How Latex Mattress Are Made

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How Dunlop Latex & Talalay Latex Are Made

Learn how latex mattresses are made and what are the differences in each latex manufacturing process.

About Latex

How Dunlop & Talalay Latex Mattresses Are Made

If you have ever wondered how latex mattresses are made, or what the difference between Talalay and Dunlop are, we’re here to help you out. Dunlop latex is the more prevalent of the two types of latex, with only two of approximately thirty latex producers throughout the world having invested in the technology for the Talalay process. The two steps necessary to develop Talalay, that are missing from the standard process, are the vacuum and freezing processes.

Dunlop Latex or Standard Process

  • Least expensive to produce
  • Used to produce blended and 100% natural latex for mattresses

When you see a latex mattress advertised as “100% Natural” it will have been produced using the denser, firmer, “DUNLOP PROCESS” 95% of the time.

Talalay Latex Process

  • Most expensive of the two methods to produce
  • Produces more consistent and durable product
  • Produces more springy feel with greater range of firmnesses from very soft to extra firm

Two latex manufacturers currently perform the Talalay process, Latex International and Radium Foam.
These manufacturers produce superior latex in terms of consistency, durability, and comfort in the softer blends. There are only 2 manufacturers using the talalay process: Latex International and Radium Foam. If you are considering buying a Talalay latex mattress, make sure the company you buy from is getting their Talalay from one of these suppliers.

Steps For Latex Mattress Core Production

Synthetic Rubber

Latex mattresses have been made for many years and latex foam has a deep history. Before the Second World War, virtually all latex used in production was natural. During WW2 supplies of latex from the Far East were very restricted, hence the search for a synthetic alternative. Scientists tried to copy natural latex (derived from cis-polyisoprene) and largely failed: the latex produced was inferior to the real thing.

Instead, they developed a latex based on a synthetic polymer that behaved in a similar way. The word ‘polymer’ simply means a compound made up of long chains of molecules, each link in the chain being derived from simple chemicals known as ‘monomers’. A number of synthetic latices were developed, the most useful one being made by polymerizing Styrene (a liquid) with Butadiene (a gas) to give Styrene-Butadiene rubber, abbreviated to SBR.

Natural Rubber

Natural and synthetic rubber have different properties. Natural rubber is very soft and elastic, synthetic rubber gives the foam good hardness and processes better (is easier to work with) in production. Compounders tend to use blends of natural & synthetic to get the best overall properties and to stabilize prices.

When natural rubber is tapped from a tree it is very dilute, the rubber content being only about 30%. It has to be concentrated before use to above 61.5% solids. Of these solids 60.0% is rubber, the remaining 1.5% are compounds that are unique to natural latex (proteins, phospholipids, carbohydrates, amino acids). These unique ingredients are very important in explaining the behavior of natural latex.

Soaps & Potassium Oleate

Potassium Oleate stabilizes the foam mix in the mold so it will not coagulate prematurely in the process. Soaps also assist the latex mixture to foam when air is introduced by the foaming machine.

Foaming of the latex compound continues until the targeted foam density has been reached. The mold is closed and the Talalay cycle begins. A vacuum is applied, which causes the foam to expand to fill the mold completely. The latex is then cooled and frozen into place. A disposable paper gasket prevents latex entering the vacuum lines and a rubber gasket seals the mold from the outside world.

Gelling

This is the key step in the “foaming process” when the liquid foam becomes solid and has gelled.

In the original Dunlop Process, the foam is set by adding to the wet foam of a small amount of gelling agent (sodium silicofluoride or SSF).

In the Talalay process, the foam is frozen then carbon dioxide gas (an acidic gas) is passed through the foam to lower its pH & set it.

This means that on warming up again the foam does not revert to liquid. The foam at this stage is however very weak and could not possibly be removed from the mold intact. The strength is built in during the next stage & vulcanization.

Sulfur and Vulcanization

Sulfur is added to the mix during compounding. Without sulfur in the production process, the foam would resemble chewing gum and would have little resilience. The double bonds in the rubber molecule are utilized by sulfur, which forms bridges with adjacent molecules, known as cross-linking. This process gives the product its familiar properties of elasticity and resilience.

The process of heating rubber with sulfur is called vulcanization or ‘curing’ and was discovered by Charles Goodyear in 1839. This is a fairly slow process, even at a temperature of +240°F so certain accelerators are required in the production process to make this happen quickly. A very small addition of these reduces the time required for curing from about 25 minutes to about 8 minutes. At the end of this time, the mold is cooled, opened, and the product is removed and sent to the washer.

Washing

This removes soaps, ammonia and anything else water soluble, that has served its purpose and is no longer wanted or needed in the product. The removal of these prevents discoloration, odor, and a tacky feeling of the product.

