How to Deodorize a Mattress: 6 Fresh Tips

April 28, 2022 | Casper Editorial Team
how to deodorize a mattress how to deodorize a mattress how to deodorize a mattress

Is your bed starting to smell a little…funny? If so, now is the perfect time to learn how to deodorize a mattress.

Our mattresses go through a lot. We all sweat and shed dead skin cells in our sleep, we spend one-third of our lives in bed, and dust builds up over time. Even if you regularly wash your bedding, body oil and allergens will eventually reach the mattress. The problem starts when all of this begins disrupting our noses—and sleep. Allergens can cause troubled breathing, while moisture can lead to disastrous mold growth if not properly cleaned.

Thankfully, not all is lost if your mattress has started to smell. We’ve compiled six DIY methods on how to deodorize your mattress. Plus, keep reading for more tips to keep your sleep sanctuary smelling clean throughout the year. 

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How to Deodorize a Mattress

Deodorizing is when you get rid of odors from stains, spills, allergens, sweat, dirt, dust mites, and more. It’s a good idea to deodorize your mattress at least once every 6 months.

If you experience frequent night sweats, you may want to consider deodorizing even more often.

You can use a variety of common household cleaners to deodorize and get the sweat smell (and other odors) out of a mattress. Just make sure to check the care label or your mattress manufacturer before attempting a DIY cleaning solution.

To get started, strip off your bedding and sheets. Now is a good time to throw them in the wash. Then, gather your supplies.

Supplies to deodorize a mattress

1. Baking Soda

If you’re wondering how to remove the odor from your mattress, baking soda (a classic deodorizer) is a good place to start. 

Here’s how to use baking soda to deodorize a mattress:

Deodorize a mattress with baking soda

  • Pour the baking soda into a flour sifter and sprinkle a layer of baking soda over the top of the mattress. The flour sifter will help evenly distribute the baking soda.
  • Let it sit for up to two hours. The baking soda will react with acidic odors to neutralize them.
  • Using a handheld vacuum cleaner with an upholstery brush, vacuum up the baking soda.

There are other ingredients you can add to the baking soda to sprinkle on your mattress if desired. Read on to learn more about them. 

Best for: Neutralizing odors

2. Essential Oils

If you’d like to know how to make your mattress smell better, you can add in a couple drops of essential oil to your baking soda before sifting it onto the mattress. While the baking soda will neutralize the odors, the essential oil will give the mattress a nice fragrance. 

Several essential oils that are known for their calming properties are:

  • Lavender
  • Chamomile
  • Jasmine
  • Rose
  • Peppermint
  • Lemon

Best for: Adding fragrance

3. Cornstarch

Cleaning coach Leslie Reichert told Better Homes and Gardens to try a mixture of cornstarch and baking soda to absorb body oil and get rid of odors. 

Just add a sprinkle of cornstarch to your baking soda and spread it over the mattress with the steps described above. Let it sit for around two hours, and then vacuum it all up. 

Best for: Absorbing body oil

4. Vinegar

If you have smelly stains on your mattress, you can try using vinegar. Vinegar is an effective cleaner that can help remove dirt and get rid of stains. 

To use vinegar:

  • Make a mixture of one part distilled white vinegar and one part water. Put this in a spray bottle. 
  • Lightly spritz the mixture over the top of the mattress. Don’t be too heavy-handed with the vinegar, as you don’t want to make your mattress damp.
  • Let the mattress air out to dry. 

The downside of using vinegar is, of course, the strong smell. Thoroughly air out the mattress to let the smell subside. You can also perform the steps outlined in the baking soda section and use a few drops of essential oils to mask the vinegar scent.

Best for: Removing dirt and stains

5. Laundry Detergent 

Another method of spot cleaning strong-smelling stains is to use a gentle laundry detergent. You can mix a laundry detergent with baking soda to create paste before spreading it over the stain. After letting it sit for a while, scrape it away with a towel or spoon.

Best for: Spot cleaning stains

6. Vacuum

If your mattress is smelling dusty or has collected dirt or pet dander, reach for the vacuum cleaner. A handheld vacuum with an upholstery brush is the most effective at removing all the little particles. When you vacuum, make sure to get into all the crevices of your mattress. Make sure to vacuum the sides of the mattress as well.

Best for: Removing dust, dirt, pet dander, and hair

Other Ways to Keep Your Mattress Fresh

Now that you know a few methods for deodorizing your bed, we’ll provide tips to prevent future smells from forming. Here’s how to freshen a mattress and keep it that way.

