Non-toxic DIY mattress update



A healthy, non-toxic mattress is probably the most important piece of furniture for kids, considering how many hours of sleep they put in each night and how close they are to it. Standard, chemical riddled mattresses contain a plethora of harmful substances. There are numerous studies and articles to be found documenting this but this article sums up the list pretty succinctly:

“Since the mid- to late ’60s, most mattresses have been made of polyurethane foam, a petroleum-based material that emits volatile organic compounds that can cause respiratory problems and skin irritation. Formaldehyde, which is used to make one of the adhesives that hold mattresses together, has been linked to asthma, allergies, and lung, nose, and throat cancers. And then there are cotton pesticides and flame-retardant chemicals, which can cause cancer and nervous-system disorders. In 2005, Walter Bader, owner of the “green mattress” company Lifekind and author of the book Toxic Bedrooms, sent several mattresses to an Atlanta-based lab. A memory-foam model was found to emit 61 chemicals, including the carcinogens benzene and naphthalene.”

My post from a few years ago, where I DIY’d my toddler’s mattress has been one of my most popular posts. Since then, I’ve upgraded as my children have grown and today I thought I would post an update.

Option 1: the DIY children’s mattress

Our original toddler mattress did not have springs because they are so light weight at that age, but after stalking craigslist and local antique dealers I was able to snag a vintage coil box spring for only $30. I’ve found them on Ebay for much more, and on Craigslist for about $100. Before modern, all-in-one mattresses this is how people slept: a set of coils with a cotton batting mattress on top.

The goods:

  • vintage coil box spring ($30 from our local vintage furniture dealer)
  • 2″ thick 100% natural latex mattress topper (make sure it is certified all natural latex, No synthetic foam added. Here is an example for $119)
  • a thrifted thick wool blanket ($10)

Our total cost was $160, but this will depend on how cheaply you can snag a vintage full size coil box spring. I just covered the metal coils with an old sheet (to protect the latex), placed the latex topper on top and then laid the wool blanket on top of that to make it flame resistant. Because the latex is rubbery, it holds the wool blanket in place without any issues, no sewing necessary.

Option 2: Buy a green mattress

We own two organic, green mattresses and they were both around the same price and consist of the same materials: pocket coil springs, latex topper wrapped in a sewn cotton/wool cover. The natural escape mattress from my green will run you about $1000 for a full size. So as you can see, DIYing your mattress can save you a considerable amount of cash.

Speaking of money, I like changing up the decor for my kids’ bedroom and lately I’m loving using party decor like banners and party hats to do this for next to nothing! The kids love the change in scenery and all the fun colors, and I love that it only puts me out a few dollars.




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