How to Speed Up Mattress Off-Gassing: 11 Expert Tips

TheRoundup is reader supported. We may earn a small commission when you make a purchase via links on this site, at no cost to you.

You’ve just taken delivery of a brand new mattress, and you’re looking forward to getting some good sleep on it.

However, unless you chose an organic mattress, the off-gassing that occurs when the mattress is first unpackaged is probably giving you second thoughts.

That second thought is more than likely searching for ideas to speed up mattress off-gassing so you can catch some sleep.

You’re right to want to speed up the off-gassing process. That new mattress smell can cause headaches, nausea, and other unpleasant side effects!

In this article, I’ll give you practical tips on how to speed up mattress off-gassing that will make your sleep experience odorless in no time.

I’ll also delve a little deeper into precisely what volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are and why they’re lurking in your new mattress.

But first, the tips!

How To Speed Up Mattress Off-Gassing: 11 Top Tips For Odorless Sleep

tips to speed up new mattress off gassing

#1 Air In A Well-Ventilated Room

As soon as you take delivery of your brand new mattress, remove the packaging and air it out in a well-ventilated room for as long as possible (at least 24 hours).

An electric fan will help circulate the new mattress smell and VOCs around the room and out the window.

#2 Air Outside In The Sun

If weather permits, take your mattress outside and air it in the sun. The UV rays will help break down the chemicals and speed up the off-gassing process.

Just be sure to bring the mattress back inside before nightfall so it doesn’t get wet or soiled by neighborhood cats!

#3 Air Purifier

An air purifier can help remove VOCs and other toxins from the air, speeding up the off-gassing process.

Place the purifier in the room where you’re airing out the mattress and run it for 24 hours.

#4 Baking Soda

Baking soda is a great way to absorb odors, and it can help speed up mattress off-gassing.

Simply sprinkle baking soda over the entire surface of the mattress and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. Then vacuum thoroughly.

Baking soda is non-toxic and safe for use around children and pets.

person using vacuum to help speed up mattress off-gassing

#5 Vacuum The Mattress Regularly

Vacuuming your new mattress multiple times a day during the off-gassing period will help speed up the process.

This is because it will remove any dust or dirt-trapping toxins in the mattress.

#6 Jump On It

Sometimes known as the ’white sock treatment’, jumping on every inch of the mattress for as long as possible can help dislodge the trapped chemicals and release them into your well-ventilated room and eventually out the window.

Two things to watch out for with this method:

  1. Only do this with foam and latex mattresses. Trying this method with a mattress containing springs could lead to damage.
  2. Place the mattress on the floor before jumping on it to avoid damaging your bed frame.

#7 Dehumidifier

If you live in a humid climate, using a dehumidifier can help speed up mattress off-gassing.

The dehumidifier will help remove moisture from the air, preventing the chemicals from being released into the air.

#8 Mattress Protector

If you’re concerned about toxins, using a mattress protector can help to reduce your exposure.

A mattress cover acts as a barrier between you and the mattress surface. It can also help prevent bed bugs, dust mites, and other allergens from accumulating on your mattress.

However, be careful not to use a mattress cover as soon as you unbox a mattress. Doing so can trap some of the toxins for a long time. Always allow a mattress to full off-gas before reaching for the protector.

Arabella has shared some great tips for washing a mattress protector which you can use to keep them clean and fresh, using only natural ingredients.

#9 Avoid Synthetic Fragrances

Synthetic fragrances can mask the smell of off-gassing, but you might not be able to tell once the process has stopped.

So, avoid using scented candles, air fresheners, or perfumes in the room where the off-gassing mattress is located.

#10 Bamboo Charcoal Bags

Place bamboo charcoal bags on and around the off-gassing mattress to absorb the VOCs.

To refresh the bags and release the VOCs, simply place them outside in direct sunlight for two hours.

#11 Follow The Manufacturer’s Advice

Most mattress manufacturers will have their own specific advice on how to speed up mattress off-gassing.

So, be sure to check the user manual that came with your mattress. If you can’t find it, contact the company directly, and they should be able to help.

What Is The Mattress Off-Gassing Process?

Off-gassing occurs because mattresses are made with materials that contain chemicals. These chemicals can be released into the air when the mattress is unpackaged and exposed to oxygen.

These chemicals (often referred to as volatile organic compounds, or VOCs) come in many forms, including:

  • Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs): These are used as a blowing agent in the production of polyurethane foam. CFCs are known to cause environmental damage.
  • Formaldehyde: Commonly used in adhesives that hold mattresses together.
  • PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers): Flame retardants that are often added to mattress materials.
  • Antimony: Another common flame retardant used in mattresses.
  • Toluene: Used in the production of polyurethane foam.
  • Methylene Chloride: A chemical used in the production of polyurethane foam. Also found in other products, such as paint strippers and degreasers.
  • Naphthalene: A white crystalline solid with an aromatic odor. It’s produced commercially from coal tar and used to manufacture plastics, dyes, solvents, and other chemicals. It’s also used as an insecticide and moth repellent. Can cause respiratory problems, skin irritation, and eye damage.
  • Perfluorocarbons (PFCs): A type of chemical found in many mattresses. PFCs are used in the manufacturing process to create a waterproof and stain-resistant barrier. While this may sound good, PFCs have been linked to multiple health problems.
  • Benzene: Released from the foam and other materials used in mattresses, it can cause health problems if breathed in over a long period time.
  • Trichloroethane: Another flame retardant.

