Updated at: 05-08-2022 - By: Helen Skeates

This three-step method will show you how to get rid of a musty smell from a mattress. Your bed can be freshened without the use of any special equipment or chemicals. We’ll also discuss what creates this smelly odor, so you can prevent it from growing in your mattress in the future.

Do not forget to verify your mattress tag before beginning any maintenance routine. You should check to see if the components in your mattress are compatible with the cleaning methods you intend to use. As a result, let’s get rid of that stale smell from your bed!

How To Get Musty Smell Out Of Mattress At Home


Your musty mattress needs further drying as the first step in the process of removing the odor. The smell of a wet or damp bed is unpleasant, and it may even stimulate the formation of mold. If you want it to dry properly, take it outside and let the air and sunlight do their work.

Remove all of your mattress’s attachments and covers and set it outside to allow the excess moisture to dissipate. Simply opening a window and running a fan will suffice to allow fresh air to circulate throughout the house. Flip your bed over so that the other side can dry.

The freshness and sanitization of your bed can be improved by routinely aerating it. However, what if the weather is wet or stiflingly humid? In order to dry the mattress, you can either heat your room or use a hairdryer at a reasonable distance.

How to Kill Mildew on a Mattress


It is time to vacuum the mattress when it has been properly dried. A musty odor is generally caused by mildew, which can be surface-removed using a vacuum cleaner. Remove the spores from the bed by emptying the vacuum outside after use. This will keep the fungus from returning.

In addition to mildew, vacuuming the mattress will eliminate any accumulation that may be producing the stench. Make sure to use the upholstery attachment to get into every crevice to thoroughly clean the mattress. Vacuuming in portions in a circular motion is another useful approach.


The final step is to deodorize your mattress properly using a special treatment. Everyday household products such as vinegar and baking soda can be used in this manner. You don’t have to be concerned about the fabrics being damaged because they are safe enough for beds.

Start with a spray of vinegar and cover the entire mattress with it. Do not overdo it with water, but just enough to cover the entire surface of your bed. After allowing it to air dry, sprinkle one side of the mattress with baking soda.

Let the bed be for a whole night before vacuuming the powder and doing the same process to the next side. Both of these items will help to remove the musty smell from your mattress. To complete the process, let the bed out in the sun for a few hours.

Why vinegar works

Vinegar can be used to remove odors and a musty smell from your mattress instead of chemical cleansers. Vinegar neutralizes alkaline odors because it is an acid, and as long as you spritz it, it works nicely. Some people use a solution of distilled white vinegar and water instead of spray to dampen their beds.

Why baking soda works

The alkaline baking soda will neutralize the vinegar’s acidic fragrance when it has dried. Additionally, it should remove any lingering moisture and oils from your mattress to keep it clean and dry. In addition, the baking soda will remove the rest of the bed’s dirt and debris.

Time To Rinse

After removing the stains using a scrub brush, rinse the entire mattress with clean water to remove any remaining remnants of the alcohol solution. Listed below are the necessary actions.

  • If you can, get some warm water in a garbage disposal bowl.
  • Put a damp but not wet cloth or napkin in the water and wring it out well.
  • The moldy part of the mattress should be thoroughly rinsed, as should the remainder of the surface.
  • Rinse well to remove any remaining remnants of the alcohol solution used during the scrubbing process.

Disinfect The Mattress

The next obvious step is to disinfect the mattress in order to get rid of any moldy odors. Spraying the mattress with a disinfectant solution can do this.

I prefer to use a homemade mix of white vinegar, distilled water, lemon oil, and tea tree oil to disinfect my mattress. The following are the ingredients:

  • 1 quart of white vinegar.
  • Distilled water: 1 cup
  • 10 ml of pure lemon oil
  • Essential oil of tea tree: 10 drops

To use, fill a 16-ounce spray container halfway with the ingredients and shake vigorously. To ensure that the solution is properly mixed, the bottle should be covered and shook many times. The entire mattress can then be sprayed.

Sun-dry the Mattress

Last but not least, you should expose the mattress to some natural light by placing it on a well-ventilated surface such as a balcony or the backyard, depending on where you live. Mold spores can be eliminated by exposing the mattress to sunshine.

Additionally, exposing your mattress to the sun’s rays may help remove odors from the mattress. This might mean a fresh-smelling mattress that encourages a good night’s sleep, as well as the eradication of all odors.