Antioxidant

Any double bonds in the rubber which are not used up by the sulfur are at risk from attack by oxygen and ozone in the atmosphere, particularly when catalyzed by the presence of UV light. This is why latex will deteriorate in sunlight. A small amount of ‘antioxidant’ is added to the latex during compounding. This is a substance which is preferentially oxidized (& therefore sacrificed), thus affording some protection to the rubber. Eventually, however, it becomes depleted and deterioration of the rubber then occurs. Latex foam must never be cleaned with solvents (dry-cleaning): this would remove any antioxidant completely, causing rapid deterioration.

Molds and Heat Transfer

Molds are made from aluminum (very good heat transfer properties) and are hollow, with channels within their walls so that a heat transfer fluid can circulate through them.

Since latex foam is a very poor conductor of heat a large number of ‘pins’ are present to enable heat/cold to get into the heart of the foam. The pins create pinholes that are very useful because they make it much easier to remove moisture during the drying process.

And there you have it – your latex mattress is made from a series of steps that takes rubber tree sap and turns it into a soft and supportive sheet of foam with varying firmnesses ready to be bundled into a cover.

How is a Latex Mattress Made?

February 28, 2018

There has been a growing focus on healthy living over the past few years. Consumers have made it known, that they want to sleep on mattresses that are made using natural materials, to support their new, healthy lifestyle.

Why a Latex Mattress?

It’s simple. An Eco Terra mattress is made using natural and safe materials. Therefore, they offer safe sleeping surfaces. It’s true that we spend approximately one-third of our lives sleeping in our beds. Everyone deserves to spend this one-third of their lives sleeping on a mattress that doesn’t contain toxins. Our latex mattress is toxin free and the healthiest mattress you can sleep on. Also, our latex mattresses are made with natural and quality materials, so they last longer than other mattresses made today.

Eco Terra Latex Mattress

The Eco Terra mattress is a popular mattress that comes with an impressive 15-year warranty. Impressive because most mattresses are expected to only last an average of seven years, with a warranty to match.

The Eco Terra mattress also offers sleepers:

  • Superior posture support due to eliminated negative space (which is recommended when it comes to properly aligning the spine).
  • A cooler sleeping service due to its breathability (which means it disperses the body’s heat when sleeping).
  • The ability to not disturb their partner when moving while sleeping due to advances in minimized motion transfer.
  • Edge to edge comfort from the quantum coil reinforcement design, which means you’ll sleep just as comfortably when in the middle of the bed as you will when you’re on the edge of the bed.

Where do Latex Mattresses Come From?

Rubber trees. The material used to make a latex foam mattress is harvested from rubber trees, which for the most part grow on sustainable plantations. Eco Terra gets their latex from rubber trees grown in Sri Lanka, as the majority of rubber tree plantations are located in the Southeast Asia area. The environment in Southeast Asia fully supports rubber tree growth, and many people agree that the more trees planted, the better. Trees are extremely beneficial to the environment, and as more and more people buy latex foam natural mattresses there will only continue to be more trees planted.

How are Latex Beds Made?

Our Eco Terra mattresses are made using environmentally-friendly mattress-making methods, which is another reason why latex mattresses are so popular nowadays. A special method is used to extract the white liquid sap from the tree, while at the same time providing no damage to the tree in any way. In order to extract the white sap, a small cut is made on the tree to remove the bark that will cause the sap to begin to flow out of the tree; it can take up to 6 hours for the sap to stop flowing. Buckets are placed under the flowing sap for transport.

The fact that rubber trees can be used for more than 25 years for this purpose is quite remarkable!

Talalay vs. Dunlop

So how does the liquid sap that coming out of a rubber tree create a healthy mattress? There are two main methods used to produce a latex natural mattress – the Dunlop Method and the Talalay Method. Each method has its own way of processing and one is not necessarily better than the other one. It’s simply a matter of mattress preference.

  • The Dunlop Methodis the original all-natural mattress making method that has been used since 1929, and it tends to create a firmer texture, which is typically used as a mattress core in 100% natural latex mattresses. This method requires the sap to be mixed until it turns into a foam, which is then shaped by putting it into a specially made mold, then into a hot oven to create the all-natural latex mattress. The mattress is then thoroughly cleaned and dried. This particular mattress-making method allows the entire mattress to be made at one time.
  • The Talalay Methoduses a process that produces a latex bed with a little bit of a different texture, which tends to make it softer than the Dunlop Method. It is typically used as the top comfort layer in mattresses. Instead of mixing the sap into a foam, it is put into a specially made mold which is closed tight. Suction is then used to make sure the sap is evenly distributed. The next step requires the mold to be frozen and then quickly heated, which causes the sap to become solid.

Because the Eco Terra mattress has a supportive base of fabric-encased coils, the top layer is made of the softer, airier Talalay latex for supreme cushioned comfort.

