- Article medically reviewed and fact-checked by D.r Mehrsa Jalalizadeh (M.D, Medical Researcher, Data Scientist)
Some mattress manufacturers put fiberglass in their mattresses as part of the fire barrier to pass flammability tests whilst keeping costs down.
However, not all mattresses contain fiberglass; it’s usually the cheaper poly-foam and memory foam mattresses that are made in China costing under $600 for a queen and are sold on popular retail sites that are the most likely to contain fiberglass – although this is not a clear means of identification.
But is it safe to have fiberglass in your mattress?
Fiberglass isn’t the safest material to have in your mattress because whilst fiberglass is not believed to be carcinogenic at present, acute contact and/or inhalation of fiberglass particles can cause irritation of the skin, eyes, and airways, and worsen asthma symptoms in adults and children.
And as I reveal in the next section, having fiberglass particles release into your home can present some serious problems.
Keep reading to find out the risks of sleeping on a mattress that contains fiberglass, plus how to avoid fiberglass in mattresses, and what to do if your current mattress contains fiberglass.
Alternatively: check out my list of the best fiberglass free mattresses to buy in 2021 to find out which brands of mattresses contain or don’t contain fiberglass (see the table near the end of the article) – as well as a list of the best mattresses that you can buy if you want to avoid fiberglass in your new mattress.
And be sure to watch my video ‘Is Fiberglass in Your Mattress? (3 Hidden Dangers Exposed!)’ that I recently uploaded to our YouTube channel below:
Fiberglass in Mattresses – 3 Real Dangers
Fiberglass is a type of fiber-reinforced plastic that is often used in homes as insulation and typically does not present any health issues when the material is left undisturbed.
However, when used inside mattresses, fiberglass is typically layered underneath or woven into the inner cover out of sight.
And rather than taking on the form of solid plastic sheeting found in items like surfboards or doors, the fiberglass found in mattresses often presents as a woven material with tiny shards of glass embedded into it.
The reason why fiberglass is contained in some mattresses is because the manufacturer has chosen to use it as part of the fire barrier to meet flammability standards.
The idea behind having fiberglass in the mattress is so that if it caught fire, the fiberglass would melt instead of burning to form a protective layer to stop the mattress becoming a blistering inferno.
As such, you’re most likely to find fiberglass in cheap memory foam mattresses since memory foam is derived from poly-foam that’s highly flammable because it’s made from petroleum.
Watch the video below to see how quickly a smouldering rag can ignite a raw memory foam mattress.
However, not all mattresses contain fiberglass.
Some manufacturers choose to use organic materials like wool or thistle which are much safer.
Most people are typically unaware that their mattress contains fiberglass until they remove the mattress cover to wash it and their room becomes filled with countless strands of fiberglass.
In other cases, a hole may appear in the mattress cover that exposes the fiberglass and allows it to be released into the atmosphere.
Here are the 3 biggest dangers associated with having a mattress that contains fiberglass in it inside your home.
1: Health Hazard
Just because you’re not in direct contact with the fiberglass in your mattress doesn’t mean that you’re safe.
Because when you lie down on a mattress that has fiberglass layered underneath the inner cover, there’s a risk that the shards will break down over time and potentially stick through the mattress cover into your skin.
Fiberglass is not known to be carcinogenic at this present time (although there is still some debate ) but if you’ve ever touched the ‘cotton candy’ version of fiberglass in the form of insulation material then you’ll already know that fiberglass particles can cause itching.
So having fiberglass shards poking into your body at night may cause a prickly and itchy type of discomfort.
But it gets worse.
If you’re unfortunate enough to end up removing the cover of your fiberglass containing mattress, then you may end up with fiberglass particles contaminating your room and polluting the air.
In addition to direct contact with fiberglass shards resulting in itching, contact with airborne fiberglass particles can irritate your eyes, nose and throat – with high levels of exposure aggravating existing conditions like bronchitis and asthma .
In the video below, one person reports that upon removing the mattress cover, his face began to itch and he struggled to breathe.
2: Financial Expense
Getting rid of fiberglass in your home isn’t easy.
