Organic Latex

What is the difference between natural latex and organic latex?

November 07, 2021 0 Comments

Organic latex mattress is made from a particular type of natural rubber that is sourced from rubber trees. While these trees are native to the Amazon, they can be cultivated across the world. This type of mattress is gaining popularity because it is cool, comfy and natural. In this post we're going to shed light on everything a latex mattress encompasses, read on so you will find out how you can make an informed buying decision.

 

What is natural latex made from?

A natural latex mattress is made from a natural rubber tree. You can be sure that you are choosing a mattress that is safe for your family because a true natural organic latex mattress does not contain any chemicals. It is known for its coolness and breathability thanks to its rubber tree component. When you are buying the mattress, be sure to get in touch with a mattress company selling a certified organic mattress. 

The best thing about a natural latex mattress is it relieves pressure and keeps you comfortable at night. Compared to a foam mattress, a latex mattress is cooler. For hot sleepers, this mattress helps you to stay cool. It's also a great option if your partner keeps on tossing and turning at night because it is made with minimal motion transfer so you'll have a smoother and more peaceful sleep.

You will gain peace of mind because a natural latex mattress is good for your health by providing excellent spine support and pressure relief. It also prevents moisture or heat buildup because of its breathable material. 


How is natural latex made?

Natural latex refers to a milky sap taken from rubber trees such as Hevea Brasiliensis. Rubber stress can usually be found in South America, but they are also imported to countries around the globe. These trees growing in the wild can reach up to 130 feet in height and they have a lifespan of up to 100 years. They thrive in forest gaps, moist forests, wetlands, disturbed areas and riparian zones. When harvesting latex from rubber trees, the process is the same as harvesting from maple syrup. The harvesting process is called tapping that involves cutting a wedge in the rubber trees' bark.  

The rule of thumb is to reach the latex without harming the sap vessels. Once the bark is cut, latex will ooze out. The container attached to the tree will collect the latex. Tapping should be done every other day. For every tap, the tree yields 56 grams of latex. After tapping the tree, the bark that has been cut will become dry, preventing latex from flowing in approximately two hours. It's important that the tapping process should be done properly to prevent harming trees. Tapping is allowed for six-year-old trees. You can continue to tap them until they are 28 years old.


What is organic latex made from?

Organic mattress is sourced from the milky sap of a rubber tree. Just like a natural mattress, the latex needs to be carefully extracted from the sap by making a thin diagonal cut. This cutting technique removes the tree bark so the fluid will flow without seriously harming the tree. Once the fluid is collected, the organic will be produced by diluting the original fluid. It should be purified by mixing 1.5% of compounds that will solidify and stabilize the fluid, making it easier to convert into a mattress. There are two manufacturing processes involved in making an organic latex mattress, the Talalay method and Dunlop method.


How is Organic Latex Made?

Talalay Method

This method was developed in the '50s. It works like the Dunlop method but the way the final product is produced made the difference. The processed latex needs to be whipped so it will create a frothy foam. It is then poured into a mould and sealed until the bubbles expand. 

This process allows the latex to disperse evenly. After this step, the latex foam needs to be flash frozen at -20° F. The foam has to be heated immediately at a temperature of 200° F so it will solidify permanently. This step turns the foam into a solid and stabilized latex block. Once the block cools down, it should be washed and cut, making it ready for use. 

The Talalay method produces a different foam texture. Organic latex mattresses made from the Dunlop method are springy while the ones from the Talalay method are bouncy. 

Dunlop Method

The Dunlop method is a traditional method of creating organic latex mattresses. It involves a whipping process to make the latex mixture foamy. Once the mixture achieves the desired consistency, it is placed in a large vat so unwanted particles and impurities are removed. The filtered mixture requires baking at a temperature of 350° F. Baking allows the mixture to take the mould's shape. Once baking is complete, the latex foam will be washed to remove residues. The latex foam needs to be dried with the use of hot air. 


What are some of the benefits of organic latex?

Knowing whether or not an organic mattress is worth it will depend on the benefits they offer. 

1. Beneficial to People with Sensitive Skin or Allergies

If you have allergies, sensitive skin or asthma, you need a mattress that can protect you from ambient allergens and dust mites. An organic mattress is made with GOLS certified latex that is known to be hypoallergenic and is less likely to trigger allergies and cause skin irritation. Poly Foam mattresses, on the other hand, contain more chemicals that can be harmful to your health. However, you will need to keep in mind that latex proteins need to be removed if you also have a latex allergy. 

If you have an allergy to dust mites, the organic latex will also help you alleviate your allergy with its antimicrobial properties that prevent dust mites from surviving in the mattress. You also deter mold growth with the organic mattress' ability to put a stop to allergy-inducing spores. You will also need to check with the mattress manufacturer to make sure that the organic mattress does not have the hevein protein as it can be harmful to those with a latex allergy.


