Mattress Drying 101: How to Dry Your Mattress Safely and Effectively

Written by: Andjela Kastratovic
Updated: 08/24/2023

We’ve all been there—that heart-stopping moment when you spill a glass of water or coffee all over your mattress. 

And then you have to wonder how to dry it without ruining it. 

Fear not! We have the solutions for you. 

Welcome to our step-by-step guide on how to dry a mattress. 

How to Dry a Mattress by Yourself

There’s no need to worry. If you have a wet mattress, you can follow this guide. 

Remove the Bedding

The first step in the drying process is to remove all of the bedding and materials covering the wet mattress and wash them separately. This includes any mattress cover or mattress protector you use. 

It would be best to treat the mattress first, but deal with the bedding immediately after if it’s covered in something that will leave a stain or an odor. It’s always best to get rid of stains as soon as possible! 

Evaluate the Damage

Assess the water damage on the wet areas of your mattress. You might require professional restoration to prevent mold and bacteria growth if the damage is severe. 

Consider the cause of the damage and whether DIY methods can help you dry the mattress effectively. If you have a very wet mattress, talk to professional cleaners first and see if they can help you fix the damage. If that doesn’t work, think about buying a new mattress.

And knowing when to let go and explore mattress recycling is a must!

Absorb the Moisture

Start using dry towels or a wet-dry vacuum to absorb the excess moisture from the surface. Also, make sure to replace wet towels with dry ones! Remember, gentle dabbing works best to avoid pushing the water further into wet mattresses. 

Sprinkle baking soda on the entire surface, or try cat litter if it’s still quite wet, because both can absorb moisture well. Let them do their magic for a few hours until they get rid of all the moisture, then vacuum them up. 

A wet-dry vacuum can also help remove as much moisture as possible from a damp mattress. 

Keep at it until the mattress surface feels as dry as possible! 

Treat the Stains

So you absorb the excess moisture, but you’re left with a stain. What do you do now? 

Treating stains is an important part of the mattress drying process. Stains can damage the mattress materials and leave unpleasant odors. 

Apply baking soda and vinegar solution for urine stains, while hydrogen peroxide can work wonders on other bodily fluid stains. 

Different stains require different treatments – you can’t just use baking soda for everything! But worry not; we’ve got you covered with our comprehensive guide

Use a Hair dryer for Spot Drying

You can use a hair dryer to spot-dry lingering moisture on your mattress, but be cautious not to use it too much or keep it too close to avoid damaging the materials, especially memory foam. 

Avoid using other heat sources like space heaters, as they can also cause warping or damage to the mattress materials. Instead, focus on gentle drying methods to get rid of as much moisture as possible. 

Prevent Mold

Getting a mattress wet can very easily lead to mold, but there are ways to deal with it.

A simple solution is to mix rubbing alcohol with water and use a clean cloth to wipe down the entire mattress surface. The rubbing alcohol works magic to prevent mold, mildew, and bacterial growth. 

But make sure to let the mattress dry completely after cleaning it with rubbing alcohol. Also, if you already notice signs of mold, getting a new bed for safety is best. Using an air purifier with a HEPA filter can also help remove mold spores, keeping your home fresh and mold-free.

Prop Up the Mattress and Air It Out

To completely dry a wet mattress, prop it against a wall or stable surface, and position a fan towards the wet area. Leave the fan on for 6 to 8 hours until the drying process is finished.

You can speed up the process further by using a dehumidifier nearby. If removing the damp mattress is not an option, air dry it indoors with ample air circulation by opening windows and doors and using a fan. 

Keep the mattress elevated during drying for good air circulation to prevent mold and mildew growth. You can use sturdy objects like wooden blocks or bricks for support.

Use the Sun to Dry It Out

Direct heat sources could damage mattress materials, but a little sun can also do wonders. 

After absorbing excess moisture, you can put your mattress out in the sun to finish the drying process. Sun rays help eliminate odors, kill bacteria, and thoroughly dry a wet mattress. 

While sunlight effectively handles small amounts of excess moisture, be cautious, as direct sun exposure may cause material breakdown and discoloration. 

If you use air drying and sunlight, place the mattress indoors or outdoors, away from direct sunlight, to protect it from potential damage. Monitor the drying process and bring it back inside once it’s dry.