However, if you’re planning on going out, double-check the forecast to make sure there’s no risk of rain before leaving your mattress out back. You don’t want a wet mattress when you get home.

Why Does My Bed Smell Musty?

The musty odor can be eliminated by following the above-mentioned three-step procedure, which includes drying the mattress and eradicating mildew. Because of this, your bed smells bad. Mold and mildew can grow in a humid environment if you don’t frequently ventilate your bed.

Fungi produce volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that give off a musty smell as they develop. It’s a good idea to keep your room aerated periodically to prevent the growth of mold and mildew on your mattress. Allergies and respiratory reactions might be triggered by their spores, so keep an eye out for a musty smell in your bed and get rid of it as soon as you notice it.

Mold vs mildew

While mildew tends to develop on top of itself, mold tends to grow deeper into a surface. To eliminate mildew, you only have to deal with what’s on the surface, which makes it easier. It’s possible to get rid of the musty stench caused by either vinegar or rubbing alcohol.

How To Prevent Molds Under Mattress

Molds can offer a serious hazard to your mattress, not just because they can damage it, but because they can also constitute a serious health risk. Because prevention is always preferable to treatment, we’ve compiled a list of mattress mold prevention tips.

1. Humidifier

Getting a good humidifier can help keep mold at away since, as previously said, mold thrives in moist settings. Humidifiers remove moisture from the air around you to keep your bedding as dry as possible while you sleep.

This can help prevent the bug from becoming a problem that is too difficult to deal with before it gets out of hand.

The majority of us will perspire throughout the course of the night. As a result, mold and other germs may flourish in your mattress as a result of moisture being transferred there.

Using a humidifier at night might help dry out your mattress and keep it fresh.

Ordering the Amazon Everlasting Comfort Bedroom Humidifier a month ago had a significant impact on the atmosphere in my room. By swiftly wicking away sweat and moisture, it helps keep my mattress moist. If you’re prone to overheating while you sleep, this mattress is ideal for you.

2. Air Purifier

Air purifiers, as the name suggests, keep the air in the bedroom pure all night long. Molds reproduce by dispersing spores, which are microscopic, light-weight particles that circulate in the atmosphere at any given moment.

Mold spores in the air might speed up the spread of the problem from one part of the mattress to the next. A large area of the mattress could become infected in a short amount of time as a result of this.

As a result, having an air purifier might be really beneficial. In order to keep these pests under control, turning it on starts the air purification process, which gets rid of any infectious mold spores in the air.

The most popular air purifier on the market right now is the Amazon-exclusive Winix Air Purifier with True HEPA, PlasmaWave, and an odor-reducing washable AOC Carbon Filter. 99% of airborne contaminants including mold spores and foul odors are blocked from the bedroom environment by this product. I can’t say enough good things about it.

2. Choose A Mattress With Built-In Anti Microbial Treatments

For people who sleep in king and queen-sized mattresses, a mattress can be a significant expenditure. The price of a name-brand model may easily reach the thousands of dollars, so getting the most bang for your buck should be a no-brainer.

Removing Musty Smell from a Bed? | ThriftyFun

In order to avoid molds, you may want to buy a mattress with built-in antimicrobial treatments. To prevent the formation of bacteria, molds, and mildew and their resulting impacts, such as stains and odors, these treatments are often incorporated into the mattress manufacturing process.

If you’re looking for a specific model, the product details manufacturers list will help you identify any special treatment mattresses. For mattresses that have passed the proper treatment processes, keep an eye out for terms like “anti-bacterial, anti-molds, and hypoallergenic.”

3. Waterproof Mattress Cover

Cushioning between a sleeper’s body and their mattress can be achieved by using mattress covers or protectors. In addition to protecting against dirt, dust mites, and food and drink spills, this also provides an additional layer of protection.

In order to prevent molds from forming under your mattress, you should use a mattress protector.

Mattress covers available in a variety of styles, but experts prefer waterproof covers to protect against molds.. Covers like this one help protect you and your kid from wetting and vomiting incidents that are common among infants.

Protects against dust mites, molds, germs, and allergens with the SafeRest Premium Hypoallergenic Waterproof Mattress from Amazon. It has a noiseless and breathable cotton terry membrane surface.

