How To Get Any Smell Out Of A Mattress

Mattresses are my favourite thing on this planet, right behind sleep. Do you see a connection there? Regardless of my obsession with sleep, there’s one thing that really gets in the way of a good night’s sleep – a stinky mattress. Now, this isn’t something to feel shame over, as things happen, especially as your mattress ages. If you’re wondering how to get smell out of a mattress, you’ve come to the right place.

Curious how to get smell out of a mattress? The best way is with baking soda, laundry detergent, dish soap, and a vacuum.

If you’re looking to remove wee stains, though, the process is slightly different. Head on over to our article on how to get wee out of a mattress for a specific guide for that job.

How To Get Smells and Stains Out of Mattresses

I don’t know about you, but I think it’s about time that we get into the nitty-gritty of this. Before you start you’re going to want to gather:

  1. Several cloths that you don’t mind sacrificing
  2. A vacuum (an upholstery attachment helps here, though it’s not technically necessary)
  3. Dish soap (or an enzyme cleaner like this one, which is great for pet stains as well)
  4. Laundry detergent, your choice on scent
  5. Baking soda
  6. Cold water

Let’s talk about how to get smell out of a mattress. Now, let’s begin, shall we?

Step 1: The Bedding

Begin by removing all bedding from your mattress. Grab blankets, sheets, and mattress covers and throw them in the wash. Using hot water is best here, as it will kill any dust mites that may be present. You could potentially wash your pillows as well, depending on their make.

Step 2: Vacuum #1

Now, give your mattress a thorough vacuum. Treat it like it owes you money and you’re sucking it out, cent by cent if it helps. Make sure to give every inch of the mattress a good vacuum, paying attention to seams and bits where dust or dirt could be trying to escape.

Step 3: Spot Treatment With Stain Remover

Now there’s a couple of approaches here, depending on how you want to tackle this. First things first, though, if you have a memory foam mattress, do not get it wet. I’ll give a guide below for memory foam.

Now, your first option is to use the enzyme-based cleaner we talked about earlier. This will work on human or animal-made stains (blood, sweat, etc.) very well.

Alternatively, you can make your own DIY stain remover by mixing a few drops of dish soap into ~500mL of water, or doing the same with equal parts water and hydrogen peroxide.

Be warned that hydrogen peroxide can bleach cloth surfaces. Don’t use this without testing it on a discreet area of the mattress first, otherwise you’ll have a bone-white mattress.

Now all that’s left to do is the spot treatment. To do this, put your stain remover onto a clean white cloth and blot gently. If you scrub, you will rub your cleaner into the mattress, making it near-impossible to remove. You’re trying to keep the mattress as dry as possible, as moisture will make the next steps much more time-consuming.

Step 4: Baking Soda

Sprinkle baking soda across the entirety of your mattress. If you have the option, you can lay the mattress out in the sun to dry, but I personally recommend just using this method.

You’re going to get an even layer of baking soda across the entire thing – we’re talking at least one whole box of baking soda. Now, leave it for at least six hours, preferably overnight (though that may not be possible since, you know, you sleep on your mattress).

The baking soda will break down most of the acidic compounds and absorb both moisture and smell. Now open every window you can and allow some sweet UV rays to hit your mattress. This will help kill any leftover mould or bacteria.

You should be left with a layer of baking soda on top that’s slightly moist. If it’s formed into a paste, you used too much moisture in the previous step. You’ll need to let it dry before moving on.

Step 5: Vaccum 2, Electric Boogaloo & Repeat

Now you just vacuum all of the baking soda off of your mattress! Easy, right? Well… not quite yet. Now you get to flip the mattress and do everything again! Isn’t adulthood fun?

Most conventional guidance will tell you that you should be flipping your mattress every ~6 months, but really, who has time for that? Well, you’re doing it now. Maybe try to make a habit out of it?

It’s also worth noting that some mattresses don’t even need to be flipped. Some brands come with a top pad that you simply flip every few months, rather than needing to go through the hassle of flipping the whole thing.

Memory Foam Mattress Differences

Okay, if you have a memory foam mattress, this section is for you. The process is almost the same, but slightly off, so it’s worth writing down. Memory foam is petroleum-based, meaning you’ve got to be careful with what you use to clean it.

To clean a memory foam mattress, you’re going to do the vacuum and spot-cleaning steps, but with a 3:1 mixture of white vinegar and water. Do not use hydrogen peroxide. You can use dish soap here, as well, but you need to be very careful to use as little as possible.

The major difference in this process is that you need to ensure you’re keeping your mattress as dry as possible throughout the whole thing. Lightly dab with anything wet, immediately dabbing again with a dry cloth to soak up moisture. When you’re done, use a hairdryer (on a warm, not hot setting) or fan to dry your mattress as quickly as possible.

Keeping Your Mattress Clean

Now that you’ve done the hard part, let’s talk about keeping the mattress clean. I have two tips here that many people may roll their eyes at:

  1. Use a fitted sheet. Yes, they’re annoying to fold, put on, and deal with in general. But using clean fitted sheets will prevent dust mites from making their way in and add an extra layer of protection.
  2. Speaking of protection, wrap your mattress. Using a mattress cover/protector will make cleaning drastically easier in the future, and prevent stains from making their way into the mattress itself.

Keeping your mattress clean is super important to its lifespan. It can, on average, nearly double your mattress’s life and will keep you feeling much better when you wake up. Plus, if you deal with skin issues, it will make your skin much happier in the long run.

Final Thoughts

Cleaning your mattress is a simple, yet time-consuming process. If you’re curious about how to get smell out of a mattress, read above! As long as you follow these steps and pay attention to what it’s made out of, you’ll have a clean and happy mattress in no time. And be sure to spot-test any cleaner you haven’t used on your mattress previously to ensure you don’t accidentally damage or stain it.

And if you have a memory foam mattress, remember to keep it as dry as possible – again, mattress covers and fitted sheets are exactly what you want here.

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About the Author Harry Thompson

Involved in home renovations throughout his life, Harry is an expert in everything to do with home and garden DIY. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking and tending to his garden.