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A Consumer’s Guide to Selecting a Natural Latex Mattress

When Seeking a Natural Latex Mattress

There’s a lot of hype in the business of “going green”, and natural latex mattresses are no exception. As a consumer, you want to know if the mattress product really is green, i.e. is it all-natural, are there for certain no artificial added ingredients, is there any kind of certification to prove that, and is the natural mattress company a member in good standing with the Better Business Bureau? Also, what other kind of third party verifications of quality can you get on any particular natural latex mattress company (in the form of legitimate consumer experiences and feedback) that you may be considering purchasing from?

It’s important to note that many companies selling latex mattresses tout their product as a 100% latex mattress. This is not the same as a 100% natural latex mattress. Of course, latex can be produced synthetically, so the distinction of being a “100% latex mattress” is essentially meaningless. While it may or may not be stated to deceive, it can be misconstrued when in reality it simply means that it’s latex (most likely man-made synthetic) and not another totally unrelated material. Be aware that many if not most latex mattress wholesalers and retailers market a product that if not completely synthetic, is merely a blend of synthetic and natural latex materials – usually somewhere in the neighborhood of 30-40% natural latex, with the remainder of the latex being synthesized latex.

Is the Latex Mattress Really “All” Natural?

If it really is important to you as a consumer that as many of the items and products in your home as possible are all-natural, is it okay with you if some of the materials used in constructing your natural latex mattress are not in fact natural, but just mostly natural with a few added artificial ingredients added in the mix? What if there are artificial fillers or even chemical-laden glues to bond the separate layers of the latex together? As long as you know what you are getting, and that’s okay with you, then all is well. But, if the manufacturer and/or retailer states that their latex mattresses are 100% all-natural, that should be exactly what they are, shouldn’t it? Some people are allergic to petrochemicals (such as are used in the production of memory foam as well as synthetic latex), and some just choose the natural route to be environmentally conscious. If the mattress is one made from botanicals (natural latex) it should be biodegradable. It will also continue to maintain the plant properties of the Para rubber tree, which include the mattress being hypoallergenic, and resistant to mold, mildew, and dust mites, as well as being antimicrobial.

Do Natural Latex Foam Mattresses Last Longer Than Synthetic Ones?

Some sales people will make the claim that in terms of longevity, there is absolutely no difference between a natural latex mattress and a synthetic latex mattress. What is their motivation? Do they sell both types, or is all they have to offer synthetic, so they paint it in the best possible light? It’s true that synthetic latex mattresses can and do last a longer period of time than other traditional types of mattresses (such as innerspring), but think it through before you take them at their word that the longevity of natural latex vs. synthetic is indistinguishable. Natural latex is a very resilient and hardy material. It is literally rubber foam, and is extremely elastic. It’s like a rubber band, when it’s stretched (but not abused) and then released it always comes back to its original shape. Natural latex foam will hold up longer and not form impressions over the long haul because of the springiness or kickback that it possesses. Try an experiment with other types of foam. Put your fist in the mattress foam and it just gets buried within the mattress. Natural latex has give, but resists with pressure, and will bounce back upon release.

Other Natural Latex Mattress Protective Assurances

Whether or not you purchase online or offline, natural latex mattresses being in the price range that they normally are (in the neighborhood of $2,000 or more), it is critical that the latex mattress vendor take on the risk of the transaction rather than the consumer. This is customary and entails some sort of a grace period, or sometimes referred to as a “sleep trial”, which should be at the very least 60 days. A caution here is to make sure before entering into a purchase agreement at all you should understand the return policy backwards and forwards. There are many that require you to “jump through hoops” as it were to return the mattress successfully should you not be pleased with it. Look for the fine print as it relates to the return process. Are you on the hook several hundred dollars (and do you have to find your own means of) getting the mattress shipped back cross country if you bought online? Is the policy vague as to what condition it has to be returned in? There can be some real pitfalls that you should be fully aware of before deciding to do business with a particular latex mattress merchant.

As soon as you receive your mattress if by mail (or on the showroom floor of the merchant if you feel so bold as to do so) you should simply unzip the cover and observe the latex. Does it off gas? This should not be the case with a truly natural latex mattress. Are the layers bonded together or are they loose (they shouldn’t be bonded with glues if it’s natural)? If these details check out okay, you should be in good shape, provided that your allotted sleep trial goes well, you give yourself the ample time to get used to the feel of latex if you are not familiar with it, and everything else is on the up and up.

The Cover Can Make or Break the Natural Latex Sleep Experience

If you have gone to the trouble of settling all of the above factors to your liking and approval, would you stop at the cover and just write that off as not very important? Hopefully not, the cover is vitally important because it either punctuates the feel of latex or it diminishes it. If you go with a mass-produced woven cover, you’ve just downgraded the latex in a sense because it won’t allow for the stretch factor to take place and give you the full effect of latex’s pressure-relieving properties. On the other hand, if you opt for an organic cotton cover, you enhance the natural aspect of your latex mattress, while letting the latex form to your body’s curves and keeping your spine in alignment. You also don’t wrinkle your cover because the cotton yarn is knitted and not woven, so it can stretch in any given direction necessary.