You may have heard of the fiberglass inside mattresses in a negative context, as concerns about this material have become more and more common in recent years. However, you may not know exactly what this material is or why it’s sparked controversy.
Fiberglass is, despite what the name implies, not pure glass. It’s a composite material that’s partly plastic and reinforced with glass fibers and synthetic chemicals. The material is used beyond just mattresses, such as in-home insulation since it works well as a thermal barrier.
Why Do Mattresses Have Fiberglass?
Mattresses made in the U.S. must meet certain safety criteria when it comes to flammability. In the event of a fire, the fiberglass melts and coats the mattress’s insides, preventing the flame from spreading.
Naturally, fiberglass isn’t the only material that can stop a mattress from going up in flames. Chemical retardants were once common but are now banned due toFiberglass became a popular choice to replace these chemicals.
Some chemical retardants that are considered harmful and dangerous include:
- Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs)
- Boric acid
- Antimony trioxide
- Decabromodiphenyl oxide
- Vinylidene Chloride
- Organohalogen flame retardants or OFRs
Other alternatives to fiberglass are wool, plant fibers, and silica. Any one of these natural materials can serve as a fire retardant, giving sleepers precious time to escape in an emergency.
Is it Safe for a Mattress to Have Fiberglass?
This isn’t quite as simple as a yes-or-no question because fiberglass is meant to be a fire safety feature during sleep. Fiberglass inside the mattress reduces the chances of the bed going up in flames if exposed to fire. As long as the fiberglass stays inside the mattress, the bed should be safe enough.
What if that fiberglass gets free, though? Well, there are no known long-term concerns of fiberglass exposure, it can lead to coughing, a sore throat, red eyes, stomach issues, itchiness, and other symptoms of irritation.
These are not major medical concerns, but they can negatively impact your quality of life. Particularly because once fiberglass gets free, it’s difficult to remove it all from a living area, finding its way into the crevices of a cluttered bedroom. So those irritation symptoms will continue to persist until your home is clean.
Where is Fiberglass Inside a Mattress Located?
Fiberglass is usually found underneath the cover fabric, as a shell wrapped around the foams and springs inside the mattress. The idea of this “inner cover” design is that if the outside of the mattress does catch fire, the fiberglass will quickly melt into a barrier, slowing the spread of the flame and ensuring a sleeper has time to move away.
Because the fiberglass layer is typically just under the cover fabric, many mattress manufacturers instruct owners to not remove the cover, even if there’s a zipper to do so. Slipping off the cover can let the fiberglass shards underneath spread throughout your bedroom and even into the rest of your home.
However, while the fabric mattress cover should keep the fiberglass inside the mattress, some customers have complained that cheaply made mattresses can let the fiberglass leak through. Hence why many shoppers search for a nontoxic and chemical free mattress that doesn’t contain fiberglass.
What I Do If My Mattress Has Fiberglass?
What do you do if you learn the mattress you’re currently sleeping on has fiberglass? Fiberglass is non-toxic and should not harm you if it remains safely contained, so you can continue to sleep on your mattress as long as you never remove the mattress cover.
If you’re concerned because your mattress contains fiberglass, we suggest wrapping it in a mattress protector until it’s time to replace the mattress. A mattress protector can help to contain any stray shards should the cover wear out, preventing the fiberglass from spreading and creating a mess that’s extremely difficult to clean up.
How do you know when your mattress needs replacing? A worn cover is definitely one sign and can let fiberglass leak through, but there are other ways to tell that a mattress is past its prime.
Once you have your new mattress, then you can freely dispose of your unwanted fiberglass mattress. If you’re uncomfortable donating a mattress that has fiberglass to charities that accept gently used mattresses, we suggest looking into ways to recycle your mattress.
Many mattress recycling programs have been established to cut down on the number of mattresses heading to landfills, and parts such as steel springs can be repurposed into other objects.
Looking for a Mattress Free of Fiberglass?
Transparency is key when it comes to avoiding a fiberglass mattress. Many of the top mattress brands that are fiberglass-free give extensive information on where they source their materials and proudly state their mattresses are made in the USA.
Mattresses sold and assembled in the U.S. have to comply with strict product safety regulations that mattresses shipped from overseas can sidestep. Knowing a mattress’s construction and product history can boost confidence in any labels and certifications it has. The best places to buy a mattress should list this information openly or provide it freely upon request when you speak to a customer service representative.
Speaking of safety labels and certifications, some of the more common ones to keep an eye out for include:
- GOLS (Global Organic Latex Standard)
- GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard)
- GREENGUARD Gold Certification
- Forest Stewardship Council®
- Rainforest Alliance
While a low-cost mattress may be tempting if you’re on a budget, they typically lack the certifications and transparency that can inspire consumer confidence. You can save money without sacrificing quality and find an affordable eco-friendly mattress that’s free of fiberglass.
Researching a company’s reputation and reading through customer reviews can also guide you toward a mattress that’s right for you and does not contain fiberglass. It’s always smart to peruse customer reviews as a way to make sure you’re choosing one of the most comfortable mattresses available, so this is yet another reason to do your homework while shopping.
We do suggest you look at the most current reviews you can find, as many companies have abandoned using fiberglass in mattresses. Reviews that are a few years old or more may not give an accurate reflection of the mattress’s current construction, along with its comfort levels and expected durability.
