Synthetic Latex Vs Natural Latex

Last Updated January 5, 2024

For a healthy adult, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and Sleep Foundation recommend that you receive at least 7 – 9 hours of sleep every night. You must be trying hard to get some good night's sleep within your busy lifestyle. Yet, do you sometimes wake up feeling groggy, tired, with hurting eyes, and even body aches? If yes, it is not your lifestyle to be blamed as much, but your bed.

You might want to peek under the sheets once in a while to examine if your bed has lost its comforting nature and is probably hurting you more than healing you. This is a high possibility because you are sleeping on a synthetic compound instead of a natural compound. One solution for this is to opt for Natural Latex foam mattresses. But be warned, many products in the market claim to be natural but are not.

latex mattress

You must be wondering, is there a difference? And if yes, then by how much? We will resolve all your doubts. Keep reading ahead

What is Latex?

Latex is nothing but the sap that we take from the rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis). The collected latex is then processed in factories to make rubber and its allied products.

While one use of latex is making rubber and rubber products from it, latex is also used to make foam. There are a couple of processes (Dunlop vs Talalay) by which latex is turned into foam. This foam was once widely used in beds before the Second World War. That changed when the world was introduced to synthetic foam. With growing consumer awareness and the rising preference for sustainable products, the demand for natural latex is growing.

Read all you need to know about latex material here.

Synthetic Latex vs Natural Latex

How is Synthetic Latex Made?

Synthetic latex is made from petrochemicals like Styrene and Butadiene to create Styrene-Butadiene rubber. This latex has a close resemblance to the plastic family, but with specific chemical processes during manufacturing, it receives certain latex-like features. The most significant advantage it has over natural latex is the cost factor. There are only so many rubber trees globally, but a lot of crude to derive petrochemicals. This has been a leading reason for the rise in the adaption of synthetic latex in bedding globally.

Which Latex Mattress Must I Opt?

There is a reason why we prefer natural ingredients over artificial ones – quality and resiliency. The same applies to latex foam as well. Synthetic latex, albeit cheap, does not last the duration of natural latex. Moreover, it degrades a lot faster, and there is a risk of being exposed to carcinogens due to prolonged usage. Even though you procure bedding of synthetic latex at a substantially low price, it will make you pay over time.

latex mattress

Foam degradation results in body aches; the toxic smell and vapors can expose you to cancer risk. Lacking a good night's sleep will cost you more in chronic health issues, not to mention the impending mental exhaustion. Synthetic latex also traps heat into it, resulting in hot periods of sleep. This can be a significant challenge if you tend you live in warm to hot regions.

Natural latex is the best solution for you. Not only does it come from natural sources, but it is also very comfortable and long-lasting for a good night's sleep for years at a stretch. It is soft, comfortable to sleep on, and provides good air circulation for a cool and calming rest. It also offers better support to your body as it adjusts to your body contours with ease. This is similar to memory foam; just that memory foam takes time to return to its original form, affecting its life. Natural latex returns quickly to its original condition and maintains its shape and support for a longer duration.

sleep comfortably on a natural latex mattress

You will find many sources quoting that a mattress must be changed every 6 – 8 years. This is true in the case of synthetic latex mattress since it degrades much past its life until then. Natural latex, on the other hand, can last for over a decade. Its degradation process is slower, and the overall comfort it provides is substantially higher than synthetic latex mattresses.

Read more about the incredible benefits of sleeping on a natural latex mattress here.

The only downside (if any) for natural latex is the possibility of an allergy. Many people are allergic to the residual proteins in latex. It is not much of an issue since there is always a cover of bedspreads, protectors, etc. One might seldom come in contact with the latex for an allergic reaction to trigger. If that is a reason for worry, then look for the latex foam made from the Talalay process. It cleans all proteins from the latex foam, giving it an anti-allergic property.

Read more about latex allergy.

Synthetic Latex vs Natural Latex

How Do I Identify Natural Latex from the Crowd?

When you go shopping for a latex mattress, you will encounter a multiple options which claim are natural latex. The trick is to not fall for the marketing jargon with fancy words and technical information which can be confusing.

The best solution is to check for yourself about the authenticity of the natural latex foam mattress through a series of tests. This can help you drill down to the real natural latex from the plethora of synthetic latex or a blend of natural and synthetic latex.


The best way to determine if you are getting natural latex is to check for certifications. Some popular certifications to look for on natural latex are OEKO-Tex, ecoInstitut, and Greenguard. There is another set of certificates for Organic natural latex – USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) Organic and GOLS (Global Organic Latex Standard).

organic latex certification label


Natural latex varies from synthetic latex in terms of cost as well. It is considerably higher in price. The salespeople might talk you into purchasing a blended mix for cost savings but be warned that it does not provide any benefit over a fully synthetic latex version. It has to be either 100% natural latex or none.

check the price tag


You can also do the smell test. Natural latex mattresses will have a natural earthen scent to it. Synthetic latex will give out a distinct chemical scent.

woman experiencing the distinct chemical smell from synthetic latex foam

Eager to know do latex mattresses smell? Read here.


You may even conduct a test yourself to check if what you are getting is 100% natural latex. Give the foam a bend in half. If it bends easily, then it is natural latex. Synthetic latex is on the firmer side and does not bend in half that easily. You will also notice that natural latex is very heavy to lift. If the foam is anything on the lighter side, it cannot be 100% natural latex.

bend the foam into half and see if it's natural latex

Need more information on whether or not you are getting a natural latex mattress? Read our in-depth guide on 'How Can You Check if a Latex Mattress Is Natural or Not' here.

While checking for natural latex, ensure that you opt for natural latex which does not have fillers. Fillers are used in the manufacturing process to alter some of the characteristics of natural latex. They are used to increase the quantity of the latex without having to claim to have used synthetic latex. It can still be 100% natural latex. So keep an eye out for the mention of "non-filler" natural latex.

natural and organic pillows

It would be best if you didn't compromise on your sleep because it directly impacts one's good health. In a matter of saving a few dollars, you might end up hurting yourself and your loved ones. If you plan on buying a mattress, always ensure that it is 100% natural latex, which is certified.

Opting for synthetic latex can cause you harm in the long run. Be wary of the marketing jargon and get to know the difference between synthetic latex and natural latex. Enjoy and cherish your good night's sleep!

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Disclaimer: What is said in this article has been referenced from multiple sources and is intended only for educational and informational purposes. Please note that no content in this article is a substitute for professional advice from a qualified doctor or healthcare provider. Always consult an experienced doctor with any concerns you may have regarding a health condition or treatment, and never disregard any medical suggestions or delay in seeking treatment because of something you read here.