Using natural products is often touted as the way to go because of superior appearance, feel and performance. However, what are the real differences between using foam made from natural latex and one from synthetic materials? Have you ever been curious about how latex rubber is created? We tell you everything below.
Natural latex is sourced from the Hevea-Brasiliensis tree, which is better known as the rubber tree. Once, they were only found in South America but this changed when word spread regarding the excellent properties of the latex they contained. In the 19th century, rubber trees began being grown all over the world so that communities far and wide could take advantage of the amazing things that rubber and latex can be used for.
How do you extract latex from a rubber tree? Well, the easiest way to imagine this is to think of how maple trees in Canada are tapped for the glorious syrup within. What happens is that a small piece of the bark is removed, exposing the tree itself; latex will then begin to flow from this, so you’d better have a container ready.
When you extract pure latex from a rubber tree, it will be very milky and its consistency will be liquid like. What happens after this process is that the latex is sent off to a manufacturer to have the excess water removed. This does not change its completely natural properties.
Want to know how to select the perfect rubber tree for your latex? Well, the trees are grown for several years so that they are big, strong and ready to give you the perfect yield. You can then use the tree for latex for up to 20 years, as long as you make sure that the cuts to the tree are done right. Too many cuts in one area and you may not get the best out of the tree.
So, once the latex has been manufactured, what does it feel like? With 100% natural latex, it will feel supple, springy and durable. This is because it is. If you’re feeling foam created from natural latex, you’ll find that it is very comfortable and breathable, as well as meeting the most stringent textile and furniture emissions standards required by GOLS or Oeko-Tex.
If you are eco-conscious, you’ll find that most mattresses made from natural latex will be organic but some won’t. An organic, all natural latex mattress will be pricier than a non-organic.
This is a man-made material that seeks to recreate the look and feel of natural latex and it is produced from petrochemicals. Depending on where you look, you’ll find a few types of synthetic latex but SBR (styrene-butadiene rubber) is the one you’ll most likely see on the market.
So, what does synthetic latex feel like? Usually quite comfortable, as it is supposed to; however, it will not feel anywhere near as springy and fresh as foam made from natural latex. You’ll feel the difference from the outset.
While you can have a good night of sleep on any good mattress, foam from synthetic latex is not as breathable, does not have the moisture “wicking” properties of natural latex and will not last as long.
You’ll also find that, as with most products made from petrochemicals, the foam will give off an odour and it can be quite powerful when you first purchase it.
Blended latex foam is commonly marketed as incorporating the very best of both natural and synthetic latex. However, it’s just a cheaper way of creating foam that can boast the inclusion of natural latex but costs less to make.
The reality of the situation is that most blended latex mattresses will contain mostly synthetic products. This doesn’t stop manufacturers from marketing them as “made with 100% natural latex” or similar.
Note that you can never make a truly synthetic mattress, all synthetic mattresses will contain some natural latex.
So, there you have it. Natural latex foam is far superior to its synthetic counterparts because it’s uniquely firm, durable and supportive, as well as being breathable and temperature controlled.
Find out more about our natural latex mattress now.