Make Sure That It’s Completely Dry

Let your wet mattress dry completely to avoid mold growth and nasty smells. 

Air drying indoors can take several hours, while outdoor drying under sunlight may require 12 to 24 hours, depending on the absorbed moisture. 

Be patient and dry your mattress completely to keep it fresh and mold-free.

Using a Professional Mattress Cleaning Service

If you’re not sure how to dry a mattress, contact the professionals. Here’s what you should do if you can’t deal with your wet mattress alone. 

Find the Service

Find a reputable professional cleaning service that has received certification from bodies like the IICRC to handle a wet mattress. 

They have the expertise, proper equipment, and experience in water damage restoration to deal with a soaked mattress safely. Check online reviews and ask for references to ensure you choose a reliable company.

Evaluating the Damage

Once you schedule an appointment, a technician from the cleaning service will handle the mattress evaluation. 

They will assess if the mattress can be salvaged and ask for restoration authorization. 

They may also inquire about your insurance information for possible reimbursement. Check your flood insurance policy for coverage if your area is prone to natural disasters. 

Discuss any findings, like hidden mold and potential costs, with the restoration specialist.

Cleaning and Drying

When the professional mattress cleaner comes over, they’ll bring specialized equipment, like dehumidifiers, to work their magic on your wet mattress. 

After using powerful vacuums to remove dirt and stains, they will dry everything out using industrial-grade fans and dehumidifiers. Additionally, they might use some disinfectant sprays for extra cleanliness. 

Rest assured. They’ll document the process with photos and notes. And they’ll guide you on the next steps if any mold is found. Once they’re done, your mattress will be as good as new, and you can sleep peacefully!

How Can Water Damage Happen to a Mattress?

Now that you know how to dry a mattress, let’s talk about preventing it from getting wet in the first place. There are a lot of different ways that water damage could happen to a mattress. Here are some of the most common ones. 


Accidental spills of water, coffee, juice, urine, or blood can cause water damage to your mattress. To prevent this, limit drinks in bed and use a waterproof protector.

Floods or Leaks

Water damage to mattresses can occur due to floods, leaks from burst pipes, or damaged roofs. 

When a mattress is exposed to water for an extended period, it can become waterlogged, causing materials to break down and promoting mold growth. 

If this happens to you, it’s best to replace the mattress for safety and health reasons.


Bed-wetting can cause urine stains to seep into the mattress and cause water damage. Always avoid keeping damp bedding on the bed, and change and wash sheets after accidents. Use baking soda to handle the smell and leftover moisture, and keep your mattress safe!


Sweating while sleeping can lead to excess moisture in the mattress, which could lead to stains and an unpleasant odor. If you’re a hot sleeper or live in a warm area, opt for a cooling mattress and breathable bedding made of natural fibers. You can also keep your bedroom cool with a fan! 

High Humidity Levels

High humidity levels can gradually damage a mattress by promoting mold and mildew growth, weakening the structure, and trapping odors and allergens. Use dehumidifiers to maintain a dry and healthy sleeping environment.

Unsuitable Cleaning

Water damage can also occur if you use too much water or harsh cleaners on a mattress. Opt for dry methods like letting baking soda sit for a while and then vacuuming it for freshness, but for stains, blot the wet areas and lightly spray the cleaning solution.

Mattress Types and Water Resistance

Different materials react to water in different ways. Here’s what you should know about that based on your mattress type

Memory Foam Mattresses

A memory foam mattress can absorb water if not protected, but some come with moisture-resistant materials or waterproof covers to prevent damage to the mattress surface. The drying process typically takes 4 to 6 hours because of the various layers. 

Latex Mattresses

Latex mattresses are naturally water-resistant due to their rubber material. They’re also breathable, preventing mold growth. It takes about 1.5 hours to dry a wet mattress made from latex, as it’s not very absorbent. 

Innerspring Mattresses

Innerspring mattresses can handle water better than some types. Also, they dry quickly due to the thin padding. But be cautious, as metal coils may rust and affect support. The drying process takes about 5 to 8 hours.

Hybrid Mattresses

Hybrid mattresses offer a mix of innerspring support and foam/latex comfort. Their water resistance varies based on the materials used. Drying time is approximately 2 to 3 hours due to good airflow.

Air Mattresses

Air mattresses have inflatable cores that are resistant to water. However, coverings made from foam or fabric can be vulnerable to water damage, leading to mold growth in humid conditions.


