Want To See What’s Inside A Mattress? The Discovery That Made A Lot Of Sense

Photo of author

This post may contain affiliate links, and we will be compensated if you buy after clicking on our links.
whats inside a mattress? the mess we made of our hall
Taking a mattress apart can be messy!

What’s Inside A Mattress? We Took Ours Apart To Show You

If you have read any of my blog posts, you’ll know that at the start of the year my husband and I bought ourselves a new mattress.

What did we do with our old one? Well, it sat in our entrance way for months while we decided what to do with it.

Andrew finally had the great idea of salvaging the materials inside the pillowtop (in case we ever wanted a topper for our current mattress) and dismantling the rest to go to a local recycling yard.

So, we totally ripped the mattress apart! I took photos of what’s inside a mattress to share with you.

I also figured out very quickly why the mattress was sagging as soon as we had it all open. I’ll explain that later.

What Type Of Mattress?

Before we dismantled the mattress, I actually did not know that much about it. We bought the mattress many years before I founded this website, back when I knew zero, zip, NADA about mattresses! I probably would have told you that it was a coil mattress with a pillowtop. I certainly wouldn’t have been able to tell you much more about it!

Now, I can tell you that our old mattress was a hybrid consisting of:

  • A layer of polyfoam inside the pillowtop
  • A very thin latex layer
  • A 1.5 inch polyfoam layer
  • Zoned pocket coil support core

Show Me The Support Core

The zoned pocket coil system in our mattress worked like this:

  • Firmer springs around the edge of the mattress
  • Firmer springs through the middle third of the mattress
  • Bouncier springs on either side of the firmer middle zone

The pocket coils were the same gauge on the edge and through the middle. I cannot tell you what gauge they were, but they were definitely thicker and less bouncy than the other ones, so the firmer springs would have been a lower gauge.

Here’s a picture Andrew pulling out every single coil for recycling, you can clearly see the zones. You can also see where the base had been sprayed with glue and has attracted a sticky mess.

what's inside a mattress? Andrew dismantling the coils

Show Me The Comfort Layer

The above picture of me – open mouthed in horror at the mess we made – shows you some of the comfort layer.

I knew as soon as I took a look at the materials inside the comfort layer, why this mattress had failed us.

Turns out the comfort layer was mostly made from a really cheap and nasty looking polyfoam. It was so spongy and useless feeling when I could touch it without a fancy plush mattress cover disguising it. It was clear to me that the foam had failed, leaving us feeling like the mattress was sagging.

Here’s a picture of it:

polyfoam mattress comfort layer

I don’t remember the mattress being marketed to us as having latex in it, which is certainly a big selling point today. Natural latex is an amazing, durable, non toxic and comfortable fabric and is one of the premium materials you will find in a mattress. I’m glad I don’t remember latex being a selling point for this mattress, because if it was, we were taken for a ride.

The latex within THIS mattress was so thin it might as well have not been there, it was synthetic latex that ripped easily, and had been sprayed all over with glue to hold it to the polyfoam above it. Here’s a picture:

the latex inside our mattress

What Did I Learn From Dissecting My Mattress?

I learned that:

  1. I know my mattress materials pretty well now (this was reassuring to me, as I want to make sure I’m bringing you good information in all my posts)
  2. That we paid a premium price for some cheap materials when we bought this mattress in store

That second point is quite a biggie. It goes to show that you should always do thorough research before you make a mattress purchase (that’s what I’m here to help with). You might find a great mattress in a store for a reasonable price.

Or you could find a really fantastic mattress online for a lot less.

I live in New Zealand, and I really wish that DreamCloud and Avocado would ship here, because I’m pretty well convinced of the quality of their mattresses and would buy one in a heartbeat over purchasing this mattress again. It served us well for about 6 years, but there are so many mattresses out there with far superior materials for about half the price. DreamCloud and Avocado are both hybrids with latex in the comfort layer, DreamCloud also has memory foam. They are a very similar type of mattress to what this ripped up one is, but much better quality and price.

If you want to read my reviews of the DreamCloud and Avocado mattresses, you’ll find DreamCloud here and Avocado here. They’re both amazing hybrids available to you lucky folk in the United States.


Emily Johnstone

Emily is the creator and owner of bestmattressforyou.com. Emily's scientific background gives her an analytical, critical, and discerning eye to bring unbiased, thorough, and helpful content to the site. Your good sleep is her top priority. Find out more about Emily and bestmattressforyou.com here.