Banishing the Stench: How to Get Rid of Mattress Smell

Banishing the Stench: How to Get Rid of Mattress Smell

A mattress is an essential household item that provides comfort and support during sleep. However, over time, various factors such as body sweat, dead skin cells, moisture from the environment, and spills can lead to unpleasant odors emanating from the mattress. These smells may not only disrupt one’s sleep but also contribute to a less hygienic sleeping environment. Therefore, it is crucial to understand effective methods for eliminating mattress odors in order to maintain a clean and comfortable sleeping space.

This article delves into practical techniques on how to get rid of mattress smell by first identifying the source of the odor. Subsequently, steps such as airing out the mattress, using baking soda, employing natural odor absorbers like activated charcoal or white vinegar will be discussed. Furthermore, incorporating essential oils and sprays as well as proper maintenance practices are included in this comprehensive guide aimed at helping readers create a fresh-smelling bedroom sanctuary conducive for restful sleep.

Key Takeaways

  • Identify the source of the odor before attempting to eliminate it.
  • Use specialized cleaning products and natural deodorizers based on the specific type of odor.
  • Regularly maintain and clean the mattress, including using a high-quality mattress cover with antimicrobial properties and washing bedding and the mattress cover regularly.
  • Consider using a suitable mattress protector, such as vinyl or hypoallergenic fabrics, depending on individual preferences and requirements for eliminating smells.

Identify the Source of the Odour

To effectively address the issue of unpleasant mattress odours, it is crucial to first identify the origin of the offensive scent. Odour origins can vary greatly and may be traced back to factors such as mould or mildew growth, accumulated sweat and body oils, pet accidents, or even lingering manufacturing smells. Pinpointing the specific cause of the odour will allow for proper assessment and application of appropriate smell solutions tailored to address the identified source.

In cases where mould or mildew is suspected as the root cause of a malodorous mattress, inspecting for visible signs such as discolouration or damp spots on both sides of the mattress should be prioritized. For mattresses plagued by bodily fluids like sweat, urine, or other liquids that have seeped through bedding over time, identifying areas with stains or discolouration can provide valuable information on where in-depth cleaning efforts should be focused. Additionally, if a new mattress emits an unpleasant chemical smell due to manufacturing processes and materials used in production (such as memory foam), allowing it sufficient time to air out in a well-ventilated space might help dissipate any lingering odours.

Once the source has been accurately identified and assessed, selecting appropriate cleaning methods and products becomes significantly more straightforward. For instance, mattresses with mould or mildew issues may require treatment using specialized products designed specifically for combating fungal growths while also addressing any underlying humidity issues leading to their development. In contrast, those dealing with bodily fluids may benefit from enzyme-based cleaners capable of breaking down organic matter without harming delicate mattress materials. By taking this targeted approach towards addressing malodorous mattresses based on their unique odour origins and circumstances surrounding them instead of resorting to potentially ineffective one-size-fits-all solutions will ultimately yield better outcomes in eliminating unwanted smells altogether.

Air Out the Mattress

Allowing the mattress to breathe and air out can significantly reduce any unpleasant odours, promoting a fresh and clean sleeping environment. One effective method to achieve this is by removing all bedding from the mattress and placing it in an open area with proper ventilation, such as near an open window or outdoors on a sunny day. This process, commonly referred to as “mattress sunbathing,”allows for natural air circulation and sunlight exposure, which not only helps remove trapped moisture but also effectively neutralizes odour-causing bacteria. It is recommended that this airing-out process be performed periodically to maintain optimal freshness.

Another practical approach to eliminating unpleasant scents from a mattress involves utilizing odour-fighting plants. Several houseplants are known for their ability to purify the air by absorbing contaminants through their leaves and roots while releasing oxygen back into the room. Examples of these natural air purifiers include English ivy (Hedera helix), spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum), peace lily (Spathiphyllum spp.), snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata), and bamboo palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii). Placing these plants around the bedroom or close to the aired-out mattress will help improve indoor air quality, thus contributing further towards reducing unwanted smells.

Alongside these methods, regular vacuuming of both sides of the mattress can also aid in preventing accumulation of dust mites, allergens, dead skin cells, and other debris that may contribute to unpleasant odours over time. Additionally, using a high-quality mattress cover designed with antimicrobial properties offers an extra layer of protection against bacterial growth and undesirable smells. By combining these various techniques – periodic airing out of the mattress in well-ventilated areas or under direct sunlight exposure; leveraging odour-fighting plants; consistent cleaning practices; and employing protective covers – individuals can successfully mitigate malodorous issues affecting their mattresses while fostering a healthier and more comfortable sleeping environment.

