Kate is a mother of two and holds a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree from Sonoma State University. She's also a passionate researcher.
After two months of research, I decided that I would try a Purple Mattress. Yes, two solid months. I have a bad habit of researching things to death—just ask my often-frustrated husband. It seemed from all the reviews I read online that hardly a single person who has tried the purple mattress was unhappy and sent the mattress back. It seemed too good to be true to me. I had to find out for myself.
Topics in This Article
- The White Powder
- My Opinions
Part 1: The White Powder
Is there a presence of a white residue? Is it toxic?
I am the mother of a four-month-old infant, so, of course, my first concern was safety. After looking into this mattress for a short time, I quickly learned about the existence of claims that a toxic white powder was being used on these mattresses during production.
The Dreaded “Purple Powder”
Being a wife and mother, I was naturally more than just a little disturbed by some of the claims online of a toxic powder being used in the packaging of the mattress. I spent significant time researching this topic and although there is plenty of opinions and guesswork going on out there by some frantic people, let me get straight to the facts.
The white-colored powder is a polyethylene-based powder that purple uses in their mattresses, pillows, and other products which feature their “Hyper Elastic Polymer.” This powder has a very specific purpose. This powder is used to keep the mattress (or pillow) from sticking to itself when compressed for shipping.
Is It Safe?
The powder is polyethylene copolymer. Polyethylene is literally the most common form of plastic produced in the world and is used extensively in products that you already have all over your home.
This form of plastic is used in food containers, water bottles, cosmetics and much more. It is even used in medical devices that are implanted under the skin and children’s chew toys. Your kid might be sucking on a pacifier right now which is most likely made from polyethylene. This type of plastic is the basically the definition of non-toxic.
After much research it became abundantly clear: I was exposed to this type of plastic far more in my daily life than just the mattress I slept on. Of course this made me feel much better so I told myself I would be on the lookout for any powder in the mattress once I ordered it. Would the powder explode out in a terrifying cloud? Would there be a residue over the entire mattress? Or would it basically be non-existent?
Inspecting My Mattress for the Powder
After I received my mattress and opened it, I noticed there was no frightening cloud of white powder. There wasn’t even a slight residue. I literally could not find white powder anywhere inside the packaging. The small amount of powder people online are discussing as being present in this product is fully containing inside the mattress. It serves its purpose inside the mattress and there is no reason for it to be outside the mattress.
After six months or so on my purple mattress I am happy to report that I have never noticed any white residue of any kind. I have never had any strange breathing issues or even smelled anything unusual after sleeping on the mattress. Even after putting a clean black t-shirt down and jumping on top of it repeatedly, it came off the bed with absolutely zero white residue of any kind.
Conclusions About the White Powder
This indicated to me that this powder, as harmless as it was, was completely contained inside the bed. So unless you have habits of cutting open your mattresses and eating the contents, you aren’t going to be ingesting any of this harmless powder anyway.
This powder really is nothing to worry about. You are not going to be exposed to it at all with your Purple mattress but even if you were, it’s as safe as plastics come. If you are concerned about this plastic powder then you better be concerned almost every other plastic product in your house first. You are much more likely to be exposed to those plastics than you are this plastic powder that is fully contained inside the mattress.
If you would like to read more about this powder, there is a very in-depth independent study that was conducted by the Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health Report. Their study completely confirms the safety of this powder. Another study, conducted by John J. Godleski MD, reached similar findings.
There is also a Reddit forum discussion regarding this topic where a Purple representative actually participated in the discussion.
Part 2: Off-Gassing
How bad is the Purple mattress's off-gassing?
It is also common knowledge that many vacuum-sealed products such as “mattresses in a box” have had serious off-gassing issues. Most products that use petroleum-based substances in their construction have at least some level of off-gassing, but I've read that mattresses are significantly prone to this. My first task was to make sure this mattress was safe for me and my family.
Off-Gassing of the Purple Mattress
As far as I could tell from my research, there is no scientific way of measuring off-gassing that I could realistically perform at home. I am stuck to providing merely a subjective opinion. The goal here is to provide an opinion on the strength of the smell emanating from the Purple Mattress once it was freshly removed from its packaging along with how long that smell seemed to last.
