You may have heard OMI refer to our two lines of mattresses as “certified organic” or “100% natural.” What exactly do those terms mean, and what are the differences between the two? The difference is in the method of manufacturing the latex and the organic certification process: organic Dunlop vs. natural Talalay. Our Certified-Organic Mattresses are made using Dunlop latex only, whereas our 100%-Natural Mattresses are made using Talalay latex. The two processes both start with a botanical sap. However, the Dunlop we make our mattresses out of begins with a USDA-certified sap, whereas Talalay does not.
Extracting Rubber Sap:
The rubber sap that is used to manufacture both Dunlop and Talalay latex is harvested from sustainable plantations in Southeast Asia. The sap is extracted by cutting the bark of the rubber tree to allow the white sap to flow out. This method allows the tree to heal rapidly, and is the eco-friendly alternative to cutting down trees for latex extraction. Each tree can yield latex for up to 30 years, and is then harvested for furniture wood. The land is then replanted.
The Dunlop manufacturing process was created in 1929, and was the first method developed for producing latex. The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) certified-organic rubber sap is whipped into a froth (to aerate), and is then poured into a mold or onto a long conveyor belt. The latex is then slowly steam-baked into its solid state. Originally this process produced denser, less uniform latex, but over time the method has been refined to produce the even, consistent latex we use today. The finished core is then certified to GOLS (the Global Organic Latex Standard), allowing us to make 100% certified organic mattresses as the end result.
The Talalay family developed the Talalay manufacturing process during World War II. This method adds two additional steps to give the latex a more consistent cell structure: After the sap is whipped into a froth (to aerate) and poured into a mold, the mold is vacuum-sealed and the latex flash-frozen to keep particles from settling. The latex is then flash heated into its solid form.
The addition of these two steps (vacuum sealing and flash freezing) in the Talalay method is the main difference between Dunlop and Talalay, besides the organic certification and purity assurance. Many people still associate Dunlop latex with being a denser, less consistent product, but this is simply no longer true. Both methods have been refined over time to produce the uniform and supportive latex we use at OMI.