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Do Latex Mattresses Smell?

Mattress Resources
Read Time: 4 minutes
  • The odors associated with latex mattresses are generally minimal, with 100% natural or organic latex mattresses having the mildest scents, often described as somewhat sweet, while synthetic and hybrid latex mattresses might produce stronger chemical or rubber smells.
  • Airing out your mattress in a well-ventilated space, removing linens during the day, and using bedding sprays or waterproof mattress covers can help eliminate or reduce any lingering odors, allowing the smell to dissipate over time.
  • When compared to other mattress types, latex mattresses tend to have fewer offensive odors, with the smells associated with latex mattresses not being attributed to harmful chemicals or volatile organic compound off-gassing commonly found in other bedding materials.

We all know that rubber products can have a certain odor, and many people wonder if this applies to latex mattresses as well.  Nobody wants a stinky mattress.

It should be understood that most new products have a certain aroma and latex mattresses are no exception. Mattress odors can range from fairly mild to downright unbearable depending upon what the chemical makeup includes.

Essentially, all products will retain some scents attributed to their ingredients but this has to be assessed and taken into perspective.  Here, we will examine what consumers should expect in terms of smells when they purchase a latex mattress.

What Do Latex Mattresses Smell Like?

All new products have an odor, but the type and intensity is a direct result of what goes into the mattress. In owner surveys, little to no odor complaints are reported for natural, all-latex beds (about 1-2%), though blended latex and latex-over-foam beds receive moderate complaints of odor and offgassing (9-12%).

Natural and Organic Latex Mattresses

Natural latex is produced through either the Dunlop or Talalay latex production method. The makeup of a 100% natural latex mattress is comprised of 6 nontoxic chemicals as well as natural materials including hevea milk, water, and fats. Rubber, by nature, does have a certain odor. However with mattresses, due to the manufacturing, washing, and curing processes, the lingering smell is typically very minimal and often described as somewhat sweet.

While there is nothing in the mattress that is harmful, it does permit a certain smell that people may notice. The large majority of people will not be bothered by the faint, slightly sweet smell of natural latex, and some cite it as an advantage when selecting a latex mattress.

Natural latex can also be certified organic. The latex from these mattresses is sustainably grown without the use of harmful pesticides. Organic latex offers a natural purity that is essentially unmatched in the mattress world.

Products like tires and gloves are made using entirely different processes than mattress foam, and thus give off much stronger smells when new that do not apply to natural latex. Many manufacturers air layers out before packaging, and new latex mattresses smells should dissipate within a few weeks in a well-ventilated area.

Synthetic and Hybrid Latex Beds

Synthetic latex may give off a stronger odor, either chemical or rubber, due to different ingredients used in manufacturing. Hybrid beds, those that feature latex mixed with poly foam cores, comfort layers, or memory foam, will have the odors associated with those products.

What Can You Do About It?

If the thought of your mattress having any odor at all is an issue for you then there is something you can do about it. The best option is to allow your mattress to completely air out. Mattresses packaged securely for shipping can smell somewhat stronger than those that have been airing out, so often people opt to unpack their mattress and allow it to sit in an isolated location like a garage or spare bedroom until the smell goes away.

Other people remove linens throughout the day and let their mattress air out while it is not being used. Either way, airing out your mattress is a great idea to get rid of that “new bed” smell. Some people have even found that simply spraying the mattress with a bedding spray removes the odor. Another option is to simply do nothing and allow the smell to slowly go away on its own. It all comes down to whether or not the odor is bothersome.

Pick a mattress less likely to smell.

  • Choose a 100% natural or organic latex mattress with no fillers or synthetic materials.
  • Higher quality foams are thoroughly washed to remove residues and allowed to cured before being formed into beds, allowing any odors plenty of time to dissipate.
  • Look for a bed with a cover made from natural materials like cotton and wool.
  • Choose an unglued mattress. Glues and adhesives are often one of the most odorous mattress components.

Takes these steps to further eliminate lingering odors.

  • Unpack your bed and let it air out for several days in an open area.
  • Take sheets off during the day to let the material breathe.
  • Using a waterproof mattress cover can also help reduce odors.

How Latex Mattresses Compare to Others

While some consumers may be bothered that their latex mattress has a smell it should be understood that all mattresses have an odor when they are brand new. For instance, when you consider a new innerspring mattress – these are created with glues and adhesives that can be comprised of over 48 toxic chemicals, not to mention poly foam layers. Of course, in memory foam mattresses there are around seven toxic chemicals which also release potentially hazardous VOCs as compounds breakdown and “off-gas”.

While consumers may be a bit bothered by the latex smell there is some comfort in knowing that the smell is not coming from harmful chemicals and it will go away over time.  You can rest assured knowing that the odors are non-toxic and not attributed to volatile organic compound off-gassing people report with polyurethane foams and glues.

To answer the question of whether or not latex mattress smells, the simple answer is yes. However, it is not an odor that many people find offensive and it is not due to chemicals.  There are a number of great qualities about latex mattresses that should be taken into account as well, not just odors as these fade relatively soon.  

For those that do have a sensitive nose it helps to opt for a bed with as few additives as possible and to simply air out the mattress for a few weeks until the smell is completely gone.

Latex mattresses are a comfortable bedding option, and probably one of the most inoffensive in terms of smells compared to other beds on the market. Plus, there are other benefits to a latex mattress made with quality materials. If you want a latex mattress that doesn’t smell bad, choose an organic latex model from a reputable retailer.

David Klose is a Certified Sleep Science Coach who is a full-time writer focused on sleep health and the mattress industry. David has personally tested hundreds of mattresses and is obsessed with helping others find their perfect sleep solution.

Through his research, David has learned about other contributing factors to getting a good night’s sleep – such as diet and exercise. He now focuses on writing articles to help improve the reader’s quality of life.

A non-exhaustive list of some of the topics he has written on: the causes of sleepwalking, the sleep habits of high school students, and the relationship between a good night’s sleep and living a successful life.

David Klose has his undergraduate degree from Arizona State University where he studied English Literature and interned as the Student Editor-in-Chief of the university’s online literary magazine. He is currently pursuing a graduate degree in writing from Lesley University.

Comments (2) Leave a reply

  • Persons with MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity) should probably not consider buying any kind of latex mattress, whether “organic” or “non-organic”. The sweet vanilla smell of an “organic natural rubber latex mattress is so pungent and powerful and long-lasting that it would probably be a problem for a person with MCS. The “non-organic” natural rubber latex is developed using some toxic chemicals in the process; so, again, a person with MCS would be advised to avoid that also.

    So, BUYER BEWARE: some retailers will not return your money but will only offer an exchange on such a mattress.

  • We bought a natural, organic Latex mattress top 3 inch high, Twin size . After unwrapping it, we smelled strange smell, not rubber at all, but something like decaying or so. Terrible smell. Even for my husband whose nose is not as sensitive as mine, the odor was quite strong. Before getting the mattress we read many reviews where lots of people were complaining about the smell: some were hoping it might go away after a while, some were very negative saying “be ready for everything in your house to be smelling the latex mattress”. We tried a few mattresses and the latex was the last hope, so ignoring the negative comments, we decided to purchase one first, and if it works, we’d get another one. We put for 24 h in a room with open windows for 48 hours, and the smell was still there, not as strong as at first hours, but still noticeable, and especially when smelling the mattress itself. The smell went to our other rooms, coaches… I don’t think the smell will go away anywhere soon. Maybe the shortest is a month, but you won’t get rid of the smell completely anyway: it’s natural and will keep some natural odor anyway especially when lying on them as your nose is close to it. We are definitely returning it regardless its features.

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