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How to Deodorize Mattress

By: Christina Davies
Updated on: April 05, 2024

  • Mattresses can develop unpleasant odors over time due to factors like bodily fluids, pets, trapped moisture, and off-gassing from new mattresses.
  • There are several DIY methods to deodorize your mattress effectively.
  • Baking soda is a versatile and natural deodorizer that can be used to freshen up your mattress.
  • Cornstarch can absorb moisture and eliminate odors, especially in damp areas.
  • Vinegar is an excellent natural odor neutralizer due to its acetic acid content.
  • Sunlight can help kill odor-causing bacteria and reduce discoloration on your mattress.
  • Regular cleaning, mattress maintenance, and proper ventilation can help prevent mattress odors.
  • It’s important to follow safety precautions when using these methods and to prioritize regular maintenance for long-lasting freshness and comfort.

Is your mattress starting to emit unpleasant odors? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Over time, mattresses can accumulate dirt, sweat, dead skin cells, body oils, and even bodily fluids, creating the best breeding ground for bacteria and causing funky smells. The good news is that there are simple and effective ways to deodorize your mattress and make it smell fresh and clean again. In this article, we will explore five DIY methods that will leave your mattress smelling as good as new.

What Causes Mattresses to Develop Odors?

Before we delve into the strategies to eliminate mattress odors, it is essential to understand what causes these unpleasant smells in the first place. Several factors contribute to the buildup of foul odors on mattresses:

  • Bodily Fluids: Our bodies naturally produce sweat, which can mix with bacteria and fungi on our skin, leading to odor. Additionally, urine can also be a culprit, especially for those with pets or young children who are still in the process of potty training.
  • Pets: Our furry friends can bring in dirt, bacteria, and their own unique odors from their adventures. Dogs, in particular, have a distinct smell due to the glands in their ears.
  • Trapped Moisture: Some mattresses, especially memory foam ones, are more prone to trapping moisture. When left unattended, trapped moisture can promote the growth of mold and mildew, resulting in unpleasant odors.
  • Off-Gassing: Newly purchased mattresses may emit a chemical smell known as off-gassing. This happens when volatile organic compounds are released into the air. Memory foam and polyfoam mattresses are more likely to be off-gas than other types.

How to Deodorize A Mattress

Deodorizing a mattress is important to eliminate odors and create a fresh sleeping environment. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to deodorize your mattress:

Baking Soda: The Natural Deodorizer

Baking soda is a versatile and natural odor eliminator that can get rid of unpleasant smells from various surfaces, including mattresses. Follow these steps to use baking soda for refreshing your mattress:

  • Sprinkle a generous layer of baking soda evenly across the entire mattress surface.
  • Allow the baking soda to rest for a minimum of 30 minutes, or for stubborn odors, leave it overnight.
  • Then, employ a vacuum cleaner with the upholstery brush attachment to completely eliminate the baking soda from the mattress.
  • If dealing with stubborn stains, make a paste by combining baking soda, a small quantity of water, and laundry detergent. Apply the paste to the stain, allow it to sit for 30 minutes, and then scrape it off using a dry cloth. Finish by vacuuming any remaining residue.

Pro Tip: To tackle foul-smelling stains, sprinkle baking soda on the spot and spray vinegar on top. The combination will help lift the stain out of the fabric. Dab with a dry cloth or paper towels, repeating as needed until it’s dry.

Remember to wear gloves when handling baking soda, as some individuals may be allergic to it. Always ensure that you have thoroughly vacuumed any residue before placing your bedding back on the mattress.

Cornstarch: An Effective Moisture Absorber

Cornstarch is not only great for thickening sauces but can also absorb moisture and eliminate odors from your mattress. Follow these steps to freshen up your mattress with cornstarch:

  • Sprinkle cornstarch over the entire surface of your mattress, paying extra attention to damp areas that have developed odors.
  • Let the cornstarch sit for approximately one hour.
  • Use the upholstery attachment on the vacuum to eliminate all the cornstarch from the mattress.

For vacuum cleaners- tougher stains and smells, you can create a mixture of cornstarch and baking soda. Sprinkle the mixture over the affected area, let it sit, and then vacuum it up.

Vinegar: The Odor Neutralizer

Although it may seem counterintuitive, vinegar is an excellent natural odor neutralizer. Its acetic acid content inhibits the growth of odor-causing bacteria. Here’s how you can use vinegar to both deodorize a mattress or your mattress:

  • Combine an equal amount of distilled white vinegar and water in a spray bottle.
  • Spritz the solution onto the surface of your mattress, focusing on areas with strong odors.
  • Allow the mattress to air dry. You can speed up the process using a fan or a blow dryer in a cool setting.
  • For an extra touch, sprinkle baking soda on top of the mattress, let it sit for a few minutes, then vacuum it up.

