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Those cheap memory foam mattresses that you see on Amazon seem like a screaming deal. Why spend $1000 or more on a queen-sized name brand bed when you can get something with the exact same specifications for as low as less than $200?
It turns out that a lot of those Chinese mattresses you see online aren’t as good of a deal as they seem. Many of them include a layer of fiberglass underneath the cover that serves as a flame retardant. Any mattresses that are sold in the US are required to include flame retardant material to reduce the risk of fires. It turns out that fiberglass meets the minimum standard, which is why most of the cheap brands on Amazon use it.
In many cases the mattress tag will clearly state that it includes fiberglass and that you shouldn’t remove the cover. Other times the fiberglass isn’t clearly mentioned, often hiding behind names like “silica”. Sometime the cover even includes a zipper for manufacturing purposes that you aren’t meant to open. Many people see the zipper and assume that it means that they can remove the cover to wash it. DO NOT TAKE THE COVER OFF YOUR MEMORY FOAM MATTRESS UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. That’s doubly true for all of the brands on this list.
Top three safest brands (no fiberglass)
Mattress brands that contain fiberglass
Customers have reported finding fiberglass in the following mattress brands:
- Spa Sensation
- DHP Furniture
- Tuft and Needle
- Olee Sleep
- Classic Brands
- Wayfair Sleep
Why do manufacturers put fiberglass in their mattresses?
Mattress manufacturers are required to include fire retardant material in their beds by law. Chinese manufacturers have been putting a layer of fiberglass underneath the cover of their mattresses so they can meet flammability standards. If you happen to remove the cover then you and your entire house will be covered with little shards of fiberglass that can cause itching, watery eyes, coughing, and respiratory problems.
You technically aren’t supposed to remove the cover of any mattress, but many manufacturers don’t do a good job of informing consumers of this fact. Some even include a zipper on their cover that is there for manufacturing purposes but makes it look like the cover is removable. Many people don’t learn that they’ve been sleeping on tiny shards of glass until they spill something on the bed and remove the cover in a misguided attempt to clean it. If you spill anything on your mattress, spot clean the affected area but DO NOT remove the cover unless you’re prepared to throw away everything you own and start over.
Now there isn’t necessarily a problem with using fiberglass as a flame retardant as long as you’re aware that you can never remove your cover from the rest of the mattress. If you’re OK with not being able to remove the cover then you usually can safely sleep on a bed that includes fiberglass for many years without issue. There have been some reports of fiberglass poking through the cover on extremely cheap brands after a short amount of time, but those anecdotes are few and far between. The main issue seems to be removing the cover. Keep it on and you’ll almost certainly be fine.
Higher end memory foam mattresses that are made in America – like Amerisleep – don’t use fiberglass in their beds. Some brands like Purple do, but they infuse the fiberglass into the material rather than layering it so it won’t spread all over your room if you remove the cover. The issue seems to be confined to those cheap no-name Chinese brands that are all over Amazon. Simply put, China doesn’t care. They’ll use the cheapest materials they can find that meet the minimum requirements. We highly recommend staying away from those brands and buying one of our approved mattresses. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for.
What to do if you remove your mattress cover and get fiberglass everywhere
If you make the mistake of removing the cover from your memory foam mattress you’ll know immediately whether it includes fiberglass or not because the small shards will cover EVERYTHING. The sharp, glitterly strands of glass will stick to everything and will make your eyes and lungs hurt. You’ll develop allergy symptoms such as coughing and sneezing since your body is fighting to rid itself of the fiberglass strands.
The strands are particularly attracted to soft surfaces. This means that your clothes, bedding, towels, washcloths, and more will all be covered with the stuff.
“Everything is destroyed,” said Robert Durham. “You never would have thought that by taking off a cover, you would destroy thousands of dollars of stuff and your whole life”.– Quote from a KMOV4 article about a family who had to leave their home after opening their mattress
Cleaning up fiberglass is a huge job that can cost thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. Some families report that they have had to throw away everything they own and even move out of their house after removing their mattress cover and exposing the layer of fiberglass underneath.