4. Sundry The Mattress Regularly

Mold’s primary adversary is sunlight, which kills the spores quickly. It’s still possible to maintain your mattress’s quality even if your home is susceptible to mold growth by regularly sun-drying it. Direct sunshine should be allowed to hit the mattress for many hours at a time in a well-lit part of the backyard.

Make sure the other side of the mattress is exposed to the sun as well. For the sake of your health, you should do this once a month, even if you don’t see any visible mold on your mattress.

Condominiums without a backyard may have balconies that could be used to dry the mattress in the sun.

5. Keep Bedroom Airy While Away

Those who live in hot areas often find it difficult to sleep without the aid of an air conditioner or fan. Most of us, however, turn them off as soon as we get out of bed, causing the air in our rooms to become stagnant.

As a result, even small amounts of moisture on the mattress might encourage the formation of mold over time. Mold spores can travel from one section of the mattress to the next, eventually infesting the entire thing.

Even if you’re going out, keep the air moving in your bedroom to get rid of the moisture you’ve accumulated through perspiration. In spite of its low energy efficiency, this procedure can rescue your expensive mattress from the harmful molds that can ruin your sleep experience.

6. Choose A Breathable Mattress

There are numerous uses for breathable mattresses. Additionally, these mattresses may give protection against mold, mildew, and other pests while providing a restful night’s sleep.

As long as someone sleeps on a mattress, there will be dampness. In the cooler months of the year, nocturnal sweats are still common. This is more likely to occur with mattresses that have been designed with fewer pores in order to improve airflow.

Bacterial invasions and its consequences can occur quickly in non-breathable mattresses, especially on the undersides.

A memory foam mattress I purchased from Amazon three months ago has completely changed my life. It keeps me cool even in the heat of summer, while still providing excellent pressure relief and a luxurious sleeping experience. Because of this mattress, I no longer wake up with back pain in the morning.

7. Flip Your Mattress Regularly

Routine mattress flipping is recommended by both mattress manufacturers and sleep experts, but how many of us actually do it? That’s good advise for anyone concerned about mold in their mattress.

It is possible to avoid the spread of mold by catching it early on and thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing the afflicted area. In most cases, mold grows on the opposite side of where we sleep. If the condition goes unnoticed until it is too late, it can be incredibly difficult to identify.

As a workaround, you can try flipping your mattress every month. Make sure to thoroughly check all six sides of the mattress, not just the underside. In order to keep things under control, any evidence of mold or stains should be removed and disinfected quickly.

8. Change Bed Sheets Regularly And In The Mornings

You may have a decreased likelihood of discovering mould early if you often change your bed linens. Because they rarely replace their sheets, many customers don’t notice that their mattresses may be growing mold until it’s already too late.

The remedy is to change the sheets on the mattress at least twice a week and remove all of the old bedding from it. This will not only help you sleep better, but it may also help prevent the growth of molds in your home.

In the late afternoon or evening, you may be too sleepy to thoroughly inspect your mattress.

9. Brightly Lit Bedrooms

Molds thrive in dimly lit areas, especially when wetness is present as well. Mold spores are less likely to thrive in an environment that is well-lit.

Open all of the doors and windows in your house or apartment to let in as much natural light as possible. During the day, when you’re at work, this is extremely vital.

Make sure to open the bedroom curtains to let in some natural light as well. If there are any lingering smells in the bedroom, this can help get rid of them.

How Do Molds Develop On Mattresses?

Since the majority of bedrooms are filled with these three conditions, mattresses might be an accessible target for molds.

There is a simple explanation for why our mattresses become so moist during the night, even if we don’t eat or urinate in bed. Much of us, no matter what time of year it is, wake up sweating most of the night.

Moisture might build up in a specific location of the mattress, either underneath or on the surface, as a result of this process

Foam has an open-cell structure. A variety of polyurethane foams, such as memory foam, latex, and others, have open-cell architectures that allow quick air circulation to control the sleeper’s body temperature.

It’s unfortunate, but molds may grow in this framework and swiftly spread to other parts of the mattress. By the time most of us recognize it, the mattress has already developed mold in significant areas, if not all of it.

Is your mattress’s surface clean? Our beds are often only glimpsed when we change the linens. This means that mold infections are rarely detected early, and the situation can quickly deteriorate.

