What to Look For When Choosing a Nontoxic Mattress Cover

baby bedroom nursery May 01, 2018

by editorial team


What do you consider “good enough” for your kids? Do you constantly make things better for them? Continuously try to give them more?

More values, more love and attention, more healthy days.

Most of us do.  We want the best for our children and to see them healthy.

Investing in a nontoxic mattress cover is one step towards creating a nontoxic bedroom, and giving your children a healthier sleeping environment.

Components used in nontoxic mattress covers

When choosing a nontoxic mattress cover, consider the material it’s made of.

Steer away from vinyl, acrylic, polyethylene, surgical rubber, and PVC mattress covers. The latter three do not allow for mattress breathability, thereby creating the potential for mold and bacteria to form. (1)

Instead look for organic cotton or organic wool mattress covers that are untreated. They are breathable, and wool provides for a natural water-resistant barrier. (2)

Nontoxic mattress covers function to improve your health

Organic cotton and wool mattress covers help to provide a partial barrier between your child and their mattress (which may be off-gassing VOCs). The mattress cover won’t seal the VOCs completely, but may help to reduce release of them. (3)

Ways to choose a suitable nontoxic mattress cover

When choosing a nontoxic mattress cover, here are a few tips for identifying them:

  1. Look for organic cotton. Mattress covers come in a variety of fiber types, many of which are created with man-made chemicals and oil byproducts.  Fibers such as organic cotton are grown without added chemicals such as pesticides.
  2. Look for organic wool. Some mattress covers are padded while others are a thin tightly woven protective layer. Covers that are padded may contain organic wool for comfort or heat control, allowing heat to be absorbed and released which helps regulate body temperature.
  3. Free of finishes. Avoid mattress covers that are labeled “waterproof” or “stain resistant.” These labels indicate that the mattress cover material has a chemical finish on it.
  4. Non-bleached. Consider choosing unbleached or naturally whitened mattress covers. Some covers come in “natural” color as well and may be free of dyes and bleaches.
  5. Low-Density, food-grade polyethylene. If a plastic mattress cover is a must, consider one that is made of a low-density, food-grade polyethylene, which is a safer plastic according to this excerpt from A to Z of D-Toxing by Sophia Ruan Gushee:

Jane Sheppard (2014) of Healthy Child writes: “Environmental scientists agree that low density, food-grade polyethylene is the safest plastic available for waterproofing a crib mattress. It has a simple molecular structure and does not contain phthalates or other unsafe additives. Unlike the production of vinyl, dioxins and other toxic chemicals are not released into the environment during the production of low-density polyethylene. This is the material used for the mattress covers designed to prevent SIDS in the cot death prevention campaign in NZ.


We want to give our kids more - more love, more attention, more healthy days. One way to keep them healthy is by creating a healthy sleeping environment. Consider choosing a nontoxic mattress cover for your child’s bed. Look for organic cotton or organic wool mattress covers that are free of finishes, and whitened naturally or not at all. If a plastic mattress cover is important, consider getting a low-density, food-grade polyethylene.



(1)(2)(3) A to Z of D-Toxing, Works Cited Part 3 and 4

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Ruan Living simplifies a nontoxic lifestyle through its Practical Nontoxic Living podcast, free detox workshops, online D-Tox Academy, and transformative 40-Day Home Detox. It aims to help you avoid toxic chemicals, heavy metals, and electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from what you buy, own, and do— without compromising your joy and convenience. Ruan was founded by Sophia Ruan Gushée, author of the bestselling critically acclaimed book A to Z of D-Toxing: The Ultimate Guide to Reducing Your Toxic Exposures and several detox workbooks. A graduate of Brown University and Columbia Business School, Sophia has served on the Brown University School of Public Health Advisory Council and Well+Good Council. A popular nontoxic living speaker, consultant, and teacher, Sophia lives in New York City with her husband and three daughters. Her passion for empowering others to enjoy nontoxic living began with the birth of her first daughter in 2007. Everything she creates is a love letter to her children and for the healthiest, brightest future possible. You can learn more here: Sophia’s Impact.


This article is for informational purposes only. This information is provided “as is” without warranty.

It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. We do not offer medical advice, course of treatment, diagnosis, or any other opinion on your conditions or treatment options. To the extent that this article features the advice of physicians or medical practitioners, the views expressed are the views of the cited expert and do not necessarily represent the views of Ruan Living.

In no event will Sophia Ruan Gushee or Ruan Living be liable for any damages or loss of any kind resulting from the use of this website. Anyone relying upon or making use of the information on this website does so at his or her own risk.

Some of the services and products recommended on this website provide compensation to Sophia Ruan Gushee or Ruan Living. All recommendations are based foremost upon an honest belief that the product, service, or site will benefit our site visitors in some way.  

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