Natural latex mattress options are becoming quite popular with the environmentally conscious consumer within the last few years. Latex mattresses are proving themselves in the mattress industry as a viable option in place of traditional mattresses.
Latex beds offer excellent support and several comfort levels, making them very attractive to consumers with joint pain, muscle pain, or back pain.
There are several other reasons why latex mattresses produced from natural latex are becoming popular, but let's first take a look at the two methods by which latex mattresses are produced.
The varying levels of support in latex mattresses are a direct result of the method by which the latex was processed.
There are two methods by which latex mattresses are manufactured: Dunlop method and the Talalay method. The latter is a more recent method for making latex mattresses from natural latex, but both have their advantages.
Consumers should be aware of the difference between these methods as the result could mean a more comfortable or supportive mattress for you, depending on what level of support or comfort you're looking for in a mattress.
Both methods involve the collection of natural latex from rubber trees in liquid form. The liquid latex is filtered to remove any small particulates that might interrupt the formation of firm latex as the liquid cools.
The filtered liquid is combined and emulsified with air and water in large containers. First, the emulsified liquid is heated.
Second, it goes through a process called vulcanization, which is a physical process by which the latex is strengthened, firmed up, and made more elastic.
During the vulcanizing process, the natural latex converts to a solid and then it is cut into the size mattress desired.
What's the difference between the Dunlop method and the Talalay method? There is one significant difference: in the Talalay process, the method is the same as Dunlop except for one additional step.
Before the natural latex liquid is heated, it undergoes a flash freeze. This step essentially produces a latex mattress that is still supportive, but with a softer, more cushy feel to it.
It's worth mentioning that a natural latex mattress produced via the Dunlop method is less expensive, time-tested, and is firmer than ones made using the Talalay method.
If you are sensitive to smell, Talalay mattresses have an added vanilla fragrance, which may be more uncomfortable than the very slight latex odor that comes from a Dunlop latex mattress.
I personally am extremely sensitive to smell but have no trouble with a good quality Dunlop latex mattress or pillow. I do find the Talalay latex much more difficult to tolerate.
Is there a difference between certified organic latex products and natural latex products? The answer is yes, but is the difference truly important or is the difference negligible when it comes to purchasing a natural latex mattress or an organic one?
The difference between all natural and organic latex is the use of fertilizers on the rubber trees grown to produce the latex. The only way latex can be certified as truly organic is if the latex comes from a rubber tree that has been through three growing cycles successfully without the use of fertilizers to help it thrive.
There are only a few rubber tree plantation owners who are working toward this certification at present, so if you see a product labeled organic latex, it likely isn't 100% organic since it will take many more years to produce pure organic latex.
Natural latex products are produced with latex that is botanically derived using very few fertilizers in the early years of the rubber tree's life.
After the first six or seven years, fertilizers are no longer needed to keep the tree healthy. Following those first years, the latex derived from these trees is truly natural and can be marketed as such.
Many consumers wonder how they can be sure they are purchasing a true natural latex mattress as opposed to a synthetically produced latex product or even a blend of the two types of latex.
One way to tell is to pay close attention to the terms used to describe the mattress. Marketing hype can draw us in quickly at the store, but then leave us wanting when we get the product home and realize it isn't what we thought it was!
Here are a few things to look for when shopping for mattresses that are made from all natural latex.
First, you don't want the term blend associated with your mattress. The mattress industry often refers to a mattress that has a blend of synthetic latex and natural latex as a latex blend mattress.
This means that some petrochemicals were used in the production of some part of the mattress, which means you could experience off gassing.
Secondly, you will want to make sure the latex mattress you're considering was manufactured from natural latex harvested from rubber trees. This type of latex is also referred to as plant-derived latex.
If the mattress label has these terms, you can be sure it's all natural latex and not a chemically derived latex product.
Also, don't be afraid to ask where the natural latex is collected from and be wary if the manufacturer is unable to give you a straight and truthful answer.
Third, always conduct as much research as possible about the specific name brands of latex mattresses in which you're interested. Gather as much information as you can from online sources and references from other consumers who have purchased a natural latex mattress.
Consumer reviews are a priceless resource when it comes to making decisions on which mattress might be best for you.
The reason we mention that you should ask questions about the kind of latex used in your latex mattress is so there is less of a chance of you having an allergic reaction or a health issue as a result of breathing in chemicals or toxic substances. Blended latex mattresses do contain chemicals and substances that aren't natural, so you could have a negative health reaction if you slept on a latex blend mattress. Don't be afraid to ask the questions so you know for certain you are buying a latex mattress that is truly all natural.
Let's All Sleep Better
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