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Latex Mattress Smell – Does It Ever Go Away? | (Reducing Odours)

by | Jun 23, 2021

New Latex Mattress Smell

If you’ve just bought a latex mattress, then it is likely that there might be a slight smell when you first receive your mattress. It’s important to note that this smell will dissipate over time as your mattress gets used, but if you’re about to move into a new place or are sensitive to smells, it might be best just get rid of the odour from the start! Luckily for you, there are a few easy ways to get rid of this new mattress smell!

As a general rule, latex mattresses typically have a mild smell of natural latex is usually likened to vanilla. Latex mattresses do not have the same chemical smell as poly-foam and memory foams.

 

How Long Does It Take for the Odour To Go Away?

As a general rule, it can take 1 to 2 months for the new smell of natural latex mattresses to go away. This is because they are made with natural ingredients that take time to neutralize any odours from manufacturing and shipping. This process can be sped up by allowing the mattress to breathe.

 

What Causes A Natural Latex Mattress to Smell?

Latex mattresses are plant-based and are made using the sap of a tree. Like many natural products, they have a slight aroma which is pleasant to some and not so much for others. The smell of natural latex is often described as vanilla, this makes sense as many tree’s and plants have this smell.

Part of the smell of a latex mattress comes from how it is produced. First, natural latex sap is whipped up into a froth and poured into a mattress mould. The froth is baked in an over, turning it into latex foam. This process involves vulcanization, which cooks some of the proteins in the sap and produces a mild smell. 

This process is also said to denature the proteins. This is often the reason why there has never been a reported case of a natural latex mattress causing an allergic reaction. 

The smell produced by vulcanization goes away with time.

 

Why New Latex Mattresses Smell Strong

One reason why a new natural latex mattress smells at first is due to how they are packaged and delivered. 

Soon after the mattress is made, it is wrapped up and prepared for shipping. It’s simply not feasible for most manufacturers to allow the new mattress to air out for over a couple of weeks. This means that the natural reduction in smells that typically happen why you allow a mattress to breathe is delayed. 

This can give the perception that natural latex mattresses have a strong smell since its first opened when it smells most strongly.

However, once your mattress is unpacked, you can simply allow it the time to breathe, which will naturally and safely reduce the smell of the bed.

 

Reducing the Smell of a Natural Latex Mattress

There are a number of ways to reduce the smell of your natural latex mattress. However, reducing the odours from latex foam needs to be done carefully to ensure you do not damage your mattress.

Allow the Mattress To Breathe

The safest way to reduce the aroma of a natural latex mattress is to simply allow it the time to breathe. The natural process of airing out a new mattress will naturally and safely reduce any smell associated with your bed, without the use of harmful chemicals or artificial fragrances.

You can speed up the time a mattress takes to air out by unzipping the mattress cover and opening the windows when you are not during the day when you are not using the bed. 

However, make sure that no sunlight reaches the exposed latex foam. While natural latex is highly durable and frequently last over fifteen years with proper care, prolonged exposure to sunlight will deteriorate the mattress.

Use a Mattress Protector or an Extra Sheet

While your mattress should be allowed to air out during the day, to reduce the smell at night, just add an extra sheet on top of your existing one. The extra sheet will help reduce the smell.

 

Things To Avoid When Reducing New Mattress Smell

The smell of new mattresses can be a problem for many people. There are several ways to reduce this issue, but it’s important not to do anything that will make the situation worse. Here are the things you should avoid when trying to eliminate the odour from your latex mattress and pillows.

Essential oils

Volatile oils like the ones found in essential oils can damage your new natural latex mattress. However, you can use a diffuser in a room with a natural latex mattress to mask any smells. Just make sure that the mattress is covered with a sheet first.

Vinegar

While many at-home cleaning guides recommend vinegar for reducing smells, you should avoid spraying or applying vinegar to natural latex foam. Not only with this probably not reduce the smell of the mattress, as it is acidic, vinegar also has the potential to damage the foam.

Baking soda 

There are many resources online that recommend sprinkling baking soda on latex foam to reduce its smell. We strongly recommend against this. 

Not only will this reduces the smells directly on the surface of the foam, but baking soda is also nearly impossible to remove from natural latex foam because it is open-celled. 

While the open cell structure allows the mattress to breathe, it can also trap the particles of baking soda. 

Furthermore, as a general rule, it’s dangerous to breathe in airborne dust particles which will then slowly escape from the foam over time.

Pets

Sadly, if you are sensitive to smells, pets and mattresses are not a good mix. The lint from your pets can stick to the latex mattress, causing it to get dirty more quickly. 

Pets should be kept off of natural latex mattresses at all times during their useful life.

 

Do Only Synthetic Latex Mattresses Smell?

Many online sources online claim that the smell of natural latex foam is only present in synthetic foams. 

However, this is not the case. As we have discussed earlier, for natural latex foam to be produced the whipped sap must be vulcanized. This cooks the proteins in the sap and does produce a slight but not unpleasant smell.

That being said, a mattress made from a synthetic latex mattress will smell both stronger and worse than a natural latex mattress. 

This is because the synthetic materials used to make this type of latex foam produce volatile organic compounds, which off-gas from the mattress, giving it a distinct chemical smell.

VOC’s not only smell bad, but they also can produce health risks. The U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found that VOC’s are associated with respiratory problems.

 

Is the Smell of Latex Harmful?

The temporary smell given of natural latex mattresses contains no VOC’s and therefore is not harmful. Natural latex foam is made entirely from non-toxic tree sap. You can rest assured knowing that the odours are non-toxic and not attributed to volatile organic compound off-gassing people report with polyurethane foams and glues. You don’t have to worry about any toxic fumes or smells in your home it’s completely safe for your whole family!

 

The Smell of Natural Latex Goes Away Over Time.

It’s a common misconception that latex has an unpleasant, lingering smell. The truth is the temporary odour given off by natural latex foam contains no VOCs and therefore is not harmful to your health or our environment. As soon as you unzip your new mattress from its packaging, the odour should dissipate in about 30 days. 

It might take a couple of months for some people, but this simply means their noses are more sensitive than others. This can be solved by just applying an extra sheet or a mattress protector.

 

About Dr Lawrence Woods

My goal is to create the highest quality ergonomic office chairs and accessories for unmatched comfort.

With 30 years of spinal healthcare experience in Ireland as a chiropractor, I learned the value of high quality sleep for living a happy and healthy life.

I have a Chiropractic Degree from Life Chiropractic College West and am NBCE Physiotherapy certified.