Pro Tip: Essential oils can be added to baking soda for a delightful scent. Lavender, chamomile, bergamot, sandalwood, cedarwood, and peppermint are excellent choices for promoting relaxation and sleep.

Harness the Power of Sunlight

Sunlight is a natural and cost-effective method for killing odor-causing bacteria and reducing discoloration on your mattress. If possible, take your mattress outside on a sunny day and let it bask in the sunlight for a few hours. If outdoor space is limited, opening a window and allowing sunlight to enter your bedroom can also help freshen up your mattress and space.

Note: Ensure that your mattress is adequately supported and protected from moisture during this process.

Preventing Odors: Maintenance and Care

While these DIY methods can effectively eliminate odors from your mattress, it’s always better to prevent odors from developing in the first place. Here are some simple tips to keep your mattress fresh and smelling clean:

  • Regular Cleaning: Vacuum your mattress at least once a month to remove dirt, dust, and allergens. Don’t forget to clean the bed base or platform as well.
  • Rotate or Flip: Check with the manufacturer to determine if your mattress is flippable or rotatable. This helps prevent sagging and allows for even wear and tear.
  • Use a Mattress Protector or Topper: A mattress protector acts as a barrier against dirt, debris, dust mites, and liquid spills. A mattress topper can offer an additional layer of both protection and comfort.
  • Ensure Proper Ventilation: Good airflow prevents mold, mildew, and bad smells. Open the windows regularly to let in fresh air, or employ a fan to improve air circulation in your bedroom.
  • Regularly Clean Beddings: Wash your bedsheets, pillowcases, and blankets at least once a week to remove sweat, dead skin cells, and other potential odor-causing substances.

By following these maintenance tips, you can keep your mattress fresh and odor-free for years to come.

How To Keep Your Mattress From Smelling

how to deodorize mattress memory foam mattresses, gentle laundry detergent, waterproof mattress protectors, sprinkling baking soda, essential oil 

If you want to avoid the hassle of the previous solutions, you can prevent mattress smell issues by maintaining its cleanliness from the start. Here are four straightforward tips:

Keep Your Mattress Clean

Regularly vacuuming your mattress, ideally, once a month, will help prevent the mattress cover from developing musty odors and accumulating dust. Don’t forget to vacuum the bed base or box spring, too.

Flip or Rotate Your Mattress

Consult your mattress manufacturer for your new mattress to determine if it’s suitable for flipping or rotating. Doing so will extend its lifespan and prevent premature sagging. It also helps avoid the buildup of bacteria and odors in any indentations caused by dirt, debris, or moisture.

Use A Mattress Protector Or Mattress Topper

Mattress protectors maintain your mattress clean and dry by acting as a water-resistant shield under the mattress surface of your fitted sheet. They block out dirt, dust mites, and spills.

On the other hand, a mattress topper is like a comfy extra layer (usually 2-4 inches thick) you place on your bed. It can make your mattress feel firmer for added support or softer for a plushier feel. While it’s not primarily for protection, a waterproof mattress protector topper can also help shield your mattress from spills and other things.

Ensure Proper Room Ventilation

To prevent mold, mildew, and unpleasant odors from taking hold of your mattress, make sure your room is well-ventilated. Regularly open your windows to let in fresh air and sunlight. Using a fan can also help you air dry completely and improve airflow. If possible, prop your mattress against a wall to allow both sides to dry effectively.

Maintain Clean Bedding Habits

Keeping your bedding fresh is essential. Wash your bed sheets, duvet covers, pillowcases, and blankets at least once a week to eliminate odors, dust, dead skin cells, and sweat. Pillowcases should be laundered every three to four months, and your mattress should be cleaned every six months.


How often should I deodorize my mattress?

Deodorizing your mattress should be done every few months to maintain mattress freshness.

Can I use scented sprays to deodorize my mattress?

While scented sprays can provide a temporary solution, they may not address the root of the issue and could contain harsh chemicals.

What are some common causes of mattress odors?

Common causes of odors include sweat, spills, pet dander, and dust mites.

How do I remove urine odors from a mattress?

To remove urine odors, blot the area, apply a mixture of water and white vinegar, and follow the steps mentioned above.

Can I use commercial mattress cleaners?

Yes, there are commercial mattress cleaners available, but be sure to read and follow the product instructions carefully.

How can I prevent mattress odors in the first place?

Using a mattress protector, washing your mattress pad bedding regularly, and maintaining a clean sleeping environment can help prevent odors.


Nobody wants to sleep on a smelly mattress. By employing these five effective methods, you can eliminate odors and enjoy a fresh and clean sleeping environment. Whether you choose to use baking soda, cornstarch, vinegar, sunlight, or a combination of these methods, remember to prioritize regular maintenance and care to prevent odors from developing. With these simple DIY solutions, you can revitalize your mattress and wake up to a pleasant and refreshing sleep experience. A fresh-smelling mattress contributes to better sleep and overall well-being.


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