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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Latex Mattresses

Updated: Jan 26, 2023

Memory foam, pocket coil, hybrid foam-and-coil – these are probably the first materials that come to mind when we think of mattress construction. But have you heard about natural latex for mattress-making? We’re not talking about a dense slab of rubber that smells like hospital; latex mattresses have a lot to offer both in and out of bed.



Types of Natural Latex used in Custom Mattresses

Natural latex is a material derived from rubber trees. Yup: rubber trees. You know how maple trees can be tapped for their syrupy sap? Rubber trees can be tapped for their rubbery sap. With latex mattresses, the first step is to collect rubber sap and whip it into a foam. Then, one of two processes occur, depending on the mattress manufacturer:


Dunlop Latex

In this mattress-making process, the latex foam is poured into a mold, cooked in an oven to harden, and cleaned of any leftover tree debris. This creates a durable, long-lasting, flexible mattress with uniform density. Dunlop latex is more affordable than talalay latex. Plus, it’s a natural and eco-friendly construction process!


Talalay Latex

With this method, latex is poured into the mold, but only halfway. It’s then sealed and a vacuum is used to expand the foam until it fills the whole mold. The mattress is then frozen and injected with CO2, hardened in the oven, and cleaned. This process isn’t as sustainable and is more labor intensive, but creates a bouncier, softer latex mattress.



Natural Latex Mattresses are Sustainably-Sourced

So, we know the materials for latex mattresses are natural, which is cool. But is rubber-harvesting a sustainable process? The short answer is, yes! Rubber trees are pretty awesome, which is why we use their sap in everything from engine belts to super bouncy balls. A rubber tree can be tapped without hurting its health or lifespan, and most rubber trees produce sap for up to 30 years. Further, tapping a rubber tree actually encourages the tree to continue to grow.


Okay, so the mattresses are sourced sustainably, but what about the other end of the process? Eventually, even the nicest natural latex mattress will wear out, and then it’s time to get a new one. It’s sleep hygiene; we’ve gotta do it. Where does the old mattress go? Well, the landfill, obviously, but it won’t stay there for long. Natural latex mattresses are biodegradable, which means they don’t add to landfill waste, and their breakdown may actually contribute to waste consolidation as the landfill settles.


Latex is a Durable Mattress Material

Listen; we all love a good memory foam mattress, especially when paired with quilted mattress toppers and custom bedding. But, in all honesty, a latex mattress can give you that same feeling of cloudy comfort for years longer than any other mattress material, including memory foam. Yet another cool thing about rubber products is they last a long time, especially in latex form.


A quality-made custom latex mattress could last you anywhere between 12 to 20 years. This is because, on a molecular level, rubber wants to hold its shape. So every time you get out of bed, a latex foam mattress bounces right back to where it was – no deformation.


Mattresses Made of Latex are More Breathable

A main qualm with memory foam mattresses is that they sleep hot. If you’ll notice, there are a plethora of memory foam mattress toppers on the market that are infused with cooling gel foam to combat this lack of breathability. You don’t need that with latex, though!


The initial sap-to-foam process of creating a latex mattress forms an open cell structure that allows constant, evenly-distributed airflow. Many custom mattress makers enhance this natural feature with ultra-fine pinholes, which makes for a comfy foam mattress even the hottest of sleepers can stand.


Latex Mattresses are Hypoallergenic

Having boujee taste isn’t the only reason to be on-point about your mattress and bedding materials. Custom high-thread-count sheets made of organic cotton or bamboo are the perfect solution for people with fabric allergies, and a latex mattress is the perfect way to round that out.


For people with sensitivities to synthetic materials, a latex mattress is (almost) innate, especially when covered with a quilted cotton topper and hypoallergenic bamboo sheets. When it comes down to it, way less people have reactions to latex than memory foam.


Natural Latex Mattresses can Help Improve Back Pain

Okay, okay – so we love the sustainability, durability, and lack of synthetic materials in latex mattresses. But are they comfy, though? That’s sort of one of the most important aspects of a mattress, after all. Research and customer review have shown that latex mattresses may be a better choice than memory foam mattresses for people with chronic back pain.


Where memory foam relieves pressure points via a cradling contact, latex has more of a contour factor. A latex mattress will cradle the heavier parts of your body, like your shoulders and hips. But since it’s always ready to bounce back, it only gently contours to the lighter areas of your body, like the neck and back, which supports correct spinal alignment.


Is it Time for a Custom-Made Latex Mattress?

There’s a lot to custom natural latex mattresses; they’re a great choice for people who like a bit less of a cradling sleep than memory foam offers; they’re breathable; they’re environmentally-friendly; and they’re durable. What’s not to love?


CustomMattress.com crafts high-quality, ergonomic natural latex and memory foam mattresses for any sleep spot. Curious to get started on your custom mattress journey? Learn more about natural latex mattresses and browse our custom mattress models.

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