What Are the GOTS and GOLS Certifications?
If you have a specific health issue to consider, such as chronic migraines or nasal irritation, or if you just want to do your part to care for the environment, choosing an organic mattress could be right for you. But how can you tell which brands and products are truly organic or merely claim to be “all natural”?
The GOTS and GOLS certifications are the two primary standards that set certain products apart from others in the realm of organic materials and textiles.
What Does It Mean to be GOTS Certified?
The GOTS certification stands for the Global Organic Textile Standard. It ensures that the textiles in a product are made from at least 95% organic fibres. If a product is made with at least 70% organic textiles, it receives a secondary GOTS certification with the words “Made with [x]% organic materials.”
In an organic mattress, this means the cotton casing or the exterior cover of the mattress. You are also likely to see the GOTS certification when shopping organic sheets.
The scope of the GOTS certification sets it apart from other standards. While many standards certify various aspects of a final product, the GOTS certification oversees the textile chain as well. GOTS certifies that the final product and the entire supply chain are free of harmful substances, which protects the planet, the consumer, and the people producing the products.
What Does It Mean to be GOLS Certified?
The GOLS certification stands for the Global Organic Latex Standard and is issued by the Control Union. Though similar in many regards, the difference between the GOTS certification and the GOLS certification lies in the material each standard certifies.
While the GOTS certification inspects the organic quality of the textiles in a product, the GOLS certification creates a standard for natural latex. The GOLS certification requires that a product contain at least 95% organic latex. The latex layers are what form the inside of an organic mattress.
Just like the GOTS certification, GOLS certifies the entire supply chain, not just the final product. GOLS extends beyond the organic quality of the materials used, tracing the full production process. It makes certain that the process is environmentally friendly by limiting energy and water consumption and pollution.
GOLS demands ethically sound practices along the whole supply chain from the manufacturing plant to the sales floor. Finally, it ensures safety from start to finish, both in the treatment of the workers involved, as well as for the product consumer.
The GOTS and GOLS certifications are the primary two certifications that set the standard for organic mattresses, but there are other certifications that examine a broader range of factors. These are three of them:
CertiPUR-US® is a certification program that assesses foam, which comprises the interior of memory foam beds. CertiPUR-US® certified foams are made without ozone depleters, formaldehyde, mercury, lead, or other heavy metals. Additionally, the certification protects indoor air quality by guaranteeing low levels of VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) emissions.
The Greenguard Certification also limits the number of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) used to create and maintain products. “Off-gassing” occurs when newly manufactured items, such as couches or mattresses release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other harmful chemicals into the air, causing headaches and irritation to the nose and throat.
Chemical exposure to VOCs over a long period of time has been associated with an increased risk of cancer or other chronic diseases. Off-gassing is easily identifiable by its “chemical-like” or “new car” smell that lasts for a few days as the product settles and chemical particles are released into the air.
OEKO-TEX® Standard 100
The OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100 certification ensures that textiles are free from chemicals that are harmful to human health, such as azo dyes, formaldehyde, and nickel. The OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 and the GOTS certification both examine the textiles in a product. However, the GOTS certification is a more exacting standard as it certifies the entire product life along the supply chain, not just the final product.
How can I tell if a product is GOTS or GOLS certified?
If a natural bed has received an organic certification, the packaging will include a clear certification label letting the consumer know that the product has achieved this distinction. The GOLS or GOTS label will be readily visible since that is a factor any online mattress provider or retail outlet in the mattress industry will want to advertise.
Additionally, a consumer may check in the certified suppliers database to see if a product is GOTS certified.
What are the benefits of purchasing an organic mattress?
An organic latex mattress offers many benefits for you and the environment. If a product is GOTS or GOLS certified, it will benefit the daily lives of the workers involved in the manufacturing process as well. Latex foam mattresses are great for back and side sleepers as well as combination sleepers.
Even with organic cotton, there remains a safe, flame retardant fire barrier created with organic natural fibers. These healthier mattresses are great for all body types and the organic origin of the materials makes a positive environmental impact.
What will an organic latex mattress cost?
Sourcing natural materials is a more difficult process, resulting in a higher price tag for a natural latex mattress. The pure rubber tree sap which is used to create the latex products takes more time and effort to transform from raw materials into a new mattress. A queen size latex mattress will cost around $2,000.
How long will an organic mattress last?
Another benefit of choosing an organic mattress is that it should easily outlast other mattress types. Most mattresses last between 6 to 8 years.
However, an organic latex mattress boasts a lifespan of over twice as long as most mattresses, which typically last 7-10 years. The organic fabrics and latex of the natural mattress should last at least 20 years, some 25 or 30 years.
How can I learn more about the specifics of the GOTS and GOLS certifications?
You can read all the details of the GOTS standard in this document found on their website. The document contains the principles, criteria, social criteria, quality assurance system, and ethical business behavior of the standard.
Likewise, further details of the GOLS certification are contained on their website.
The GOTS and GOLS certifications are the most prestigious organic mattress standards, perfect for anyone choosing a new mattress. They guarantee that the textiles and the latex used contain 95% or more organic material in the finished product.
These certifications ensure the quality of the final product, yet also certify responsible manufacturing along each step of the supply chain. If you’re debating between a natural or organic mattress, these certifications are the main way to make sure you get a quality bed.
This distinction sets the GOTS and GOLS apart from other certifications, making them an excellent choice for humanitarians and those who prefer an eco-friendly mattress.