What are Latex Mattresses?
When answering the question “What is a latex mattress?” it’s important to note that not all latex mattresses are created equally. While every FloBeds mattress is crafted using 100% natural Talalay latex foam, other latex mattresses can be made with either natural or synthetic latex or a blend of the two. Natural latex is harvested from the sap of rubber trees, while synthetic latex is made from chemicals combined to imitate the feel of natural latex. Whether made from natural or synthetic material, latex foam is whipped into a froth, poured over molds and baked to create a uniform, durable, responsive mattress. Latex mattresses offer a sleeping experience that provides optimal spinal support while also cushioning your pressure points, making it the ideal mattress for side, stomach and back sleepers.
What Is Latex Mattress Manufacturing Like?
The two main processes for manufacturing latex foam are the Dunlop and Talalay methods. Each method relies on vulcanization by cross-linking latex with sulfur to produce a stabilized foam. However, we at FloBeds believe significant differences in the overall processes make Talalay latex a much better fit for mattresses. Each of our mattresses is composed of layered natural Talalay latex cores topped with a convoluted, or “egg-crate,” top Talalay layer and then covered in organic cotton or wool.
The Dunlop Process for Creating Latex Foam
Established in 1929, the Dunlop process is the oldest method for creating latex foam. The process begins by mixing natural latex with vulcanizing accelerators (typically sulfur) and soap before pouring it into a mold, which is then sealed, pressurized and conveyed into a vulcanization oven. From there, the latex foam is thoroughly rinsed and dried.
How the Talalay Process Improves Upon the Dunlop Process
Developed in the 1940s, the Talalay process improves upon the Dunlop process by adding two steps between mixing and vulcanization. The result is a more durable, consistent and supple latex foam. The Talalay process begins much the same as the Dunlop process, except the mold is only filled halfway. It is then sealed and put into a vacuum to distribute the latex throughout the mold evenly. From there, the mold is flash frozen before it is heated. The remainder of the process is the same as the Dunlop method. These extra steps make Talalay latex more costly, but the added durability, consistency and suppleness are well worth it.
The Differences Between Latex and Memory Foam
Many mattress shoppers mistakenly believe that latex and memory foam mattresses offer, more or less, the same sleeping experience. Though each provides posture support, the truth is, latex and memory foam are vastly different.
Mattress Responsiveness & Feel
One of the biggest differences between memory foam and latex mattresses is in how each conforms to your body throughout the night. Your body sinks into memory foam, creating an impression that is the exact shape as your body. In contrast, while latex allows for sinkage and compression, it only generally conforms to the shape of your body. This lets you lie on top of, rather than in, the mattress. Memory foam is very slow to respond, which means when you press your hand in, your handprint remains after you take it away. Latex, on the other hand, bounces back almost instantly. Latex mattresses offer a lighter feel, with more bounce and faster response times than their memory foam counterparts.
Latex mattresses also offer a much cooler sleeping experience than memory foam. Because it is so dense, memory foam has a difficult time dispersing heat throughout the night. On the other hand, what is a latex mattress if not cool? Given the open structure of latex foam, latex mattresses are naturally cooling. In fact, FloBeds 100% natural latex mattresses allow for breathability that is seven times better than other types of latex or foam.
Perhaps one of the most overlooked differences between latex and memory foam is the environmental impact of each. Because of the natural, biodegradable ingredients and green manufacturing techniques used for latex mattresses, they are more environmentally friendly than memory foam. Memory foam, which is typically petroleum-based, can release volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, which are responsible for that “chemical” smell associated with new mattresses, known as off-gassing. Because they use a plant-based material, latex mattresses do not off-gas. Latex mattresses are also hypoallergenic, antimicrobial and three times more resistant to dust mites than traditional mattresses.
What Are Latex Mattresses’ Benefits?
Latex mattresses have some of the highest overall satisfaction ratings of all mattresses and for good reason. Sleeping on a latex mattress offers several benefits for your health, the environment and your pocketbook.
Comfort & Support
Highly customizable to be tailored to each individual sleeper’s needs, even when sharing the same mattress, latex mattresses offer exceptional comfort and support. Each latex mattress created by FloBeds is designed to match a sleeper’s weight, sleeping style and support needs. This means you can achieve proper spinal alignment, as well as relief for your pressure points, and wake well-rested whether you’re a stomach, side or back sleeper.
Durability & Longevity
All-natural latex is highly durable. This property in a mattress offers you the same level of comfort and support for much longer than other mattresses. In fact, on average, latex mattresses outlast other mattresses by anywhere from 2 to 7 years, if not far longer. Though they may have a higher price tag, latex mattresses need to be replaced less frequently, saving you money in the long run.
Health & Safety
Generally speaking, natural latex mattresses are free of the harsh chemicals used in the manufacturing of other mattresses, including adhesives or petroleum-based materials that release potentially harmful gases as they age. The latex used in our beds is also naturally hypoallergenic and antimicrobial, making it not only free of harsh chemicals but also bacteria, mold and mildew — all of which contribute significantly to respiratory problems in people of all ages.