The ultimate guide to latex mattresses – Milam Mattress UK
15 October 2021
8 min

The ultimate guide to latex mattresses – Milam UK

When it comes to latex mattresses, there are so many options to choose from that you can spend long hours finding the right mattress.  

Through this in-depth guide, our aim is to provide you with all the information you need before purchasing a latex mattress. We will give you a guide on the different latex mattress types, the manufacturing process, the benefits of natural latex mattresses, and who they are recommended to. 

We aim to answer all the questions you have about latex mattresses with this article. 

What is a latex mattress? 

Latex is a milky fluid that is found in rubber trees. This substance is then converted into a superior type of foam. 

Before we go into further details, it’s important to note that there are many types of latex mattresses on the market: latex beds can be made with natural latex, synthetic latex, or with a combination of the two and sold as blended latex mattresses. 

If you want to enjoy all the great benefits latex mattresses provide, you need to choose an all-natural latex mattress since its synthetic and blended counterparts contain chemicals and lack all the great features. 

Natural latex mattresses have plenty of benefits. First, latex is a naturally cool material, so it prevents body heat from building up in your bed. As a result, it is a great choice for people who tend to overheat during the night.  Second, latex is an incredibly durable material. They can outlast other types of mattresses by 3-7 years. 

Additionally, natural latex mattresses are uncommonly eco-friendly. They contain very little or no additives, and the rubber trees are not contaminated by pesticides or herbicides. It is also a hypoallergenic material that is resistant to dust mites. 

Remember that these great features only apply to natural latex mattresses. Synthetic and blended latex have a much shorter lifespan and miss all the great qualities a natural material can offer. 

As can be seen here, natural latex beds are one of the best mattresses available on the market. If you’re looking for a durable and eco-friendly mattress, natural latex is an excellent choice. 

After this general overview, we will provide you with more details regarding the different types of latex mattresses. 

What is natural latex?



Natural latex is the white substance found in the Hevea Brasiliensis rubber tree. In order to harvest the liquid, the trees are tapped and not cut down. This means that the process is highly sustainable. 

When harvesting the white sap, they make deep spiral incisions into the trunk of the tree. The latex then flows into a collecting vessel – this stage is quite long; it takes several hours. 

Usually, it’s harvested at night or in the early morning hours before the temperature rises so the substance doesn’t coagulate. 

When being turned into foam, latex is not treated with harsh chemicals. As a result, natural latex mattresses are healthy and chemical-free surfaces to sleep on. It is equally important to know that they provide a firm but comfortable support for the spine. 

What is synthetic latex?

Regarding physical properties, synthetic latex is similar to natural latex mattresses.

However, synthetic latex is produced from petrochemicals. There are several types of synthetic latex, Styrene-butadiene being the most common. 

Though you may purchase synthetic latex mattresses at a lower price, the material has many drawbacks to consider:

  • Synthetic latex mattresses are less durable

  • They are not as breathable as natural latex mattresses

  • They tear easier

  • They have a strong odour due to the chemicals

  • They can develop mould, mildew, and dust mites over time

What is blended latex?

Blended latex is a combination of natural and synthetic materials. In most cases, hybrid latex mattresses are made with 30% of natural latex and 70% of synthetic latex. 

Blended latex mattresses are often marketed as natural latex so you need to check all the labels carefully. Though its price can be attractive compared to natural latex mattresses, blended latex does not offer the same benefits as natural latex. 

Natural, synthetic, or blended latex – which mattress should you buy? 

If you want to purchase a latex mattress, always choose a 100% natural latex mattress. 

Natural latex mattresses are extremely durable and provide excellent support. They are also hypoallergenic and antifungal. Though the price will be higher than in the case of synthetic or blended latex, the health benefits are directly proportional to or even exceed the costs. 

Why are synthetic and blended latex mattresses less beneficial?

Synthetic latex tends to off-gas and can develop mould and dust mites over time. These mattresses tend to break down faster, so within a few years you would need to buy a new mattress. Even though synthetic looks cheaper at first, you end up paying more in the long run. 