Eco Terra Mattress = The Preferred Mattress Choice

So now you know why a mattress made with natural latex is quickly becoming the preferred mattress choice among mattress buyers. The healthy living movement is here to stay and more and more people are looking to buy a safe mattress to sleep on. This allows them to create the safe sleeping environment which they not only deserve, but need, for their overall good health.

High-quality, latex foam mattresses receive the highest overall owner satisfaction ratings.

How Latex and Memory Foam Mattresses Are Made

There are a couple of reasons why you might be interested to read what I have on this section of my website. The first is that you have a natural curiosity about how the products you buy are made, and considering you’ll be spending up to one third of your life on a mattress, I can’t blame you for wanting to know.

The second reason might be because you’re concerned over how eco-friendly a mattress is, and again, I can’t blame you. After all, we’re constantly told how we should treat our planet better and the dangers that certain materials can pose to our health.

So, no matter what the reason I thought it would be a good idea to let you know how latex and foam mattresses are made. Of course, if you’re familiar with latex you may think this is the most natural substance a mattress can be made from, and you would be right since the raw material is drawn directly from the rubber tree.

However, if you are erring on the side of a latex mattress do be careful of the actual amount it contains because manufacturers use three different forms: 100% natural, 85% natural and 15% synthetic and finally 20% natural and 80% synthetic. Of course, the more natural a latex mattress is the more expensive it will be.

In respect of memory foam mattresses, the materials used are synthetic and this is one of the reasons why I come across so many complaints about the “outgas” odor many of them give off when they’re brand new. Whilst this can be a little worrying, if you’re careful to look for the CertiPUR-US certificate this will guarantee that your mattress is gentle on the environment and isn’t bad for your health.

If you’re interested in finding out about the whole process, why not have a little peek at the short video I have included below?

Best Latex Mattresses 2020

There are benefits to choosing a latex mattress; they are often more durable, breathable, bouncy, and cooling than many other types of mattresses.

If people are in the market for a latex mattress, they might be at a loss because there are so many great options available.

Out of all the latex mattresses I have tried, eight really stand out among the rest. These eight mattresses are all high-quality but are a good match for different types of sleepers.

This article will go over each mattress as well as highlight the main things people should look out for if they are looking to get an awesome latex mattress. Read on to learn about getting the best latex mattress to help people sleep better.

The EcoCloud is a supportive latex mattress that should be an excellent choice for those who are looking for a tremendous value.

The Zenhaven is an all-latex, flippable mattress with two firmnesses in one that should be a great match for back sleepers and side sleepers.

When you add the pillow top option, the Avocado bed features great pressure relief and should be a good fit for the majority of side sleepers.

The Bloom Hybrid is a comfortable and supportive latex hybrid that should be an awesome match for combination sleepers.

The Cedar is a latex hybrid mattress with a good balance of comfort and support, and back sleepers should definitely find what they need on this mattress.

The Spindle is a customizable mattress that allows you to find just the right firmness for you, and it should be a great match for all three sleeping positions.

The GhostBed is a very affordable mattress that features synthetic latex and memory foam and is a great match for back and stomach sleepers.

The Awara is a very firm new mattress that should be supportive enough for stomach sleepers of all sizes.

Top Picks Explained

If people are looking for a fantastic organic latex mattress to sleep better, one of these should be right for them. The team at Mattress Clarity has spent countless hours of research and testing to come up with a fairly exhaustive list of the best latex mattresses after doing over 15 latex mattress reviews. These are some of the best mattresses available on the market.

Best Value

WinkBeds EcoCloud

The WinkBeds EcoCloud is a hybrid mattress that incorporates thick Talalay latex and pocketed coils in its construction. The latex and coils are both zoned, meaning they have different firmness levels in different areas, making this agreat option for combo sleepers. People should feel particularly good support when they are on their back and nice pressure relief when they are sleeping on their side.

Overall, the EcoCloud is a very supportive mattress for people of different weights. The combination of Talalay latex and coils should be able to support even much heavier weights, and the mattress should be an especiallygood choice for heavier peoplewith extra support needs.

The EcoCloud is atop value pickon this list, because when someone takes the quality components into account, the mattress is priced very competitively.

What Makes The EcoCloud Stand Out?

  • It features a zoned construction and should be a good match for combo sleepers.
  • The EcoCloud isvery supportiveand should be able to support larger sleepers.
  • It should be acooler sleepingmattress that is more breathable than most
  • The mattress is a great value and should be viewed as a good long-term investment.

The WinkBeds EcoCloud is a very supportive latex hybrid mattress. It should be a good match for hot sleepers and combo sleepers. You can get$200 offthe EcoCloud mattress byclicking the link belowand using codeMC200at checkout.

Best All-Latex Mattress

Zenhaven

The Zenhaven is probably my favorite all-latex mattress. While four of these mattresses all feature coils in their construction, the Zenhaven contains four layers ofall-natural Talalay latex.

