Organic Latex vs. Natural

Posted on 24 Comments

I choose to sell GOLS Organic Latex. Why? In part because of the thoroughness of the standard, but honestly, mostly because we as consumers have come to equate the word organic with a quality product. When you hear the word organic, you realize that while you still want to read the label, someone else is out there holding your product to a standard. In our case, the standard is GOLS (Global Organic Latex Standard) similar to GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard), which we use for all of our fabrics.

Organic is a buzz word. It has been subject to green washing, to inflated prices and to eye rolling at someone’s careful choice.  BUT it is also subject to buying confidence, to a gold standard and to a product’s broad care and oversight. This broad care means that not just the final product of a latex core is certified, but also the growing procedures for the tree, the molding facility, the packaging, and that the worker’s wages are paid out fairly and their working conditions are respectable.

Is there a difference in the end product between natural latex and organic natural latex? My suppliers tell me there is just the difference of paperwork, and as all organic certifications do, the standard certifies 95% of the product. With the final product of both natural and organic latex being 96% rubber, both products surpass the certifications requirements for the product.

In the end, all natural latex, whether organic or not, ends up containing the following ingredients:

  1. Organic Latex Rubber 96%
  2. Zinc Oxide 2%
  3. Fatty Acid Soaps 1%
  4. Sulfur 1%
  5. Sodium 1%

Item 1 is pure, natural rubber harvested exclusively from the “Hevea Brasiliensis” tree, which grows primarily in South-East Asia.

Items 2 thru 5 are foaming agents that are essential to the vulcanization, foaming and curing process that all latex cores must go though. The finished core is then washed a minimum of 3 times to remove any residuals that may be left over after curing.

I feel assured that we are getting and selling a product that, for being man-made, is quite natural. You can find the document of organic certification in our organic latex product.

24 thoughts on “Organic Latex vs. Natural

  1. I wouldn’t buy an “organic” latex anything. I’m allergic to latex..ITS STILl RUBBER. I just went to an estate sale today where the woman suffered severe breathing problems. So she left ALL of her belongings behind..she thought she was allergic to pollens in the air in Portland, Oregon. Her bed was 100% organic latex…I’m betting this was her health problem. I’m betting she never even thought of the stupid bed being the problem..since organic sounds all good n such…stupid!!!! After seeing this womans beautiful home, and belongings…I feel so bad for her. I don’t know the woman at all, but would hate for this type of thing to happen to anyone else. Have a nice day

    1. Hello Tricia,
      Yes, some people, though not most, do have allergies to latex anything. Wool would be a better option for such people. Organic has nothing to do with allergies, it has to do with pesticides, fertilizers, foaming agents, and also warehouse conditions, labor wages and packaging materials.

      If you read the above article, you will find that I agree that the word organic has been overused and misused. My decision to not stock organic latex is precisely because it seems more like a buzzword in this instance rather than an improvement in quality.

      There are a lot of pieces to the woman’s story that you are glossing over, such as the length of her struggle with breathing problems, such as what blood tests she had done to determine her allergies to the pollen, such as the strength of her immune system, etc. I am glad you are aware of your allergy and I hope she can conquer hers.

      Because of people who are chemically sensitive, we do take special precautions with our products: our washed fabric is washed with BioKleen, our latex and wool are shipped and stored separately. If you have chemical sensitivities, let me know and I’ll see if we can accommodate your needs, often we can.

      1. I thought this whole article is stating that you DO stock organic latex. But in this response you say you choose NOT to stock it because organic seems like just a buzzword. Clarification please!

        1. Hello Britt,
          Good clarification. We used to sell only natural latex due to my conviction that natural can be just as good as organic, it all depends on the care given. I still hold this belief with our wool, which we still get from small, conscious farms. However, with our latex we have switch to organic latex because that buzzword is trusted by our customers. We understand that manufacturing plants oversees cannot easily be held to the same amount of questioning and verification of good intent as local businesses, such as the sheep farms we work with, thus we can let the certification do the questioning for us.

          1. I’d be more inclined to trust OEKO-TEX 100 Class 1 certification or GOLS that holds that certification. Because GOLS has not emission standards and up to 5% of the material is unknown.

  2. Deborah,

    I’d like to know HOW you can accommodate someone with multiple chemical sensitivities, as you offer above.


    1. Hello Rebecca,
      Our shop does not specialize in chemical sensitives, though we do specialize in avoiding every chemical possible. The steps we take consistently are listed above: specialized laundry detergent and separation of products to avoid contamination. Call or email me to see if we can help you create something to fit your needs. We still make every ticking per order and can accommodate some special requests.

  3. What pesticides are used on the Rubber trees you use. As opposed to organic latex that do not use peesticides?

    1. Thanks, Roxanne, for your support.

      I have thought about only selling products that I could grow myself. I could raise my own sheep and could figure out how to grow my own millet, but I do not live in a tropical environment that will support either kapok or the para rubber tree, so I have to accept that the company that does grow the trees and mold the latex keeps some details proprietary.

      I know that the rubber trees are not usually susceptible to blight or pests, but I do not know how the trees are treated. I do know that the trees are grown sustainably and are not burned when they are done with their 30 year production life; instead they are harvested for furniture and toy use.