Signs of Molds On Your Mattress

Mold has the disadvantage of being difficult to detect until the damage to the mattress has already been done. The following are some telltale indications of mold growth in your mattress.

1. Odors

There are certain smells that are unique to a certain home. The smell of rotten wood, wet socks, or meaty, earthy odors may indicate that your mattress is infected with mold.

There are a lot of people who find these smells unbearable. These odors can make some people feel sick to their stomachs, according to reports from several homeowners. Sadly, as the mold spores develop and proliferate, the odor will only get worse.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) may be inhaled by sleepers as a result of this.

When it comes to dealing with mould, early diagnosis is crucial. However, how can you tell if the musty odor coming from a mattress is actually caused by mold? Here’s when hiring mold inspectors and testers with experience comes in handy.

Mold spores can be detected by smelling the mattress, and the correct strategy can be devised based on this information.

2. Health Complications

Mold exposure can cause a wide range of health problems, some of which can have a serious impact on your life expectancy. Respiratory difficulties such as wheezing and coughing in children can be caused by some molds. As a result, when you go mattress shopping, be on the lookout for mold-resistant baby mattresses.

Adults with weakened immune systems may be more susceptible to molds than others. A history of lung infections or smoking can increase a person’s risk of developing mold-related health issues.

People who come into contact with these pests often experience the following health problems as a result of their exposure:

  • Itching and burning in the eyes
  • Nasal congestion
  • Coughing and wheezing are common symptoms.
  • Irritation of the skin
  • Irritations in the throat
  • Hypersensitivity to mold
  • Asthma-induced rhinitis

3. Appearance

Moldy mattresses often have frizzy layers with black or white textures, and they can be rather large in size. Mould can also be seen in black or pink spots on the mattress, which appear to be soft and fluffy.

As soon as you notice any signs of mold, you should get it checked out right once. It’s too late to save the mattress once molds start showing up on it physically; by the time that happens, the infestation has already spread far and wide.

Drawbacks of Molds on Your Mattress

Moldy mattresses can cause serious health problems, which is why it’s critical to take precautions to avoid them. The following are some of the disadvantages of having mold grow on your mattress.

Mattress stains and disfigurement are the absolute last things anyone wants to experience when trying to sleep. It might provide the impression of being on an uneven surface, which can make it difficult to fall asleep at night. Having a moldy mattress in your home might be humiliating for you and your guests.

Off-putting Because of the mold’s pungent nature, the aromas connected with it can be exceedingly off-putting to the human nose. Some people describe vomiting as soon as they detect the noxious odor.

Moldy mattresses can cause a wide range of health issues, from asthma and breathing problems in babies to coughing, sneezing, and hypersensitivity in adults. Those with weakened immune systems are more likely to suffer from sleep problems as a result of these disorders.

Cut Down on Mattress Life: A mattress’s lifespan is typically between seven and ten years. If the condition is not caught early enough, molds can significantly shorten that time. Depending on the severity of the stains, it may be impossible to remove them. As a result, customers may be obliged to spend more money on a new mattress if their old one becomes uncomfortable enough to sleep on.

How to Keep Your Mattress in Good Shape Longer

We’ve compiled a list of the ten greatest strategies to safeguard your mattress investment and avoid calamities.

1. Make sure your mattress is properly supported.

A foundation or box spring may not be required with every mattress purchase, but it is important to make sure your mattress has the proper support. Materials are preserved and early wear is prevented as a result.

If you have any questions, contact the manufacturer or check the warranty policy. Memory foam and other speciality mattresses typically require strong, sturdy support, whereas box springs are typically exclusively utilized with spring mattresses.

The center support bars on queen and king beds should be constructed to handle the weight of the mattress and the people sleeping on it. Mattresses that are too heavy for a platform bed may require additional support.

In order to ensure that your mattress isn’t affected by damaged slats or springs, you should examine the stability of your bed once a year or so.

2. Use a mattress protector from the beginning.

One of the finest and simplest ways to ensure the longevity of your mattress is to use a mattress protector.

While providing waterproof defense against mishaps, a high-quality mattress protector also serves to limit the amount of dust, debris, and filth that find their way into your bed.

