latex topper - confused

We have an adopted grandma that spends a lot of time in bed lately while recovering from surgery - she has a firm mattress that is relatively new and desperately need a softer surface to lay on - I don’t think memory foam would be a great fit for her - she doesn’t like the feel- I am thinking latex ( happy about other suggestions) ???

We want to get her a topper asap but we are unsure - talalay or Dunlop? What firmness is considered soft ( and still durable) in both kinds -the numbers seem to vary incredibly - any thoughts? We want soft … Can a short and compact 150lb person be happy with 2 inch or do we need more? Do we need a cover or will a duvet cover do the job? Any trustworthy companies that will not break the bank ( at least not completely!) - would appreciate advice!

I weigh between 140-150 (depending on the season), and the softest Dunlop I could find (16-18 ILD) is too firm for me. If you’re going with latex for a topper, I think Talalay might be a better choice than Dunlop if you’re going for a soft feel.

I did try out a very soft 2" Talalay (soft as in 14-15 ILD, I think), and it’s the only thing I’ve ever felt that actually seemed too soft for me - it was so soft it felt as though there were nothing between me and the actual mattress except for the cotton cover that the topper was in.

Right now I’m using a featherbed on top of my soft all Dunlop mattress, and it feels pretty good.

Hi flybear,

There’s no especially magic formula to knowing what kind of topper your grandma would prefer except to have her test various ones for PPP. Likewise, talalay vs Dunlop is really a personal preference thing.

That said, in my experience most of the retailers of customizable softness foam toppers (e.g. ild) will go by her weight if they have nothing else. I would phone them and ask their advise. For blended talalay, I’d guess you are advised 19 or 24 ild, but that’s only a guess and you should solicit the retailers advice.

Those toppers that have a mixture of materials (usually latex and wool), or more elaborate design / quilting in the cover, tend to be non-configurable (or sometimes have a couple of differing thickness).

If you get a bare latex / foam topper, then yes a cover is a good idea. Latex breaks down less quickly when properly protected. Also, a good cover should compliment the feel you’re going for, and not interfere with it (not unlike a mattress protector). A duvet cover is the wrong dimensions, so would be less preferable.

Any of the members here have Phoenix’s stamp of approval. There are others also that sell quality products. The Clean Bedroom in the USA has some options beyond simple latex layers if you want to see some examples like that.

For simple latex toppers, there’s a list in the DIY thread:

Hi flybear,

The topper guidelines in post #8 here may also be useful.

The choice between Talalay and Dunlop is strictly personal preference and some will prefer the feel of one and some the other. Post #7 here may give you some sense of the differences between them but personal testing is really the best way to know which one you prefer.

I also agree with dn that a cover is a good idea to extend the life of the latex. Ozone and ultraviolet light are two of the “enemies” of latex and can cause it to oxidize and break down prematurely.


thank you for all your help - I wish I could at least try the different options somewhere - it is simply not an option to lug sick Oma into a mattress store ( and there are few around here that have latex) so we’ll have to just take a shot in the dark …

The only latex topper that I have ever seen around here is on one of the Denver Mattress latex beds but isn’t sold separately - I believe they said it is 3.5 lb Dunlop ( no idea as far as firmness level ) - this thing seemed very soft and bouncy to me

well - we are going from super firm to something with at least some " give" so it should be an improvement either way…

any thoughts on these people Pure Green Natural Latex Mattress Topper |

I like that they fulfill the textile confidence and oekotex standards which I am familiar with from Europe - they sell Dunlop and blends it seems

I didn’t think your recovering relative was going to be able to personally test anything. Phoenix has a list here of online companies that he has confidence in - perhaps looking over that list of companies might help. I think there is one, SleepEZ, that has a return policy on toppers so if one you didn’t order didn’t work out, you’d at least be able to return it (they have blended and all natural latex).

I’m considering trying one of those toppers for my own bed.

The problem with most of the “shot in the dark” things is that toppers are considered nonreturnable items by most places.

