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Mattress To Go - Talalay Latex Facts

What Is Latex?
By definition, latex is a rubber particle suspended in water. There are two types of rubber latex: natural rubber latex (NR), and man-made rubber latex (SBR - styrene butadiene rubber). A finished piece of latex foam can be 100% man-made (SBR), 100% natural (NR) or a blend of SBR and NR.

Natural rubber latex (NR) is used for its durability and inherent healthful characteristics, being anti microbial, hypoallergenic and dust mite resistant. Man-made latex (SBR) inhibits tearing and can be stretched like a rubber band. A blend of NR and SBR latex has been shown to produce the most durable latex foam. The resulting product is buoyant, resistant to body impressions, healthy and can be compressed time and again while still maintaining a showroom feel.

Latex is not only defined by its blend (NR, SBR or NR/SBR), it's also described by its manufacturing process - dunlop or talalay. Latex formed using the dunlop process is usually poured into a mold or on a moving conveyor belt and then allowed to cure - the process takes about an hour. Latex formed using the talalay process is poured into a vacuum-sealed mold, flash frozen and then slowly cured - the total process takes about 14 hours. The talalay vacuum-molded manufacturing process permits the creation of precise ranges of foam firmness from extra firm to super plush and is very accurate. Talalay latex tends to be more breathable than dunlop latex, and with the vacuum formation process is more accurate at producing the softer feels that are better at pressure point relief.

Healthy and Eco-Friendly
The talalay process features natural biodegradable ingredients from renewable resources and water-based raw materials. Natural latex (NR), a rubber based material, is extracted from the tropical hevea brasiliensis tree in the same manner as sap is extracted from maple trees. This latex is then collected and becomes the main ingredient in latex foam.

Latex foam has an open-cell structure that is naturally anti-microbial and inherently resistant to mold and mildew. Latex beds are also 300% more dust mite resistant than conventional mattresses. While latex allergies were a frequently discussed topic in the late 1990's, the process used to create latex foam is completely different from that which is used to create many of the medical devices that commonly produce an allergic reaction, and the 
FDA has not reported a single allergy complaint stemming from the natural rubber found in talalay latex foam. Latex foam goes through a five-stage washing process to remove excess soaps and proteins, and these foams are frequently tested by outside laboratories to ensure their hypoallergenic status. 

No harmful byproducts are released during the manufacture of latex foam. No solvents or fillers are used and nothing is released that damages the ozone layer. The process is so clean that air scrubbers and external filtration are not needed, as no harmful elements are emitted during the manufacturing process. Factory optimization allows for reduced energy usage during latex curing. Energy efficient lighting is employed and the foam rinsing process conserves water through a custom recycling program.

Oeko-Tex Certified
Most Talalay latex foam is certified by Oeko-Tex (Europe's highest environmental consumer product standard) or Greenguard to meet very stringent standards for harmful substances and VOCs.

The Six-Step Blended Talalay Latex Process

1. Compounding

Natural latex (NR) is extracted from a rubber tree in a way similar to tapping a tree for maple syrup. This natural latex is mixed with a proprietary blend of man-made (SBR) latex. Soaps and rubber curing agents are precisely mixed with the latex blend in a temperature controlled stainless steel tank. Quality checks are performed on pH, viscosity and temperature.

The latex compound is then transferred to the pressroom where it is whipped to the consistency of soft-serve ice cream. A robotic arm evenly injects this foamed liquid latex into an aluminum pin core mold. The amount of foam injected is computerized to ensure precise product density. The mold is then sealed and a vacuum is formed to extract excess air and completely and evenly fill the mold cavity with the latex mixture. The mold is chilled to -20 degrees Fahrenheit (unique to the talalay process) to prevent any particles from settling, ensuring consistent foam cell structure. Carbon dioxide is introduced to gel the latex and then the mold is heated to 220 degrees Fahrenheit, curing the foam as it is baked into its final state. The unique pin core structure of the mold ensures that the foam cures evenly and creates a breathable finished product.

3. Washing
Every piece of talalay latex foam is then placed on a conveyor belt and run through a five step fresh water rinsing process. Five banks of 12 self-cleaning water jets wash away residual soaps, curing agents and proteins. To reduce the maximum amount of residual materials from deep within the product, every piece of latex foam is squeezed to less than 4% of its total thickness between jet rinsing stages. This vital rinsing step improves product durability by removing excess residual curing agents and soaps that cause premature latex foam degradation.

4. Drying
Each latex piece is next transported to a two-lane dryer. This completes the curing process and removes any residual moisture.

5. Quality Testing
Once dry, every talalay latex piece undergoes a rigorous nine-point pressure/firmness/consistency test to ensure density and quality. The softness (Indentation Load Deflection - ILD) is measured to a consistency of +/- 2.5 pounds, a variance undetectable by the human hand.

6. Fabrication
The finished latex cores and sheets are then fabricated to the required specifications for each individual mattress model. Environmentally sound and water soluble glue is used to create exceptionally secure bonds where multiple layers of latex foam are required.

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