Purple Mattress Review: Is the Purple Powder Toxic?

Updated on February 9, 2018
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Kate is a mother of two and a former registered nurse (RN). She has a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Sonoma State University.

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.

This Article's Organization

Topic Covered
Part 1
The White Powder
Part 2
Part 3
My Opinions
The three topics that I will cover in this article.

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?

My black dog volunteered to check it for the presence of any white powder.
My black dog volunteered to check it for the presence of any white powder.

Inspecting My Mattress for the Presence of 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 which is fully contained inside the mattress.

If you would like to read more about this powder, there is a very in-depth independent study which completely confirms the safety of this powder. You can read the study here: Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health Report on the Purple Powder.

There is also a Reddit forum discussion regarding this topic where a Purple representative actually participated in the discussion. This forum discussion can be found here.

Buy Purple from Amazon and Get It at Your Door in Two Days!

The Purple Bed - Queen Size Mattress
The Purple Bed - Queen Size Mattress

This Purple mattress is available with free two-day shipping through Amazon.com. Yes, you can have a huge item like a mattress delivered right to your front door in two short days for free. It comes in what looks like a large purple colored plastic duffel bag.

When you get this mattress, find the small purple bag cutter (included in the package), cut the bag open from one end to the other, and enjoy watching it expand to full size in only a few seconds. It's actually very cool to watch!


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 After Unboxing: 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 After Unboxing: 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 After Unboxing: On the third night sleeping on the mattress, the smell was undetectable.

Off-Gassing Conclusions

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 6 months on the mattress, here are my opinions.

In the end, my concerns of 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 purchasing the Amazon Basics brand platform bed frame (it was very reasonably priced at under $75) and a second Purple mattress for our guest room. 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.

The internals of the Purple mattress. Note the unique grid like structure of the Hyper Elastic Polymer on the top layer. The white powder is required to allow this grid to expand without sticking to itself, after shipping.
The internals of the Purple mattress. Note the unique grid like structure of the Hyper Elastic Polymer on the top layer. The white powder is required to allow this grid to expand without sticking to itself, after shipping.

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 6 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 (located just before the start of "Section 2: Off-Gassing").

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.

What is your greatest hesitation about buying this mattress?

See results

© 2017 Kate Daily


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    • Wolfy profile image

      Kate Daily 25 hours ago from California

      Hi Kyle, Thank you for your comment. I appreciate a good conversation on this topic!

      My main contention here is that none of this powder was visible in any way on the packaging (or after my "black t-shirt test"). My understanding is that this is because it is sealed inside the mattress.

      There are plenty of things in the average household that are unsafe to disassemble and consume (drywall, insulation, carpet padding, various consumer products). It doesn't mean these things are unsafe to be around and use how they are intended. Just don't cut open your mattress to consume the insides and you should be safe. :-)

      That being said, I should point out that I am no expert here. I just did my research and am attempting to apply a little logic to what I learned. If you see any research showing that this powder is breathed in day-in and day-out by the users of the mattress PLEASE let me know. However, I don't think that's the case from everything I can gather.

    • profile image

      Kyle Zurcher 26 hours ago

      I agree, there is no way of knowing if the powder is safe over a long period of time. Even if it is safe on the skin, what about possible damage to the lungs? You keep saying that polyethylene copolymer is tried and tested, but you didn't provide any evidence that breathing in this powder over the lifetime of the mattress is safe. Just because this material is in other household products doesn't mean that I want it turned into a powder and then put into where I sleep. Even if I was inhaling trace amounts of the powder, I don't see how that could be healthy at all for my lungs.

    • Wolfy profile image

      Kate Daily 2 days ago from California

      Thank you for your comment. If you have any concerns then certainly another mattress may be the right option for you. For me however, it turned out to be no concern at all after doing my research and education myself a little. I am still enjoying the comfort and sleeping well every night.

      I will point out that polyethylene copolymer is not "new" at all (it was invented about 75 years ago). The safety of polyethylene copolymer has been studied for many decades and proven to be safe. Countless items in your house are made out of it for this reason, including toothbrushes and baby pacifiers. If being exposed to polyethylene copolymer is not something you want, then make sure to take a good look around your house, because it is literally everywhere.

      Also, as mentioned in the article, besides being safe it does appear to be completely contained within the mattress and not something you are exposed to at all.

    • profile image

      conanobrienz 2 days ago

      It’s ridiculous to say the that powder crap is safe cause it’s new. Whenever a new chemical/substance or whatever is created you cant know the long term health affects of it til 10+ years down the road. This “patented” powder they created is is only 1-2 years old, and just cause noones had any detrimental health effects yet doesn’t mean squat. And frankly there’s some many online American made mattresses online out there today for the same price point today with no weirdass plastic powder that are all interchangeable. It’s a mattress, whats the point of even creating a mattress that’s making me and my kids breathe in microscopic “alleged nontoxic” plastic every night. Bottom line is there’s a bunch of mattresses for the same price point out there that’s not making me or my kids breathe in plastic powder.

    • Wolfy profile image

      Kate Daily 3 days ago from California

      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!

    • profile image

      JP 3 days ago

      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!!!

    • Wolfy profile image

      Kate Daily 6 days ago from California

      Thank you Ron! I hope you got some useful information from it!

    • profile image

      Ron Caldwell 6 days ago

      Thanks so much for all of this information Kate! I hope you have a wonderful day, keep up the good work!

    • Wolfy profile image

      Kate Daily 2 months ago from California

      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 profile image

      RTalloni 2 months ago from the short journey

      This is a great review. Am surprised this is the first comment. Thanks for sharing your research and experience here.