London Life: Buying Natural Latex Mattresses

When you move to London, one of the first things you might want to buy is a comfy mattress for your bed.

Latex mattresses may not be the standard option, but they definitely offer a few distinct advantages. They provide a durable, cool, and comfortable sleeping surface, but it's important to beware of those who would take your money. While a real latex mattress from is well worth its cost, one that is made from synthetic latex is unlikely to provide the same satisfaction.

Here are a few of the reasons that you should only buy latex mattresses that are made of natural latex. Sure, the synthetic versions will cost a little less, but what's the point of buying something that is fake?

Especially when you are living in a city like London where there are a lot of small flats. You have to make sure that the mattress on your bed is of good quality. A lot of people don’t use beds because it just makes it easier to put down the mattress and sleep after a long day. No need to spend extra cash if you are okay with that.

And if you are going the “mattress on the floor” route, you need to make sure that you don’t get bedbugs. Cotton mattresses will get bedbugs. Latex mattresses on the other hand won’t.

Keep reading to know more about why latex mattresses are better than their cotton counterparts.

What Is Latex And Where Is It Sourced?

The properties of latex and the properties of rubber are very similar, as anyone with half a brain might have noticed. This is not a coincidence because both of these substances come from the sap of the rubber tree. This sap is tapped through a small hole and collected in buckets for refinement into latex, rubber, and numerous other products.

The first recorded use of latex by humans comes from ancient Mesoamerica. The Olmecs, Aztecs, and many other tribes of that region used to play a type of ritual game using a rubber ball. It was somewhat like a game of basketball, but with the hoops mounted vertically on the walls. On a more gruesome note, the losers of this game were often sacrificed.

In any case, the balls used for this sport were made of pure natural rubber, although they may have used the extract of the morning glory plant to stabilise the raw latex. It seems that they used this substance for general waterproofing as well.

It was in the 18th century that two Frenchmen named Charles Marie de La Condamine and Francois Fresneau introduced natural rubber to the old world. Right from the start, they learned that it could erase pencil marks, which is why it is still called rubber to this day.

To avoid confusion here, we should mention that there is a difference between raw natural latex and commercially available latex. However, the difference is not a very large one.

What Is Synthetic Latex And Where Is It Sourced?

Synthetic latex is made from a variety of different sources, so it's not possible to give just one answer here. However, most of these imitation latexes are made from petroleum or petroleum products. It's amazing when you think of how many things petroleum is used to manufacture.

It's even more amazing that people would use a nonrenewable resource when they could use a renewable one. Rubber trees are pretty efficient in the production of natural latex (as opposed to processed latex).

One would think those trees could produce enough rubber for everyone if managed properly. Of course, that would require putting some limits on both population growth and consumption, and no one wants that.

It seems that the most common material used for the making of synthetic latex is a compound called SBR (styrene-butadiene rubber). Styrene is a type of plastic (think of polystyrene, and you'll understand why) and is normally produced from the dehydrogenation of ethylbenzene.

That's a fancy way of saying that they remove some hydrogen in order to turn it into a different substance. Ethylbenzene is derived from either coal tar or petroleum.

Butadiene is a colourless gas that can be easily rendered into a liquid monomer. This substance was first synthesised from amyl alcohol but is now made from petroleum.

As far as we know, the credit for the invention of SBR goes to Eduard Tschunker and Walter Bock, two scientists working for a German company called IG Farben.

Why You Should Go With Natural Rubber

There are several things that make natural rubber superior to its artificial counterpart. For one thing, latex is naturally hypoallergenic. Mites, mildew, mold, and most other bio-contaminants have a hard time growing in an environment like this.

Cloth, on the other hand, provides a place for all of these things to prosper. In short, all the things that tend to trigger allergies will not be able to grow or accumulate on latex.

Another thing to remember is that synthetic latex is processed with all sorts of unnatural chemicals. Besides that, we might mention the fact that petroleum isn't the healthiest substance in the world either. Being made from fossil fuels like that means that synthetic latex contains carcinogens by the boatload.

Obviously, you aren't going to get cancer from short-term use, but we would not recommend using synthetic latex for bedding over the long haul.

Finally, you might consider the environmental impact that synthetic rubber has and will always have. Because it is made from a nonrenewable resource that has caused many wars, and because there aren't enough good ways to dispose of it, synthetic rubber/latex is not a good choice for the eco-friendly buyer.


Although it isn't often that we firmly endorse one product over another, it is clear that synthetic latex is not a good choice (not for mattresses, anyway). When something is going to be in regular contact with your body, it is important to make sure it's non-toxic and safe.

Besides, synthetic rubber has a harder feel and isn't as comfortable, anyway! In the end, there is just no sense in paying for a substandard item.