You must have spent countless relaxing nights on your latex mattress, but have you ever wondered how right from the dense forests this natural latex has made its journey to your bedroom? Well, this latex to mattress transformation is an interesting one. If you are a user or planning to buy a natural foam mattress soon, a little information about the mattress making procedure would be of much help.
How is Natural Latex Extracted?
As you might be knowing, latex can be found in nature in the form of a milky-white sap. It has to be extracted from Hevea Brasilienesis or what is commonly known as the rubber tree. This liquid originally consists of rubber particles, water, raisin, ash, and sugar.
Now, while tapping the latex from the tree, it requires a special skill set. The harvester cuts a strip of the bark, exposing the latex vessels. It is generally 0.84cm deep which allows the latex to run down in a vessel. This latex collection process can take up to 6 hours.
You must know that sap harvesting does not harm the rubber tree and the cut heals quickly. Also, a rubber tree is capable of yielding latex milk for up to 25 to 30 years. After that it is used for making furniture, requiring replantation.
This natural latex, however, cannot be directly used for making mattresses as typically it is dilute. During the purification process, the upper limit of the latex is considered 60%. The remains include amino acids, carbohydrates, proteins, phospholipids, etc.
How Is Latex Foam Made?
Post purification, the sap is transformed into latex foam. This process involves two steps. First, soap or Potassium Oleate is added to the mix to stabilize it and prevent it from coagulating in the mold. Later, when it is whipped, the soap helps the latex to foam up.
Next, to vulcanize the latex, sulfur is added. Sulfur adds resilience to the mix, without it, the latex would resemble a chewing gum-like texture. The sulfur molecules attach to the latex polymer chains and bond with each other, developing cross-links. Put it simply, the polymers get intertwined with the help of sulfur and generates elasticity.
How is Latex Mattress Manufactured?
From liquid latex to solid mattress—there are generally two methods that are followed in manufacturing:
- The Dunlop Process
- The Talalay Process
How Latex Mattresses Are Made in the Dunlop Process?
- First, various trace ingredients and soap are mixed into the latex.
- Next, the material is whipped with air to make it foamy.
- The mixture is then poured into a mold by machines.
- Different chemicals and sulfur are added to it to harden the mix.
- After that, the mix is baked. It is heated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Finally, the foam is removed from the mold to be washed and dried. Before they are ready to be made into finished products, the foams are passed through quality checks.
How Latex Mattresses Are Made in the Talalay Process?
- The initial steps of the Talalay process are similar to the Dunlop process, especially how the latex is mixed, whipped, and poured into the mold. However, the pre-vacuum molding technique followed in this case is different.
- The closed mold is followed by freezing to achieve uniform bubble geometry.
- In the Talalay process, generally, carbon dioxide is used whereas in the Dunlop production process sodium fluorosilicate is used.
- The foam is then vulcanized.
- Next, the foam is cured, washed, dried, and cut.
The Difference in Outcome Between the Dunlop and the Talalay Process
An understanding of the two different processes might make you think what are their impacts on the outcome. Well, a few differences are:
- The Talalay production process blends naturally with synthetic latex. The Dunlop mattresses are generally more organic.
- In the Dunlop production process, different sizes of molds can be used to create the foam of the desired size and shape. But in the case of the Talalay process, the mold size tends to be limited.
- The Talalay processed foams can be identified by their larger bubbles of air, giving a softer and lighter feel.
- The Dunlop latex mattresses are denser and heavier than the Talalay ones. They also have earned a market reputation for better durability.
Why Choose Organic Latex Mattresses over Others?
Now that you have understood how the mattresses are made, it is easier to acknowledge its benefits:
- Organic mattress making procedure involves no pesticides or harmful chemicals, guaranteeing 100% sleep safety!
- The mattresses made of natural latex are dust mite resistant.
- The air bubbles in the foam are responsible for the pin cores that provide superior ventilation.
- Organic foam mattress helps you get rid of the pressure points by supporting your spine and alleviating pain.
A large amount of latex is required to make one king-size mattress. It would take about a whole day’s output of around 12 acres of rubber trees. But the process doesn’t end with washing and drying the foams. Before they are packaged and delivered to stores, each of them is trimmed, stitched, and upholstered with a nice cover attaining visual appeal. Although the process may seem long, a non-toxic latex mattress as the result is always worth the time and effort.