Blended latex mattresses are often marketed as natural mattresses, however, they’re usually mostly synthetic. Though synthetic materials are blended with some natural materials, they are unable to provide the same benefits as natural latex mattresses. They rather resemble synthetic latex. 



Two methods of manufacturing natural latex mattresses – Dunlop and Talalay

There are two main types of natural latex mattresses: Dunlop and Talalay. Both types are completely natural, but their manufacturing process is slightly different. 

The terms of Talalay and Dunlop come from the manufacturing process used to make these mattress types. Incidentally, their quality is equally excellent, but there are some differences in their characteristics. 

Dunlop latex mattresses

When creating Dunlop latex mattresses, the liquid latex is whipped and then poured into a mould. The mould is completely filled, closed up, and then placed into a vulcanization oven. This turns the liquid latex into a solid material.

Once the vulcanization is complete, the latex is removed from the mould and washed thoroughly to remove any excess materials. The foam is then dried at a high temperature, so all moisture is removed from the final product.

It is the oldest method of creating latex mattresses. 

Dunlop latex mattresses are extremely durable. The process itself requires fewer steps, and the mattresses tend to be slightly cheaper than Talalay latex mattresses. 

Talalay latex mattresses

The Talalay process is a newer form of the manufacturing process. Yet, it shares many steps with the Dunlop process. 

First, the latex is poured into a mould, but it is only partially filled. They seal the lid of the mould and expand the latex to completely fill the mould.

Once the foam is fully expanded, carbon dioxide is pushed through the latex to freeze it. As a result, it gels. After this, the foam is vulcanized. As a final step, the foam is removed from the mould, it’s washed and dried.

The Talalay latex mattress is less dense than the Dunlop latex mattress and its density is consistent throughout the whole mattress. It may have a softer and bouncier texture, but the level of softness may change.

What is the difference between Dunlop and Talalay latex mattresses?

There are no huge differences between the two types of mattresses. Probably the average person wouldn’t tell the two mattresses apart. 

They say that Talalay mattresses are always softer than Dunlop mattresses. That’s not necessarily true. Both Talalay and Dunlop latex foam can be produced in a wide variety of firmness. The Dunlop process does create heavier, denser foam but this does not necessarily mean that the foam is firmer. 

The process of creating Dunlop and Talalay latex is very similar too, but the production process of Dunlop mattresses is a bit simpler. 

Also, many variations can be made of each type of mattress, and the final result often depends on the manufacturing process of each brand.

Which is better? Talalay or Dunlop latex? 

Both processes can result in very high-quality, comfortable, and durable latex mattresses. But remember to pay attention to the overall quality of the mattress and the reviews of the manufacturer.

Of course, not all Talalay and not all Dunlop foams feel the same. As with all products, many factors influence and determine the quality of the final product. Each can be made with or without synthetic latex and with or without added fillers. Techniques may differ from manufacturer to manufacturer. Though there is no big difference between Talalay and Dunlop latex mattresses, changes in these aspects may result in a noticeable difference in the end.

The main point is that both Dunlop and Talalay mattresses are extremely comfortable. They are also available at different firmness levels.

Natural latex mattress benefits

Here are the most important benefits of natural latex mattresses customers tend to report on after having purchased one:


Latex mattresses are famous for relieving pressure points. They are also effective with pain prevention when it comes to joint pain and lower back pain. 

Perfect for hot sleepers

Due to its open-cell structure, air can flow between the layers. As a result, your mattress will not retain heat and the temperature of your sleeping environment will remain neutral. Consequently, natural latex mattresses are excellent for people who tend to overheat while they are asleep. 


Latex mattresses are also known for their comfort. Though many people have the prejudice that latex mattresses are too firm, one of their greatest benefits is that you’re not going to sink into it. Natural latex has a cushy and bouncy softness, but it’s firm enough to provide excellent support.


Natural latex mattresses are extremely durable. They are meant to last 10-20 years. 

No off-gassing

Because of the petrochemicals, synthetic and blended mattresses have a distinctive chemical odour. Since natural latex mattresses are 100% organic, they do not off-gas. 