2. Cool Sleep

Another benefit of an organic mattress is that it allows you to sleep cooler because they are often made not only of latex but also with organic cotton. Cotton covers are breathable and can also encourage airflow. Since latex has a pinhole core, the latex layers will expel the warm air inside your mattress and replace it with much cooler air, regulating the temperature when you move around. With all-foam memory foam mattresses, you become at risk of inhaling toxins. Not only are they uncomfortable to sleep in, they can also impede airflow. An organic mattress can adjust to your body heat and individual body shape, preventing overheating.


3. Eco-Friendly

Most organic latex mattresses are sourced and processed using responsible and sustainable practices so you can be sure that they do not contain harmful chemicals like pesticides and herbicides, reducing eco footprint. The materials are also biodegradable, making it easier for you to recycle your mattress. You will know when an organic mattress is manufactured in a more eco-friendly process if you see some of these certifications. 

  • Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS).
  • Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).
  • Cradle to Cradle.
  • Organic Exchange Certification.
  • Forest Stewardship Council.
  • The Global Recycled Standard.

4. Less Toxins

An organic latex mattress does not contain harmful substances like toluene diisocyanate, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), styrene-butadiene, toluene diisocyanate, propylene oxide, formaldehyde, naphthalene and much more. When these chemicals are released in small quantities, they can be inhaled through off-gassing, a phenomenon where volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are released after you unbox the mattress. 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), VOCs are 10 times higher inside your home and can result in a plethora of negative effects on your health such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, nervous system damage and cancer. Choosing a mattress made from natural latex certified by GOLS will protect you from these substances. Poly-foam mattresses have hazardous substances that can put your health at risk. 


5. Less Odour

Non-organic mattresses produce unpleasant odour because of the presence of adhesives, dyes, and glues. The off-gassing smell can cause skin irritation, allergic reactions and other serious health issues. An organic mattress emits a delicate smell of "vanilla." Also, you will know your mattress is free from toxic chemicals if it has one or more of the following certifications:

  • GREENGUARD
  • CertiPUR-US®
  • OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100

6. More Durable 

Since organic latex mattresses are made of natural materials, they tend to have a longer lifespan than non-organic mattresses. A mattress with high natural latex content can last up to 12 years while spring mattresses can only last up to 7 years on average. While poly-foam mattresses might be cheaper, the density value is less than 1.8 PCF. 

This means that it is the least durable and will degrade faster with repeated compression. Be sure to buy a mattress that has little synthetic latex because fillers can affect the quality of the latex and the durability of the mattress. 


7. Better for Kids and Adults Alike

You are taking care of your family's immune and nervous systems when you choose an organic latex mattress because it does not contain VOCs and chemicals that can expose your family to irritants and allergens for long periods.


What are Some of the Negatives Associated with Organic Latex?

Owning an organic latex mattress might be an investment, but it also comes with some drawbacks that you should be aware of so you will know what to expect in case you plan to buy one. 


1. More Costlier than Poly Foam Mattresses 

If you are going to focus on the price, there is no doubt that an organic latex mattress comes with a hefty price tag that can be prohibitive for some buyers. Even people who show deep concern and commitment for the planet and personal health will still deem the cost of an organic latex mattress pricier than non-organic mattresses. However, the benefits that an organic latex mattress offers outweigh the cost. This is because this mattress helps you to stay comfortable for 20 years. You will enjoy a supportive sleep and will never worry about being exposed to chemicals.


2. Heavier than Mattresses Made From Inorganic Material

When shopping for organic latex mattresses, you have to keep in mind that they come in many variables. Their weight is also influenced by the construction specifications and materials. Before you commit to buying an organic latex mattress, be sure to check the weight because the weight of all mattress models vary. For most people, weight is not an issue since it is not like you are going to move or carry your mattress on a daily basis. While you will slightly move your mattress when changing sheets or vacuuming, there is no need to rotate the mattress as often. Foam is known to be resilient and will maintain its shape for years. 


3. Allergies

While an organic latex mattress is better for people with allergies than their non-organic counterparts, there is still a possibility of an allergic reaction if wool and latex are present. Since 1% of the population has a latex allergy, expect to have threatening reactions to proteins that are usually found in organic latex. 


4. Limited Options to Test

Most organic latex mattresses are available online. This method of purchasing household items is considered as a practice that has been widely accepted. However, there are still risks involved because there is a limited opportunity to test the product. Some companies provide trial periods, 100% money-back guarantee and free shipping to give assurance to buyers that they sell high-quality products. If there is a need to test the product, then you are out of luck unless there is a brick and mortar store in your area that sells organic latex mattresses. Another way you can determine if the product is worth buying is to read reviews and comment sections. Most of these will give you insights into firmness, overall comfort and softness of your mattress.




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