Written by KC Ennis
Many consumers are aware that latex mattresses offer unsurpassed comfort and many additional health benefits in today’s mattress market. Natural latex is a sustainable resource, harvested from the rubber tree and then molded into “buns” which are used to manufacture latex mattresses. Two processes are used to create latex cores and toppers, the Dunlop process and the newer Talalay process, which adds two extra steps to more evenly distribute the latex. Quality latex, particularly all natural Talalay latex, can become somewhat expensive when used to create an 8” and 10” thick latex mattress. Because latex is an incredibly durable material, it compensates for the up front cost of a latex mattress by creating mattresses that often carry warranties of up to 20 years.
A wonderful alternative to get all the benefits of latex on a budget is the latex “topper”. A topper is a 2” or 3” thick layer of latex to place on top of your existing mattress. It is important that the topper isn’t used in an attempt to compensate for a mattress that has lost its support or has begun to sag. The best mattress surface for a topper allows the layer of latex to act as a pillowtop, with the mattress supplying the support and firmness for your body. Latex distributes weight and relieves pressure points as well or better than the best memory foam and provides additional qualities not found in memory foam. Latex is a more durable material and, because the buns are manufactured with a pincushion construction which runs clear through the latex, it is much cooler than memory foam.
Because latex naturally resists mold and mildew and absorbs very little moisture, a layer of latex is wonderful for cribs or infant beds. Latex is also hypo-allergenic, antimicrobial and resists dust mites, simply nature’s finest sleeping surface. The clearest benefit of a latex topper, given the current concerns over toxic fire-retardants in conventional mattresses, is that it provides a layer of safety from toxic off-gassing. However, it’s the feel of latex that sets it apart from all other sleeping surfaces. Latex gently conforms to your bodies nuances as it seems to float you with very little feel for contacting the surface of the mattress.
Because it is so durable, a latex topper can last for many years of use and will out live even the finest high-end conventional inner-spring mattress. It is not unusual for customers to investigate the use an existing topper as a component for use in building a full latex mattress. Remember that latex is a very different material than anything else that is used in mattress construction and can literally be considered as an investment in your long term sleeping comfort. Sears introduced a line of rubber (latex) mattresses called Harvest House in the late 1940s and it is not unusual to find families that have had these mattresses for decades. While the continuous use of a mattress over such a long time period might not be advisable, it certainly points to the durability of latex.
The concept behind a latex topper is very simple, to place 2” or 3” inches of comfortable, safe, non-toxic material between yourself and your existing mattress. A little research on the internet into the current publicity concerning toxic fire-retardant chemicals, used to pass the either the new federal open-flame mattress standards or the previous fire codes, will certainly encourage the use of a topper on your mattress that uses no fire-retardants. Even the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) has clearly documented the amounts of these toxic fire-retardants that are absorbed nightly by our bodies through off-gassing or direct contact.
The use of a natural latex topper for your newborns and infants will protect their developing nervous systems, lungs and immune systems from any chemical contact and will reduce exposure to toxic off-gassing. A wonderful crib mattress is easily created by use a 3” or 4” latex toppers by itself, covered with a quality wool moisture pad. Remember, with a latex topper your children will experience the unsurpassed comfort and weight distribution that make latex nature’s finest sleep surface.