# Eco-Friendly Sofas: Natural Latex Explained

If you are looking for an alternative to a sofa that uses toxic materials, a natural latex sofa is a non-toxic option that offers the comfort and style that you prefer for your modern home.

Making environmentally savvy choices for home furniture can have a huge impact on the environment and your health. In addition, natural latex sofas are available in modern styles and are designed to be both durable and comfortable.

Here are all of the features of natural latex so that you can learn about why this material makes for a perfect eco-friendly sofa.

## Why Latex Is Sustainable

Latex is a sustainable material for furniture making thanks to the fact that the entire rubber tree, from which latex is produced, can be used with virtually no waste. The rubber tree (Hevea Brasiliensis) has a life cycle of roughly 32 years. Sap harvesting may begin when the tree is roughly 7 years old.

The careful cutting of the bark of the rubber tree, which heals quickly, allows the sap to be harvested without damaging the tree. The collection of rubber sap does not require any chemicals, fertilizers or pesticides. The growth of the rubber tree generally depends on the climate and that is why these extra additives are not required and will not aid in growth.

After about 25 years, once a tree stops producing the sap needed to make latex, the rubber trees can then be harvested for their wood. This wood is used to construct furniture producing a product that closely resembles teak. Alternatively, the wood may also be used as timbers and beams for the construction industry.

## Types of Latex

There are multiple types of latex and it is important to understand the differences so that you know what you are buying when you purchase a latex sofa. Synthetic latex is manufactured by mixing latex with a petroleum-based plasticizer. Typically, butadiene or styrene is used as the mixing agent. As a result, synthetic latex is not considered to be organic.

Blended latex is made by combining synthetic and organic latex and may also contain other fillers, such as clay.

Natural latex is generally made via one of two processes. Dunlop and Talalay are the two main processes that are used to manufacture latex foam. However, the main difference is that the Talalay latex is very springy while the Dunlop process produces latex that is less springy and is heavier and denser. However, the softness or firmness of the latex will generally depend on what the latex will be used for.

## Dunlop vs Talalay Latex Manufacturing

Natural latex is made from the sap of rubber trees. For the Dunlop process, a gelling agent is added to the sap while it is still in liquid form. The mixture is then poured on a stainless steel conveyor belt and then transferred to a vulcanization oven. The vulcanization process is a chemical reaction that gives the latex its final shape. If the latex will be used for a specific purpose, such as for a sofa seat, then it will also be poured into molds. After the latex is removed from the oven, it then undergoes washing which helps the latex to retain elasticity and counters aging.

In the Talalay process liquid rubber is inserted into a closed mold that has received vacuumed air. The mold is then frozen to permit stabilization of the latex. Next, carbon dioxide gas is added and the mold is heated to cure the rubber. Once vulcanization has occurred, the latex can be de-molded and sent for washing and later drying after the vulcanizer stage is complete. However, it can also be said that Talalay latex that is all-natural does not actually exist because the latex produced by this process actually contains materials other than latex, including curing agents and ammonia may also be used to stabilize the liquid rubber.

## Benefits of Natural Latex Furniture

Natural latex offers a chemical-free option for a eco-friendly sofas so that you can enjoy the benefits of organic living. When a latex sofa is combined with modern upholstery fabrics, you can relax and sit in comfort as you would with a sofa made from any other material. Natural latex is a responsive material that can provide adequate support for your shape and spine and won't retain the impressions from your body weight. In addition, latex does not transfer motion in the way that most sofas with coil springs do. When you opt for natural latex for your sofa, you never have to worry about harmful chemicals in your sofa and dangerous off gassing. In addition to furniture, a natural latex mattress is also a fantastic way to make your home healthier.

Eco-friendly sofas that are made from natural latex can also last much longer than sofas that are made from conventional materials because the latex is resistant to forming impressions after someone sits or lies down on the sofa. As a result, a latex sofa may last as many as 20 years as compared to standard sofa that may need repairs within just a few years. Using natural latex furniture can help reduce waste with less furniture ending up in landfills.