How To Speed Up Mattress Off-Gassing
You get a new mattress, open it up, and get ready to jump onto it, but the first thing you notice is a horrible chemical smell. Does this sound familiar?
Mattress off-gassing occurs all the time, and it’s not very comfortable. Do you want to learn how to speed up mattress off-gassing? Stay tuned, we’ve got you.
What Is Off-Gassing?
When you open a new mattress, the chemicals trapped in the vacuum-sealed plastic wrap are released into the air. This process is called off-gassing, and it usually comes with a certain chemical odor.
The off-gassing process isn’t the same for all mattresses, as you’ll see later in this article. When a bed is made from synthetic materials, it’s filled with more chemicals, like flame retardants, and is bound to off-gas more.
This is why a polyurethane foam or memory foam mattress tends to take a long time to air out. Off-gassing is also most noticeable in bed-in-a-box mattresses, because of the way they’re packaged.
Not only mattresses off-gas! A lot of objects around your home can do this, including things like pillows, couches, fresh paint, etc. Still, the process needs to be finished so you can sleep comfortably.
Volatile Organic Compounds
Synthetic mattress materials usually contain chemicals like different manufacturing agents and flame retardants. These are called volatile organic compounds, or VOCs for short.
Volatile organic compounds are most common in foam beds, but they can be found in other places too. Some of them are CFCs, formaldehyde, PBDEs, benzene, and others.
They get trapped in the packaging of a new mattress soon after the manufacturing process, and you should take some time to get rid of them.
How Long Does Off-Gassing Take?
The length of off-gassing mostly depends on what your new mattress is made of. In some cases, the mattress smell can dissipate after just a couple of hours, and other times it will take weeks for it to completely disappear.
Most mattresses typically off-gas completely in 3-7 days. One thing is certain, though. You should always wait at least 24 hours before making the most of your new bed.
Who Is Off-Gassing Bad For?
We know that it’s icky, but is off-gassing really that toxic? Well, not for everybody.
While off-gassing and VOCs in general aren’t harmful for most adults, you should keep children as far away from your brand new mattress as possible. They’re just more sensitive to these types of chemicals.
When it comes to adults, those with respiratory issues, allergies, asthma, or just those more sensitive to strong smells should be careful around an off-gassing mattress. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, and skin and eye irritation in some cases.
Mattress Types and Off-Gassing
As mentioned before, off-gassing depends on the materials a mattress is made from. Here’s what you can expect from different mattress types.
Foam beds are usually made from memory foam or polyurethane foam. All-foam and memory foam mattresses are different in their other attributes, but they all have one thing in common – off-gassing.
Since foam is a synthetic material, it’s prone to off-gassing. Polyurethane foams tend to release more of the unpleasant smell, but memory foam is also bad, particularly if you purchase a foam bed-in-a-box.
If you prefer foams with fewer chemicals, look for certifications such as CertiPUR-US or GREENGUARD.
The off-gassing of a latex mattress hinges on whether it’s made from natural latex or synthetic latex.
Both blended and synthetic latex have petrochemicals in them, so they have an off-gassing odor like foam beds.
Natural latex mattresses don’t contain chemicals, so they won’t off-gas in the same sense that foam mattresses will. Even organic mattresses will have that new mattress smell that you should air out.
Innerspring mattresses are made from metal coils and have a thin top layer for comfort. These mattresses don’t off-gas the same way memory foam mattresses do. They can have a certain smell, especially if the top layer is made from some type of foam, but their construction makes them very breathable.
Hybrid mattresses are a combination of two mattress types, the most common being metal coils for support and a layer of foam for comfort.
Because of those factors, the off-gassing smell of a hybrid mattress depends on the exact mattress materials. For example, if the thick top layer is made from foam, it will emit an odor. However, it won’t be as bad as an entire memory foam mattress because there are fewer materials, and coils add to breathability.
Air mattresses use an adjustable air chamber for support, and most modern ones have a layer of foam on top for added comfort.
The entire airbed is made from synthetic materials, so the air chamber itself will have an off-gassing smell. However, it will mostly depend on that top comfort layer and its type of foam.
How To Speed Up Mattress Off-Gassing
Essentially, off-gassing is just airing out the brand new mattress until the pungent smell is gone.
Lucky for you, there are ways to speed up this process so you can sleep on a nice-smelling mattress ASAP.
If you’re wondering how to speed up mattress off-gassing, the most basic way is to just let it air out in a well-ventilated room for a couple of days.
When you remove the mattress wrap, place it on the floor or the bed frame. To speed up the mattress off-gassing process, open the windows or turn on a fan to create air circulation.
In most cases, the smell should fully disappear after 3–4 days, but it all depends on what your mattress is made of.
If you have pets or children around, lock the doors so they don’t get to the mattress. The off-gassing chemicals can irritate them, and the mattress won’t have a cover.
Outside in the Sun
Besides using a ventilated room, you can also use your backyard to get rid of the off-gassing odor with some fresh air. Leaving a mattress out in direct sunlight for a couple of hours can help because warmth speeds up the off-gassing process.
Make sure that the weather is nice and that no stray animals want to try out your new mattress before you get to it!
In case you don’t have a backyard, you could also just put your brand-new mattress near a window in your room, where it can get some of that sunlight.
If you have a spare bedroom or a guest room, take advantage of it by airing out the mattress for a few days, or maybe even a full week.
