How to Air Out Your Mattress for Better Air Quality

A new mattress should bring nothing but comfort into your bedroom. However, sometimes unpleasant smells follow a new mattress. The manufacturing process and sometimes the protective plastic the mattress is shipped in can come with odors. You definitely want to keep unpleasant smells and harmful emissions out of your bedroom. To do so, we’re going to cover the why and how of airing out your mattress along with how to choose a mattress with fewer emissions.

Why Air Out a Mattress?

Not all odors are harmful. Reducing emissions can improve the quality of your sleep. Fresh, clean air has been shown to improve sleep quality and next day performance.

However, some odors may be due to off-gassing from flame retardants or other chemicals used in the manufacturing process. Manufacturers sometimes use chemical flame retardants that have volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or polybrominated diphenyl ether’s (PBDEs) to meet strict flammability standards. In some cases, exposure to these chemicals can cause headaches, nausea, and vomiting along with skin, eye, nose, and throat irritation. People who are chemically sensitive or who have allergies tend to be more susceptible to the emissions of these chemicals. You definitely don’t want to breathe in those emissions while you sleep.

Mattress Air Out 101

The first step to airing out your mattress is finding the right space. You need somewhere that’s outside your house with good ventilation. For many people, that’s probably a garage, shop, or covered outdoor area where the mattress is protected from the elements. Both sides of the mattress need to be ventilated for a full airing.

While there’s no specific amount of time suggested for airing out a mattress, you should give it at least 24 hours. After that, let your nose be your guide. If you still detect an odor, let the mattress air out until the smell dissipates.

The airing out process doesn’t end there. After placing the mattress in your bedroom, be sure to air it out once a week by leaving the covers off for several hours. You also want to periodically open the windows and circulate all the air in your house. New homebuyers, in particular, need to regularly circulate the air because new home builds are incredibly airtight.

Cut Odors (and Emissions) with the Right Mattress

Regardless of the type of mattress – hybrid, foam, innerspring, or latex – it’s going to need a good airing out, but you can find models that don’t have harmful emissions.

There are independent organizations that monitor product safety, including chemical exposure and emissions. The Green Guard and GreenGuard Gold certifications evaluate mattresses for VOC emissions. However, the GreenGuard Gold certification has tighter restrictions. While these two certifications monitor emission safety, a GreenGuard certification doesn’t mean there won’t be some odors upon delivery. Another certification to watch for is an OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certification which monitors mattresses for emissions and chemicals that pose a human health risk.

Airing out your mattress won’t take too much time, and you’ll sleep easier knowing you can breathe deeply in your new home in Olympia, WA. With the combination of informed mattress selection and smart airing practices, you’ll be set for better air and sleep quality.


Rob Rice is Thurston County’s largest local home builder and has been voted the Best of South Sound for the last five years and was voted Best of Show in the 2017 OMB Tour of Homes. He has built over 3000 homes in 43 different new home communities over more than 30 years. He and his wife Helena live in Olympia, WA with their two sons, Alex and Carson. Rob is a graduate of Washington State University with degrees in construction management and architecture.