We must also note that fiberglass isn’t always called fiberglass, and some manufacturers may still use it while calling it a different name. Other names for fiberglass include:
- Glass wool
- Glass fiber
- Glass-reinforced plastic (GRP)
- Glass-fiber reinforced plastic (GFRP)
- Fiberglass-reinforced plastic
Now when it comes to the types of mattresses that may contain fiberglass, some have more of a reputation for it than others. For example, memory foam mattresses may contain a fiberglass sock, as many memory foam manufacturers strive to produce an affordable bed. Cheaper polyfoam beds can also rely on fiberglass protection.
Meanwhile, many latex mattresses, particularly organic latex mattresses, have an inner wool layer that serves to cool the surface and enables the mattress to resist an open flame. Airbeds and waterbeds are also unlikely to contain fiberglass due to their construction.
However, that’s not to say that if you’re in the market for a memory foam mattress, you should give up on finding a fiberglass-free model. Plenty of memory foam mattresses are being made without fiberglass, especially as more shoppers and manufacturers have become concerned about the effects of fiberglass exposure.
About Amerisleep Mattresses
Amerisleep’s mattresses are produced without fiberglass while still meeting all the necessary standards for sleeping safety. We offer memory foam, hybrid, and latex mattresses meant to suit various sleep styles.
Aside from our fiberglass-free mattress design, there are other benefits to choosing an Amerisleep mattress. Our numbered line of mattresses features the following:
- A cover of Refresh fabric that’s meant to go beyond staying cool at night. This fabric features thermoreactive materials that convert body heat into infrared energy.
- Bio-Pur® foam, which is our innovative take on traditional memory foam. We replace some of the standard ingredients in memory foam with plant-derived substitutes. The result is a memory foam that’s more breathable and adaptable than most alternatives.
- Affinity foam with HIVE® technology serves as the transition layer in many of our models. Affinity foam is a buoyant material that creates a smoother surface feel and improves responsiveness, while the HIVE® technology establishes five distinct support zones. HIVE® ensures the bed feels soft where it’s wanted and firm where it’s needed.
- Pocketed coils provide the support of our hybrid mattresses, with every coil individually wrapped to better isolation motion. The drawback of a traditional innerspring mattress is how a sleeper’s every movement can be carried across the surface, so pocketed springs are important if you plan on sharing the bed.
- Alternatively, our memory foam mattresses feature a base of Bio-Core® foam. This foam is strong and resists sagging and body impressions, helping the mattress snap back into shape quickly.
Every Amerisleep mattress ships free and comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a 20-year warranty.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is fiberglass used in mattresses?
Fiberglass is used in mattresses to limit the potential of a deadly fire. It was meant as an alternative to chemical flame retardants, which later fell out of favor as their health risks became well-known. Fiberglass was appealing because it was inexpensive and non-toxic, while also providing protection that could save people’s lives during a fire.
However, fiberglass has become criticized as a material for not being completely free of harm. Many mattress owners have reported skin irritation and temporary respiratory issues after removing a bed’s outer cover.
Does memory foam contain fiberglass?
The memory foam itself does not contain fiberglass. CertiPUR-US®, a common certification for high-quality memory foam mattresses, even notes that their seal means a foam doesn’t contain fiberglass.
However, just because there isn’t fiberglass inside the foam doesn’t mean a memory foam mattress lacks fiberglass entirely. The fiberglass typically encases the foams as a separate layer, so shoppers need to look for the best memory foam mattresses without fiberglass.
How can I tell if my mattress has fiberglass?
Often, mattress manufacturers won’t openly advertise that their mattresses contain fiberglass. Still, an observant shopper can often spot the signs of a mattress with fiberglass. If they don’t refer to it as fiberglass, they may call it “glass wool” or “glass fibers.”
Another warning sign is a manufacturer stressing that mattress owners should not remove the cover. Removing the cover can let fiberglass escape, and this exposure to fiberglass can cause a number of health issues. So even if a mattress brand won’t openly say their mattresses have fiberglass, non-removable mattress covers should put a shopper’s guard up.
What mattresses don’t use fiberglass?
Organic latex mattresses used to be the most certain way to get a fiberglass-free mattress. Instead of fiberglass, these eco-friendly mattresses tended to rely on flame-resistant wool or plant fibers.
However, it’s quite possible now to find all types of mattresses made without fiberglass, from memory foam to hybrids and even traditional innerspring mattresses.
Do all mattresses have fiberglass in them?
No, not all mattresses have fiberglass inside them, particularly as the drawbacks of fiberglass become more understood. However, the material is still used as an affordable way for mattresses in the U.S. to meet federal safety standards.
Fiberglass is relatively inexpensive and it is quite effective as a non-chemical flame retardant. So it remains, for now at least, a common ingredient in mattresses.
More and more mattress shoppers are becoming aware of the potential risks to fiberglass, with a greater demand for mattresses free of fiberglass. Though it’s non-toxic, fiberglass can cause severe discomfort if it escapes its mattress.
If you do have a mattress with fiberglass, though, it’s not the end of the world. You can make sure not only to never remove the mattress cover, but even encase it in the additional barrier a mattress protector offers. This can provide some peace of mind until you’re ready to purchase a mattress without fiberglass.