In addition, the Zenhaven is the onlyflippable mattresson this list, with a firmer side and a softer side. This innovative design makes it a great match for those who don’t quite know what firmness they are looking for.

The firm side is a great match for stomach sleepers, because people shouldn’t feel their hips sinking in when they are in this position. The soft side is a great fit for back sleepers and some side sleepers who may enjoy a little bit of pushback from their mattress.

If people want an all-latex mattress that is innovative and has some firmness options, the Zenhaven could really work for them.

What Makes The Zenhaven Stand Out?

  • It features all-natural Talalay latex which is organic andfree of harmful chemicals, making it a truly green mattress
  • The Zenhaven is the one mattress on this list that is all-latex, rather than a latex hybrid mattress
  • The mattress is flippable so people gettwo firmnesses in one, doubling the chances of getting the appropriate firmness level.
  • It should be a great match for both back and stomach sleepers because of the firmness and overall support.

Zenhaven is an all-natural latex mattress that is innovative and has an excellent match of comfort and support.Save $100on Zenhaven byclicking the button below.

Best For Side Sleepers

Avocado

The Avocado is a latex hybrid mattress constructed with thick layers of natural dunlop latex and pocketed support coils. Consumers also have the option ofa pillow topto the bed which adds a fluffy comfortable feel and added pressure relief to the top of the mattress.

With the pillow top, the Avocado is my favorite latex mattress for side sleeping. Natural dunlop latex is not always the best with pressure relief. However, the pillow top does an excellent job of relieving pressure on the shoulders and hips to the bed.

Out of all these eight mattresses, it is probably themost pressure relieving. In addition, the pocketed coils are very supportive and should be able to support even much heavier weights.

The comfortable top and support coils also make this anexcellentoption for combination sleepers. The pillow top provides pressure relief when people are on their side while the coils provide support while they are on their back and stomach.

What Makes The Avocado Stand Out?

  • It features all-natural Dunlop latex that isresponsibly sourcedand free of harmful chemicals, making it a truly green option
  • The coils and latex arevery supportiveand should be supportive enough for heavier people.
  • People can opt to add a pillow top, which adds some more pressure relief and comfort for most side sleepers.
  • The mattress has a nice balance of comfort and support and should be agood fit for all three sleeping positions.

Avocado is an innovative, all-natural mattress thata lot of people are going to like. Right now, you can get$150 offan Avocado byclicking the link below.

Best For Combo Sleepers

Brooklyn Bedding Bloom Hybrid

The Bloom Hybrid is also a hybrid mattress that features a cover quilted with soft wool, then a 3″ layer of Talalay latex, followed by 8″ of individually-encased coils. Consumers can also choose from three firmness options:Soft, Medium, and Firm.

This Medium model features thebest balance of comfort and supportout of all these mattresses, and it is also my favorite mattress for combination sleepers.

If people lie on their back, their hips should sink in while they also feel the general support of the steel coils. Moving to the side, the comfort layer should relieve pressure on the shoulders and hips. Finally, on the stomach, the mattress should keep people’s hips from sinking in too far and creating back pain issues.

For those people whochange positions at night, the Bloom Hybrid is a particularly great option.

What Makes The Bloom Hybrid Stand Out?

  • It contains Talalay latex which is responsibly and sustainably sourced, making it a great green option.
  • The Bloom Hybrid comes inthree firmness options, soft, medium, and firm.
  • The Bloom Hybrid has the best overall balance of comfort and support out of these eight mattresses.
  • The mattress is anexcellentoption for combination sleepers, especially those who switch between back and side sleeping.

The Brooklyn Bedding Bloom Hybrid is an eco-friendly hybrid mattress. You can get 20% off the Bloom Hybrid mattress byclicking the link belowand using codeCLARITY20at checkout.

Best For Back Sleepers

Brentwood Home Cedar

The Cedar is also a hybrid mattress that features 4″ of Dunlop latex as well as individually-wrapped support coils. There is also avery comfortable quilted coveron top, which adds pressure relief and comfort to the mattress.

This is mytop pick for back sleepingout of this list, because it has an average firmness and is right in that sweet spot for back sleepers. The quilted cover and comfort layerallow the hips to sink in just the right amountwhile the coils offer support beneath that.

This is also a very supportive mattress overall, and the coils should be able to handle even much heavier weights. If you are a heavier back sleeper, the Cedar could be a good option.

What Makes The Cedar Stand Out?

  • It contains all-natural Dunlop latex which is free of harmful chemicals and is a great green option
  • The Cedar is just theright firmness for back sleepersand has the proper amount of support.
  • It is very comfortable and could be a good fit forlighter side sleepers.
  • The Cedar is very supportive and should be able to handle heavier weights.

