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What is Latex foam mattress

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(Last Updated On: July 21, 2018)

What is Latex foam mattress

latex mattress is a large pad created by using the gathered and processed milky substance gotten from a rubber tree or the synthesised latex from petroleum oils. The latex is what makes up the internals of the mattress instead of springs or air.Latex mattresses are three different types – natural or not!

Natural Latex

The para rubber tree by the Latin name Hevea brasiliensis produces a milky substance (not sap) which is then whipped into liquid foam and moulded into latex mattresses. To tap the rubber trees, a method similar to tapping syrup from maple trees is used. A little piece of the tree bark gets carved out, and the whitish substance flows out into containers set.

Latex Foam Mattress

Latex foam mattress definition

A latex mattress is a large pad created by using the gathered and processed milky substance gotten from a rubber tree or the synthesised latex from petroleum oils. The latex is what makes up the internals of the mattress instead of springs or air.

Latex mattresses are three different types – natural or not!

Natural Latex

The para rubber tree by the Latin name Hevea brasiliensis produces a milky substance (not sap) which is then whipped into liquid foam and moulded into latex mattresses. To tap the rubber trees, a method similar to tapping syrup from maple trees is used. A little piece of the tree bark gets carved out, and the whitish substance flows out into containers set.

Before a rubber tree can yield latex, it has to be grown for at least seven years. The excess water in the latex is removed to thicken it for use in factories.

Synthetic Latex

Synthetic = humanmade products. The latex gotten from chemical additives and petroleum oils makes up the composition of an artificial latex foam mattress. When these chemicals and fuels are polymerized with a monomer like a styrene, the result is a latex mattress that is similar to the natural latex foam mattress.

The most common type of synthetic latex in existence is SBR (styrene-butadiene rubber).

Blended Latex

Blended latex comprises both natural and synthetic latex. Although some manufacturers believe that the mixing of natural and artificial latex brings their best qualities together, it is also a cheaper method of producing foam mattresses.

Telling the difference

From a glance, natural, synthetic and blended latex look the same, but in-depth inspection can bring out the difference. Ways to tell the difference include:

  • Smell: Due to the use of fewer to no chemicals, natural latex has no offensive chemical odour. If there is a hint of a scent, it is either sweet or inoffensive. In the case of synthetic and blended, there is a chemical smell.
  • Certification: If left to their own devices, some manufacturers would label their products as natural even when it is not. A way to know if this is true is to check if the manufacturer has a certification by a recognised association or organisation to verify the organic or natural nature.

Note that the two methods stated above are not foolproof as smells can be misleading and certifications for products are also given when they have other components that are not all natural.

Methods of processing latex foam

To prepare latex foam, there are two methods used:

Differences between the two manufacturing processes

1 Talalay Latex ,

1.1Concept has been around since 1940,

1.2 A centrifuge is used to whip the rubber sap into a froth. The foam is poured into a mould and seal. Air in the mold is extracted in a vacuum chamber before it is flash frozen through the use of chemicals before baking.

2 Dunlop Latex

2.1 Theory has been around since 1929

2.2 A centrifuge is used to whip the rubber sap into a froth. The sap is poured into a mold, covered and then steam baked. The natural sediments in the sap settle at the bottom of the mold, making the bottom of Dunlop latex mattresses firmer.


Benefits of latex foam mattresses

  • One of the primary attractions of latex foam mattresses is their pressure-relieving attributes. The support provided to the spine is due to the capability of the mattress to evenly distribute your body weight. Although the mattress is soft to the touch, once laid upon, it firms up as soon as your body settles into it giving adequate support.
    Pressure Relief & Comfort

In addition to the support provided, the latex foam mattress also relieves pressure points, thereby reducing or preventing pains. Due to the resilient nature of latex, sleepers can be well supported as sufficient pressure is exerted on shoulders, hips and other body parts in other to support proper alignment of the body.

  • Durability

Due to their naturally resilient state (dust, mite and mold resistant), they can last longer than other foam mattresses. Most latex foam mattresses are still able to fully function after seven years. However, it is best to change mattresses after 5 years because the springiness and support provided by the latex mattress reduce over time.

  • Environmentally Friendly

Another benefit of the natural latex is that it is the epitome of eco-friendly which also contributes to its popularity among individuals. The materials used in its creation are tapped from rubber trees in a way that allows for them to keep growing even after extraction of rubber. The fact that trees do not have to be harvested before extracting the rubber guards against issues like global warming and they also help in purifying the air we breathe. The biodegradable and durable nature of latex are also factors that reduce waste.

  • Safety

The natural latex foam mattress happens to be one of the safest material to lay on. Almost all other types of mattresses make use of one petroleum-based ingredient or adhesive element for their composition. The latex foam does not release toxic chemicals that are harmful when inhaled and neither do they contribute to pollution

Also, natural latex has a fire-resistant nature, and the lack of chemicals means it does not pose a fire hazard. Several of the chemicals used in other mattresses are known to be causes of reproductive toxicity and cancer among others.

  • Resistance

Dust mites, fungi, mildew, mould and bacteria are problems you do not have to worry about with natural latex foam due to its hypoallergenic nature. Yeasts and fungi are known domestic allergens, and mattresses are just the right environment for them to abide, however, latex keeps them at bay.

  • Customization

Latex mattresses are also known for their customizable nature. They can be adjusted to fit your body and achieve a specific feel and different levels of firmness.

 

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