Pure latex is harvested by tapping the milk (sap) of the tropical rubber tree called Heavea Braziliensis. These trees are in plantation form in Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
Malaysia was historically the world's largest producer of natural latex, however with the spread of palm trees for their palm oil, many of the rubber tree plantations have been replaced over the last 2 decades with palm tree plantations. That has provided the opportunity for other Asian countries to develop their rubber tree plantations, so now the latex in the pillows we recommend is from Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia as well as Malaysia.
The latex comes out from the trees in liquid form and undergoes several emulsifying processes until it reaches a final stage when it is poured into a mould in the form of the contoured pillow.
Latex has great longevity of its structural integrity so you can expect it to provide support for many years. Any product that sustains continual load bearing will soften over time, however you will find foam pillows will lose their support markedly faster.
Latex is known for its wonderful pressure-diffusion due to the thousands of interconnecting cells within its structure that allow for even dispersion of load.
Pure latex is non-toxic and contaminant free unlike other materials. It contains a natural bacterial repellant that inhibits bacterial and fungal growth to thereby provide an inhospitable environment for dust mites.
The truth about foam vs natural latex
In an environmentally conscious world, it always seems to be a good idea to buy everything natural. If you’re on the hunt for a new pillow, a natural latex pillow is one of the best options out there. Foam and memory foam doesn't compete due to the toxicity associated with them.
The safety of a memory foam pillows varies between manufacturers. Traditionally, memory foam is produced using various chemicals and processes. You may therefore have noticed a distinct odour when you have been near foam or memory foam pillows. This smell is known as off-gassing. This chemical odour is a result of the chemicals used which results in the gassing off of the “volatile organic compounds” (VOCs) breaking down. As opposed to being stable, these “volatile” (or unstable) compounds break apart to typically form gases.
VOCs aren't just found in foam but also the adhesives used may have VOCs. These can include chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), formaldehyde, benzene, naphthalene, perfluorocarbons, methylene chloride, trichloroethane, toluene, and polyols. Most people are concerned about the presence of these chemicals due to the fact that they can cause health problems after prolonged exposure. For instance, the most commonly known polyol, polyurethane, is the primary ingredient of most memory foams and is a petroleum-based material that emits volatile organic compounds which can cause respiratory problems and skin irritation. Formaldehyde, on the other hand, is not typically added to foams but may result as a byproduct of chemical reactions or adhesives.
Overall it's plain to see that latex is better than the foams and 100% natural latex is better than synthetic latex. If you haven't tried on yet, a latex pillow could be a huge benefit to your health and sleep, so consider one today.
Taking Care of Your Latex Pillow
Don’t immerse your latex pillow in water as it may never completely dry due to water entering and getting virtually trapped in the internal network of corridors in the latex.
You can dab the exterior of your latex product with a damp cloth to clean it. Use warm water and mild detergent, being careful not to let it soak in past the surface and then dab it dry with another dry cloth. Then leave it in an area of good airflow, away from direct sunlight for it to dry completely. Never leave it in direct sunlight as this will impact on the pillow’s life in terms of its elastic integrity. Latex will discolor with age, but this will not affect its longevity.
Air the pillow, out of direct sunlight, every month. Wash the eucalyptus fibre pillow protector between monthly and your pillowcase should be washed weekly.
Do not spin or tumble dry the pillow as this may cause latex to tear and this will compound with further use.
And finally, to get the most comfort while on a latex contoured pillow, get treatment from chiropractors and remedial massage therapists if your neck area has problems so it isn't aggravated while lying on a pillow.