I will not be discussing any possible health effects of off-gassing of plastics and whether the smell emanating from most newly unpackaged polymer based products is safe or not. That is a controversial topic and plenty of studies can be found online regarding this.
- Day One: The first day that the mattress was unpackaged in my bedroom I did notice a slight odor of plastic from the packaging. It was not overpowering, I never felt light-headed, and I did not feel like it was unsafe to sleep on that first night.
- Day Two: On the second night, the smell was still present but it appeared to have faded and seemed to be about half as noticeable as the first night.
- Day Three: On the third night sleeping on the mattress, the smell was undetectable.
Overall, the off-gassing smell was much less apparent than many other plastic products I have purchased. Considering the amount of plastics, glues, and other materials inside this mattress I can only guess that the mattress was either allowed to off-gas somewhat at the factory before shipping, or some other measures were taken to reduce the off-gassing. I am assuming this because the smell was quite subtle when compared to other polymer-based products I have unpackaged.
If you still feel uncomfortable with off-gassing of the mattress allow it to air out in a spare room (or garage) for two days before sleeping on it. After two days, you likely will not be able to detect any of that “new product” smell.
Part 3: My Opinions
After six months on the mattress, here are my opinions.
In the end, my concerns about the white powder and off-gassing of the mattress were completely unfounded. There was no white powder detectable on the mattress and the off-gassing was significantly less than most other products I purchase and use in my home. I was very happy that I could relax and just worry about whether the mattress was comfortable or not. I decided to pull the trigger and order this mattress. Thanks to Amazon, it was at my door in two short days.
My Opinions of the Mattress
My husband and I have now slept on the mattress for about six months. We also ended up getting the matching Purple brand bed sheets. I found out that these sheets were critical to get when buying this bed as they are highly elastic and stay put extremely well which is important with the unusual material used in the construction of this bed. They are also definitely very soft on the skin and feel quite good to the touch. My husband is just over six feet tall and weighs 245 pounds while I am significantly smaller.
My husband is a stomach sleeper and prefers firmer while I prefer softer mattresses since I enjoy sleeping on my side.
I will say that this mattress seems to fit the bill for both of us. The Hyper-Elastic Polymer layer is the top layer of the mattress and you can feel this layer while laying on it. It feels like a very soft grid of thin rubber up on end. The result is a soft plush feel where light pressure is applied to the mattress and a firmer support where a heavier pressure is applied.
Overall, it is a very pleasant feeling and both my husband and I absolutely love our purple mattress. I have had long-lasting back problems and this mattress has provided such an amazing amount of relief that it would be impossible to describe here. I suggest that everyone try this mattress because it really is a high-end mattress but feels significantly different than any other mattress I have tried.
After my two solid months of research, I did not find anything better than this mattress on paper. Now after six months of sleeping on it, I can say without hesitation that I have also never felt any mattress as comfortable as this one. I hope you appreciate this mattress as much as my husband and I do.
If You Decide to Order This Mattress
You can buy this mattress from either Amazon or directly from Purple. I decided to buy it from Amazon after doing significant research on the differences between the two different methods. See what I learned about the differences in the link below this section.
Lastly, I am a stay-at-home mother and part-time writer/researcher. I make my income by researching topics such as this and writing about what I find. If you believe this mattress is right for you and plan to order it, please do so from my Amazon link in this article.
I would never ask that any of my dedicated readers buy a mattress that wasn't right for them, so if you believe that to be the case, then do not order this mattress. If you are going to order it anyway, please do so from my link and it would be greatly appreciated.
Should I Order Through Amazon.com or Purple.com?
- Purple Mattress: Ordering From Amazon vs. Purple
A look at the differences between ordering your Purple mattress through the two most popular methods. There are significant differences with the return period, final cost, promotions and how quickly you receive the mattress.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
Question: Which version of the Purple mattress do you have, the New Purple Mattress or the Original? I'm so daunted by all the choices!
Answer: The one I have is the original purple mattress. There are other versions available through the link in my article (Amazon links) as well. They are still selling the original mattress however.