Use Baking Soda

Employing baking soda as a natural deodorizer presents an effective and environmentally friendly solution for addressing unpleasant odours emanating from one’s sleeping surface. Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is a chemical compound that has numerous applications, including its use as a cleaning agent and odour neutralizer. The alkaline nature of baking soda allows it to interact with acidic substances responsible for the foul smell, thereby neutralizing them and leaving behind a fresh scent. As such, leveraging the baking soda benefits can be instrumental in eliminating unwanted odours from mattresses.

One of the most popular odour elimination techniques involving the use of baking soda entails sprinkling generous amounts of this substance evenly across the mattress surface. Ideally, this should be done when the bed is stripped of all bedding materials such as sheets and covers. It is recommended to leave the baking soda on the mattress for several hours or even overnight to allow ample time for it to absorb any lingering smells effectively. This method not only targets specific sources of unpleasant scents but also helps to maintain overall freshness within the sleeping environment.

After allowing sufficient time for the baking soda to work its magic, vacuuming becomes essential in removing both absorbed odours and residual particles from the mattress surface. Utilizing a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment ensures thorough extraction without damaging delicate fabrics or materials present in mattresses. Repeating this process occasionally ensures consistent results while promoting optimal cleanliness levels within one’s sleeping space. Thus, by harnessing sodium bicarbonate’s natural deodorizing properties through these simple steps, individuals can efficiently combat persistent mattress smells while fostering healthier sleep environments.

Utilize Natural Odour Absorbers

In an effort to eliminate unpleasant odours from mattresses, the utilization of natural odour absorbers such as charcoal and vinegar is a practical approach. Charcoal, particularly activated charcoal, exhibits remarkable absorption properties that effectively capture and neutralize unwanted smells. Similarly, vinegar serves as a potent deodorizer that combats unpleasant odours by breaking down the bacteria responsible for them while leaving no residual scent behind once dried.


Utilizing activated charcoal as an odour absorber can effectively neutralize the unpleasant smell emanating from a mattress, offering a fresher and more pleasant sleeping environment. Activated charcoal, also known as activated carbon, is a highly porous substance with exceptional adsorption properties that allow it to bind with various molecules, including odorous compounds. Some of the charcoal benefits in odour elimination include:

  • High adsorption capacity: Activated charcoal can adsorb up to twice its weight in odour-causing substances.
  • Long-lasting effects: Once trapped by the activated charcoal, odours are not easily released back into the air.
  • Non-toxic and chemical-free: Activated charcoal is a natural product made from materials like coconut shells or wood and does not contain any harmful chemicals.
  • Versatility: It can be used for various applications such as home air purification and water treatment.

To use activated charcoal for mattress odour removal, it is essential to select the right type of product specifically designed for this purpose. There are several forms available on the market such as loose granules, bags filled with activated charcoal pellets or briquettes, or even specialized mattress covers infused with activated carbon fibres. To initiate the process of odour elimination using activated charcoal, place it near or on top of the affected area and leave it undisturbed for at least 24 hours or longer if necessary. Periodically replace or refresh (reactivate) the used activated charcoal following manufacturer’s recommendations to ensure continuous effectiveness. Additionally, maintaining proper ventilation in the room along with regular cleaning of bed linens will contribute towards reducing persistent smells within mattresses over time.


In addition to charcoal, another effective method for eliminating unpleasant odours from a mattress is the use of vinegar. This natural substance, which has been widely utilized for its cleaning and disinfecting properties, can also function as an odour neutralizer. Vinegar’s acidic nature enables it to break down odour-causing substances while simultaneously deodorizing the area. Consequently, vinegar application on mattresses may prove beneficial in addressing persistent smells.

To apply vinegar on a mattress, first mix equal parts water and white distilled vinegar in a spray bottle. Lightly mist the affected areas of the mattress with this solution, taking care not to oversaturate it. Allow the mixture to sit for approximately 15 minutes before using a clean cloth or paper towel to blot any excess moisture from the surface. It is crucial that the mattress dries completely before replacing bedding or using it again; this can be facilitated by utilizing fans or opening windows to promote air circulation. As a result of this process, odour neutralization should occur, leading to a fresher-smelling mattress.

