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How to get smell out of a Mattress: A Complete Guide

Mattress Resources
Read Time: 8 minutes


Importance of Cleaning: Regular mattress cleaning eliminates allergens, prevents odors, maintains hygiene, and prolongs its lifespan, contributing to better sleep quality and overall health.

Vacuuming: Using a vacuum with an upholstery attachment helps remove dirt, dust, and allergens from the mattress surface, ensuring a cleaner sleeping environment.

Natural Deodorizing Solutions: Vinegar-water solutions, baking soda, and essential oils offer effective, natural ways to eliminate odors and refresh the mattress, enhancing its cleanliness and scent.

Preventive Measures: Incorporating preventive actions such as using mattress protectors, washing bedding regularly, maintaining good hygiene, and proper ventilation helps keep the mattress fresh and extends its longevity.

As we spend an essential portion of our lives sleeping, it’s vital to ensure that our mattresses are clean, fresh, and allergens-free. Over time, mattresses gather sweat, dust mites, shed skin cells, and various allergens, potentially resulting in unpleasant smells and health concerns. Consistently cleaning and deodorizing your mattress can extend its lifespan and uphold a clean sleeping space.

This comprehensive article will explore various methods and techniques for getting the smell out of a mattress. From vacuuming and using natural solutions to incorporating essential oils, we will cover everything you need to know to keep your mattress clean and fresh. So let’s get started!

Why Is Cleaning Your Mattress Important?

Mattresses can harbor various allergens and pollutants that can impact your health and sleep quality. Regular cleaning and deodorizing can help remove these contaminants and prevent them from accumulating over time. Here are some key reasons why cleaning your mattress is important:

  1. Eliminating Allergens: Regular cleaning can help reduce dust mite populations and alleviate symptoms of allergies and asthma.
  2. Preventing Odors: Over time, sweat, body oils, and other substances can seep into your mattress, leading to unpleasant odors. Cleaning and deodorizing your mattress can help eliminate these odors and create a fresh sleeping environment.
  3. Maintaining Hygiene: Regular cleaning of your mattress helps maintain good hygiene. You can create a cleaner and healthier sleeping surface by removing sweat, dead skin cells, and other bodily fluids.
  4. Prolonging Mattress Lifespan: By taking care of your mattress and keeping it clean, you can help extend its lifespan. Regular cleaning and maintenance can prevent premature wear and tear, ensuring that your mattress lasts for years to come.

Now that we understand the importance of cleaning our mattresses let’s dive into the various methods and techniques to freshen and deodorize them effectively.

Method 1: Vacuuming

Vacuuming is a simple and easy way to remove dirt, allergens, and dust from the surface of your mattress. Here’s how you can vacuum your mattress:

  1. Prepare the vacuum: Before starting, ensure your vacuum cleaner has a clean upholstery attachment. If it’s dirty, wash it in warm water to remove any dust or germs.
  2. Vacuum the mattress surface: Start by using the upholstery attachment of your vacuum cleaner to vacuum the surface of your mattress. Make sure to cover the entire surface, including the sides and areas beneath the seams. This will aid in removing dust, dirt, and accumulated allergens over time.
  3. Flip the mattress: Once you’ve vacuumed one side of the mattress, prop it up and vacuum the other side as well. This will ensure that both sides of the mattress are thoroughly cleaned.
  4. Vacuum around the bed frame: Don’t forget to vacuum the area around your bed frame as well. Dust bunnies, body cast-offs, and pet dander can accumulate on the floor, so it’s important to keep the surrounding area clean.

By regularly vacuuming your mattress, you can effectively remove allergens, dust, and other particles that can impact your sleep quality and overall health.

