What is Latex?
Latex foam is an inherently natural, allergy-free product sought-after by environmentally-conscious consumers. Apart from its natural and allergy-free characteristics, latex foam is known as one of the most resilient materials on the market.
2. Types of Latex?
The first form of latex manufacturing called the Dunlop process, introduced latex foam to the market. Although, latex foam takes on a new image when the Talalay brothers implemented a much more modern and improved production method. Talalay latex process starts with vacuum-sealing and flash-freezing the materials before baking. It gives a more stable cell structure and thus a more cohesive feel than Dunlop.
2. When are they best used?
Latex is an entirely natural material used to produce durable and long-lasting mattresses. It makes latex eco-friendly and strongly recommended for those who are mindful of the material in their sleeping surface. Latex mattresses are the best choice for children, pregnant women, senior citizens, or those who are sensitive to other materials.
You should go for a latex mattress if you are:
- Opting for organic, non-synthetic materials in your house
- Inclined to a 100% natural and biodegradable, environmentally-friendly alternative
- In need of a naturally well-ventilated and cool sleeping pad
- Looking for enough body support, long lifespan, and soft feel. Latex scores are high for resiliency and durability as a material.
3. When was it first introduced?
During 1920, a Scottish man named John Boyd Dunlop patented the use of latex for mattresses. Because of their privilege and wealth, the British Royal family has been said to be the first one to use latex mattresses.
With continuous innovation, the three brothers, namely Leon, Joseph, and Ansil Talalay, refined the latex production process and developed a system that is more stable and robust. The overall process, in a gist, is vacuuming the air out of the latex mold and freezing it to preserve the cellular structure.
4. Where to buy?
Sadly, purely natural latex beds are mostly available online, and it can be hard to find them in local stores. However, it’s much easier to find blended beds or hybrid beds – those with latex over foam. These hybrid beds are found both in stores as well as through online retailers.
When buying online, you may differentiate the retailers depending on the availability of certified organic latex, a range of comfort options, organic cotton covers, natural wool barrier, and reasonable prices. Also, you can find brands based on online reviews from real customers.
5. How to use it?
As with other mattresses, it is important to regularly flip your mattress. However, this is not the same with hybrid mattresses that have coil technology. Your mattress manufacturer would often have a detailed guide on their specific mattress care.
A mattress protector is a must-have with any kind of mattress and a latex mattress is no different. You can then protect your latex mattress from moisture damage and stains.
Water does not damage natural latex, but you have to keep in mind that you shouldn’t use strong chemicals while cleaning it. You can dilute mild detergents or isopropyl alcohol with small quantities of cold water to spot clean your mattress. A word of caution – never use bleach!
If you can still feel dampness, you can leave it and let it dry. Place the natural latex outside in a completely covered area and not exposed to direct light. Direct exposure to sunlight may cause the latex to break down. If you’re thinking of using a cool blow dryer, go ahead!
Although natural and blended latex shows apparent variations in their characteristics, the differences reflect on the prices. The average pure natural latex mattress price is about $2500, while the hybrid ones are priced around $1500 or more. You can get a natural, hybrid queen size mattress from Awara Sleep as low as $1199.
Lifespan depends on the type of latex bed. Usually, all-natural latex mattresses last for about 12 to 20 years, although some have a lifespan of 40 years or more. Mixed latex mattresses commonly last around 6-10 years.
8. Pros and Cons
Offers Extreme Comfort
Latex is a type of thick mattress that preserves its form, and hugs your body to support your back while you’re in deep sleep. Usually, it conforms to the curves of your body and relieves high-pressure areas.
Made from Natural Materials
Latex mattresses are known for their organic and eco-friendly characteristics. Though, these advantages are usually provided by only pure organic latex mattresses. It is essential to talk to the brand and understand the materials used and the certifications they have.
Off-gassing refers to the synthetic odors emitted by newly produced furniture and mattresses due to petroleum-based additives. While they may release off a latex rubber scent, all-natural latex mattresses have no chemical off-gassing.
Doesn’t Trap Much Heat
Thanks to its construction, latex material holds less heat than other forms of mattresses. Due to this characteristic, latex mattresses have very few reports of sleeping hot.
Since natural latex has high durability, these types of mattresses tend to have more extended warranties, which is around 20 years. Mixed models or those with polyfoam layers usually wear faster and have shorter warranties.
Not Too Effective for Relieving Pressure Points
While durable and strong, latex mattresses are not as effective in alleviating stress as other substitutes, such as memory foam. It partly depends on what type of latex used- Dunlop appears to be more robust, while Talalay is soft or firm.
Unfortunately, latex is not as good as memory foam when it comes to absorbing movement from one side of the bed to the other. Since latex beds have a bouncy property, it does not reasonably distribute movement.
Latex is among the most expensive materials to insert into a mattress. Because of that, latex mattresses appear to be the costliest type in the market. If you’re looking for a cheap latex mattress, you need to be very careful. It is impossible to produce a latex mattress at low costs. It means they either combined the latex with more “binder” to water down the real latex, or they used a thin layer of latex over polyurethane foam. Keep in mind that true latex will be more expensive than fake ones.