Now that the cat is out of the bag on the matter of the toxicity levels of many memory foam products, there has been an increased interest in all natural latex foam products. I thought it would be nice, since I am an industry professional, to explain the differences in latex mattresses and the different types of processes used to create these alternative, specialty beds.
Origin of Latex Rubber
Brazil provided the world with the rubber tree, Hevea Brasiliensis. In 1876 the British government exported seedlings to London for further development. From there seedlings were exported to Sri Lanka and Indonesia where they thrived and the tapping technique was discovered. Over the next several decades the British in Sri Lanka and the Dutch in Indonesia cleared vast amounts of rain forest to create the rubber tree plantations of today.
What is Latex?
By definition, latex is a rubber particle suspended in water. There are 2 types; NR or natural rubber and SBR (styrene butadiene rubber) or man made latex. All latex is either a blend of the two or 100% natural latex.
What is the difference between Talalay latex and Dunlop processed latex?
The Talalay process is a highly controlled, sophisticated latex manufacturing process that produces the highest quality, most consistent latex available in the world. The Dunlop process is the most commonly used production method globally. It creates a firmer product that is most often used as a base core component.
The major difference between the two processes is what happens in the mold just prior to the initial latex curing stage. In the Talalay process, only a small amount of latex compound is poured into the mold. Air is extracted to perfectly distribute the foamed liquid inside the mold and to create a consistent round, open cell structure. The mattress core is flash frozen to lock the cell structure in place and to prevent the particles from settling.
In the Dunlop process, the molds are filled to the rim, air is not extracted, and there is no freeze stage. Therefore, the latex cell structure is less “airy”. This process produces a heavier product. Gravity takes over settling the particles to create a more dense product than the Talalay process. Talalay latex is available in a much wider firmness range so it can provide enhanced comfort choice for consumers around the globe.
What are the benefits of latex mattresses?
Latex foam mattresses instantly conform to each unique contour of your body for exceptional, orthopedic support and pressure relief. They are proven to provide 33% more pressure relief and contouring support than memory foam. One thing I notice when laying on memory foam is that I feel like I’m being swallowed up and it’s difficult to move from your back to your side. It’s like rolling up hill. I also perspire much more than normal when laying on memory foam. My issues seem to be widespread among other memory foam users. Those issues simply do not apply to latex foam mattresses.
The gentle, conforming support of latex foam reduces high pressure areas that shut off capillary blood flow causing a person to toss and turn. This alleviates pressure and helps bring oxygen and nutrients to your muscles, so you awake feeling recharged and renewed.
Latex beds are naturally healthy. They are anti-microbial and dust-mite resistant to alleviate allergies. They have enhanced breathability and provide resistance to heat and moisture. Elimination of sleep disturbing motion transfers, so you rest easy even if your partner is restless. My kids often jump on my bed trying to wake me up. Unless they fall on me I don’t even know they are there.
Latex foam is naturally derived and environmentally friendly. Natural latex biodegrades completely in the environment. Zero harmful chemicals are produced while manufacturing our latex foam mattresses.
Latex mattress buying tips
As a latex mattress manufacturer I would hope that you would buy one from our factory but if you are at all worried about buying something site unseen then here are my top latex mattress buying tips.
1. Talalay latex is the best whether all natural or blend.
2. Watch out for pillow tops! I will never understand why a manufacturer would compromise the integrity of latex by layering materials of much lower quality on top. This will cause body impressions. Not in the latex itself, but in the pillow top.
3. Choose firmness carefully. Many retailers will only offer one firmness. The heavier you are, the firmer you need and visa versa. We offer 4 firmness levels to choose from.
4. Latex mattresses do not need to be more than 10″ thick. Anything more is over-kill and unnecessary materials designed for aesthetics, not functionality. Besides, it adds more weight to an already extremely heavy mattress.
5. Demand to know what’s inside. Many manufacturers will put memory foam, poly-foam and other fillers than can be toxic inside the mattress.
6. The more expensive the better, right? Wrong. Many latex mattresses that are just now approaching 40 years in service are finally being replaced. Their simple design was what gave them their durability. If someone tries to sell you a 12″ latex mattress ask “how much of that is actual latex”? Most mattress salespersons probably don’t even know, or they will just guess. It is important to have as little other materials on top of the latex as possible. This will give your mattress increased durability.
7. Buy from someone who knows latex. Terminology, ILD’s, processes, etc. This way you know your dealing with someone can help you determine what’s best for your individual sleeping style.
8. Shop price. Online will always get you the best deal. You can save hundreds if not thousands by judiciously comparing prices online. If you do buy online, just make sure the company has a money back guarantee and trial period. Latex may not be for you. The less middlemen between you and the factory, the better the price.
9. Don’t buy memory foam!
If you do not want to spend the money replacing your existing mattress then take a look at simply adding a latex topper over your bed. This will create a nice barrier between you and your mattress and help with allergies, dust mites, mold, etc. Go one step farther and add a couple of latex pillows too. Start your journey towards healthier living today.