Method 2: Natural Solutions for Deodorizing

In addition to vacuuming, you can also use natural solutions to deodorize your mattress and eliminate unpleasant mattress smells. Here are a few effective methods:

Vinegar and Water Solution

Vinegar serves as a natural deodorizer, aiding in neutralizing odors and inhibiting mold growth on your mattress. Here’s how you can use vinegar to deodorize your mattress:

  1. Prepare the solution: Combine equal amounts of water and distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle. This will create an organic deodorizer that is safe to use on your mattress.
  2. Spray the solution: Lightly spray the vinegar and water solution over the surface of your mattress. Avoid making it overly damp, as excessive moisture can promote the proliferation of allergens and mold.
  3. Air dry the mattress: After spraying the solution, allow your mattress to air dry completely. To speed up the drying process, you can switch on fans and keep windows open.
  4. Sprinkle baking soda: Once the mattress is dry, sprinkle baking soda over the surface. Baking soda is a natural odor neutralizer that can help absorb any lingering odors. Let the baking soda sit for at least 30 minutes or overnight for better results.
  5. Vacuum the mattress: After the baking soda has had time to work its magic, use the upholstery attachment on your vacuum cleaner to remove it. This will leave your mattress fresh and odor-free.

Using a vinegar and water solution, followed by baking soda, can effectively deodorize your mattress and keep it smelling fresh for a longer period.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a versatile household ingredient that can be used for various cleaning purposes, including deodorizing your mattress. Here’s how you can use baking soda to freshen up your mattress:

  1. Sprinkle baking soda: Use a flour sifter to sprinkle baking soda over the surface of your mattress evenly. Make sure to cover the entire surface, including the sides.
  2. Let it sit: Allow the baking soda to sit on your mattress for at least 30 minutes. You can leave it on for up to 24 hours for better results.
  3. Expose to sunlight: While the baking soda sits on your mattress, open your windows to let in natural light. Sunlight can help dry up any moisture in your mattress and further eliminate odors.
  4. Vacuum the mattress: After the desired time has passed, use the upholstery attachment on your vacuum cleaner to remove the baking soda. This will leave your mattress fresh and free from odors.

Using baking soda is a cost-effective and natural method to freshen up your mattress, eliminating odors effectively. It’s especially useful in addressing urine stains and smells, especially when the area is still damp. For optimal outcomes, combining baking soda with an enzyme cleaner is highly recommended.

Essential Oils

Including essential oils can impart a delightful fragrance to your mattress while offering extra advantages like relaxation and enhanced sleep. Here’s a method to include essential oils in your mattress deodorizing regimen:

  1. Mix essential oils with baking soda: Before sprinkling baking soda over your mattress, mix 15 to 20 drops of your essential oils with the baking soda. Eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint, and lemon essential oils are popular choices.
  2. Sprinkle the mixture: Evenly sprinkle the baking soda and essential oil mixture over the surface of your mattress. Allow it to sit for the desired amount of time.
  3. Vacuum the mattress: After allowing enough time for the baking soda to work, use the vacuum cleaner’s upholstery attachment to remove the mixture. This process will result in a mattress that smells fresh, carrying the calming aroma of essential oils.

Using essential oils can enhance the deodorizing process and create a more relaxing and pleasant sleeping environment. Experiment with various essential oil combinations to find the scent that suits you best.

Method 3: Washing Bedding

In addition to cleaning your mattress, it’s important to regularly wash your bedding to prevent the buildup of allergens and odors. Here are some key tips for washing your bedding:

  1. Wash sheets, pillowcases, and duvet covers: Ideally, you should wash your sheets, pillowcases, and duvet covers every week. This will help eliminate sweat, dead skin cells, and allergens that can transfer to your mattress.
  2. Use hot water: When washing your bedding, opt for hot water unless the care label specifies otherwise. Hot water helps kill germs and ensures a thorough cleaning.
  3. Wash pillows and comforters: Pillows and comforters should be washed every three to four months to prevent allergen buildup. Additionally, consider occasionally putting your pillows and comforters out in the sun to air them out and kill germs.
  4. Clean bed skirts: If you use a bed skirt, washing it every few months is important. If you notice visible dust on your bed skirt, it’s a sign that it’s time for a cleaning.

Regularly washing your bedding can maintain a clean and hygienic sleeping environment and prevent the transfer of allergens to your mattress.

