What is Latex Construction in a Mattress?
Latex is a popular material used in mattress construction for its long-lasting properties, and it’s ability to add a responsiveness to foam mattresses. Latex is a natural material which is processed by use of heat. Many mattress manufacturers use latex as a main component in their construction, for this article we will cover Latex as a piece within a mattress, and not the structure as a whole.
Latex is formed by using the sap of the Rubber tree, Hevea Brasiliensis. The material is considered a Green Material/Sustainable, due to latex being derived from a carefully maintained renewable resource. Latex is made by frothing the sap of the rubber tree and then vulcanizing the material into sheets called “buns.” There are two different methods in which Latex is made:
- Dunlop Method – In this method of processing latex the sap of the rubber tree is frothed with air and placed in a huge waffle iron like mold. The mold has needles from top piece to bottom piece which allow heat to pass. Once the sap is in the form is in then cooked at temperatures over 200 degrees. The result is a “bun” of latex 6 inches in height. The Dunlop method of processing produces a heavier latex, with firmer properties. The firmness of the Dunlop latex is due to the presence of settling of heavier molecules on the lower part of the latex mold during the cooking phase. Dunlop latex is an excellent core to any mattress construction.
- Talalay Method – The Talalay Method is much like the Dunlop method, in that the mattress is frothed and placed into a mold. At that point the Talalay method then vacuums the air out of the mold, causing the latex to expand to fill the shape. The mold is then flash frozen, to keep the latex in place, CO2 is then used to gel the latex in place. The mold is then baked at temperatures reaching 220 degrees. The result is a lighter material in which the latex molecules are spread evenly throughout the sheet of foam. The properties of the Talalay latex are a lighter foam, softer feel, and great airy responsive layer.
Why is Latex good in a mattress?
Latex is an excellent foam for use in mattresses due to its responsiveness, and it’s durability. Latex offers a feel of bounce in the beds in which it is built. Whereas memory foam offers a conforming shape to the user, latex offers a springy response, and depending on its manufacturing method it can offer a soft or a firm layer of support. Many times both processes of manufacturing are included in a mattress construction, providing a soft initial feel for fewer pressure points with excellent back support.
Durability is another plus in having a Latex layer in your mattress. Latex is a long-lasting foam; many manufacturers will list their latex mattresses with a 20 to 25-year warranty due to its durability and ability to withstand body impressions for more extended periods of time.
What about Latex allergies?
Latex allergies are a concern, however, as few as 1% of the population have these sensitivities. The allergen is a protein found in latex that has been cold dipped. The protein then comes in contact with skin and can cause hives, swelling, and even blisters. Cold dipping is a process in which stretchy latex materials are made, such as gloves, condoms, and balloons.
The method in which latex foam is made virtually eliminates this protein, add to that the washing process of the latex after processing and the protein is almost a nonfactor. Another degree of security is that you never actually touch the latex, any mattress will have a cover surrounding the foam materials, add sheets and a protector to that and as you can see the protein contact is eliminated.
How do I know which method of Latex is in my mattress? How do I know if it is 100% Latex?
Manufacturers will label their foams, however, some will give them proprietary names, which can add confusion to the selection process. At Sleep Well we have relationships with our manufacturers, and they will provide all information on their foams, which we then provide to you. A reputable retailer can give you details of the make-up of their mattresses. It is an important factor to consider, and our staff is fully trained on these foams.
Latex manufacturing leaves a lot of room for additives and other chemicals that can weaken the structure of latex to make a “cheaper” foam layer. Luckily there are certifications in the latex foam arena which police the manufacturers and guarantee the quality you are expecting.
How do I know if a Latex bed is right for me?
There is only one way of knowing if you would like latex in your mattress, you must experience the bed yourself. Lay on one, stay on the mattress for at least 10 minutes. Give it time to adjust to you, give yourself time to feel the responsiveness of the foam, and the support it provides you.
If you have questions or comments please leave them in the comment box below! Thank you for sharing.
Sources: http://www.latexmattress.org, www.latexallergyresources.org, www.webmd.com/allergies, https://www.plushbeds.com/blog/mattress/how-a-latex-mattress-is-made/
About the author:
Javier is the owner of Sleep Well, a professionally trained sleep store, specializing in specific mattresses for specific needs. He lives to give. He is an active member of his community and church. His hard work and efforts pay off for him when he can help others, and give to efforts for the betterment of others.
His spare time is spent with his beautiful wife, Gretchen. They are craft beer hobbyists who enjoy making their own beers, visiting small breweries, and making new friends. Their lives revolve around church, family, exercising, four great dogs, and keeping up with their home in Alamogordo NM.