Unlike plastic foam mattresses, latex foam mattresses are a natural and non-toxic way to get a great night’s sleep. Latex foam mattresses are naturally breathable, hypoallergenic, and antimicrobial (no materials are added to attain these properties). For buyers who are looking for a latex mattress the terms that manufacturers use can be confusing or misleading, the purpose of this article is to explain what manufacturing terms actually mean, as well as how the production process works.
Latex is the natural product of latex-bearing trees. It starts as a milky substance that flows from holes made in the tree. It is the main ingredient in the production of rubber and other latex products. Synthetic latex, which mimics natural latex, is also commonly used.
100% Natural Dunlop Latex Foam
Only 40% of the milk of the rubber tree is latex, and workers extract it before undergoing the Dunlop process of pouring and curing. Early natural latex varies in consistency and quality depending on the manufacturer because there is no standard for how much of the milk of the rubber tree used. Some companies may use a greater percentage of the milk instead of purifying it further. Thus, a company using 70% of the fluid would have a lower cost for their finished product than the company using the latex reduced to its purer 40% of the sap from the tree.
Blended Dunlop Latex Foam
To develop a more consistent latex and adopt a type of standard, manufacturers began blending natural and synthetic latex. Synthetic latex has the same cell structure as natural latex and is stronger, but it lacks the elastic properties of natural latex. Blended latex is made by taking an amount of the purest latex and mixing it with synthetic latex. This mixture could still vary by manufacturer, but because of the inclusion of the highest purity natural latex, the material is more standard.
Blended Talalay Latex Foam
97% of the time the term "Talalay Latex" means that the latex is a blend of approximately 70% synthetic latex, and 30% natural latex. 3% of the time it refers to 100% natural.) The "Talalay process" is an expensive process but when it comes to producing latex that will last the longest and have a wider range of firmness Talalay Latex is the superior option. There are only three Talalay manufacturers in the world: Latex International, Radium Foam, and a new plant in China as of 2010.
The Dunlop Process is, unfortunately, unable to produce a very soft latex that is also durable. If the natural Dunlap latex foam is too soft, it will wear out faster. It is also difficult to achieve a soft latex with the blended latex as well, although the blended is still superior because of its consistency and increased durability. In the past, a mattress manufacturer would pay 25% more for blended Talalay latex than they would for an all-natural latex produced using the Dunlop process. Recently, with the increased demand for more natural products, the two cost about the same.
100% Natural Talalay Latex Foam
100% Natural Talalay foam is very rare in the marketplace despite what other mattress companies may have you believe. Only two companies make 100% all Natural latex foam using the Talalay process: Radium Foam and Latex International. Talalay Natural Latex is a blend of approximately 98% natural and 2% synthetic. The 2% synthetic is needed as a bonding agent in the "Talalay" process and does not alter its classification as 100% natural. Of all the Talalay processed latex produced by Radium Foam and Latex International, only about 3% is all natural. It priced higher due to steps in the process that slow down production because of the foam being 100% natural. The Talalay process also requires expensive specialized equipment, adding to the overall cost.