How much softness does your grandma want/need? I know that’s a pretty subjective question, but I was wondering if she’s like something she could sink down in like a featherbed, or something more resilient like latex would be?

Sleeping on a mattress that’s too firm isn’t a good thing - took me two weeks of hip pain to realize it was coming from my new Dunlop mattress, and two nights with a featherbed added for the hip pain to go away.


I believe sleep on latex is a member here… Edit: per Phoenix below, they’re not a member since they don’t sell full mattresses. See Phoenix’s comments below :slight_smile:

The compatible softness of 3.5 lbs Dunlop would depend on if it were 100% natural rubber, and/or how what the blend was. In theory though, a 3.5 lbs Dunlop with an equal ratio of natural and SBR latex from another vendor would be equally soft. Being it was part of the mattress though, there could have been wool or other materials which contributed. Re Dunlop, there isn’t really a density (which is what lbs is a measure of) to ild equivalent, and Dunlop tends to be measured in density.

If you were playing the averages, 2"-3" of the soft (65 kg/m3 or less) Dunlop, or 2-3" of a 19 or 24 ild talalay seem to correspond with many common approaches people have used. Talalay would likely feel a touch softer. These are only guesses based on averages, only your grandma can determine what approach is best.

You might ask her how she can / plans on sleeping. A side sleeper would often prefer a deeper comfort later… Phoenix covered all that in the post #8 he linked to.

Hi flybear,

The Denver Mattress topper is blended Talalay. I believe it’s 24 ILD (the same as thecomfort layer on their previous latex mattresses).

A forum search on sleeponlatex (you can just click this) will bring up more information and feedback about them. Karl is knowledgeable about the products he sells. They sell Dunlop latex products from Latexco.

Almost all latex you are likely to encounter will be OekoTex certified (Dunlop or Talalay and including synthetic, blended, and 100% natural).


They’re not a member (they don’t sell mattresses) but they are included in the list of sources for latex that is linked in the topper guidelines. I’ve talked with Karl on several occasions and he is certainly knowledgeable about the products he sells.


Thank you all for your help and advice

Weird about denver mattress - the sales person explained the dunlop process to me and advertised their topper as dunlop - either way it is not for sale separately so it simply isn’t an option

I think we will try a talalay in soft in 2 inches - i hope this will make the bed more bearable - we have every comforter we could find stacked on that bed - it can only get better ;-)- i will report back how it is received and which brand we end up with

Also - we were tempted to simply order a new latex mattress from ultimate dreams in ultra plush but i have yet to call them and ask how plush their soft really is and what options we would have …

Hi flybear,

If you look at their website here they are clear that it’s Talalay. Your salesperson seems to be less knowledgeable than most at Denver Mattress. They could just check their own website to confirm it’s Talalay.

They can provide any ILD of latex you wish (the 4 they list are just the 4 most common). They will also give you the ILD of each level so you have a reference point but there is also 1.5" of quilting foam on top of the latex which will change how it feels compared to sleeping directly on the latex. Although softness is subjective and each person perceives it differently … a conversation with them will give you a better sense of the relative firmness level of each one.



You mentioned that you tried a 16-18 ILD dunlop topper and that it was too firm for you. Was this 100% dunlop? I’m looking at this topper:

The INVIGO company says that this is 20% natural 80 synthetic and the density is 3lbs. or so, and 14 ILD. It sounds like it is pretty soft, but I do not have any experience with dunlop or blended dunlop. They have 2 and 3" toppers, I am going to buy the 2". This topper is returnable and I will order it through the INVIGO site. The cotton cover looks decent. They told me there will be a sale this week for Black Friday. I really wanted an all natural topper, but I tried a soft 100% talalay, not sure what the ILD was, but it felt too springy / jello-like too me. I don’t think it was 14 or 15 ILD. My topper will go in between my mattress and my wool fleece topper. I want to try this one first, mainly because it is returnable. Not many reviews , but pretty positive.