Same as before, make sure to create good air circulation, try putting it in the way of direct sunlight, and watch out for pets and children.
Sprinkle Baking Soda
Baking soda is often used as a DIY household cleaner, but did you know it can also be used to speed up off-gassing?
Just sprinkle baking soda directly on your newly opened mattress and let it sit for at least an hour. Baking soda can absorb smells and remove VOCs, and you can definitely tell.
Remove the powder with a cloth, and vacuum the rest of the mattress to pick up any traces of baking soda left. You don’t have to be completely thorough; baking soda can also be used to protect from bed bugs and other similar things.
Vacuuming isn’t something you can do just after using baking soda. You can also get your vacuum out to deal with the smell of your new foam bed.
It’s simple: just gently use the vacuum on the mattress surface to help eliminate the pungent smell.
Use an Air Purifier
Air purifiers come in handy when you have to improve the indoor air quality in general, and they can also be used to speed up off-gassing.
You just need to put an air purifier in the room with the off-gassing mattress and let it work its magic for at least 24 hours. It won’t completely get rid of every trace of it, but it’ll be better!
Not all air purifiers are the same, though. If you want high-quality indoor air, use a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter because it can filter out both very large and very small particles in the air.
A lot of homes use an inexpensive fiberglass furnace filter. If this is you, a new mattress might be the right time to upgrade your air filters to washable filters or air filters that don’t trap only large particles.
Use a Mattress Protector
If you’re in a hurry and need to use your new mattress right away, only thin cotton sheets aren’t going to cut it. A mattress protector is the best option. Use a full-encasement one to stop the chemical smell from irritating you while you sleep.
Although, keep in mind that this isn’t a long-term solution. Your mattress will need to air out at some point, and the VOCs won’t just disappear on their own. In fact, a full-encasement mattress cover will just trap them.
Other than that, mattress covers should be used on all new mattresses as dirt, bed bug, and dust mite barriers.
Avoid Air Fresheners
It might seem like the best idea to use an air freshener, candles, and other perfumes to cover the mattress smell, but that won’t help you eliminate the real problem.
Let the new mattress smell dissipate and just keep the air circulation going. If you use air fresheners, you’ll just mask the smell and start feeling like the mattress is ready to sleep on when it could actually be very irritating.
Does your foam mattress seem to just smell the same since you opened it? If so, it might need some help. And you’re going to do that by jumping on it.
That’s right, you heard us. Get your socks on, get on that mattress alone or with someone else, and jump around for 10 minutes to help the chemicals escape.
However, keep a couple of things in mind.
Since these are irritating chemicals we’re talking about, it would be best to wear a mask and socks and do this in a well-ventilated room. If you feel lightheaded, stop immediately.
You can only do this on a brand new foam mattress, like memory foam or latex. The coils in a hybrid or innerspring mattress can get damaged from jumps. Place the mattress on the floor so you don’t accidentally break the bed frame.
Also, check your warranty. If jumping is advised against, know that any damage can void your warranty.
And finally, check with the manufacturer to see what the best steps are when it comes to off-gassing their mattress.
Most stores are transparent about those, especially online stores, so you’ll be good to go. And if they don’t, you have two options. Contact customer support, and they’ll likely let you know what you should or shouldn’t do.
The other option, if everything else fails, is to check customer reviews online and see whether other people have any tips for off-gassing your mattress type.
Want To Avoid Off-Gassing?
Did you know that off-gassing doesn’t even have to be something you have to deal with? If you want to avoid it as much as possible, there are a couple of ways to do so.
Organic mattresses contain little to no synthetic chemicals, so they don’t off-gas as much when you get them out of that thin plastic layer. They’re usually made from natural latex or natural wool, but keep in mind that they can get pretty pricey.
Not every natural latex mattress is an organic mattress; you can check for the right certifications if you want a fully organic one. The Global Organic Latex Standard and the Global Organic Textile Standard are the most common ones.
Certifications Are the Key
Speaking of certifications, they’re key when looking for a mattress that doesn’t off-gas as much.
Look for mattresses with certifications that state low to zero VOC levels, like CertiPUR-US and GREENGUARD. This is especially useful for foam mattresses that off-gas excessively.
Slightly Used Mattress
Buying a slightly used product may not be for everyone, but it may be the best way to get an already off-gassed mattress.
The VOCs on them have most likely already dissipated, and they could even be more affordable than new mattresses.
Look for sellers on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace, and make sure you check the mattress for any signs of damage and clean it before you use it.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Mattress Type Has the Least Off-Gassing?
If lack of off-gassing is your top priority when mattress shopping, look for organic latex mattresses, hybrid latex mattresses, or innerspring mattresses. These types contain little to no harmful synthetic materials.
Is Off-Gassing Toxic?
The mattress off-gassing process releases chemical particles into the air, which can be very irritating at first and even cause headaches and dizziness. However, there’s no proof that off-gassing can cause a lot of harm in the long run.
Can You Sleep on a New Mattress Right Away?
It’s not advised because you’ll likely get some irritation, but you certainly can. The best way to avoid this if you have to sleep on a mattress right away is to use a full mattress cover. Just make sure to finish the off-gassing later.
That would be all we have to share with you on how to speed up mattress off-gassing.
There are a lot of ways to do this, from ventilating your room to using baking soda. But you can avoid the process all together by getting an organic mattress or one with fewer synthetic materials.
It’s all up to you. We hope this article will help you get rid of that smell in no time!