The Cedar is a hybrid mattress with latex and individually wrapped coils. It is a great match for back sleepers and fans of all-natural mattresses.

Fully Customizable

Spindle

The Spindle is a very interesting all-latex mattress, because when people purchase their mattress, they choose what firmness level they want. Then the company sends them three 3″ layers of Dunlop latex, and the person is responsible for flipping and arranging those layers toget the exact firmness option they want.

This makes the Spindle bed thebest option for customization, because if people really don’t know what firmness you want, the Spindle bed allows them to hone in on exactly what they are looking for. In addition, if people find that they want something even firmer or softer, Spindle will replace a layer for free.

Whether people are aback, side, or stomach sleeper, they should be able to find the right match for you on the Spindle. They can make it softer for side sleeper or firmer for back an stomach sleeping.

Finally, when you consider the durability and high-quality nature of the Spindle bed, it really is a great value overall.

What Makes The Spindle Stand Out?

  • It is a very high-quality,all-natural mattressthat a lot of sleepers will really like.
  • The design allows people to customize the mattress to meet their specific needs.
  • Back, side, and stomach sleepers should find what they need on the Spindle.
  • The mattress is durable and should be agood, long-term investment.

Spindle is an innovative, all-natural latex mattress that has agreat combination of comfort and support. You can get$200 offthe Spindle mattress byclicking the link belowand using codeCLARITYat checkout.

Most Affordable

GhostBed

The GhostBed is the one mattress on this list thatdoes not contain all-natural latex; It is actually a synthetic latex that has only a little bit of that latex, bouncy feel.

The mattress features the synthetic latex foam over memory foam, over a base support foam. The mattress is a bitfirmer-than-averageand is a good match for back sleepers and stomach sleepers.

Because the mattress does not use real latex, it is also much more affordable than the other mattresses on this list. If you want just some of that latex bounce, and you don’t want to pay so much money, the GhostBed should be a great option for you.

What Makes The GhostBed Stand Out?

  • The GhostBed is agreat, affordable mattressthat is one of the better values out there on the market.
  • It is a firmer-than-average mattress that should work for back and stomach sleeping.
  • The mattress has just abit of the latex feel, and people shouldn’t have difficulty moving around.

Ghostbed is a very supportive mattress that isideal for back and stomach sleepers,and it is also agreat value- right now, customers can get$100 offthe Ghostbed byclicking the link below.

Best For Stomach Sleepers

Awara

The Awara is also a new mattress that features asimple constructionwith a tufted cover, 4″ of Dunlop latex, and 9″ of pocketed coils.

This is thefirmest out of these eight mattresses, which makes it thebest latex mattress for stomach sleepers. They should feel the proper amount of support on their hips and their spine should be neutrally aligned when they sleep.

The Awara is also avery supportivemattress, as the latex and coils should be able to support much heavier weights. Larger back sleepers and stomach sleepers should definitely take a measured look at the Awara.

If people need a supportive, all-natural mattress, the Awara should work for them if they want something a little on the firm side.

What Makes The Awara Stand Out?

  • The mattress features all-natural Dunlop latex which doesn’t contain harmful chemicals.
  • The Awara is thefirmest mattresson this list.
  • It is very supportive and should be agreat option for almost all stomach sleepers.
  • The Awara should also be an excellent match for heavier back and stomach sleepers.

The Awara is a firmer latex hybrid mattress that could be a good pick forback and stomach sleepers.

Best Latex Mattress For Back Pain

I am not a doctor, so please take everything I say here with a grain of salt. People should definitely consult a physician if they have any serious pain issues whatsoever. Having said that, if people have back pain they will want a mattress that doesn’t make things worse and potentially can help alleviate any pain/stress. Studies show that a mattress that is firmer than average is best for people with back pain. People will also want a mattress that is not going to sag over time, because many times mattresses that start out fine sag and break down over a period of time (causing back pain issues).

TheAvocado mattressis a latex foam bed that is an especially great fit for those with back pain issues. The pocketed coil support system and natural latex are highly supportive and durable materials that should be good for people of all weights. If people get the option without the pillow top, the mattress will be a little more than medium firm, which is ideal in this case for people with back pain. It’s also just a great value overall with an organic cotton cover, so I would strongly recommend giving the Avocado mattress some consideration for people who want a great mattress that may be ideal for back pain issues.

Best Latex Mattress For The Money

If people want to get an all natural latex mattress, they have to understand that they definitely will pay a higher price for it, because natural latex is very difficult and costly to source. Most organic latex comes from the rubber trees in Sri Lanka, so not only is it a costly process, but also the raw materials are sourced from places far away from the United States. When we talk about getting the best mattress for the money, the price tag is still going to be significantly higher than with other types of mattresses. People should also note that natural latex is very durable, so the mattresses they can get will be a good value because they last so long.