Try Essential Oils and Sprays

Applying essential oils and sprays to the mattress surface can effectively combat unpleasant odours, enhancing the overall freshness of the sleeping environment. The process involves oil diffusion, which disperses tiny molecules of essential oils into the air, allowing them to be inhaled or absorbed by surrounding surfaces. This method not only neutralizes bad smells but also introduces pleasant fragrances that promote relaxation and a sense of well-being. When choosing essential oils for this purpose, scent selection is crucial; it is recommended to opt for natural scents with antibacterial properties such as lavender, eucalyptus, tea tree, or lemon.

The following table illustrates some popular essential oils and their benefits for eliminating mattress odour:

Essential Oil Benefits
Lavender Calming aroma; antimicrobial properties
Eucalyptus Refreshing scent; antifungal agent
Tea Tree Antiviral and antibacterial effects
Lemon Uplifting fragrance; disinfectant
Peppermint Invigorating smell; mold deterrent

In addition to essential oil diffusion, there are specialized odour-eliminating sprays available on the market that can be applied directly onto the mattress surface. These products often contain enzymes that break down odour-causing substances at a molecular level. It is important to follow manufacturer instructions when using these sprays to ensure effective results without damaging the mattress materials. Furthermore, regular maintenance of bedding (i.e., washing sheets and pillowcases) combined with proper ventilation will contribute significantly towards maintaining a fresh-smelling sleeping environment over time.

Proper Mattress Maintenance

Proper mattress maintenance is crucial for ensuring a clean and hygienic sleeping environment. Regularly washing mattress covers aids in removing accumulated dirt, sweat, and allergens, while the use of a mattress protector provides an additional barrier against spills and stains. Implementing these practices not only extends the lifespan of the mattress but also promotes overall health by reducing exposure to allergens and contaminants.

Regularly Washing Mattress Covers

Maintaining freshness and eliminating odours from a mattress can be achieved by regularly washing the mattress covers, ensuring a clean and pleasant sleeping environment. Several factors contribute to the effectiveness of this method, including wash frequency, detergent selection, adherence to care instructions, and appropriate drying techniques. By taking these factors into consideration when laundering mattress covers, individuals can effectively minimize unpleasant smells and maintain a hygienic sleep surface.

  1. Wash frequency: It is generally recommended that mattress covers are washed every two to four weeks to remove accumulated dirt, allergens, and body oils that may contribute to unwanted odours. However, this frequency may need to be adjusted depending on individual needs or personal preferences.
  2. Detergent selection: Using a mild detergent specifically designed for sensitive skin or hypoallergenic fabrics is advisable when washing mattress covers. This reduces the likelihood of irritation caused by harsh chemicals while also effectively removing odour-causing substances.
  3. Adherence to care instructions: Following the manufacturer’s guidelines for laundering is essential in preserving the integrity of the fabric and ensuring optimal cleaning results without causing damage or shrinking.
  4. Appropriate drying techniques: Allowing adequate time for air-drying or using low heat settings on tumble dryers helps prevent potential damage caused by high temperatures while also eliminating any residual moisture that could lead to mould growth and unpleasant smells.

By implementing these practices in regular mattress cover maintenance routines, individuals can successfully mitigate odour development within their sleeping spaces while promoting an overall healthier living environment.

Using a Mattress Protector

Utilizing a mattress protector serves as an effective method for preserving the freshness of the sleep surface while simultaneously preventing the accumulation of odours, allergens, and contaminants. Mattress protector benefits include extending the lifespan of the mattress, reducing exposure to dust mites and other allergens, maintaining cleanliness, and providing a barrier against spills or accidents that could lead to unpleasant smells. Additionally, these accessories may improve overall comfort by adding an extra layer of cushioning or support.

Protector material options vary significantly in terms of construction and function. Common materials include vinyl, polyurethane laminate (PUL), cotton terrycloth with a waterproof backing, and hypoallergenic fabrics. Vinyl protectors are often inexpensive but may produce a noticeable plastic odour; therefore, they might not be ideal for individuals seeking to eliminate mattress smell. PUL covers provide excellent water resistance without generating noise or heat retention associated with vinyl options. Cotton terrycloth protectors offer breathability and moisture absorption capabilities but may require frequent laundering due to their lack of water resistance. Hypoallergenic fabric choices help prevent allergic reactions while also offering protection against dust mites and other allergens that can contribute to unpleasant odours over time. Ultimately, selecting a suitable mattress protector depends on individual preferences regarding comfort, durability, ease of care, and specific requirements for eliminating undesired scents from one’s sleeping environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a professional cleaning service help in removing the mattress smell, and is it worth the cost?

