Latex mattresses are made in one of two ways. They are either made using the Dunlop method of latex mattress construction or the Talalay method of latex mattress construction. Either method offers distinctive benefits depending on what type of mattress you’re most interested in purchasing.
The Dunlop Method begins with the removal of latex or sap from a rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis). The sap is whipped into a frothy mixture or foam. Once the right consistency of froth is achieved, the mixture is poured into a mold and covered. The mold is kind of like a giant waffle iron with pins that are used to conduct heat. The foam is then baked. During the baking process in the Dunlop method, sediment in the mixture sinks to the bottom of the mold. This process creates a firmer and denser underside (and total mattress) than you’ll find with Talalay mattresses.
Some latex mattress manufacturers (not PlushBeds) or retailers glue the layers of latex mattresses together. This process not only contains harsh petrochemicals, but it also reduces the full customizability of a latex mattress that allows you to adjust the layers for comfort and firmness.
Because the Dunlop method creates mattresses that are firmer than Talalay mattresses, some couples prefer to add a top comfort layer of Talalay latex to their Dunlop mattress core to provide a little more relief for pressure points, for back pain relief, fibromyalgia pain relief, or simply to account for personal taste. This is not possible in latex mattresses that have been glued together. Easy customizability is one major benefit of buying direct from the manufacturer, like PlushBeds, over many retail outlets.
The Talalay method of construction begins much the same as the Dunlop method. The process begins with the natural latex from rubber tree sap combined with air and whipped into a nice frothy foam. The foam is then poured into a mold, just like with the Dunlop method.
Here, though, the similarities end. In the Talalay method, the mold is covered and sealed. Then the air is removed from the mold via vacuum. This creates an even distribution of latex inside the mold. The next step is to freeze the latex particles at -20 degrees Fahrenheit so that they do not have the opportunity to settle as they do in the Dunlop method. Then the mold is heated to 220 degrees in order to “set” the mold.
Though the methods have some similarities, it is the differences between the two that set the mattresses they create apart. Both mattresses allow the ability to adjust firmness and softness according to preference, provided they aren’t glued and both provide an excellent sleep experience. However, the Dunlop method, which has been around since the 1920’s continues to provide a superior mattress that has somewhat greater longevity, and customer satisfaction (as evidenced by latex mattress reviews) than the Talalay method.
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