We think that theSpindle mattressis potentially the best for the money in this category, because consumers can get a Queen Spindle for $1,349.99. Again, while that may seem like a high price tag, it’s a mattress that uses natural latex that is quite a good deal and is better priced than just about any of its competitors. The company has very little overhead and doesn’t spend much money at all on marketing and advertising, so it is able to price its mattress at the point it does. If people want the best value possible, Spindle is a great place to look, because of the nature of how the company is run.

Are Latex Mattresses Good for Heavier Sleepers?

Marten is a staff writer for us who has participated in all our latex mattress reviews, and he weighs about 230 lb and is 6’7″ tall; I am 5’9″ and 160 lb. Here is what he thought about these mattresses:

Out of this list, there are five that I think are best for heavier people for a number of reasons.

First, we have the Spindle, which is a great option if you want to be able to configure your mattress. By flipping and rearranging the layers, people can find the appropriate firmness for the. I was able to find the right configuration for me in pretty much any position.

If people are heavier back sleepers, they should lean toward the Avocado or Cedar, because they are both hybrid mattresses that allow the hips to sink into the comfort just the right amount. I then feel the support of coils beneath that, which provides great additional support, durability, and breathability (from the organic cotton cover).

For heavier side sleepers, people should take a measured look toward the Bloom Hybrid, because that mattress might have the best pressure relief out of all the mattresses on this list.

For stomach sleepers, people should take a hard look at the Awara, because it is the firmest of these mattresses, and my hips don’t bow in when I am lying on my stomach.

It seems that Marten and I agree on most of these points, but hedid prefer the Bloom Hybrid for side sleeping. If people are heavier sleepers, it is worth taking Marten’s experience into account given his different opinions.

The Benefits Of Latex Mattresses

There are plenty of reasons why latex mattresses are becoming more and more popular, and there have been numerous new brands that have entered into the market recently. This type of mattress can offer a lot of different, wide-ranging benefits:

  • DurabilityNatural latex mattresses will typically last longer than memory foam or poly foam because of the density of the foams used in the construction. Latex foam mattresses shouldn’t sag the way many foam mattresses are wont to do, so if you are viewing your purchase as a long-term investment, then this could be a huge benefit.
  • BounceThis is more of a personal preference type of thing, but latex mattresses are known for having great bounce overall, making the mattresses potentially good for sex and they make it easier to move around in the bed and/or switch sleeping positions.
  • No feeling stuckMemory foam owners often complain about the feeling of getting stuck in their mattress, but this is not the case with latex foam. The surface is very responsive and people don’t slowly sink into it, meaning they can get good pressure relief with latex foam without the extra sinking in feeling.
  • Natural– Natural latex foam is really the only way for a mattress to be considered “Green.” Some companies may claim that their mattress is eco-friendly, but unless they use natural latex that is not actually going to be the case. If people want a real green mattress with natural materials, latex is the way to go because there aren’t really any other good options out there.
  • Good for hot sleepers. If you overheat at night, a latex mattress could be a good option. Latex is naturally breathable and also helps dissipate heat. While materials like memory foam are known to trap heat, this shouldn’t be an issue with a latex mattress.

The Drawbacks Of Latex Mattresses

If anyone has seen any of our latex mattress reviews, they will know that latex is definitely not for everyone, and there are a few drawbacks to consider when it comes to latex mattresses:

  • Weight– Natural latex mattresses are very dense and thus very heavy and difficult to move around. Consumers will need at least two people to move the mattresses around successfully. This isn’t that big of a deal once people get their mattress set up, but if they think they’ll ever have to move your mattress very much, then this could be something to consider.
  • Higher cost– Natural latex is very difficult and costly to source. As a result, these mattresses tend to cost quite a bit. You have to be willing to pay a lot of money to get these mattresses. These mattresses will last a long time, so the value is really there, but they may not be in everyone’s budget.
  • The feel isn’t for everyone. Some people may not like the bouncy nature of latex. This is a personal preference thing, so make sure you understand the type of feel that you like before jumping in and making a purchase.

How Latex Beds And Memory Foam Mattresses Compare?

  • Latex mattresses will typically be more breathable. The foam is more open-celled and not as prone to trapping heat as memory foam does.
  • Latex mattresses, on the whole, should be more durable than most memory foam mattresses because of the overall density of latex foams.
  • Latex will have more bounce and a sleeping on top of the mattress feeling, while memory foam will have a slow, sinking-in feeling that resembles quicksand. This is a personal preference type of thing, so one is not necessarily better than the other in this regard.
  • Memory foam will have better motion isolation, potentially making it better for couples.
  • Memory foam will have a bit better pressure relief in most but not all cases.
  • Latex will be a more green option than memory foam in almost all instances.

How Latex Beds And Spring Mattresses Compare?