The "New Purple Mattress" as Purple calls it, has a different support system than the original mattress that I have. It uses responsive support coils to provide support to the smart comfort grid (the hyper-elastic polymer), which is the top layer of the mattress.
Also, the New Purple Mattress comes in three different versions. Purple 2, Purple 3, and Purple 4. The number refers to how many inches thick the top, smart comfort grid is. The Purple 2 has a 2 inch thick layer on top (the same thickness as the original Purple mattress), the Purple 3 has a 3 inch thick comfort grid, and the Purple 4 has a 4 inch thick grid. The mattress is considered more plush the thicker this top layer is.
You really can't make a "wrong choice" in my opinion. Any of them will be a vast improvement over your current mattress I'm fairly certain.
Question: Do you feel the purple mattress is a safe mattress?
Answer: Yes, absolutely! I still have no hesitations about the mattress at all. I still haven't cut open the mattress to consume any of the internals however. Which I assume would not be recommended by purple.
On a serious note, I have never noticed any powder of any kind on the outside of the mattress, on our sheets, clothing etc. What harmless powder that is supposed to exist is fully contained inside the mattress.
Many people don't know this but mattress are constructed will all types of materials that are not safe for human consumption. This is completely legal and not only that, is a standard for the manufacturing process of modern day mattresses. This is just a fact of modern manufacturing. Luckily, most of us are smart enough not to cut apart items in our house (like our beds) and sniff or eat the internals.
I'm still loving every night on our mattress.
© 2017 Kate Daily
Stef on June 05, 2020:
Important question...how does that adorable doberman like it?! Very informative review thank you!
Kate Daily (author) from California on August 23, 2019:
Hi Adam, I added that study to this article after the article was written, just as a way of keeping the information here as accurate and up-to-date as possible. Also, I deemed the mattress safe in my opinion based on what I've read and my interpretation of what I've read. It's worth reiterating though that I am certainly not a scientist and certainly am not attempting to portray one, this is just a summary of my personal research and own conclusions based on what I thought was best for my own family, not anyone else's. Lastly, the new study really hasn't changed my mind as the study was comparing the emissions of the mattress to "clean room standards" which I don't believe any piece of furniture I own would pass, so I believe the results of that study are likely misleading. But I try to include all evidence in my article which is why I included it. So people can decide for themselves.
Kate Daily (author) from California on August 22, 2019:
Hi Marie, where is my reference to mineral oil? Just need clarification so I can answer your question. Thank you!
Marie Consorte on August 08, 2019:
According to Purple's website, the mineral oil used is good enough to eat. In your article you refer to the mineral oil as petroleum. Did I misunderstand?
Adam on July 28, 2019:
In the external study you linked, they came to the complete opposite conclusion: “The data presented in this report shows that emissions from Purple Mattresses far exceed all clean room standards as well as all USEPA standards for airborne particulate matter established to protect human health‘. Respectfully, why then did you deem this mattress safe?
Kate Daily (author) from California on July 15, 2019:
Hi As! Thank you for commenting! How would the particles "jump off" the bed if they're contained? Just wanting to clarify so we can discuss it further. Thanks!
As on July 15, 2019:
Wait a minute. This description of the powder is way too simplistic. Basically, this article says “it’s non toxic and it’s contained” but forget about toxicity, this substance would be present in your air in a low quantity when you get on the bed. You’ll cause the particles to jump off the bed and be in your air and you’ll breath them in. Sure, ok, the lab says it’s nontoxic but if having a plastic substance get in your body doesn’t bother you, toxic or not, that’s troubling.
chimingin on November 21, 2018:
Hey Kate & all! I just created an account to drill down into what the mother of the reactive child might now think was heart of the reaction. Allergies? I"ve had a purple mattress now for over a month & as it turns out, I have highly-reactive airways to fine particulate matter. I've been using it with 2 added "official" layers - the purple mattress pad and Purple sheets they gave me. these are not of the impermeable anti-allergy material i'm used to (more like your favorite, soft, stretchy tshirt). As the author said - i haven't seen anything powder come out of the mattress or residue anywhere - and i run an air filter in my room nightly so after the first night couldn't smell anything. Oh Note: all this is except the stinky purple pillow - that never stopped stinking when you head is on it - so I promptly gave it away to someone without issues. My question:
To the mother or anyone else: "Do you think it was A) Off-gases, or B) actual fine particulate matter (the teeny tiny powder itself coming out through the sheets, etc) that your daughter was reacting to? Do you know?"