You can read more about VOC sources and health implications here.

How Long Does Off-Gassing Last?

The length of time that mattress off-gassing lasts depends on the type of mattress you have:

  • Memory Foam Mattress: Memory foam mattresses tend to have the longest off-gassing period because they use the most chemicals during manufacture.
  • Latex Mattress: Synthetic latex mattresses take almost as long as memory foam mattresses to off-gas. Natural latex mattresses don’t off-gas.
  • Innerspring Mattress: Innerspring mattresses are predominantly made of stainless steel springs that don’t off-gas. However, these springs are often encased in plastic pockets that do. Also, many innerspring mattresses have a memory foam top surface for sleep comfort.

Most mattresses will off-gas to some degree, and it can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks for the process to be complete.

Is Mattress Off-Gassing Toxic?

The low levels of chemicals released by an off-gassing mattress are not generally considered toxic.

However, they can lead to a variety of short-term issues, such as:

  • Headaches
  • Breathing Difficulties
  • Dizziness
  • Allergies
  • Skin Irritations

How To Avoid Mattress Off-Gassing: 4 More Top Tips For Odorless Sleep

#1 Organic Mattresses

If you’re looking for a mattress with minimal off-gassing, choose one made with natural materials.

Natural latex or wool mattresses are a good choice as they off-gas very little. Innerspring mattresses with cotton batting are also low in VOCs.

Some articles that will help you choose a more natural and healthy mattress include:

#2 Buy Slightly Used

I have a feeling this will be a slightly divisive tip, but here goes nothing…

One way to avoid off-gassing from your mattress is to buy a slightly used one.

This means that most of the VOCs will already be released, and you’ll be left with a mattress without the horrible chemical smell.

You can find slightly used mattresses on sites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. Just make sure to inspect the mattress thoroughly before you buy it.

Click here for tips from Arabella on deep cleaning your used mattress before sleeping on it.

#3 Look For Certifications

When buying a new mattress, look for certifications that indicate low or zero VOC levels.

The most common and well-respected are CertiPUR-US and GREENGUARD. Both certify that products have low volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emissions and are much less likely to cause off-gassing.

If you’re in the market for an organic mattress, look for certifications like Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) and Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). These certify that the materials in the mattress are organic and sustainable.

If you live in California, you should also look for mattresses displaying Proposition 65 warnings.

#4 Read Reviews

Reading online reviews can help you narrow down which mattresses off-gas and which don’t.

Beware of fake reviews, and don’t fall for any greenwashing tricks.

It’s Not Just Mattresses

Mattresses are one of the biggest culprits when it comes to off-gassing, but they’re by no means alone.

Other things that can potentially off-gas in your home include:

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Return A Mattress That’s Off-Gassing Excessively?

It depends. If you bought a mattress with a set sleep trial period, you could return it for whatever reason. If there is no set sleep trial period, then you’re at the discretion of the manufacturer/retailer.

Do Air Mattresses Produce An Off-Gassing Smell?

Yes. Air mattresses off-gas some of the same chemicals as traditional mattresses, so many of the tips in the article apply.

Can You Off-Gas A Mattress In The Cold?

Yes, but it’ll take longer. The colder the temperature, the slower the off-gassing process.

Is It Safe To Sleep On An Off-Gassing Mattress?

It depends on your definition of ’safe’. If you’re worried about the long-term health effects of off-gassing, you may want to consider an organic mattress.

However, sleeping on an off-gassing mattress is considered safe if you’re happy to put up with the off-gassing odor and potential mild side effects. However, it’s not something I would recommend doing (especially in the first 24hrs)

The Final Word

So, it turns out there are some scary VOCs potentially lurking in your new mattresses!

Fortunately, the level at which these toxic chemicals are present is unlikely to cause any long-term health issues.

However, why take the chance?

The VOC levels are at their highest when you first open a new mattress.

By following some of the steps highlighted in this article, you should be able to reduce your exposure dramatically.

Get In Touch

Do you have any memory foam mattress off-gassing hacks to share with the group? Or will you only ever sleep on zero VOC organic mattresses that help preserve your indoor air quality?

Are you happy buying second hand or does it need to be a brand new mattress? Drop me a line and let me know.

You May Also Like

James is a senior editor at The Roundup and has been in journalism for over 10 years. He was born in the UK but raised in Florida, where he currently lives with his wife and two daughters. James is passionate about sustainable living and environmental issues which are reflected by his work as an editor of TheRoundup.org.
James Miller
James is a senior editor at The Roundup and has been in journalism for over 10 years. He was born in the UK but raised in Florida, where he currently lives with his wife and two daughters. James is passionate about sustainable living and environmental issues which are reflected by his work as an editor of TheRoundup.org.

The Roundup

Your guide to a green and eco-friendly lifestyle. We offer simple, practical advice that anyone can follow. Together we can make a difference today & save tomorrow.
BUY ECO FRIENDLY
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram