"100% Latex Mattress": What Does it Mean?
If you buy a "100% latex mattress," you've bought a mattress that's made of latex. That's all. Latex can be synthesized in a laboratory as well as naturally produced. A mattress that is billed as a "100% latex mattress" as opposed to a "100% natural latex mattress" is probably either a synthetic mattress or a hybrid of synthetic and natural materials.
When performing latex mattress reviews and sorting out the differences, here's why it matters.
The "Natural" Ethic
In the 20th century, the "green" ethic is on the rise. More people are searching for sustainably-made products that minimize environmental impacts and offer alternatives that are free of industrial-strength chemicals.
If you want a 100% natural, premium mattress, 100% natural latex is the only way to go. Materials such as memory foam are only made in laboratories using chemical processes. Such materials have a higher tendency to off-gas, or produce an off-putting chemical odor, and can introduce toxins and pollutants into the environment during the process of production.
Natural latex is expensive. In its natural form, latex is a liquid with approximately the consistency of maple syrup. The milky-colored substance is secreted naturally by the rubber tree, Hevea brasiliensis, a renewable resource which is farmed on a large scale and harvested daily by hand.
The cost of natural latex reflects both these labor-intensive farming practices and subsequent processing. It takes multiple highly specialized, time-tested processes to transform latex from a thin liquid to a supportive latex foam suitable for high-quality bedding.
Natural latex has an innate elasticity that no synthetic version has quite been able to match. Though synthetic latexes and even memory foam constructs can provide a reasonable approximation, there is a magic mixture of support and pressure-relieving softness that only the natural version can provide. Natural latex doesn't "sleep hot" like memory foam and some synthetic latex alternatives can.
The natural properties of real latex set the bar high for synthetic versions. Natural latex is antibacterial, so it doesn't have the potential to incubate molds, mildews, and other microbes like inner-spring mattresses or some memory foams can. Its antibacterial profile means that it is largely hypoallergenic, so it's excellent for individuals with sensitive immune systems, asthma, or bothersome allergies.
100% Latex Mattress vs. 100% Natural Latex mattress
A 100% latex mattress can be a more cost-effective option for those who want a latex mattress on a tighter budget. Most latex mattresses with the "100% latex mattress" tag tend to be "blended latex" – usually a mix of 30% natural latex and 70% synthetic alternatives. This blending keeps costs under control while still offering a latex mattress worthy of the most die-hard sleep sophist.
Nothing can match 100% natural latex for cool, supportive, pressure-relieving sleep. But in a realistic world, "100% latex" is the closest you'll come for a slightly more reasonable price tag. Try to search out versions with the highest percentage of natural latex that you can afford, and ask what other chemicals are involved in the production of your particular brand of synthetic latex.
Remember: Natural Doesn't Equal Organic
Even if you opt for a "100% natural latex" mattress, there's a caveat. The term "natural" only asserts that the material in your mattress comes from a rubber tree plant, not that it was organically produced.
100% Latex Pros
- More affordable than all-natural latex bedding.
- Still cooler and more supportive than most other options on the market.
100% Latex Cons
- Doesn't quite match the mix of loft and softness that you get in natural latex.
- Wide range of "blended latex" options make it difficult to know exactly what you're purchasing.
- Not a sustainable or all-natural bedding option.
|Even naturally obtained latex can be subjected to the addition of synthetic materials at the chemical level, or combined with synthetic materials to build a mattress that's comprised partly of natural latex and partly of less expensive materials such as polyurethane. It's important to do your own research and to ask the seller how the mattress is produced if you're in the market for a 100% natural mattress. The content found on this site will help guide you in the right direction so that you can discover your preferences and find the mattress you need at a price you can afford. As such, this resource is geared toward the knowledge that you are not buying layers of foam as much as you're buying peace of mind and a good night's rest. Let us help you decide whether latex is right for you. Click on the FAQ sections above to get started.