Because once the shards are embedded into your carpets, clothes, and other surfaces, they can be quite difficult to remove.
And as the user in the video reported, putting the mattress cover in the wash can result in the fiberglass becoming stuck in the washing machine and dryer.
If you’re unable to fix this problem yourself, then you may be forced to replace them because otherwise you’ll just be transferring fiberglass particles to the clothes that you run through them (leading to itchiness when wearing them).
And as the video below documents, if the fiberglass particles get into the air conditioning system they can be transferred to the entire house – which can cost $1,000’s or even $10,000’s to be removed by a professional cleaning company (which insurance companies may not be willing to pay for).
3: Forced to Move House
The final horror story that I’m going to present to you by way of the video below illustrates that in the worse case scenario, you may be forced to move out of your home if it becomes contaminated with fiberglass.
How to Avoid Fiberglass in Mattresses
Many of the reports feature Zinus mattresses which are confirmed by the manufacturer as having fiberglass in the inner cover.
However, there are many more brands that use fiberglass in their mattresses and are less forthcoming in their declarations.
So here’s 3 steps that you can take to identify if your current mattress has fiberglass in it and how to avoid buying a new mattress that’s packed with fiberglass.
1: Check the Label
If you check the label of your mattress, it might tell you if the mattress contains fiberglass (or glass fiber, which is the same thing) and the percentage content – as illustrated by the picture below.
Upon checking the label, if it says ‘do not remove the cover’ then this may mean that there is fiberglass in the mattress.
If you have yet to buy your mattress then you should check out the table at the bottom of my article of the best fiberglass free mattresses that will tell you which brands have fiberglass in their mattresses and which do not.
If you’re still unsure, then you can check the product descriptions, FAQs pages, and customer reviews found on the manufacturer’s websites and on popular retail sites for indications that the mattress may contain fiberglass.
2: Know the Warning Signs
Although not an absolute guarantee, there are a couple of factors that when presented together or in isolation can be a signal that the mattress contains fiberglass.
- It’s a cheap memory foam mattress – memory foam mattresses found on popular retail sites for less than $600 for a queen size seem to be the types of mattresses that often contain fiberglass.
- The mattress was made in China – mattresses made in places like China often use fiberglass as part of their fire barrier because it’s cheaper than using better quality products that are less harmful.
3: Go Organic
If you’ve yet to buy your mattress and you want to avoid any worries of encountering fiberglass in your mattress and potentially spending $10,000’s on professional cleaning or being forced to move out of your home, then the best thing to do is to buy an organic mattress.
However, finding a legitimate organic mattress is a real task in itself because there’s no single label that confirms that the mattress is organic.
And many manufacturers will use ‘green-washing’ strategies to make you think that the mattress is 100% organic when it isn’t by using ambiguous and deceptive wording.
Instead, you have to look for a set of high quality certifications that indicate that certain components of the mattress like the layers and the cover are organic.
I’ve listed the names of the best certifications to look for in the buyer’s section of the top mattresses that don’t contain fiberglass (which includes both organic and vegan mattresses that are fiberglass-free), plus some of the names of the toxic chemicals that buying an organic mattress can help you to avoid.
What if Your Mattress Contains Fiberglass?
If you’ve just looked at the label on your mattress and found that it contains fiberglass you might be very worried indeed.
So here’s what you need to do next.
1: Do NOT Remove the Cover
You should most definitely NOT remove the cover of your mattress if it contains fiberglass.
Because doing so could unleash a nuclear explosion of fiberglass particles that could ruin your house and subject you and your family to endless itching, coughing, and sneezing.
You also need to be aware that you’re sleeping on a ticking time bomb.
Because if a hole appears in your mattress – through wear and tear, or damage caused by your kids or pets – then you could find yourself in the same horrible situation as those unfortunate folks featured in the above videos.
In which case you might like to purchase a waterproof mattress protector.
Because this will give some protection to the mattress and make washing easier.
Otherwise, make sure that you only spot clean your mattress and avoid removing the native cover.
Check out my guide to cleaning your mattress cover which explains how to wash the 7 most common types of mattress covers safely.