  4. Good grief. The guy is just giving you a better alternative than the poisonous junk offered in all basic bedding today. Give him a break! My daughter is allergic to latex and she is fine on our Prana bed we just gave her. She loves it!
    Organic latex may be out of most peoples price range. Natural is pretty darn close. So close it appears negligible.But for some very important. If your worried about alergic reactions a lot of bedding stores allow you a trial period.
    Either was be thankful for chemical free bedding!
    I dont know this company or any of its affiliates just saw a giant bitch session and got frustrated as I am sleeping in my living room on blow up as the new bed we received is making me sick. Now investigating….

    1. Roxanne – I recently bought a mattress from one of the general “mattress” stores and it took me 3-4 months to figure out why I was suddenly so horribly ill every morning. Lasting through most of the day. Black circles under my eyes, puffy face, dried up look to my skin, exhausted, etc, etc. I don’t know how I happened to realize that it was caused my my new mattress but when I finally did, I, too, am sleeping on my couch. It took a few days, but what a difference in my health!! I no longer am in a daily stupor, dragging myself around all day . I started Googling mattresses and am shocked at the information. Now I KNOW, that it is my mattress!! So, my question to you is; have you found a new mattress that you are buying or are you looking?

      1. Sharon, if you are looking for a forum of opinions and information on mattresses, I highly recommend The Mattress Underground. It is run by a self-educated mattress expert who digs past the marketing to the quality of the components in mattresses and how they suit your preferences. Between the moderator and the forum’s constant string of questions, answers, facts and thoughts, you are sure to find some ideas and answers there.

    2. I’m making my own bed because I can’t throw away money on something that according to too many reviews stinks so bad it must be aired out for days & weeks.

      1. Great idea! Very few people notice the natural smell of latex. It does not off gas because there are no chemicals to dissipate.

  5. Hello, I am curious about the natural latex. Is there any off gassing? Also, is it treated with any type of anti microbial spray or something for dust mites? I have seen latex mattresses sold in conventional stores that have all of these features. Doesn’t this create more off gassing? I would like to go with the most natural option that has no or minimal off gassing. Would this be wool or latex? Also in terms of health is there a difference between Talalay and Dunlop? What type of latex do you offer?

    1. Hello Summer,
      Backwards to forwards here: We sell Dunlop natural latex. I have not heard of a difference between Talalay and Dunlop in regards to health. The antimicrobial properties of our natural latex are inherent in the product. It is not sprayed with anything. I would agree, spraying with something would contribute to off gassing. If you are sensitive to smells, you will notice a slight scent to the latex, otherwise, the rest of us don’t usually notice it.

  6. What chemicals are released as latex breaks down?

    1. I don’t think that actual detail has even been tested, however the offgassing potential of the latex has been tested and the laboratory report of the VOC testings is here
      I think you will find the results very satisfying. See page 23 for the list of test substances.
      I have known customers who successfully compost their latex after they are done with it with no harm to their compost pile.

      1. Hi Deborah, On page 23 of that VOC report that you cite, are these all the chemicals that off-gassed from your sample? If so, I don’t understand how a person could be satisfied that a few hundred chemicals are coming out of a natural product. Am I missing something? Perhaps the chemicals listed where only tested for, and not found? Thanks for your help. Bill

        1. Goodness, no. If everything on that list was in the latex, it would not pass my standards for selling here. We want our products as clean as they can be. Page 23 lists all the chemicals that they test for. Pages 7-18 list their findings.

  7. Hello. I am elderly, 185 lbs. and need a healthy mattress for my low narrow platform bed: 75″ long, 33″ wide, 7″‘ deep. No wool, just cotton. I am a back and side-sleeper. Cost? Thank you. Chris

    1. We can definitely help you make a custom sized mattress. Since each of our cotton batting layers is about 1/2″ thick, I think that you would get a loose 7″ with 14 layers or 14 yards. Each yard is $41 or $574 total. Since the cotton could shift inside the ticking, you will want our strong twill ticking so for $130 that it will hold up to your tufting. Instructions on tufting are here. I have not personally made a cotton mattress before so I can’t tell you how much it will compress over time, though I know that that the batting does compress. Email us at if you have more questions.

      1. I’ve been reading tons on all aspects of natural bedding in preparation for eventually buying or constructing my new bed. In the meantime, I’m looking to add a latex topper,
        and I’m testing out some pillow designs I’ve made myself.
        I’ve spent a lot of time on various websites and I really appreciate your information and most of all, transparency. Of course there will always be some people who are just argumentative and wouldn’t be satisfied with any answer, but for me, even if I disagreed with your thoughts and business choices I’d be thrilled to just get the honest answers and reasoning behind them. Many other companies give vague or seriously misleading information or use semantics to hide the truth about what you’re buying.
        Thanks for the valuable information & integrity in your business! I will probably order some materials when I make some decisions, and if my pillow design takes off I’ll be calling you for production! 🙂

        1. Thank you much for your comment! I do hope give you enough information to make a good decision.
          Best of luck with your pillow design. We’d be happy to sew it up for you, no matter how complicated!

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