Categories: Mattress

How is a Latex Mattress Made?

Latex mattresses are growing in popularity as people discover the many wonderful, back-saving, environmental, and other benefits they deliver – not to mention their exceptionally long lifespans when compared to other mattresses. But, as awareness is raised about the many benefits of sleeping on a natural latex mattress, there is a corresponding increase in questions about how latex mattresses are made.

This guide will help you understand a little more about the ingredients that go into your natural latex mattress and the manufacturing process so you can buy with confidence that you are getting a product that is good for your family and the planet.

Two Methods for Making Natural Latex Mattresses

When it comes to natural latex mattresses, there are two methods that are widely used to do to make them. This doesn’t include various methods used to create synthetic latex foam mattresses, but those mattresses do not provide the superior quality, durability, comfort, and support you can expect when you invest in a natural latex foam mattress.

Both methods of making natural latex mattresses begin with a single source: the rubber tree, or Hevea Brasiliensis. The tree grows in abundance in tropical climates, and is tapped for the sap, which is harvested for its latex.

There are many reasons this is important, especially to people concerned about the planet. These are a few fine examples:

  • Rubber trees mature quickly. It only takes six years for a rubber tree to mature enough to be tapped for latex.
  • Rubber trees can be tapped numerous times. You may tap a rubber tree once daily, though many growers will alternate days or tap trees only a certain number of trees per week.
  • Rubber trees are great oxygen producers. Planting more rubber trees is good for the planet. It really is as simple as that. As few as 12 acres of rubber trees can remove 143 tons of carbon dioxide from the air within one year’s time.
  • Rubber trees live long lives. Rubber trees can live up to 100 years offering the same environmental benefits for removing carbon dioxide from the air and more.
  • Tapping rubber trees for latex foams creates jobs. More importantly, it creates jobs that offer living wages to local residents in parts of the world where exploitation is far too common.

The real beauty is that artificial additives and ingredients, petrochemicals specifically, are not added to the sap when manufacturing natural latex mattresses with either of the methods detailed below.

How the Dunlop Method for Making Latex Mattresses Works

The Dunlop method is the traditional method for making latex mattresses. This method has been around for nearly 100 years, and has been a standard in the industry throughout that time. In this method, the sap is removed from the rubber trees. It is then whipped into a nice frothy foam. Once the right consistency is achieved, the foam is poured into a very specific mold, then baked.

The mold used for baking the foam resembles, to many, a giant waffle iron with pins in the middle. These pins allow heat to be conducted evenly throughout the mold, while creating the unique look that belongs to latex mattresses (and allows air to flow freely keeping you cooler while you sleep).

During the baking process, sediment in the mixture will sink to the bottom of the mattress creating a much firmer foundation than what you will find with a Talalay mattress.

Dunlop mattresses have several unique characteristics that set them apart from mattresses made with the Talalay method. First, there are fewer steps involved, and the process is far more straightforward. This means you can usually find Dunlop mattresses at lower price points than Talalay latex mattresses. Second, Dunlop mattresses are incredibly durable, and tend to last a little longer than Talalay mattresses. Finally, Dunlop mattresses offer unparalleled support, making them excellent choices for individuals who have back pain and need additional support in their mattresses.

The Talalay Manufacturing Process for Latex Mattresses

Talalay latex mattresses begin, like Dunlop mattresses, with the latex foam from various rubber trees. This foam is then combined with air before whipping it into a nice foam mixture. Once the foam has reached its desired consistency, it will be poured into a mold very similar to the one used in the Dunlop method. This is where the similarities end.

In the Talalay method, the mold is now covered and sealed, and the air removed by a vacuum. The purpose is to evenly distribute the latex inside the mold. Then the foam is frozen so that settling (the thing that happens in the Dunlop method that makes the mattresses so firm) does not occur. Once it has been frozen to a temperature of 20 degrees below zero, it is heated to a temperature of 200 degrees to create the actual mattress.

The Big Picture with Dunlop and Talalay Manufacturing Methods

The beauty isn’t in using one or the other of these methods, but in using the two of them together to create firm and soft, comfortable layers for your natural latex mattress. This is the part of the process that helps you truly customize your mattress to meet your needs as an individual or the needs of both parties when you share your bed with a life partner.

Talalay mattresses offer a few distinctive benefits as well including the fact that they are infinitely more breathable than Dunlop because they are not as dense. The biggest benefit, though, especially for side sleepers, is the added comfort and pressure point relief you’ll enjoy with Talalay mattresses.

The real beauty of a PlushBeds natural latex mattress is that you get to choose the level of comfort and support that works best with you, because it is possible to combine layers (generally a Talalay top comfort layer, with a denser Dunlop layer beneath it for support and durability) to get the perfect rest you deserve night after night.

Whether you prefer more support, more comfort, or a fine balance between the two in your mattress, it is always wise to consider mattresses, like natural latex mattresses from PlushBeds, that allow you to choose your own comfort level and make adjustments so that you get that just right sleep you need.

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Amber Merton

Amber Merton is an accomplished writer on the topics of green living and sleep. Her work has been covered in numerous online publications. Amber has been a regular author on the PlushBeds blog for the past 7 years.

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