Whether you’re fed up with uncomfortable springs, your memory foam is starting to sag, or you just want to treat yourself to a bit of luxury, buying a new mattress should be a fantastic experience that allows you to discover new levels of comfort in the bedroom!
When you’ve gone through the time and effort in choosing the perfect mattress, there is little more disappointing than eagerly opening your new mattress only to be greeted with an awful, pungent smell!
No, the bad smell isn’t necessarily a sign of a faulty mattress and most will stop smelling after a few days of airing, but this doesn’t stop it from being an unpleasant and frustrating experience if you’re not prepared for it!
Below, we’re going to explain what causes that new mattress smell, and some top tips for getting rid of the scent.
What Causes That New Mattress Smell?
The smell emitted by a new mattress straight out of the box is caused by a process known as “off-gassing”.
Off-gassing is caused by the release of Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs) that get trapped within the mattress when vacuum-sealed and packaged. During transportation, the lack of airflow in the mattress’ packaging concentrates the VOCs. When you then open the packaging, the VOCs are released as a gas as the foam expands, causing the distinct new mattress smell.
The smells are usually more prominent when you’ve purchased a memory foam mattress or one that contains acrylic or plastic materials as these generally contain the most VOCs. Spring coil mattresses can also suffer from off-gassing.
Is The New Mattress Smell Harmful?
Although off-gassing releases an unpleasant odor, most people won’t experience any side effects from off-gassing, and it’s generally considered to be harmless.
That said, some people do report problems such as nausea, headaches, and allergy-like symptoms (such as itchy eyes or throat) as a result of off-gassing, and it can be problematic for asthma sufferers. These problems should fade as the mattress is aired out and the smell disappears.
How Long Should I Expect My New Mattress To Smell For?
The length of time your mattress will be off-gassing will depend on a number of factors, including the type of mattress you’ve purchased and how well ventilated it’s been in transit and on arrival at your home.
An incredibly dense foam mattress is likely to smell for a longer period of time than others, and any mattress that’s been made using chemicals and then vacuumed sealed is likely to have a pungent odor that can take a bit more time to air.
Most mattresses will stop off-gassing in a few days to a couple of weeks, and you should be able to receive guidance on this from the manufacturer.
Step By Step Guide For Removing New Mattress Smell
If you can’t wait to snuggle up on your new mattress but are put off by the scent of off-gassing, there are some things you can do to speed up the odor-reduction timeline.
- Open The Mattress Outdoors – Opening your mattress outdoors can help prevent the off-gassing aroma from entering your home. A screened-in porch or open garage is a great place to store your mattress while it airs to keep it protected from airborne debris. Leave your mattress in the open for several days and vacuum thoroughly before bringing it indoors.
- Keep Your Home Well Ventilated – If you’re ready to bring your mattress indoors or simply don’t have the outdoor space to aerate your new mattress, place it in an unused room (if possible) and be sure to provide plenty of ventilation. Keep the windows open to increase air circulation and stand the mattress on its side rather than flat on the floor.
- Get A Dehumidifier – To aid in the ventilation process, place a dehumidifier or fan in the room with your off-gassing mattress to increase the airflow and speed up the process. You might also want to include an air purifier to help destroy unpleasant odors or other chemical particles.
- Use An Enzyme Spray – Enzyme sprays were initially developed to combat harsh body odors, such as urine, but they’re also highly effective in removing off-gassing odors. Be sure to test a small patch to prevent stains, then spray the mattress surface in accordance with the package instructions to get rid of those smells.
- Bicarbonate Of Soda – For a more natural approach, you can’t beat a few bowls of baking soda for improving bad odors. In the same way baking soda is an excellent way to reduce smells in your refrigerator, it can also help get rid of off-gassing!
You could place several bowls of baking soda and water around the room the mattress is in, or sprinkle the baking soda directly onto the mattress. Bowls of soda and water should be allowed to sit for a few days. If you sprinkle baking soda onto the mattress, allow the soda to sit overnight before vacuuming it up, then repeat on the other side of the mattress.
Bowls of vinegar around the room can also be effective at removing the off-gassing scents, although the smell of vinegar can be just as potent!
- Jump On The Bed! – We know your mom told you not to jump on the bed, but in this rare instance having a good old jump can help the mattress release those VOCs faster. If you have kids (or even if you don’t) this can be a great way to get rid of nasty smells and have fun doing it!
- Consider A Mattress Wrap Or Cover – If you really can’t wait to get on your new mattress, you could consider purchasing a mattress wrap or cover. These products keep the gasses inside so that you don’t need to breathe them in, and are usually powerful enough to stop you from even smelling the off-gassing! The downside to this option is that it won’t allow your mattress to aerate, so you may notice the scent if/when you remove the mattress cover. They’re also not usually certified or formally tested, so using one would be at your own risk.
Do All New Mattresses Smell?
If you’d rather avoid the off-gassing process altogether, you might want to consider an all-natural or organic mattress. These are generally made with fewer chemicals and can even be VOC-free, so won’t smell as pungent as other mattress options.