How to Remove New Mattress Smell

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Nearly any new mattress set in your room for the first time also brings in new odors. From the actual materials used to make the mattress to the various treatments used on it, all sorts of unpleasant odors may make your bed anything but napworthy. To remove those odors, air out the mattress for a few days if you can and use a few natural odor-removing substances, such as baking soda.

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Why New Mattresses Smell

Many mattresses are packed in airtight plastic or similar materials that keep the mattress clean on its way from the manufacturer or store until you're ready to use it. These same packing materials also lock in chemicals and their associated odors. Mattresses generally need some time to off-gas, or let those chemicals escape. This is why you might not notice any odor if you test a mattress at a store, but that same model stinks once you open the packaging.

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Off-gassing allows volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, to waft into the air, eventually dissipating until the odors go away too. While not all smells emanating from the mattress are VOCs, just about any materials within the mattress could emit some sort of smell or some fumes. Memory foams, synthetic materials, and even chemical-based flame retardants may emit fumes from your new mattress. Some of these compounds are considered toxic materials, so unless you've purchased a completely organic mattress and know exactly what's in it and on it, there's a good chance your mattress should be aired out before you use it even if the smell isn't overwhelming.

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Air It Out

Airing out the mattress before you put it in the bedroom is the best way to allow it to off-gas, eliminating much of the odor. If at all possible, store the mattress without sheets on it in a spare room with the door closed, windows open, and fans on, drawing air out of the room with a box fan blowing outward from one window. Set the mattress vertically, leaning up against a desk or other sturdy structure to allow maximum airflow on all sides of the mattress.

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Rotate the mattress every day or so if there's no way to keep it somewhat vertical in the room. The goal is maximum airflow on every side of the mattress. If at all possible, let the mattress air out for at least several days this way or until it no longer smells bad. This is especially important if you or anyone in your home has allergies or sensitivities to strong odors.

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Remove Lingering Odors

If the mattress still smells a little strong for your liking, set it on the floor or atop a bed and sprinkle baking soda on it, allowing the powder to sit overnight. Baking soda is a natural deodorizer, which is why it's so handy to keep some around the house. Vacuum up the baking soda the next day. Flip the mattress over and repeat the process if necessary. A light mist of equal parts water and vinegar over the mattress also helps remove odors. Turn on a fan to expedite the drying process.

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Once you're ready to use the new mattress, remember to let it air out sans sheets for a few hours each time you change the bedding. This helps remove any lingering moisture or odors that might be trapped in the mattress, and it's a good idea for any mattress no matter how new or old.