Everything You Need to Know About Fiberglass in Mattresses
Mattresses can be made from various materials to create a comfortable and safe bed.
However, some of those materials can do more harm than good. And one of them is fiberglass.
Does your bed have fiberglass? Does it cause health issues? And what is fiberglass even used for?
Let’s answer those questions.
What Is Fiberglass?
Fiberglass is a durable composite material made by combining glass and reinforced plastic. This material is often used for wall insulation but is also a popular fire retardant. If you’ve never seen it, it looks like pink cotton candy.
It’s lightweight, durable, malleable, and cheap, and is often used in mattresses. But this reinforced plastic comes with health risks.
Why Is There Fiberglass in Mattresses?
As of 2007, mattresses must be created to follow the flammability standard made by the Consumer Product Safety Commission to protect from fires. Before that, chemical fire retardants were used.
This happened because beds are usually made from flammable materials that would combust during a house fire.
But fiberglass doesn’t actually burn or blow up. Instead, in the event of a bed catching fire, the fiberglass layer acts as a fire barrier, and melts.
This composite material is a cheap flame retardant, so it’s often used as a protective layer that will stop the fire or at least lower the chance of property damage.
Also, it’s very cheap compared to other fire retardants. That’s why mattress manufacturers often use fiberglass to follow the standards and lower manufacturing costs. Other flame retardant chemicals are more toxic.
Many budget mattresses, especially memory foam mattresses, use fiberglass as a flame-retardant.
Fiberglass isn’t the only flame-retardant material out there. It’s just that it costs less than other, mostly natural materials. These can be found in a fiberglass-free mattress and include wool, cotton, latex, rayon, and various blends.
Is Fiberglass Safe?
Fiberglass is used in more than just mattresses. You can also find it in other furniture and materials in your home. And that’s what your wall insulation is made from.
But it’s also not a completely safe material.
Fiberglass comes with a lot of health concerns. If this material gets in contact with your skin, lungs, or eyes, it can cause irritation. The little slivers of this material are sharp, and they create microtears with whatever part of your skin they come into contact with. You might not feel it immediately, but you’ll get a reaction soon.
People who work with fiberglass must be covered entirely so they don’t get these micro-tears.
The good news is that fiberglass in a bed is usually hidden between other layers of materials and covered with mattress covers.
In other words, as long as the mattress cover isn’t ripped and there are no possible leaks, you likely won’t contact the fiberglass enough for it to cause irritation. However, the tiny particles could migrate to other layers.
Use a mattress encasement with a zipper to be safe, just in case; make sure to take good care of your bed, and never remove the mattress cover, especially if the label stresses this!
Where Is There Fiberglass in a Mattress?
You won’t find fiberglass on a mattress’s outer cover because fiberglass exposure comes with health risks.
A fiberglass layer is usually used as an inner mattress cover to create protection from fire. Fiberglass in mattresses often goes all around to protect the entirety of the bed.
How much fiberglass and other materials there are in a bed should be written on the label or tag.
What Does Fiberglass Look Like in a Mattress?
The fiberglass in the walls looks like pink cotton candy, but it’s not the same with fiberglass in mattresses. There are also different types of glass fiber.
The fiberglass in mattress layers is often woven and looks like little plastic threads. If you shine some light on it, it should reflect it.
The material is white or translucent; you can’t see it unless you remove the cover. Which you shouldn’t do. These small, shiny threads make fiberglass dangerous.
The product labels should clearly state which part of the bed contained fiberglass inside.
How to Tell if There Is Fiberglass in a Mattress
Well, it’s not like you can cut up a bed and see what’s inside. Here are some ways to spot which mattresses contain fiberglass, and how to look for fiberglass-free options.
Most mattresses made from polyfoam are likely to contain fiberglass because it’s already a cheap material that’s mostly used in budget foam mattresses. However, not all mattresses made from foam contain fiberglass, and not all of them are budget mattresses.
Still, foam mattresses can catch fire easily and need some sort of a barrier.
Fiberglass is a generally low-cost material, so mattress companies might use it because it’s cost effective. If a mattress has a suspiciously low price, it could contain fiberglass and other affordable, harmful, and low-quality materials.
Check the Mattress Label
The mattress tag has information on all the materials used to build a mattress, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be obvious. Consumers don’t like to hear fiberglass in mattress filling, so they might use other terms like “glass wool” or “glass fibers.”
If you want a fiberglass-free mattress, take a look at some organic mattresses.
“Don’t Remove the Cover” Warnings
If a bed has a warning that says you shouldn’t remove the outer cover, there’s probably fiberglass inside, or just something that shouldn’t be let out. These warnings are always used when there’s fiberglass in mattress materials.
Mattress brands tend to use “eco-friendly” and “green” terms to make customers think they’re buying something healthy and good. Watch for words like “natural,” “green,” and other variations on many mattresses.
Different countries have different manufacturing standards. Many mattress brands made outside of your country could have fiberglass in them, so that’s definitely something you should be concerned about.
Ask the Company
Last but not least, you can ask the company. Online sellers usually have all the information about their mattresses online, but if they don’t, contact customer support.
How to Get Rid Of Fiberglass in a Mattress
You can’t wholly remove fiberglass from a bed, but here’s what you can do if you think your bed releases fiberglass particles into the air.
Put on some goggles, gloves, a safety suit, or at least some old clothes covering your skin. The tiny fibers can cause skin irritation, and you want to avoid that.
Try to locate the part of the mattress that’s letting out the fiberglass. A tear in the mattress cover could be the cause of this.
Don’t Remove the Cover
Never remove the mattress cover off of a mattress with fiberglass in it. If you’re directly exposed to the glass fibers, be it through your skin or lungs, you’ll have adverse health effects. Long-term exposure causes more harm.
The label will likely already state this, but we should repeat it.
Use a Mattress Encasement
If you can’t immediately buy a new bed, get a full mattress encasement with a zipper. This should protect you from fiberglass particles for a while and cover the bed from further deterioration.
Clean Up the Particles
Fiberglass particles can get everywhere, but you can use a lint roller on walls, carpets, and other surfaces to pick them up. Use a flashlight in a dark room to spot these glass-like dust particles.
Get a New Mattress
Finally, get a new bed. A fiberglass mattress with a leak is way more harmful and hazardous. It’s just not worth it. Just make sure to look for fiberglass-free mattresses this time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I Get Rid of a Fiberglass Mattress?
You should get rid of a fiberglass mattress if there’s a leak or tear where the harmful materials can leak out, cause fiberglass exposure, and harm your health.
You don’t have to immediately get rid of this bed, but be careful when shopping and take care of it properly.
How Is Fiberglass Contamination Cleaned Up?
Sometimes, you can use a lint roller to pick up fiberglass fibers. A lot of the other times, you’ll probably have to use something more heavy-duty, like a HEPA vacuum.
Do Memory Foam Beds Have Fiberglass?
Since flame retardants are required by law, most memory foam mattresses sold in the United States have fiberglass in them. Check the label to make sure.
That’s everything you need to know about fiberglass, what it’s doing to your mattress, and what you should do with it.
Ultimately, this is a harmful material, but it doesn’t have to be if you don’t remove the cover and use a good mattress protector.
But if there’s a leak somewhere, it might be time to get a new mattress.
Good luck, and sleep tight!