You may have been drawn into the world of natural latex mattresses because of its many benefits like being made of renewable botanic materials, being as supportive as memory foam but as supple as the best pillow top spring mattress, and offering a level of durability that is second to none. But even within this industry, not all latex mattresses are made the same. There are two similar but distinct processes of creating natural latex foam mattresses – the Dunlop method and the Talalay method – which you should know about before making your final decision.
The great debate regarding which type of natural latex mattress is better often ends up coming down to the method of construction. There are many qualities that both Talalay latex mattresses and Dunlop mattresses share, from being anti-microbial to resistant to mold and mildew, and 100% botanically derived. So the rest is up to personal taste – supporters of Talalay latex tend to enjoy how supple it is, while sleepers who prefer firmness and durability will gravitate towards mattresses created using the Dunlop method.
Dunlop Latex Mattress
Dunlop has been around for longer and has proven its reliability for generations. This method of creating natural latex foam dates back to the 1920’s, when a latex mixture was whipped into a frothy, aerated mixture, poured into a mold and subsequently steam baked. Unlike the Talalay method (based on the Dunlop method to begin with), which freezes the mold in order to make the air bubbles within the mattress more uniform and consistent, Dunlop allows the mattress to settle naturally, thus creating a much more dense and firmer sleep surface that doesn’t sink or sag and instead provides the enhanced support that most people are looking for.
Advantages of a Natural Latex Mattress
Many people will describe natural latex mattresses as somewhere in between a traditional innerspring mattress and a Tempur-Pedic memory foam mattress. It is an excellent alternative as it takes all of the best qualities of these popular types of mattresses and eliminates other less attractive aspects – natural latex is more breathable than memory foam and does not cause overheating, it is also more pliable and does not cause the sinking feeling that is associated with Tempur. Like a traditional mattress you can sleep in a variety of positions as the mattress conforms to you, not the other way around.
Eco-conscious sleepers are especially attracted to 100% natural latex because it is entirely plant derived, does not contain any harsh chemicals or synthetic materials and offers benefits like being hypoallergenic and resistant to bacteria and mold. No other type of mattress can claim such advantages.
So why Dunlop?
Quite simply, Dunlop natural latex mattresses offer the all natural, supportive and conforming sleep surface you need for a good night’s rest. Since they are more dense than Talalay, they are ultimately more durable and will last longer. And if you do prefer a softer sleep surface it will be easier to add a softer layer than to add firmness to a more supple Talalay mattress.
But in these times, when buyers are much more price conscious, Dunlop also offers better affordability than it’s competition. So if you are on the fence consider the benefits on your sleep, body and wallet when making your final decision.
Talalay Latex Mattress
A common misconception is that Talalay refers to a type of rubber plant or brand moniker. The name actually refers to the process that latex goes through when being formed into a single piece of rubber foam. Developed in the 1940’s by the BF Goodrich Company, Talalay (ta-la-lay) foam is created by pouring a latex mixture into a mold that is subsequently vacuumed of air, and then flash frozen to stabilize the cell structure of the mixture. The frozen material is then combined with carbon dioxide and baked until it solidifies into the final product.
The result is a mattress that contains a more consistent distribution of air bubbles, which is what gives it its pliability and pillowy-soft surface feel. As latex material is naturally strong and resilient, it is also very supportive and can withstand quite a bit of weight and pressure – so sleepers will get a perfect blend of softness and support. The open cell structure of Talalay latex also ends up being 400% more breathable than its competitors, including memory foam as well as Dunlop processed latex foam.
The biggest advantage of natural Talalay latex is that it requires no volatile petroleum based chemicals in order to be created. This means that it will not give off any undesirable synthetic toxins or fumes and the innate attributes of latex that is sourced botanically will not be muted – mattresses are incredibly durable, are mold, mildew, bacteria and dust mite resistant, are hypoallergenic as well as completely biodegradable. They are also a completely sustainable solution as natural latex is a renewable resource.
The Production Process
Step 1 – Mix
The process begins when twice-filtered natural latex is combined with natural soaps and curing agents in a temperature controlled, stainless steel mixing tank. Our Siemens controlled system monitors the temperature, consistency, and viscosity of the compound inside the tanks to maintain ideal conditions.
Step 2 – Pour
The finished compound is the transferred to foamers in the computer-controlled pressroom that features size cells of pin core molds. The latex compound is the whipped into a frothy liquid and precisely poured into molds that look like waffle irons. The pincore molds help create the unique aerated cell structure of the Talalay latex.
Step 3 – Vacuum & Freeze
The Talalay process features two unique steps: vacuum and freeze – that produce the superior consistency and feel of our Talalay products. After the pour is complete, the mold is closed and sealed. Air is extracted and a vacuum is formed, perfectly distributing the liquid latex within the mold. The vacuum stage allows for even and consistent distribution of latex compound in the mold which allows for different and distinct feels/firmness to be produced.
The compound is then chilled to minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit, freezing the latex particles into place before gravity causes them to settle. This critical step is what assures firmness consistency in the final product by keeping the evenly dispersed compound within the mold to remain in place and not settle while the latex foam hardens or cures.
Step 4 – Heat
The compound is then heated to 220 degrees to cure the latex into its final shape. Once the curing cycle is complete, the mold opens automatically and the product is transferred to a conveyor system, which sorts the products for washing and drying.
Step 5 – Wash
The first stop is a five-stage fresh water washer to provide a pure product. The products are squeezed to less then 4% of their total thickness to remove the maximum amount of residual materials from deep within the product. This vital step improves durability and comfort by removing residual soaps, curing agents, and proteins that could cause premature softening of the product.
Step 6 – Dry
Mattress cores and pillows are then transferred to specially designed dryers that maintain the perfect shape while completing the curing process. After drying, each and every product is automatically conveyed to special areas for quality control testing.
Step 7 – Test
All of our pillows are weighed and hand inspected before being sorted by size and firmness prior to final finishing and packaging. Every single mattress core undergoes our exclusive 9-point test to ensure product firmness consistency from head to toe. This ensures tat a customer is getting the same mattress they fell in love with.
So why should you be asking for Talalay latex? Because you should feel free of the burden of over-processing and of chemical enhancements and instead feel that every aspect of your mattress decision is benefitting not only your health and well being, but also of the environment. Tranquility Mattresses takes every step to ensure that our mattresses meet the highest standards for environmentally friendly production and pass these advantages to you.