Did you know that the brand new mattress you’ve just bought and carefully unpacked is full of volatile organic compounds? These compounds are what causes the phenomena known as off-gassing, and this process can cause an unpleasant odor that can linger in your bedroom for weeks.
Speeding up the process of a mattress off-gassing can help minimize its negative side effects and get your bedroom clear of that chemical odor. No one wants to go to sleep in a room that smells like a hospital!
There are some ways you can speed up mattress off-gassing, and doing so will help you feel more settled with your new mattress more quickly. If you’re wondering how to speed up mattress off-gassing, then you’re in the right place. Our detailed guide will provide you with the 5 best ways to speed up mattress off-gassing.
What is Mattress Off-Gassing?
Mattress off-gassing happens once you have unwrapped a new mattress and begun to use it. Most mattresses are partly made of synthetic materials that are considered volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. The VOCs break down over time and cause the off-gassing effect.
Most VOCs in mattresses are flame retardants, plastics, and polyurethane. Mattresses that are made with synthetic foams, such as memory foam, are also prone to off-gassing. As the VOCs break down they release gas into the air, which can cause an unpleasant odor to linger for days or even weeks.
Is the “New Mattress Smell” Really Just Off-Gassing?
That sharp plastic and chemical smell that you notice when you unwrap a new mattress is caused by off-gassing. From the moment you unwrap a new mattress, the foam inside it begins to expand and causes the VOCs to start breaking down.
As these VOCs break down they emit a gas that can smell distinctly of plastic and chemicals. This doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with your mattress, it’s a completely normal process. But the odor can be unpleasant and even irritating to those who suffer from respiratory problems or chemical sensitivities, which is why you may want to learn how to speed up your mattress off-gassing.
Is Off-Gassing Toxic to Humans?
The off-gassing process that mattresses go through isn’t considered toxic to humans. Most people won’t be affected at all by their mattress off-gassing, other than noticing an unpleasant odor.
However, the breakdown and release of volatile organic compounds can be irritating to some people. If you experience respiratory problems or have sensitivity to chemicals or smells, then the off-gassing can cause you to experience some side effects such as headaches, dizziness, and nausea.
The best way to prevent experiencing any side effects is to learn how to speed up mattress off-gassing. You can help your mattress release the gasses and settle in more quickly so that the chemical smell dissipates and you can sleep at ease.
How Long Does it Take a Mattress to Off-Gas?
It won’t take too long for your mattress to off-gas. After a while, the breakdown of volatile organic compounds will stop and the chemical smell will no longer be present. This process depends on the materials that you’re mattress is made of and how many different VOCs are present.
Generally speaking, it can take a mattress anywhere between 3-7 days to stop off-gassing. After this point, the VOCs that needed to break down will have done so, and the smell you noticed when you first unwrapped the mattress will be gone.
How To Speed Up Mattress Off-Gassing?
Wondering how you can speed up the off-gassing process for your mattress? Here are 5 of the best ways to speed up mattress off-gassing so you can get the rest you deserve.
1. Open The Windows
Opening the windows will help promote airflow in your room. The air currents will sweep over your mattress and help coax the gas out and away from your mattress. The best way to do this is by opening two windows at opposites ends of your room. This will create a cross breeze which will increase the air currents and ventilation in your room, and help direct the gasses off your mattress and out the window.
2. Place Mattress Outside
Another good trick is to place your mattress outside for a while. You can unwrap it outside, or place it outside immediately after opening it. Place your mattress in a dry, clean area, or on a sheet to prevent dirt and debris from getting on it.
You should aim to have your mattress outside for at least 4 hours, but if you can keep it out in the fresh air for longer then you should do so. The fresh air will help lift the gas away from your mattress and speed up the off-gassing process.
Something to keep in mind with this method is that you’ll need to watch the weather carefully while your brand new mattress is outside. You don’t want to let the mattress get wet or come into contact with moisture. This can cause mold and ruin your brand-new mattress!
Baking soda is an amazing product and has been used as a cleaner for ages. It also works wonders for helping to speed up your mattress off-gassing. All you need to do is sprinkle a layer of baking soda over the surface of your mattress, wait at least one hour, and then vacuum the baking soda off.
You can then flip over your mattress and repeat the process on the other side. This process will help encourage the VOCs to break down, and the baking soda will work to mask the chemical odor as they turn into gas.
4. Jump or Move Around on the Mattress
This is the simplest method, and also one of the most effective. Adding pressure all over your mattress will encourage the compounds inside it to break down and emit gas. It’s best to do this outside if possible so the gas can easily be swept away by the breeze.
If you decide to do this inside, then it’s best to take some precautions. Open the windows in your room, and then leave the room for at least an hour afterward to give the gas time to clear out.