Put on a Mattress Protector

Our top tip for keeping your mattress fresh is to cover it with a mattress protector.

A mattress protector is the first line of defense for your mattress. At Casper, our waterproof mattress protectors are liquid-resistant to help keep stains out of your mattress. Plus, we made them with quiet materials that won’t take away from your comfort — they’re designed to perfectly hug your mattress and feel like they’re barely there.

To clean a mattress protector, simply take it off the mattress and wash it every few months. If you have a spill or accident (it happens!), you can wash it right away. A mattress protector goes a long way in protecting your mattress and taking the hassle out of cleaning your bed.

Benefits of a mattress protector

Air Out the Room

To help prevent moisture buildup in your bed, it’s never a bad idea to air out your bedroom. Strip the bedding from the mattress, open the windows, and turn on a fan. With the help of a friend, you can prop the mattress up against the wall so that the fresh air reaches both sides. 

Sunlight

Sunlight is a natural way to freshen your mattress, help lighten stains, and prevent yellowing. If your room generally stays dark, try exposing your mattress to sunlight. If you are able to, you can place the mattress on a porch or elsewhere outside to let it soak up some sun. If not, simply open a nearby window. 

Clean the Mattress

It’s an easy chore to overlook, but regularly cleaning your mattress can do wonders to keep your mattress fresh. You should get help from a professional cleaner to handle deep cleaning and bed bug removal. But for smaller stains, you can spot-clean yourself. 

For blood, sweat, vomit, or urine stains, use an enzyme-based cleaner. If you don’t have one, you create one at home with:

  •  16 ounces of 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • 4 tablespoons of baking soda
  • 2–4 generous drops of liquid detergent

Put the mixture in a spray bottle and spray it onto the stain. After 30 minutes, blot it out with a towel. 

If you need to clean your Casper mattress, we ask that you do not remove the cover. Spot clean stains with a mild detergent, then allow it to air dry completely before putting your bedding back on. Be careful not to saturate the stain with too much detergent, as the foam will soak that up!

Clean the Box Spring or Foundation

When cleaning your mattress, don’t forget the bed base! If you have a box spring or foundation sitting under your mattress, give that a quick clean, too. You can clean the box spring or foundation much in the same way that you clean your mattress. Vacuum up any dirt or dust and spot clean stains. If you get moisture on the bed base, let it air out completely before putting the mattress back on top. 

Wash Your Bedding

An important way to keep your whole bed feeling fresh is by regularly washing your bedding. From the duvet or quilt to the pillows and sheets, everything should get cleaned. Use the chart below to see how often we recommend washing different parts of your bed. 

How Often to Wash Parts of Your Bed
Mattress Every 6 months
Duvet Every 3-6 months
Quilt Every 3-6 months
Sheets Every week
Pillows Every 6 months (Memory foam: every 2–3 months) 
Pillowcases Every week

FAQs

How do you deodorize your mattress quickly?

Baking soda is a good option to deodorize your mattress quickly. Sprinkle baking soda on the mattress, let it sit for 30 minutes to two hours, and then vacuum it up.

How do you get a smell out of a mattress?

Sprinkling baking soda on top of the mattress will neutralize odors. Once you vacuum up the baking soda, let the mattress air out. You can also add a few drops of essential oils to make your mattress smell good. 

Why does my mattress smell bad?

A mattress can start to smell due to a buildup of sweat, body oils, and allergens. Mold growing in your mattress can also be the culprit. Additionally, smells can come from pet dander or spilled food or drinks. 

How do you get the smell out of a new mattress?

Open the windows, turn on a fan, and let the mattress air out for at least a day. If the new mattress smell persists, try sprinkling baking soda on top and then vacuuming it up after two hours. 

Can you get mold or mildew out of a mattress?

Unfortunately not. If your mattress has a persistent bad smell after washing and deodorizing it, there’s a chance that mold and mildew are growing inside. There is no way to get mold or mildew out of the inside of a mattress, so it’s best to buy a new one. 

Now that you know how to deodorize a mattress and combat those pesky odors, you can take the next step to making your bed the best it can be. Our waterproof and breathable mattress protectors keep cleaning your mattress simple and convenient. If you sleep hot and are concerned about sweat smells, check out our cooling collection. The Casper Wave Snow mattress uses Snow Technology to keep you cool throughout the night.