  • Both mattress types will be breathable and should sleep cool throughout the night (no advantage of one type over the other)
  • Both mattresses will have some good bounce, which is a personal preference type of characteristic
  • Latex beds will offer a more “green” option, as spring mattresses usually come with a poly foam pillow top (made from petrochemicals)
  • Latex mattress typically should be more durable than the average spring mattress because of the density of the foams used in the construction

Latex Allergies

A lot of readers have asked if there is any truth that latex mattresses will be a problem for people with a latex allergy, but there is really no truth to that rumor. All credible studies show that people will not have a reaction to latex in their bedding in any cases. That is because the latex goes through a washing process that removes any proteins from the material that would potentially cause a reaction. For this and other reasons, people shouldn’t worry about having any sort of allergic reaction on latex bedding.

What To Look For In A Latex Mattress

When people look at a latex mattress, they will be exposed to an entirely new terminology compared to other types of mattresses. Key decisions will be natural vs synthetic/blend, Dunlop vs Talalay processing, unique warranty considerations, and density/ILD.

Natural vs Synthetic/Blend

The latex in a mattress can be all natural latex, synthetic latex, or a blend of natural and synthetic. Natural latex (from rubber trees) and synthetic latex (made through chemical process) actually feel quite similar, though in general natural latex mattresses are preferred.Generally, the decision here comes down to how pricey each type of blend is. People prefer the feel and eco-friendliness of natural latex, but even the most reasonably priced all-natural mattresses start at around $2000. If you can afford it, go natural but, otherwise, synthetic/blend will offer a pretty similar sleeping experience.

Dunlop vs Talalay

Dunlop and Talalay are two different types of latex processing, even though both come from a rubber tree; in general, the two types of processing result in different feels, with Dunlop leading to a firmer feel and Talalay leading to a softer feel.

I don’t think that one type of processing is better than another, although it is typically true that Talalay produces a more consistent latex. I recommend that you think about the feel of the mattress, rather than the processing method, to make your final decision because the differences aren’t very noticeable.

Latex mattress warranty

People will want to look at the warranty carefully (as with any mattress), but the thing to be concerned about with latex is compression/body impressions. This is the most likely issue that will come up with a latex mattress, so people should just be aware of the terms and how they expect the mattress to behave over time.

Latex Density/ILD

With latex mattresses, people will commonly hear two measures of the foam, the density (a measure of weight given volume) and ILD (a measure of firmness).

The density will be communicated in lbs and is a measure of weight per square foot. To generalize, the higher the density, in most instances the higher the durability of the foam.

The ILD (Indentation Load Deflection) is a measure of firmness, ranging generally from 14-38, meaning the higher the number, the firmer the mattress will be.

What are the benefits of latex mattresses?

Latex mattresses tend to be more durable than other mattress types. They are also very breathable, making them ideal for hot sleepers. They are also very responsive, making it easy to move around the mattress and switch positions.

Which are better, memory foam or latex mattresses?

This really depends on one’s personal preferences. Memory foam mattresses are probably for pressure relief and body contouring. Latex mattresses are more durable and breathable, and they can support more weight too.

How long does a latex mattress last?

A latex mattress should last a long time, potentially more than 10 years if it is all-latex. Latex mattresses are very durable overall.

Why are latex mattresses so expensive?

Natural latex is very difficult to source and it does not come from the United States. Because of this, the mattresses are going to have to cost more.

Do latex mattresses sleep hot?

Latex mattresses have very open-celled foam and are quite breathable. As a result, sleepers should not sleep hot.

Overall

If consumers think a latex mattress might an appropriate choice for them, one of these eight mattresses should be an excellent option to get better sleep. No matter what position people sleep in, they should be able to find the perfect fit with one of these mattresses. People should definitely check out the individual reviews for these mattresses if they want to go in depth on the construction and additional details.

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How Dunlop Latex & Talalay Latex Are Made

Learn how latex mattresses are made and what are the differences in each latex manufacturing process.

About Latex

How Dunlop & Talalay Latex Mattresses Are Made

If you have ever wondered how latex mattresses are made, or what the difference between Talalay and Dunlop are, we’re here to help you out. Dunlop latex is the more prevalent of the two types of latex, with only two of approximately thirty latex producers throughout the world having invested in the technology for the Talalay process. The two steps necessary to develop Talalay, that are missing from the standard process, are the vacuum and freezing processes.

Dunlop Latex or Standard Process

  • Least expensive to produce
  • Used to produce blended and 100% natural latex for mattresses

When you see a latex mattress advertised as “100% Natural” it will have been produced using the denser, firmer, “DUNLOP PROCESS” 95% of the time.