2: Remove the Mattress if Damaged
If your fiberglass containing mattress has a hole in it then you’re in danger.
Because if fiberglass particles have not yet started filling up your room then it’s likely only a matter of time before you start to see them shimmering with deceptive elegance in your bed and throughout your sleeping space.
And whilst you may be able to patch the mattress back up as a short term solution, the most effective solution here would be to carefully wrap the mattress in plastic sheeting to prevent any release and then remove the mattress from your home.
3: Consider Buying a Fiberglass Free Mattress
If you have fiberglass in your mattress then the best solution is likely to get rid of it and buy one that doesn’t have fiberglass in it.
Because it’s probably going to be cheaper to pay for a new mattress now versus having to pay $1,000’s or even $10,000’s for a professional cleaning company to (hopefully) get rid of the fiberglass properly.
Not to mention shelling out on a new washer and dryer if those are contaminated beyond repair too.
Check out the best fiberglass free mattresses for some good deals on new mattresses that aren’t going to ruin your home.
Here’s the answers to some common questions relating to fiberglass and mattresses.
Do All Foam Mattresses Have Fiberglass in Them?
Not all foam mattresses have fiberglass in them. Even though cheap memory foam mattresses made in China that typically cost less than $600 for a queen are the most likely to have fiberglass in them, this is not a definite indicator. Apply the steps in this guide for a better chance of finding out if your foam mattress has fiberglass in it.
Do All Fiberglass Containing Mattresses Pose the Same Risk?
Mattresses that have fiberglass deeply infused into the inner cover typically pose less risk of release than mattresses that have fiberglass layered loosely beneath the cover, but once the fiberglass has been released, the health and financial risks remain fairly constant (based on documented cases to date).
Prevention is Key
If your mattress contains foam and you bought it online from a popular online retailer for less than $600 then there’s a very high chance that you’re sleeping on fiberglass.
In which case I encourage you to go and check the label right now (but do NOT remove the cover to check) and use the other pointers in this guide to help you confirm that this is the case.
And whilst you might be safe for now, I’d hate for you to end up in a world of pain and out of pocket simply because some manufacturers are happy cutting corners and packing their mattresses full of this horrible synthetic material.
Being proactive and getting out ahead of any potential fiberglass problems could be worth it when you consider that the professional cleaner in the above video quoted costs in excess of $10,000 to remove fiberglass from your home.
And the victim in the first video said that the cleaning company he hired just moved the fiberglass around and he was still left with the same problem.
So it might be worth getting a new mattress that doesn’t contain fiberglass.
Click the button below to see my top picks and find out more about which mattresses contain fiberglass and those that don’t.
Sources and References
 Mesothelioma.net – Fiberglass Connection to Mesothelioma. Accessed 6/7/20.
 Washington State Department of Health – Fiberglass. Accessed 6/7/20.
Image Attribution and Licencing
Main image: ‘Sick Girl on Bed Sneezing in Handkerchief in Bedroom by Valeriy_G (Getty Images) – used with permission under the terms of Canva’s One Design Use License Agreement.
Dan is the founder and head content creator at Bedroom Style Reviews.
He has been working as a professional online product reviewer since 2015 and was inspired to start this website when he ended up sleeping on a memory foam mattress that was too soft and gave him backache.
Through in-depth research and analysis, Dan’s goal with this website is to help others avoid such pitfalls by creating the best online resource for helping you find your ideal mattress, bedding, and bedroom furniture.
Dan is a qualified NVQ Level 2 Fitness Instructor with 6 years’ experience helping clients improve their health through diet, exercise, and proper sleep hygiene.
He also holds several college and university-level qualifications in health sciences, psychology, mathematics, art, and digital media creation – which helps him to publish well researched and informative product reviews as well as articles on sleep, health, wellbeing, and home decor.
Dan also has direct personal experience with insomnia, anxiety, misophonia (hypersensitivity to sounds), and pain from both acute and long-standing sporting injuries – he enjoys writing insightful articles around these subjects to help fellow sufferers of such conditions.
Learn more about Dan here.