No motion transfer

Do you sleep with a partner? Maybe with your pet? If you buy a latex mattress, you don’t have to worry about waking them up when tossing or turning in your sleep. If you move in your bed, your partner won’t notice it because natural latex mattresses do not transfer motion. 


If you like to make eco-conscious decisions, you’ll be happy to know that natural latex mattresses are biodegradable. Other types of mattresses, like memory foam, tend to emit toxic chemicals while they are wasting away. Latex mattresses break down over time. 

They are hypoallergenic

These mattresses are completely natural, antifungal, antibacterial, mildew resistant, and resistant to dust mites.

Fire resistant

Natural latex mattresses are naturally fire-resistant; they do not contain any toxic fire retardants to meet certain safety standards. 



Disadvantages of latex mattresses

Though natural latex mattresses are excellent top-quality foams, they cannot be perfect for everyone. Now let’s see the most common features some people may not like.

Too firm

Some people find latex mattresses too firm. 


Some people complain about the smell of latex mattresses. However, this usually occurs with synthetic and blended latex mattresses that contain chemicals.

High cost

Natural latex mattresses are usually more expensive. But it’s important to note that the costs of production are also higher. Apart from that, they last longer than conventional mattresses and contain natural ingredients. In the long term, they’re a great investment.

Latex mattress vs memory foam mattress 

If you’re looking for the right mattress, it’s important to go through the differences between the two most popular mattress types: natural latex and memory foam.

  • Natural latex mattresses are an excellent choice for people who tend to overheat while they are asleep. Memory foam tends to retain heat so it may be uncomfortable for many sleepers.

  • Natural latex mattresses provide excellent support for your body. Memory foam mattresses tend to have a ‘hugging’ feeling as they contour to your body. Though some people like this feeling, many feel stuck in bed.

  • Latex is naturally hypoallergenic and resistant to mould and dust mites. In most cases, memory foam is a chemically treated material. 

  • Natural latex is produced from the sap of the rubber tree. It is sustainable and green. Memory foam is made of polyurethane, a synthetic material.

Both types of mattresses excel at comfort, and each has its own set of pros and cons, but we think that latex comes out as the better option. 

Latex mattress or innerspring mattress?

Innerspring is another popular mattress type. They are the most traditional beds, and they feature tightly sprung coils. Let’s see the main differences between latex mattresses and innerspring mattresses:

  • Latex mattresses retain less heat than innerspring mattresses, so it is a better option for people who sleep hot. 

  • Innerspring mattresses are more affordable, and they offer bouncy support. At the same time, they may be noisy and may not provide much support for your pressure points. 

  • Latex mattresses are much quieter than innerspring mattresses and isolate motion better. 

  • Innerspring mattresses are known to sag over time, latex mattresses are more durable. The average lifespan of an innerspring mattress is no more than 6 years.

  • Dust mites and mould find the little sacks of the individual springs to be very accommodating. Latex mattresses are mould and dust mite resistant. 

Latex Mattress certifications and labels

When you look for a latex mattress, you will come across many types of certifications and labels that you may not be familiar with. We would like to give an overview of the meaning of these certifications.


GOLS Certification (Global Organic Latex Standard)

To obtain a GOLS certification, a mattress needs to contain at least 95% organic raw material.

It also certifies that the rubber trees were grown without the use of pesticides, and it also verifies that the mattress is free of synthetic additives. 

GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard)

Though this certification does not apply to the mattress, you may often see this abbreviation when buying a latex mattress. 

This certification confirms that the textiles used during the construction of the mattress are at least 95% organic. 



All-natural latex mattresses are made with latex harvested from rubber trees. (Remember that synthetic latex mattresses are made of chemicals, blended latex mattresses normally contain no more than 30% of natural latex.)


This label shows that the latex has been harvested in a sustainable method.


Non-toxic natural latex mattresses do not contain any added synthetic fillers during the manufacturing process and fire retardants were not used to pass the regulatory fire tests.


Natural latex mattresses are considered organic if the rubber trees the latex was derived from haven’t been contaminated with pesticides and herbicides. 

How does a latex mattress feel?

Latex mattresses can be manufactured in a variety of firmness levels. Both Dunlop and Talalay mattresses can be made to feel firmer or softer.