As I said I don't see any - but given its teeny-tiny size & I'm still learning - I don't think you typically see true fine particulate matter with the naked eye (think car exhaust).
Kate Daily (author) from California on August 16, 2018:
Hi Ad, thank you for your comment on my article! I can definitely understand the concern. For me though, and from my research, the plastic substance is completely contained within the mattress. Also, it is an inert substance which isn't known to be a danger to humans (yes, even in powdered form).
These are two major hurdles that those who are convinced of the dangers of the mattress have yet to be able to overcome.
The most important thing though, is that you have to be comfortable sleeping on it at night, both physically and mentally. If you aren't, then you definitely shouldn't purchase it. Personally, I am extremely comfortable on it and never regret getting it for a minute. Especially when I stay in a hotel and I'm reminded of traditional beds.
Jackie on June 12, 2018:
I am so glad I found your post! I am also the kind of person who over reviews products before purchasing and my husband and I are due for a new mattress and have been considering the purple mattress. I didn't have any worries about the white powder because like you said it is common plastic and I probably injest it all the time chewing on pen Caps or drinking from water bottles.
Our biggest questions were the flexibility between two styles of sleepers and one liking a firm mattress, one soft. The only other question we have that seems to be unclear with their site is the type of base we need. We currently have a standard metal frame with a box spring but they say that is not good for the mattress due to sagging. Any thoughts?
Thank you :)
Kyle on March 28, 2018:
Dont know of this will work, but apparently this mattress was tested, unfortunately I'm not educated enough to what the morphological approach is nor do I understand the measurement.
All they say is that the powder in between to keep the mattress from sticking together seems to puff up a lot of (Whatever the deuce, they call it)
Any clarification of this study PDF file would be great!
Duy on March 25, 2018:
A few points to consider:
1. A study isn't independent when the company funds the study. Those are considered industry-sponsored studies. The Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health, LLC is a consulting firm hired by Purple. The 'study' is also more accurately called a report since it doesn't collect any data of its own.
2. The report is based on an evaluation of polyethene copolymer, but Purple's statements about refusing to reveal the exact composition of the powder suggest that the powder is more than just polyethylene copolymer.
3. The exposure study cited by the report was contracted to a second company, Terracon Consultants, LLC. The actual methodology of that study is unknown as I can't find the Terracon study anywhere on the internet. The levels of exposure to the powder may be more or less than what is claimed by Terracon.
Nick on March 08, 2018:
I think the main concern is breathing in fine particles. For example fiberglass is a fine particle, breath in enough of that we have lung issues that can lead to cancer. Fine foreign particles are the main concern not if the material is safe. Heck if you inhale enough saw dust you might have the same result as the fiberglass or Purple's white dust!
Kate Daily (author) from California on February 18, 2018:
JP, Thank you for the kind feedback! Make sure you come back and let us know about how the Puffy mattress worked out. I am especially curious about any off-gassing it may (or may not) have!
JP on February 18, 2018:
Great review! After my own research I purchased a "Puffy" mattress which i'm unboxing today. Purple was my second choice and might turn out to be my first choice if the Puffy doesn't work out. I wish I would have seen this review last week:) One of the other reasons I had picked the Puffy other than the reviews was a few reviews of people saying the Purple had a unique smell to it that didn't go away, so I'm happy to see that after 3 days any smell of any kind went away. Again great reveiw!!!
Kate Daily (author) from California on February 15, 2018:
Thank you Ron! I hope you got some useful information from it!
Ron Caldwell on February 15, 2018:
Thanks so much for all of this information Kate! I hope you have a wonderful day, keep up the good work!
Kate Daily (author) from California on December 19, 2017:
Thank you for the comment, it is much appreciated! It's funny, but writing this rather in-depth review took much less time than actually doing all the research that went into it. We're still enjoying our new mattress!
RTalloni on December 01, 2017:
This is a great review. Am surprised this is the first comment. Thanks for sharing your research and experience here.