Vacuuming the mattress will help to speed up the off-gassing process in two ways. First, it’ll work similarly to the previous step by adding pressure to your mattress and encouraging the VOCs to break down more quickly.
It can also work by actually removing some of the VOCs from your mattress. Small particles of VOCs can be sucked up by your vacuum. With fewer VOCs in your mattress, there will be less off-gassing that needs to happen.
Still, do this with proper ventilation such as opening up a window.
Do you have more questions about mattresses and their off-gassing process? Read on to learn more about this interesting phenomenon.
What Are Mattress VOCs?
Mattress VOCs are volatile organic compounds that are used when manufacturing mattresses. These compounds are added to increase the mattress’s lifespan and keep it from bursting into flames if it comes into contact with fire. Some of the most common VOCs used in mattresses are plastic, flame retardants, and polyurethane.
Do Certain Mattresses Off-Gas More Than Others?
Yes, some mattresses will off-gas more than others. It all depends on what the mattress is made of. There are non-toxic mattresses you can buy that are absent of VOCs, but these can be incredibly difficult to find.
In general, you should try to look for mattresses that don’t contain flame retardants, plastics, or polyurethane as these are the most common VOCs that cause off-gassing. Instead, you should try to purchase a mattress that’s made from wool or cotton.
There are also mattresses made with latex that won’t off-gas as much as other materials. You can also search for natural and organic mattresses to find one that is absent of VOCs that cause off-gassing.
What Are Some Off-Gassing Symptoms?
It’s fairly easy to tell if your mattress is in the process of off-gassing. There’s often a noticeable chemical or plastic smell that permeates the room that your new mattress is in. You might notice that the smell causes a slight headache or even dizziness if you spend too much time in the room without proper ventilation.
You can’t see the gas that the VOCs in your mattress produce, so the best way you can tell it’s happening is by using your sense of smell. Once that plastic or chemical smell disappears, you’ll know that the mattress has stopped off-gassing.
Are HEPA Filters Helpful if I Buy a New Mattress?
HEPA filters won’t be helpful to use after buying a new mattress. They usually come in an air purifier and work to collect particles in the air that can be irritating to your airway. However, they won’t remove VOCs or the gas they emit from the air. You would need an air purifier with additional technology to capture and filter out the gas that the VOCs in your new mattress produces.
What Else to Do During Off-Gassing?
The best thing to do while your mattress is off-gassing is to clean the mattress and your room thoroughly. You should vacuum your mattress and sweep or vacuum your floor at least once a day for the first few days after unwrapping your new mattress.
You should also focus on dusting your room during this time. Dust can contain VOC particles, so removing the dust from your room will help reduce the VOC particles in the air.
What are the Symptoms/Side Effects of Mattress Off-Gassing?
Mattress off-gassing shouldn’t cause any negative effects to the health of most people. However, if you’re sensitive to chemicals, smells, or experience respiratory problems such as asthma, then you’re more likely to experience symptoms of off-gassing.
Some of the symptoms of off-gassing include:
- Temporary Difficulty Breathing
- Temporary Irritation of the Airway
Mattress pads and toppers can protect you from your mattress off-gassing. The pad or topper that you put on your new mattress will trap the chemicals in the mattress instead of allowing them to be released into the air.
This won’t remove the VOCs from your mattress. It will only stop them from going into the air. A polyethylene pad or topper is the best and safest option for keeping the VOCs in your mattress from off-gassing.
Do Air Mattresses Off-Gas?
If your air mattresses contain any VOCs, then they will off-gas. Most air mattresses are made with plastic or flame retardants so there’s a high likelihood that any air mattress you purchase will go through the same off-gassing process as a regular mattress.
What Types of Mattress Produce Little to No Off-Gassing?
Mattresses that are made of natural and organic materials won’t go through a process of off-gassing because they don’t have any VOCs. Mattresses that are made of latex, wool, or cotton are the best choices because they’re made of natural materials that don’t contain additives that lead to off-gassing.
Most mattresses are made with VOCs- or volatile chemical compounds, which break down and emit gas into the air. This process is known as off-gassing and can lead to a pungent odor. If you’re sensitive to chemicals or smells, then this can even lead to health problems such as headaches, nausea, and dizziness.
The best way to avoid experiencing side effects is to speed up your mattress off-gassing. There are plenty of ways you can achieve this, including leaving your mattress outside, vacuuming it, and even using baking soda. Once your mattress has stopped off-gassing you can rest peacefully knowing that your air is clear and free of VOC particles.
Jamie is the Founder of My Home Dwelling. He is a homeowner and enjoys sharing his homeowner tips with others. He has real estate experience working as a new home construction Realtor. Jamie has worked on numerous residential construction sites helping with interior and exterior renovations. He loves refinishing furniture, DIY home projects, and sharing his knowledge online.