Keeps skin oils and sweat from accumulating on the bed, prevents mildew and dust mites from accumulating, and helps to protect the materials inside your bed from deterioration. When mishaps do happen, a protector makes cleanup a breeze, and many of the newer models are just as comfortable to sleep on as a fitted sheet.

How to Get a Damp Musty Smell Out of a Mattress | Hunker

3. Wash bed linens regularly.

Hair and skin cells are shed along with sweat and oils when you sleep. Also, crumbs might be left behind when you eat in bed, and pets can bring in all kinds of dirt and germs. Bacteria and dust mites thrive in mattress layers that are infested with disgusting stuff.

According to most housekeeping experts, bed linens and blankets should be laundered every week to every two weeks. Maintaining cleanliness even with the use of a mattress protector is essential. In addition, the mattress protector should be washed on a regular basis in accordance with the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

4. Get pets separate beds to snuggle in.

When it comes to bedding, it’s advisable to offer your pets their own mattresses rather than allowing them to sleep on yours.

Your bed will be soiled even if your pet is well-groomed because they wander outside and slobber and shed hair and cells much like people. The occasional accident by a pet can wreak havoc on a perfectly excellent mattress.

5. Rotate the mattress regularly.

Regular mattress rotation is beneficial to all types of mattresses, regardless of size or material. While some manufacturers claim that rotating is not necessary, the lack of rotation can lead to depressions and weakening.

In between two and six months, flip the mattress over from head to toe by turning it 180 degrees. Breaking in a mattress is especially critical in the first few years.

6. No jumping on the bed!

When your mother cautioned you not to jump on the bed, she was absolutely correct. It’s true that severe use can destroy spring, water, and air beds more than any other kind of mattress. But this is also true of the foundations, frames, and even foams that are used to support these mattresses.

7. Take care when moving your mattress.

In the event that you have to move, wrap your mattress in plastic and prevent twisting or folding it. Heavy-duty mattress bags, which can be taped shut to keep dirt and water out, are commonly available at moving and box stores.

If you’re transporting a mattress, keep it upright on its side so that it doesn’t fold or droop while in travel. Manufacturers often advise against dragging or moving the mattress using the cover’s grips.

8. Don’t bring home unwanted hitchhikers.

An infestation of bedbugs is one of the fastest and most efficient ways to damage a mattress.

Always check the bed for symptoms of bedbugs and keep your luggage off the floor when you’re away from home. Texas A&M University has some advice on how to avoid taking bedbugs back to your own house if you fear you have them.

Consider utilizing a bedbug-proof mattress encasement if you live in an apartment or in an area where these pests are frequent. Mattress protectors, on the other hand, feature zippers that are impermeable and cover the entire mattress to prevent pests from making their home there.

9. Let the light in occasionally.

If you have a dry and sunny day once or twice a year, remove your mattress and let it air out for a few hours (though if bedbugs are possible, leave the cover on).

According to a Kingston University study, this may also help control dust mite populations by preventing excessive moisture from sleepers and humidity.

10. Follow manufacturer cleaning directions.

In order to maintain the health and cleanliness of your mattress, it is essential that you clean your mattress on a regular basis.

Most mattresses should be vacuumed with a hose attachment to eliminate surface dust before following the stain removal and general cleaning instructions provided by many manufacturers.

Before changing the bed, spot treating stains with a moderate water and soap solution is an option. Foams’ integrity can be compromised if harsh chemical cleansers are used on them.

Vacuuming should be done every 1 to 3 months, depending on dust levels, allergies, or personal choice, and stains should be addressed as needed.

The essentials of mattress care and maintenance are the same regardless of the type or brand of mattress you have.. To summarize, make sure the bed is free of debris, secure it from harm, support it, and rotate it regularly to promote even wear.

The lifespan of a mattress is highly variable, but by following some best practices, you may extend the useful life of your mattress and get the most out of your investment. Know that a 10-year mattress guarantee is the industry standard, regardless of whether you’re shopping at a brick-and-mortar store or a new bed in a box.


A good night’s sleep can only be achieved with a clean bed. Is it possible to remove a mattress’s musty odor without knowing how? A good night’s sleep is worth the effort of aerating and drying your bed.

Let it dry before applying vinegar to the entire surface. The next step is to vacuum off the baking soda that has been left on the bed. You should be able to get rid of the musty smell from your mattress with these simple home items.