Professional cleaning services can indeed assist in removing unpleasant odours from mattresses by employing various odour elimination techniques, such as steam cleaning, deep vacuuming, and application of specialized cleaning agents. Although the cost of hiring a professional service may be higher than using do-it-yourself (DIY) cleaning methods, the effectiveness of these expert approaches can outweigh the expense for individuals seeking thorough and efficient results. Additionally, engaging professionals may save time and energy compared to attempting DIY solutions while also ensuring that proper care is taken to preserve the mattress’s longevity and hygiene. However, it is essential for consumers to weigh the benefits against their budget constraints before opting for professional intervention.

How can I prevent my mattress from developing unpleasant odours in the future?

In order to prevent the development of unpleasant odours in mattresses, it is essential to consider the utilization of odour-resistant materials and proactive cleaning measures. Selecting a mattress made with antimicrobial or moisture-wicking fabric can minimize the accumulation of bacteria and dampness, which are common causes of unpleasant smells. Additionally, maintaining a regular cleaning routine that includes vacuuming, spot-cleaning stains and spills promptly, as well as adequately airing out the mattress can significantly reduce the likelihood of odour formation. Furthermore, using protective covers such as waterproof or hypoallergenic mattress protectors may contribute to preserving overall cleanliness and mitigating potential sources of unwanted scents.

Are there any specific mattress materials or types that are more prone to odour issues?

Certain mattress materials and types have been found to be more susceptible to odour issues due to their inherent properties. Mattress ventilation plays a crucial role in preventing the accumulation of moisture, which can lead to the growth of mould and mildew, as well as unpleasant odours. Memory foam mattresses, for instance, are known for their poor air circulation due to their dense structure, making them more prone to retaining heat and moisture when compared with innerspring or hybrid mattresses. On the other hand, natural latex mattresses tend to offer better breathability and resistance against microbial growth. Additionally, incorporating odour-absorbing materials such as activated charcoal or copper-infused foams within the mattress layers can significantly contribute towards minimizing odour-related concerns by neutralizing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that may arise from off-gassing processes or external factors like sweat and humidity.

Can using a mattress protector or cover help in reducing or preventing mattress smells?

Utilizing a mattress protector or cover can indeed contribute to the reduction or prevention of unpleasant odours emanating from the mattress. Mattress protectors and covers act as barriers that prevent sweat, body oils, and other substances from penetrating into the mattress materials, which could otherwise lead to the development of foul smells. In addition to using a protector or cover, incorporating odour-absorbing sheets and mattress deodorizers in one’s bedding routine can further enhance this preventive measure. Odour-absorbing sheets contain activated charcoal or other similar materials capable of neutralizing odours, while mattress deodorizers typically consist of natural ingredients such as baking soda or essential oils that help eliminate unwanted smells. Therefore, combining these strategies may significantly improve overall freshness and maintain a pleasant sleeping environment.

How long does it typically take to completely remove the odour from a mattress using these methods?

The duration required for the complete removal of odours from a mattress using odour absorption techniques and natural remedies typically varies depending on factors such as the intensity of the smell, environmental conditions, and the specific methods employed. Odour absorption techniques, which include utilizing activated charcoal, baking soda, or commercial odour eliminators, generally require a period of 24 hours to several days to effectively neutralize unpleasant odours. In contrast, natural remedies such as exposing the mattress to sunlight and fresh air can accelerate this process; however, multiple sessions may be necessary based on weather conditions and severity of the odour. Consequently, it is crucial to employ a combination of these approaches while maintaining patience throughout the process in order to achieve optimal results in eliminating mattress smells.


In conclusion, eradicating mattress odour is an essential aspect of maintaining a clean and healthy sleeping environment. By identifying the source of the odour, airing out the mattress, using baking soda and natural odour absorbers, as well as essential oils and sprays, one can effectively eliminate unpleasant smells from their bedding.

Furthermore, engaging in proper mattress maintenance practices ensures that such odours do not recur or become a persistent issue. This includes regular cleaning and promptly addressing any spills or stains to maintain a fresh and hygienic sleep surface.

Back to blog