forget to Read the Label!

Mattress Shopping? Don't Forget to Read the Label!

by Alex Santander June 24, 2016 1 Comment

Michael Pollan (author of The Omnivores Dilemma) came up with 7 food related rules to follow to facilitate a healthier lifestyle.  We, at Soaring Heart, believe two of those rules also apply to healthier sleep;

1st, don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.  “When you pick up that box of portable yogurt tubes, or eat something with 15 ingredients you can’t pronounce, ask yourself, “What are those things doing there?”

2nd, don’t eat anything with more than five ingredients, or ingredients you can’t pronounce.

This is great advice when shopping for groceries, as well as mattresses.  Most folks don’t know that every mattress on display in a mattress shop is supposed to have two labels attached.  For those of you who remember the old Serta commercial with the sheep getting sent to prison for ripping the tags off of the mattress, that’s what we’re talking about!  One tag details the contents of the mattress, similar to the nutritional labels on the side of the cereal box in your pantry.  The second specifies that the mattress has actually been tested in accordance with the 1633 federal flame regulations.  Below are a few examples of tags we’ve collected as part of our mattress recycling program that detail the “ingredients” of other beds out there.

The tag on the left comes from a very expensive, luxury, European mattress that we hauled away for a nice family that replaced it with a Linden.  This specific mattress retails for what used to cover a down payment on a house in Seattle and the tag notes all of its non-organic ingredients. The tag on the right is a Soaring Heart Organic Latex mattress and details the organic materials found in all of our collections. 

Bed Tag 1          
This brings us to our modification of Michael Pollan’s first rule.  

If your grandmother wouldn’t recognize it as something you could sleep on, you probably shouldn’t sleep on it.  

We took a poll of Soaring Heart grandmas to see if any of them knew what polyester and urethane were.  Most knew polyester for clothing but not bedding.  And none knew urethane.  

Next we have a tag from a 2 year old mattress we hauled away for a family that bought an Aspen, on the left.  They were put off when they realized they were sleeping on something called an “Enduralator Pad” and called us to find a healthier innerspring mattress option.  While this mattress came in at a desirable price point, it’s an example of a mattress that breaks our modification of Pollan’s second rule; don’t sleep on anything made of 5 or more ingredients.  Having 5 or more ingredients in a mattress can prove problematic.  As the mattresses ages, different materials have different break down rates. 


As the saying goes;

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

Which is why our organic innerspring mattress, above on the right, only has three ingredients; organic cotton, organic wool and the innerspring.

These examples are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to things you can learn about a mattress by investigating its law tag.  Another important detail; where the mattress was actually made.  A customer came in after doing a lot of research on crib mattresses for her 3 month old.  We made her son a bassinet to sleep in for the first 3 months.  She decided to go with another company on the crib mattress, only to realize their claim of “made in America” wasn’t represented on the law tag, shown on the left.

        Additionally, because the 100% organic cotton case isn’t listed on the tag, she couldn’t even verify its materials.  According to the law tag, it’s just a shell made in China and filled in Canada with a Polyester fiber pad.  After more trouble than it was worth for a new mom, she was able to get a refund and purchased a crib mattress from Soaring Heart.  That tag is shown on the right.

The intention of this post is to empower folks to ask questions about the “ingredients” in their mattress the same way they ask what's in their Wheaties.  If a claim seems too good to be true, check the tag and remember the rules;

If your grandmother wouldn't recognize the ingredients or it has 5 or more ingredients, don't sleep on it!

Feel free to stop by our Fremont or Bellevue showrooms anytime for more tips on navigating your way to healthy, natural sleep.  We've been educating folks on the ins and outs of mattress buying since 1982.  And here’s the best part.  You get to try out the merchandise.  Take a test rest!  We encourage it!

Alex Santander
Alex Santander


1 Response

Michelle Henry
Michelle Henry

October 29, 2016

Thanks for sharing this article. I do think that people need to pay more attention to what their mattress is made up of and not just look at the price tag. Great post!

M. Henry

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