the salespeople obviously don’t read their own website - I was happy this man seemed to know something about latex at all - most people here will go " latex"? - in a bed ? There are some funny sales people in this area let me tell you - under-qualified doesn’t even begin to describe it …

I think we have it narrowed down to either the ultimate dreams/ Brooklyn 3inch 19 IDL topper or the rejuvenate 3 inch from Arizona Mattress - not sure if there is much of a difference they seem to be both popular and because we are shopping for someone else we have to go by what most people seem to like and consider soft and cushy …

Phoenix - you made a good point about the quilting and foam on the top of the latex in the mattresses - I imagine it would make things somewhat different. My reasoning is that you can always use a topper - use it on different surfaces, remove it easily - a mattress is more of a commitment …

When our son moves out I want one of those customized ultra plush latex beds myself - or maybe build my own - now you got me all into it - thanks :slight_smile:

Hi flybear,

Both of these use 19 ILD blended talalay from Latex International so the only difference would be in the covers.

Every layer and component in a mattress can affect the feel and performance of the mattress and the cover and quilting is often a “forgotten” part of a mattress even though it can have a significant effect. I also agree that a topper is always useful to have around for lots of reasons. We have a couple of toppers that have seen a fair share of use as a spare bed on the floor when my two kids and their partners (and sometimes some friends as well) all come and pay us a visit all at once :slight_smile:

You’re very welcome … I think :slight_smile:


it was a real thank you ! I think would have fun building a mattress - and I could swap layers until it is just " right" and change it if I feel differently after a while.

I just talked to Arizona mattress and ordered their DIY 3 inch talalay blend topper/layer and added one of their cotton bamboo covers - they have a zipper and I think their cotton covers are even nicer than the rejuvenate covers - and this combo is a little less expensive too - the latex is exactly the same
I would have ordered the Brooklyn version if they offered a zipper and removable cover

[quote=“flybear” post=28302]it was a real thank you ! I think would have fun building a mattress - and I could swap layers until it is just " right" and change it if I feel differently after a while.

Hahah. I’m about to do exactly that. I’ve ordered a bunch of material, and waiting on delivery now. I have Dunlop, talalay, polyfoam, wool, a small variety of different firmnesses, and different means to encase and add / modify the layers of my bed. I get my first delivery of new material today or tomorrow. :slight_smile:

exiting! you got to let us know how this experiment goes !

I am picky and difficult with Mattresses -this might be just the thing to do - instead of spending a few grand on a ready made that I can’t change except for adding a topper I might be better off with a collection of layers - we have collected quite a few mattresses over the years and they are hard to dispose off and move around - layers would be much more manageable - but then … this can become an obsession and I might need an extra room just to store extra layers and material - haha!

Hi flybear,

I certainly didn’t mean to imply that the thank you was insincere … only that starting to experiment with mattresses can become somewhat of a “hobby” (as in dn’s case) and can become so interesting that it may become more “immersive” than you suspect!.

If you had told me that I would be running a mattress forum 5 years ago and that I would have written over 11,000 posts and articles in less than 3 years I would have told you that you were crazy … and yet here I am :slight_smile:


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Yes, I will likely start a thread to post all the info in 1 place. I do enjoy it, as Phoenix says like a hobby. I don’t recommend it to save money… I’m going for fun and perfection, whatever the cost… I’ve spent more on various materials to deal with the top 3" for half a king than some will on an entire king (>$1500). I do have a passion for it though, it seems!

I just received the polyfoam (“boring” for many in a forum with so much info on latex, but a lot of people do like polyfoam- all high density 2.8 lbs / ft3, egg crate and plain, attempting to match a particular feel I tried for 4 nights in a hotel).

I get the fascination - and it is certainly a useful hobby- and it seems like a harmless addiction should it come to this :whistle:

I think I will enjoy experimenting a bit myself … I have gotten some great ideas here and learned a lot.