Upholstered beds are bed frames typically covered in fabric or leather and padded for extra comfort. While they may look cozy and inviting, there is some concern that the materials used in upholstered beds could be toxic.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what upholstered beds are made of and whether they could harm your health.
Upholstered bed frames are made up of several different components. The structure is usually made from solid wood, composite wood, or metal.
The fabric is usually synthetic, such as polyester, polypropylene or nylon, and the padding is mostly polyurethane foam, but it’s possible to find upholstered beds with natural latex cushioning and natural cotton fabric. Some of these materials can release toxic fumes, which can be harmful to your health.
Solid wood is generally considered the safest option, as it doesn’t release any toxins. However, if the wood is treated with chemicals, it can release VOCs (volatile organic compounds) into the air. Search for bed frames made of unfinished solid wood or wood treated with natural oils, such as linseed oil, or zero-VOC wood stains. You can always ask the manufacturer or retailer about the type of wood finished used.
Composite wood, such as MDF or particleboard, usually uses toxic glues and adhesives, which can release VOCs into the air. These materials can also be treated with chemicals, which would also release VOCs. Composite wood may also contain formaldehyde, which is a known carcinogen.
Metal frames are usually made of steel or iron, which don’t release any toxins. However, if the metal is painted or coated, it can release VOCs into the air. The good news is that they won’t be releasing high amounts of toxic chemicals due to the properties of metal coatings, so the off-gassing is minimal.
Read More: Is MDF Toxic?
The textiles used in upholstered beds include natural materials such as cotton, wool or hemp, as well as synthetic fabrics like polyester, polypropylene and nylon. These fabrics are often treated with toxic chemicals to make them stain-, fire-, and water-resistant. As a result, upholstered beds can release these toxins into the air, exposing you and your family to their potentially harmful effects.
To minimize your exposure to these toxins, choose an upholstered bed made with natural materials like cotton or wool. If you must use synthetic fabric, look for one that is OekoTex certified as free of harmful chemicals.
To find bed frames with organic textiles that don’t contain any harmful chemicals, check the label for the GOTS certificate. This ensures that the textiles used in the bed are free of harmful dyes and flame retardants.
The padding in upholstered beds can also be a source of toxicity. Most padding is made with polyurethane or soy foam. These materials can emit hazardous compounds and may also be treated with harmful flame retardants.
When it comes to choosing an upholstered bed, your best bet is to select one with 100% natural latex cushions. Natural latex has got you covered in the durability department—it’s mold, mildew, and dust-mite resistant. Plus, natural latex won’t off-gas like synthetic latex or polyurethane foam cushions can. And, because natural latex is naturally flame resistant, it doesn’t need any chemical flame retardants to meet flammability standards.
If you can’t find an upholstered bed with 100% natural latex cushions, look for one with CertiPur certified foam padding. This means the foam has been independently tested and certified by CertiPur to be free of harmful chemicals and pollutants.
To make sure you’re not accidentally buying a bed with flame retardants, look for the new flammability label required by law on all upholstered furniture manufactured after January 1, 2015. The label should say materials used in the bed contain “No Added Flame Retardant Chemicals.”
If you see this label, you can be confident that the upholstery on the bed meets fire safety standards but does not contain any toxic flame retardant chemicals.
In this section, we will recommend three of the best non-toxic upholstered bed frames on the market. Take a look and see if any of them fit your needs.
Materials: Solid Alder Hardwood, Natural Latex or CertiPur-US Certified Foam, Organic or Recycled Fabrics
If you’re looking for an upholstered bed frame that doesn’t sacrifice style for comfort, the Bramo Bed Frame from
You can also choose from different headboard patterns and colors to match your style. Plus,
Materials: Solid Wood, Natural Latex or CertiPur-US Certified Foam, Natural Fabrics Available
Nini Bed is a great option for those seeking a non toxic upholstered bed that is still low to the ground. This bed has a frame that helps to keep the mattress in place and offers headboard storage for easy access to books or other items.
You can choose from natural latex or non-toxic CertiPur-certified polyurethane foam padding, free from VOC and toxic glues and adhesives. The fabrics used on the Nini Bed are also free of harmful chemicals and substances.
Materials: Solid Hardwood, Natural Latex or CertiPur-US Certified Foam, Organic Fabrics Available
This sustainable non toxic bed frame is made of certified sustainable wood and has a natural finish. The simple design of the Nein Bed makes it easy to mix and match with other furniture in your bedroom.
If you already have an upholstered bed that emits a chemical smell, there are a few things you can do to solve the problem:
Read More: Are Metal Beds Toxic?
Upholstered beds are popular for a variety of reasons. They’re often seen as more stylish and luxurious than other types of beds and can be very comfortable. These beds offer a soft, padded surface to lean on, and they can be customized with different fabrics and colors to match your bedroom décor.
On the other hand, some people may view upholstered beds as too soft or unsupportive. People who suffer from dust allergies may also want to avoid upholstered beds, as the fabric can trap dust and other allergens.
Most upholstered beds can release harmful chemicals, such as flame retardants, into your home. However, it’s possible to find upholstered beds made without these toxic chemicals. If you’re looking for a non-toxic upholstered bed, look for one with natural latex or CertiPur-certified foam cushions.
You should also look for a bed frame that is made of certified sustainable wood and fabrics that are free of harmful chemicals.
Read More: Metal vs Wooden Bed Frames
My name is Kamila, and I'm passionate about researching non-toxic, organic products for the home. I believe it's so important to create a safe and healthy environment for our families, and I enjoy helping others do the same.