Natural versus Synthetic Latex

Theptex is proud to be amongst one of the 6 (!) companies in the world that refrains from adding (cheap) synthetic (SBR) latex to their cores.

We feel it is important that our customers truly understand the differences between natural, synthetic and blended latex. And for this, a bit of rubber history is needed.

The first natural latex mattress was created in the early 30’s, a couple of years after a scientist working for the Dunlop (tyre) company figured out how to transform natural latex milk into foam.

Both World Wars spiked the demand for natural rubber as it was used to make tires and other wartime items. Scientists hurried to find an alternative; synthetic, petroleum-based or man-made latex was born!

It didn’t take long for the mattress industry to start mixing synthetic latex with natural latex or – even worst – use only synthetic latex to manufacture latex foam mattresses. The reasons for doing so are simple; synthetic latex foam is easy and quick to produce at a fraction of the cost of natural latex foam.

Consumers today however are becoming much more conscious and educated about the products they use in every day life so 100% natural latex foam is rapidly finding its way back into the bedroom.

Take a look at this video in which International Sales Manager Remi explains how you can tell the difference between natural and synthetic latex.

FeatureNatural Latex FoamSynthetic Latex Foam
CompositionExtract from Hevea-Brasilienis (rubber) treePetrochemicals (SBR-styrene butadiene)
FeelingSpringy and supportiveLess springy, dull
Durability20-25 yearsLess then natural foam, will tear more easily
SmellNatural latex smell, similar to woodToxic off-gassing
LookNatural imperfectionsUnnaturally smooth
ColorCreamy/ivory, may turn yellowish when exposed to direct sunlightAny color, depends on chemical additive
BreathabilitySleeps cools because of open-cell matrix of natural latex which allows good air flowSleeps more hot because SBR doesn’t have an open-cell structure so air doesn’t flow
BiodegradableYesNo
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)NoMultiple health concerns because of presence of VOC
PriceMore expensiveCheap
WeightHeavyLighter
Other featuresAnti-dust mite, anti-fungal and antibacterial by nature Depends on chemicals added