Can a bed made from water be water resistant? Waterbeds are designed to hold water, making them less prone to water damage. They use sturdy materials like vinyl to prevent water seepage. However, punctures or leaks can still occur. 

They also need regular maintenance and inspection to prevent mold and mildew growth on other layers. The drying time is approximately one to two hours.

How to Extend the Life of Your Mattress

Taking the proper steps to take care of your mattress will extend its lifespan. Here’s what you need to do to avoid water damage and ensure your mattress lasts a long time. 

Clean It Regularly

It can seem daunting, but your mattress needs an occasional thorough cleaning if you want it to last a long time and stay comfortable. You should clean and air out your mattress in a well-ventilated area every couple of months, but treat any stains and excess liquid as soon as they happen. 

Use a Waterproof Mattress Protector

Using a waterproof mattress protector is an absolute lifesaver! If you want your mattress to last and don’t want to deal with stains or possible water damage, invest in a good waterproof cover. 

No Food, Drinks, Kids or Pets

The best way to protect your mattress from any possible water damage is to keep liquids and food away. Breakfast in bed sounds great until you have to scrub the coffee stains out of the material. Kids and pets can also cause this. 

Flip and Rotate the Mattress

And finally, make sure to flip or rotate your mattress every couple of months to make sure that the weight is evenly distributed on the surface. However, follow the mattress instructions! Not all beds are made to be flipped or rotated. 

Signs That You Might Need to Get a New Mattress

But what if there’s no hope for your old, wet mattress? Is your mattress ruined?

There are a couple of signs that you should keep an eye out for. Here’s what you should know. 

Visible Stains

If your water-damaged mattress has visible stains that won’t budge, it could indicate hidden issues like mold or bacteria. It might be time to consider getting a new bed for better sleep and hygiene.


Wet mattresses often develop mold and mildew. How can you spot it? 

You should investigate further if you see any fuzzy or slimy white fuzz or green, brown, or black spots. Unfortunately, you cannot do much about it, and it’s a sure sign that it’s time for a new mattress.  


You sprinkle baking soda on it, but it doesn’t help. If your mattress has sour or musty odors, water damage may have caused mold or bacteria. Even if it looks okay, the unpleasant odors could signal a severe problem. Consider getting a new mattress.


If your mattress is sagging or uneven due to water damage, it can affect your sleep, health, and safety. 

Allergic Reactions

If you’re experiencing allergies or breathing issues from mold or mildew on your water-damaged mattress, it’s time for a new one. Prioritize your health and get a fresh bed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a Fast Way to Dry a Mattress?

A fast way to dry a mattress is by using fans and dehumidifiers to increase air circulation and remove excess moisture. This helps prevent mold and odors, ensuring your bed stays fresh and comfortable.

How Long Does It Take for a Mattress to Dry?

The drying time for a mattress varies depending on factors like the mattress type, extent of water damage, and drying methods used. Generally, it can take a few hours to a full day for a mattress to completely dry.

Does a Mattress Warranty Protect Against Water Damage?

Most mattress warranties do not cover water damage. It’s essential to check the specific terms of your warranty to see what is covered. But remember, appropriately protecting your mattress from water damage and using a mattress protector can help extend its life and maintain its warranty.

Final Thoughts

There you have it! This is how to dry a mattress.  

Remember, speed is your best friend when a spill happens – the faster you get those dry towels on the wet areas, the better your chance of saving your mattress. 

Avoid using heat sources to dry a wet mattress; opt for good ol’ sunshine and fresh air instead! And if the situation ever seems overwhelming, feel free to call in the pros

However, if your mattress has seen better days and the damage is beyond repair, consider this a golden opportunity to invest in a new bed. 

Good luck! 

Reviews written by:

Andjela Kastratovic - Co-editor

Anđela is a content writer by the day and an Illustrator by night. She loves anything creative, but sleep takes the cake – that’s why she enjoys writing for Anatomy of Sleep so much!

While in high school, she got accepted for her dream job – a ‘professional sleeper’. Her job was to test new mattresses from a local mattress brand and write reports on the quality of sleep. Ever since then, she’s been in love with reviewing mattresses and putting her compelling research into ultimate buyer’s guides. While not exploring the latest brands, she likes to illustrate and spend time with her dog and friends.