Mold, mildew, dust and dust mites are all unhealthy bed partners, and yet they’re often there lurking in our pillows. An eco-friendly alternative to getting rid of these unwanted bed buddies is to use natural latex pillows.
Natural latex is resistant to dust mites, mold and mildew, making it a good option for people with allergies.
However, it’s also a good option for the environment as it is a completely renewable resource.
Where does natural latex come from?
Natural latex is the milky fluid secreted by about 10% of flowering plants. For me, this brings back memories of picking milk weed as a child and getting covered in the milky residue it was named after.
The fluid is a mixture of all sorts of things produced by the plant to help defend its self against plant-eating insects. I might add it does a pretty good job of dissuading eight year old girls also. It is this natural chemical cocktail produced by the plant that gives natural latex its natural antimicrobial properties.
Most of the natural latex is actually natural rubber latex, harvested from the Hevea brasiliensis tree. The latex is harvested without having to kill the tree, which makes it a very renewable and environmentally- friendly resource.
Of course, the latex has to be turned into foam and this is done through one of two main processes. The Talalay process yields light foam with lots of air bubbles, whereas the Dunlop process yields heavier, high density foam. However, through either process the natural latex is essentially moulded and cured into pieces of foam. More about this in this video:
Advantages of natural latex pillows
I’ve already stated that natural latex has inherent antimicrobial properties, which make these pillows resistant to dust mites, mold and mildew. I’ve also mentioned that they are made from a readily renewable resource. However, here are a few more reasons to take a serious look at natural latex pillows:
- Unlike petroleum based foams, natural latex foam won’t give off volatile organic compounds as they age. Many of the chemicals in petroleum products will transition into their gas state (known as off-gasing) as the product ages. Not a quality one wants in a product they essentially breathe into for 6-9 hours a day.
- Natural latex pillows also don’t lose their form over time as other foam pillows are known to do.
- These pillows are filled with interconnecting air channels, which means they are well ventilated preventing overheating and sweating at night.
- Unlike feather pillows, natural latex pillows don’t need to be strong-armed into shape when you shift position at night; the pillows take shape around what your body is doing.
- These pillows are very easy to care for as they are a hygienic sterile product, which shouldn’t require washing or beating. Just pop off the organic cotton or bamboo cover to wash and you’re done!
- Natural latex pillows are reasonably priced compared with some other alternatives.
A couple brands to look into:
Z by Malouf is made with shredded natural Talalay latex and comes with a removable bamboo cover. The shredded filling supposedly provides a more traditional pillow feel for those who are resisting the shift to a solid foam pillow. They also make a contour pillow, which helps relieve pressure points for people with neck and back pain.
Organic Textiles makes a 100% natural latex pillow that doesn’t contain any synthetic latex or other synthetic materials. The cover is made from organic cotton and they guarantee the pillow will not lose its shape for seven years.
Unfortunately people with latex allergies will have to look elsewhere as even natural latex will cause allergic reactions.
Of course, a pillow is a very personal item and finding the right one can take a while. However, a good night’s sleep is worth the wait. So, if it’s time to replace your pillows or you are suffering from allergies and need to create a hypoallergenic sleeping environment, consider natural latex pillows as they are a good eco-friendly option to help you rest easy.