Memory Foam & wool as a FR

Hi Phoenix,

Great and informative site, probably the best on the internet.

I’m looking at either a latex or a memory foam mattress, and I’ve yet to find a memory foam mattress that uses an organic cotton cover with wool as a fire retardant. Is this just because the manufacturer’s feel that with so many chemicals in MF, it would not make any sense to use an organic product as a FR? Or is there some other reason of compatibility with the MF? I have found that there are some “cleaner” forms of MF out there, from Tobia / Spaldin, but they don’t use cotton/wool for their mattresses.

Also, what’s the deal with Savvy Rest? Why are their “3 pieces of foam in a casing” more expensive than the other brands?

Thanks, and we all appreciate what you do everyday at this site.

Hi benson86,

Thanks for the kind comments … I appreciate them :slight_smile:

There are several reasons for this. The first and probably most important is that memory foam is a temperature sensitive material (to different degrees) that in most cases and for most people will work best with a thinner stretch knit cover that allows the warmth of the body to reach the memory foam so it can soften and contour more effectively. If you use another layer or material on top of memory foam (wool, polyfoam or other layers) that insulates the memory foam from body heat then in most cases it would firm up the memory foam too much or slow down it’s ability to use body heat to respond to pressure. There are some memory foam mattresses that use some type of other material on top of memory foam either in a layer or as part of the quilting in the cover to create a “feel” that is that some people may prefer (say a relatively thin layer of a more resilient material on top of the memory foam for example) to create a less motion restrictive sleeping surface and less of an “in the mattress” feel that is typical of memory foam but these are the exception and most people that like memory foam prefer a design that can soften and contour more effectively and has more of the “in the mattress” feel.

A secondary reason is that memory foam is primarily made with petrochemicals and while “safe” materials are always important in a mattress … there would be little point in using an organic cover on a mattress that was made from petrochemicals for the sake of the organic certification itself. Even Tobias/Spaldin only replaces about 50% of one of the two main chemicals used to make memory foam (the polyol) with a different chemical polyol derived from plant oils and the other main chemical (the isocyanate) is still made from petrochemicals (see post #2 here). While it may make a good organic “story” … in reality the mattress still wouldn’t be organic at all or even natural and most people would probably see any attempt to label any memory foam mattress as “organic” as deceptive and misleading and there would be little benefit to attaching an “organic” marketing story to a memory foam mattress.

For those that prefer to modify the feel and response of a memory foam mattress to some degree they can always add a topper that provides more of the specific properties they prefer (wool for temperature regulation for example or latex for more resilience and less motion restriction) but these will come with the tradeoff of affecting the memory foam underneath them.

Post #14 here has more about all the many factors that can be part of the pricing structure for any particular manufacturer. In the case of Savvy Rest they would be the only ones that could really answer this and while they use high quality materials and components that may be somewhat more costly than other similar mattresses … I think that most (but not necessarily all) people would agree with you that the differences don’t justify the much higher costs compared to some other similar mattresses (see this topic for an example). While they would probably be a better quality/value choice than most mainstream mattresses which is what most consumers would compare them to … for the members here that know about other alternatives they wouldn’t be in the best value range. Part of the reason may also be that they are a wholesale manufacturer that primarily sells through specialty retailers so there are two profit margins involved in their pricing and part of the reason may be “because they can” and still be successful because of the mainstream mattresses or even other latex mattresses that are in a higher price range yet that most people would be comparing them to.