Origin of Latex
- Synthetic Latex:
Synthetic latex makes up most of the market today. It is man-made and what most people know to be latex. Synthetic latex behaves similar to organic latex but has a lot of shortcomings. It is less firm, has a significantly shorter lifespan and is probably most known for its off gassing of chemicals which can trigger allergic reactions.
- Natural Latex:
Compared to synthetic latex, organic latex has a strong and homogeneous cell structure and its smell is very pleasant. Sap is derived from rubber trees that grow within 10 degrees or 200km of the equator. The sap is collected by tapping, i.e. making an incisions under the bark of the tree and collecting the fluid that runs out. This looks very similar to tapping a maple tree for its syrup. As it is with the maple trees, so the cut on the rubber tree heals in a fairly short amount of time and the sap stops flowing. A new incision is made to continue the harvest. This cycle is repeated for around 180 days per year. Rubber trees yield sap for approximately 30 years before the trees are harvested and new ones are planted. Once harvest, the sap is transported to manufacturing plants and gets refined in one of two ways.
Natural Dunlop Latex VS Natural Talalay Latex
- Natural Dunlop Latex:
The process to manufacture Dunlop latex was first discovered in the 1920s. Once the sap reaches the plant it is poured into a centrifuge which whips the rubber sap into a froth. The serum is then poured into a mold, covered and steam baked. During this process, natural sedimentation takes place which makes Dunlop latex slightly denser in the bottom side than in the top of the mold. In comparison to the superior Talalay latex, Dunlop latex is not frozen. As a result, the latex will decrease slightly in density during its life. Despite being available in different firmness levels, Dunlop latex is generally firmer than Talalay latex.
- Natural Talalay Latex:
The Talalay process was first discovered by Joseph Talalay in the 1930s which marked the start of natural Talalay latex mattresses. Its manufacturing process is quite similar to Dunlop latex with the exception of two additional steps. After the sap is poured into the mold and before it is baked the following two processes take place. Firstly, latex is put in a vacuum chamber in order to ensure a consistent density throughout the mattress. Secondly, the latex serum is frozen. This results in a better consistency in the density of the latex over its life. The Talalay latex is the more expensive process to achieve a higher quality latex which is more elastic, more durable and has a better ventilation. Radium, one of the most premier Talalay Latex manufacturers resides in the Netherlands in Maastricht. They produce one of the highest quality Talalay latex in the world (why-vita-talalay).
Benefits of Natural Talalay Latex
- Breathable (Talalay is 4 times more breathable than dunlop latex)
- Unparalleled support
- Doesn’t transfer motion unlike traditional mattresses
- Much higher life span than conventional mattresses
- Anti-fungal and anti-bacterial
- Dust mite resistant
- No toxic off-gassing