Shopping for an organic mattress can be confusing. Are you dizzy with all the new “bed-cabulary” you encounter on your search? For instance, what is so natural about a natural latex mattress? Is there a difference between Dunlop and Talalay? Are all organic mattresses alike?
Q: What makes a natural latex mattress…natural?
A: It’s all about getting under a mattress’ skin. For a mattress to claim it really goes “au natural,” its latex insides must derive from the sap of a rubber tree, not an oil well. But people get confused because plenty of “natural” mattresses are “enhanced” with synthetic stuff like styrene and butadiene, making them hybrids, not the real deal.
Q: Are organic mattresses different than natural latex mattresses?
A: YES! There is no such thing as “organic latex”, what is organic is the wool and cotton used in the casing so while you can still have a mattress that is made from “natural latex” this does not mean it’s also organic. Most certified organic mattresses have natural latex in their bones. But you should always do your research before you take one home because there are plenty of beds out there claiming to be something they’re not—pretenders who think they can pull the organic wool over your eyes with a green label and a dash of natural latex. Don’t be fooled. A hybrid mattress that combines natural latex with synthetic oil derivatives is about as organic as a can of turpentine.
Q: Is there a difference between Dunlop and Talalay?
A: Absolutely. But choosing between them is like opting for blonds vs. brunettes—neither is definitively superior. It’s all a matter of opinion. The Dunlop and Talalay mattress distinction refers to how the rubber is processed after its sapped. Dunlop latex is steam baked, making it a bit firmer than its Talalay cousin, who is vacuum-sealed and frozen before it hits an oven. (These extra steps make Talalay natural latex a bit more expensive, too.) Some manufacturers use only Dunlop, some use only Talalay and some use both.
Q: Will I be as comfortable on a natural latex mattress as on memory foam like Tempur-Pedic?
A: Natural latex mattresses are designed to mold to your body while pushing back just enough to give you the firmness your back needs so you wake up refreshed, not achy. And, unlike many other mattresses, natural latex ages well, keeping their shape and not sagging over time. As for memory foam? Well, we don’t like to gossip about other mattresses, but some of our customers claim that sleeping on one of them is like sleeping “in a crater” and/or will leave you “hot and sweaty”. Furthermore, in our organic mattresses, the natural cooling properties of an organic wool lining means that anyone who cuddles up on a natural latex mattress for a night will wake up refreshed, not drenched. Click here to see what one customer had to say about her ex-TempurPedic.