In general, we can differentiate the following firmness levels:

  • Soft: This type of mattress will allow the heaviest parts of the body to sink in. 

  • Medium-soft: They are slightly firmer than soft beds. They do not allow for so much sinking. 

  • Medium: It is comfortable for the pressure points, while the lower back and the neck are supported. 

  • Medium-firm: It will cradle your hips and shoulders if you’re a side sleeper and keep your spine aligned when you’re on your back. 

  • Firm mattress: It will not allow any sinking. 

Which firmness is right for you?

Finding the right firmness largely depends on your sleeping position and body type. Below we explain how to decide which firmness level is best for your needs.



Sleeping positions, body types, and the right firmness level

Sleeping positions

Side sleepers normally need medium-soft or medium-firm mattresses, as their main pressure points are the shoulders and hips.

Back sleepers usually prefer medium-firm and firm mattresses. As a result, the lower back will not sink too much into the mattress.

Stomach sleepers most likely need firm or medium-firm mattresses to prevent the hip from sinking and avoid lower back pain.

Combination sleepers normally need to use medium-firm mattresses so they can get the balance and support for various sleeping positions.

Body types

Why are body types important? Your weight determines how much pressure is applied to the mattress, and what level of sinking you will experience. 

Heavy sleepers: They sink naturally into the mattress. A soft mattress can’t keep their spine aligned and this will result in pressure point pains in the morning. The best mattress for heavy sleepers is one with medium-firm feel. 

Average weight sleepers: Sleepers with average weight find medium and medium-firm mattresses the most comfortable. These mattresses ensure appropriate contouring, and the sleepers will not sink too deep into the mattress. 

Lightweight sleepers: In order to avoid tension building up in their body, lightweight sleepers are usually recommended to choose a latex mattress with a medium comfort level. As a result, their joints stay cushioned, and they will experience adequate contouring.

It’s important to note that these are general guidelines. Since our sense of comfort varies, our needs may be different.

Latex allergy

Some people suffer from latex allergy.  Latex allergy is the immune system’s abnormal response to latex, identifying it as a harmful and foreign substance, thus wanting to eliminate it. It is a reaction caused by the proteins found in natural latex extracted from the rubber tree (Hevea Brasiliensis).

Apart from mattresses, hundreds of everyday products contain latex. If you are continuously exposed to the protein that can be found in natural latex, you are more likely to develop an allergy.

Many everyday objects contain latex in its natural form, including rubber gloves, elastic bands, baby bottle teats, balloons, just to name a few. As for synthetic latex, it does not trigger allergic reactions because it has nothing to do with its natural cousin.

When sleeping on a latex mattress, normally you don’t get in contact directly with your mattress. The latex is covered by the mattress covering, the mattress protector (if you have any), and your sheets. If you do not already suffer from latex allergy, it is highly unlikely to develop one because of your mattress.

If you are already allergic to latex, consult with your doctor before investing in a latex mattress.

Latex mattress – Options in the UK

When shopping for a new mattress, you will find many natural latex mattress types in the UK. It’s important to trust the brand so you can be sure that if you choose an all-natural latex mattress, you will get what you’re promised.

Our recommendation for a natural latex mattress in the UK

If you are looking for a 100% natural latex mattress, you get all the desirable features with Milam’s Original and Premium mattresses. The mattresses are available in different firmness levels. They are made of natural latex with organic cotton and wool covers. Milam also offers white glove delivery and a 30-day trial period.

Not only are Milam mattresses made with premium, natural materials, but the latex is also 100% natural. The mattresses are wrapped into a GOTS certified organic wool and cotton cover. You can sleep comfortably without being exposed to any harmful chemicals.

The Original Milam Mattress

  • Materials: GOLS certified organic Dunlop latex, natural coir, GOTS certified organic cotton, GOTS certified organic merino wool, a small amount of graphite latex to comply with the fire regulations in the United Kingdom

  • Sizes: UK Single, EU Single, UK Double, EU Double, UK King, EU King, Super King

  • Trial period: 30 days

The Original Mattress is flippable. This unique feature gives you two comfort options with one side being medium, the other medium-firm. If you find that one of the sides is too firm or too soft, you just turn the mattress and enjoy the comfort and support of the other side.

