Ask LH: How Can I Fix A Musty Mattress?

Dear LH, Recently I moved house, and in the process the bed mattress got wet. I immediately put a fan onto it to dry it out (as it was still wet outside), but the mattress now has a musty smell. Is there anything I can do to remove the smell? (Buying a new mattress is out of the question.) Thanks, Sleeping With The Stench

Picture by robotpolisher

Dear SWTS,

Nasty problem. There's a few things you can try:

  • Leaving the mattress outside on a sunny day is an effective method, though you'll need several hours (and possibly multiple days) to get full results. Do this while you're at home and keep a close eye on the weather.
  • Give it plenty of chances to air. If it's your main bed, strip it every day so it gets maximum exposure.
  • A bowl of vinegar in the room is also often useful at absorbing smells.

If readers have other suggestions on how to deal with this problem, let us know in the comments.

Cheers Lifehacker

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    Not sure on the cost of it, but a de-humidifier may be an option to remove some of the moisture from the mattress and give it an airing at the same time?

    Something that I've found works quite well; baking soda. Just rub baking soda into the mattress, leave it for half an hour and then use a vacuum to get rid of the excess. I had a mattress that smelt like smoke... and this solved the problem nicely.

      Exactly what I was going to suggest.
      I know it works on carpets and upholstery, so gotta be worth a shot on your mattress.

    Suggest you strip the bed at least once a week and let it air. The mustiness may not go away, so professional steam cleaning could be an option.

    The sun thing is definitely a big one.. simply put, the bed needs to air "regularly"..

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