Talalay Latex Process

  • Most expensive of the two methods to produce
  • Produces more consistent and durable product
  • Produces more springy feel with greater range of firmnesses from very soft to extra firm

Two latex manufacturers currently perform the Talalay process, Latex International and Radium Foam.
These manufacturers produce superior latex in terms of consistency, durability, and comfort in the softer blends. There are only 2 manufacturers using the talalay process: Latex International and Radium Foam. If you are considering buying a Talalay latex mattress, make sure the company you buy from is getting their Talalay from one of these suppliers.

Steps For Latex Mattress Core Production

Synthetic Rubber

Latex mattresses have been made for many years and latex foam has a deep history. Before the Second World War, virtually all latex used in production was natural. During WW2 supplies of latex from the Far East were very restricted, hence the search for a synthetic alternative. Scientists tried to copy natural latex (derived from cis-polyisoprene) and largely failed: the latex produced was inferior to the real thing.

Instead, they developed a latex based on a synthetic polymer that behaved in a similar way. The word ‘polymer’ simply means a compound made up of long chains of molecules, each link in the chain being derived from simple chemicals known as ‘monomers’. A number of synthetic latices were developed, the most useful one being made by polymerizing Styrene (a liquid) with Butadiene (a gas) to give Styrene-Butadiene rubber, abbreviated to SBR.

Natural Rubber

Natural and synthetic rubber have different properties. Natural rubber is very soft and elastic, synthetic rubber gives the foam good hardness and processes better (is easier to work with) in production. Compounders tend to use blends of natural & synthetic to get the best overall properties and to stabilize prices.

When natural rubber is tapped from a tree it is very dilute, the rubber content being only about 30%. It has to be concentrated before use to above 61.5% solids. Of these solids 60.0% is rubber, the remaining 1.5% are compounds that are unique to natural latex (proteins, phospholipids, carbohydrates, amino acids). These unique ingredients are very important in explaining the behavior of natural latex.

Soaps & Potassium Oleate

Potassium Oleate stabilizes the foam mix in the mold so it will not coagulate prematurely in the process. Soaps also assist the latex mixture to foam when air is introduced by the foaming machine.

Foaming of the latex compound continues until the targeted foam density has been reached. The mold is closed and the Talalay cycle begins. A vacuum is applied, which causes the foam to expand to fill the mold completely. The latex is then cooled and frozen into place. A disposable paper gasket prevents latex entering the vacuum lines and a rubber gasket seals the mold from the outside world.

Gelling

This is the key step in the “foaming process” when the liquid foam becomes solid and has gelled.

In the original Dunlop Process, the foam is set by adding to the wet foam of a small amount of gelling agent (sodium silicofluoride or SSF).

In the Talalay process, the foam is frozen then carbon dioxide gas (an acidic gas) is passed through the foam to lower its pH & set it.

This means that on warming up again the foam does not revert to liquid. The foam at this stage is however very weak and could not possibly be removed from the mold intact. The strength is built in during the next stage & vulcanization.

Sulfur and Vulcanization

Sulfur is added to the mix during compounding. Without sulfur in the production process, the foam would resemble chewing gum and would have little resilience. The double bonds in the rubber molecule are utilized by sulfur, which forms bridges with adjacent molecules, known as cross-linking. This process gives the product its familiar properties of elasticity and resilience.

The process of heating rubber with sulfur is called vulcanization or ‘curing’ and was discovered by Charles Goodyear in 1839. This is a fairly slow process, even at a temperature of +240°F so certain accelerators are required in the production process to make this happen quickly. A very small addition of these reduces the time required for curing from about 25 minutes to about 8 minutes. At the end of this time, the mold is cooled, opened, and the product is removed and sent to the washer.

Washing

This removes soaps, ammonia and anything else water soluble, that has served its purpose and is no longer wanted or needed in the product. The removal of these prevents discoloration, odor, and a tacky feeling of the product.

Antioxidant

Any double bonds in the rubber which are not used up by the sulfur are at risk from attack by oxygen and ozone in the atmosphere, particularly when catalyzed by the presence of UV light. This is why latex will deteriorate in sunlight. A small amount of ‘antioxidant’ is added to the latex during compounding. This is a substance which is preferentially oxidized (& therefore sacrificed), thus affording some protection to the rubber. Eventually, however, it becomes depleted and deterioration of the rubber then occurs. Latex foam must never be cleaned with solvents (dry-cleaning): this would remove any antioxidant completely, causing rapid deterioration.

Molds and Heat Transfer

Molds are made from aluminum (very good heat transfer properties) and are hollow, with channels within their walls so that a heat transfer fluid can circulate through them.

Since latex foam is a very poor conductor of heat a large number of ‘pins’ are present to enable heat/cold to get into the heart of the foam. The pins create pinholes that are very useful because they make it much easier to remove moisture during the drying process.

And there you have it – your latex mattress is made from a series of steps that takes rubber tree sap and turns it into a soft and supportive sheet of foam with varying firmnesses ready to be bundled into a cover.

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