Preventive Measures

In addition to regular cleaning and deodorizing, you can take several preventive measures to keep your mattress fresh and prolong its lifespan. Here are some key steps:

  1. Use a mattress protector: Investing in a mattress protector is a great way to shield your mattress from sweat, spills, and allergens. A mattress protector serves as a barrier, preventing these substances from seeping into your mattress.
  2. Maintain good hygiene: Showering before bedtime can help reduce the transfer of oils and sweat to your mattress. Keeping your body clean can minimize the buildup of odor and stains on your mattress.
  3. Keep your bedroom well-ventilated: Proper ventilation is essential for preventing the growth of allergens and maintaining mattress freshness. Open your windows to enable fresh air to circulate, and consider using a fan or air purifier to improve air quality.
  4. Clean your bed base: The surface on which your mattress rests, whether it’s a box spring, bed foundation, or platform bed, should be regularly cleaned. Vacuum the surface and remove any dust or dirt that may have accumulated.
  5. Avoid eating or drinking in bed: Spills and crumbs can easily find their way into your mattress, leading to stains and odors. By avoiding eating or drinking in bed, you can prevent these issues and keep your mattress clean.

By integrating these preventative actions into your regular routine, you can uphold a clean and sanitary sleeping space while extending the longevity of your mattress.


How can I deodorize a mattress to eliminate mattress smells effectively?

To deodorize a mattress and eliminate persistent smells such as sweat smell or odors caused by spills, begin by removing all bedding and vacuuming the mattress thoroughly. Next, sprinkle baking soda liberally over the surface and allow it to sit for several hours to absorb odors. Afterward, vacuum up the baking soda residue. You can also use a mixture of gentle laundry detergent and water to spot-clean specific areas before allowing the mattress to air dry.

Are mattress protectors or mattress covers effective in preventing mattress smells?

Yes, investing in a mattress protector or waterproof mattress cover can significantly help in preventing sweat smell and other odors from penetrating the mattress. These covers act as a barrier, shielding the mattress from spills, stains, and odors caused by sweat or body oils. Regularly washing the mattress protector in a washing machine with gentle laundry detergent can further assist in keeping your mattress smelling fresh.

Will memory foam mattresses retain odors, and how can I remove these smells?

Memory foam mattresses, while comfortable, can retain odors over time. To eliminate odors from a memory foam mattress, begin by spreading baking soda across the surface, leaving it for a few hours, and then vacuuming it up. Additionally, you can use a spray bottle to lightly mist the mattress with a mixture of equal parts water and vinegar. Ensure the mattress dries completely by airing it out before use.

Can a foam mattress accumulate smells, and what methods effectively remove these odors?

Foam mattresses, including memory foam, can absorb and retain odors like sweat smell or other lingering scents. To eliminate these odors, besides using baking soda or a mixture of vinegar and water, consider using an upholstery brush to scrub the surface gently. This action helps to dislodge and remove trapped odors. Additionally, maintaining good ventilation in the room and using a mattress pad can also help reduce odor accumulation.

Do mattress pads contribute to odor accumulation, and how can I prevent this issue?

Mattress pads, while providing an extra layer of comfort, can also absorb and retain odors if not cleaned regularly. Wash them frequently in a washing machine using gentle laundry detergent to prevent odor accumulation on mattress pads. Also, consider using a waterproof mattress protector over the mattress pad to protect against sweat, spills, and shedding dead skin cells, which can contribute to odors.


Keeping your mattress clean and fresh is vital for a good night’s sleep and overall health. Regular cleaning and deodorizing can help eliminate allergens, prevent odors, and prolong the lifespan of your mattress. Following the tips and tricks outlined in this article can effectively freshen and deodorize your mattress, creating a clean and healthy sleeping environment. Remember to vacuum regularly, use natural solutions like vinegar and baking soda, wash your bedding, and take preventive measures to maintain mattress freshness. With these practices in place, you can enjoy a clean and fresh mattress for years to come.

Christine Lapp is a full-time graduate student and part-time freelancer for Sleep Junkie. Since she was a little girl on the soccer field, Christine has had a love for sports, and she believes everybody should get up and get moving once a day. Now, she incorporates her love for exercise into her studies, pursuing a degree in exercise physiology. Christine understands that what you do during your waking hours has a direct impact on your night’s sleep. In our better sleep guides, she offers advice for developing healthy daytime habits to nurture a more peaceful slumber.

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