The Premium Milam Mattress

  • Materials: GOLS certified Dunlop latex, 100% Talalay latex, GOTS certified organic cotton, GOTS certified organic merino wool

  • Sizes: UK Single, EU Single, UK Double, EU Double, UK King, EU King, Super King

  • Trial period: 30 days

The Premium Mattress is slightly more expensive than the Original Mattress. This is because Talalay latex is used in the Premium Mattress which is a more expensive material. If you have the budget and want exceptional sleep quality on a luxury mattress, this will be your best option.

Not only does the Premium Milam latex mattress offer pressure-free support and superior buoyancy and softness, it’s also incredibly durable.

This mattress is also flippable with one side being soft, the other soft-medium.

Both mattress types are an appealing choice for hot sleepers. Latex’s open cell structure allows for better airflow between the particles. The mattress cover is composed of breathable organic cotton and organic wool. They have excellent moisture-wicking abilities and are outstandingly breathable. These great qualities help the mattress maintain a comfortable temperature.

In addition to superior quality mattresses, Milam offers free white glove delivery.

Why choose a latex mattress

If you have decided to look for a latex mattress, remember to pick an all-natural one.

A natural latex mattress can provide a restful night’s sleep. Though it is not the cheapest type of mattress, it is durable and suitable for people with allergies. It offers pressure relief on your back and joints. 

It is constructed from durable, quality materials so you can enjoy it for many years to come. 

Cost of a latex mattress

Many factors determine the price of a latex mattress.

The cost of latex mattresses greatly depends on the type of latex used in the mattress. Remember that a latex mattress can be made of natural, synthetic, or blended latex. Natural latex mattresses are more expensive than their hybrid or synthetic counterparts. However, they are also extremely durable and resilient, so it is a long-term investment.

What else affects the price of a latex mattress? In addition to the latex type, other factors that affect the price of a latex mattress include the quality of other materials used in the bed, whether you buy your mattress in a store or online, and what type of delivery the brand offers.

In the UK, you may purchase a basic latex mattress for as low as £ 685, but very luxurious natural latex mattresses can sometimes exceed £ 2000. 

You can get an all-natural, extremely good quality latex mattress for £ 1200 - £ 1700.



What type of frame does a latex mattress need?

When you have successfully selected the ultimate latex mattress that suits your needs, the next step is to find a suitable base for your mattress

It’s important to know that not all foundations are suitable for a latex mattress due to their unique qualities. The base should be strong and solid and should be able to provide perfect support for the mattress.

Slatted bed base

One of the best options is a slatted bed base. The base consists of horizontal slats that are arranged evenly along with bed frame. The slats should not be more than about three inches wide, and maximum two and a half inches apart, otherwise the mattress will sink into the space between them.

Metal wire grid base

Another option to choose as a bed base is a steel grid platform. This type of foundation is highly durable. A wire grid platform offers substantial support for your mattress especially if the wires have narrow gaps between them. 

Solid platform

Another possible alternative is using a solid bed base such as a platform made of plywood. Some people may be on a tight budget and can only consider this option. However, they should keep in mind that all mattresses need proper ventilation. 

How to care for a latex mattress

Though latex mattresses are extremely durable, it is important to keep them in impeccable condition so that you can enjoy your new bed as long as possible. Follow the below steps to extend the life of your natural latex mattress:

  • Always use a mattress protector

  • Remove stains immediately

  • Do not keep your latex mattress in direct sunlight

  • Don’t block the underside, give it room to breathe

If you care for your latex mattress properly, you can enjoy the soft, supportive, pressure-relieving sleep surface for many years to come. 

Closing thoughts

As you can see from our guide, latex mattresses are healthy, non-toxic, extremely comfortable, and durable. It is one of the best long-term investments you can make for your body and health.

Remember that if you are looking for your next mattress, always search for labels proving that you will buy 100% natural latex.

If any of your questions have been left unanswered, please contact us here. We will be more than happy to help you. 


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