How to speed up mattress off-gassing?

Buying a new mattress can be an exciting event, as we spend about a third of our life in bed, so it is not only a necessary contribution but also a way to make our life better. You need to consider some health issues before purchasing your new product, such as an off-gassing surface.

After opening a new memory foam, you might notice a strange chemical odor coming from it. It probably means that your bed is made with synthetic foams that contain petroleum-based chemicals and fire-retarding agents. The fumes of these can cause some allergic reactions to those with chemical-sensitivities.

Few mattresses are going to discharge these ill-stench odors, unfortunately. If you happen to own one that is doing the same, you should know that there are ways to get rid of them. Read on to find out more how to speed up off-gassing!

Table of contents

Why does your new bed smell weird?

This foul odor is the mixture of many chemicals known as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), and they have finally had a chance to ‘off-gas’ after getting expanded from being compressed in during shipping.

The scent is similar to the same smell people experience with new furniture, new cars, etc. It can occur in many things, and not just foam mattresses. The use of the packaging methods and the ensuing unboxing technique of new mattresses make off-gassing more notable.

What is off-gassing?

When VOCs break down and are liberated into the air as diffused gases or vapors from solid or liquid products, the thing that happens at that time is called off-gassing. VOCs can be found in thousands of modern, synthetic, and manufactured products – from household cleaners and wood glue to carpeting and furniture, toys, sports implements, and even in electronics.

If something is new, sometimes off-gassing is pretty easy to detect, and also it can be unnoticeable and odorless if it is released in minutes. It is very common for off-gassing to happen in foam mattresses because they often have three main ingredients that contain VOCs. And these specific chemical mixtures (VOCs) contain benzene, formaldehyde, methylene chloride, toluene, trichloroethane, naphthalene, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), and perfluorocarbons.

How to speed up the mattress off-gassing process?

After unboxing your bed first, there will be a noticeable potent chemical scent that can be overpowering and sickening. As the smell is unpleasant, and it can make you unenthusiastic about sleeping, so to prevent this you should do whatever you need to do to speed up the off-gassing process.

Remove plastic cover soon

Usually, every mattress tends to be covered with a thin plastic layer to prevent it from staining and damage during transportation. Keep in mind that this plastic has a notable distasteful odor, but it also keeps in the VOCs from the adhesives and foam, to prevent them from departing and causing them to flow back into the surface.

According to local safety laws, these covers are filled with chemical flame retardants that diminish the spread of fire. There is also a rumor that these chemicals can cause serious health issues including developmental brain disorders and cancer. You should remove the plastic to reduce the risk and let the gas disappear. Generally, it takes about 24 hours at least.

Let the air out

After removing the plastic wrap, the 2nd best thing would be letting the air out for a few days. You should do this for at least 10 hours per day until the odor is gone fully. Let it air out in a garage or basement if you don’t have an empty room, so it won’t be prone to moisture, as it can originate mold to grow in the mattress.

Further off-gassing

A lot of the VOCs are released in the first 24 hours. It is observable that in the first two months much of the lifespan VOCs will be discharged, so it is expected that the continuation of off-gassing will happen for the first two months.

You need to peel back the sheets from the mattress at least once in a weak and stand it up straight or make it lean against the wall. For the first two months, doing this once a week with the windows open, it will get rid of practically all the smell and extremely reduces the VOCs diffusions in your house.

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Did you know?

If your brand-new mattress happens to be a little uncomfortable, you shouldn’t rush to demand a refund. There are several ways to make an uncomfortable mattress comfortable, even if it is too soft or too firm.

Reduce the chemical smell

To cut down the smell which is going to increase through the place you live in, the ideal thing you should do is by locating the mattress on a wall near to a few windows. You will be able to create air circulation by opening them, which will drag out the VOCs and the combined smell.

It is not a sensible decision to use air freshener to hide the odor, as it also releases VOCs. Instead, you can light a few candles around the home to get rid of much of the scent without putting your house in danger.

Use a cover

Every parent and homeowner should use a mattress cover to prevent off-gassing. A wrap that is made with polyethylene sheeting or similar material can avert gases from spreading through it.

As we sleep directly on our beds with thin cotton sheets, it can cause a problem by allowing the VOCs to be inhaled easily. A non-permeable can avoid this, and they also act as dust mite barriers, spill protectors, and will trap bugs too.

Air filters

You should use air filters to brush your indoor air and remove VOCs. As regular fiberglass filters continuously cycle the air in your room by trapping only large particles, it can cause obstacles. Most VOCs are small gases that will ignore a course filter like that, which is an issue. Also, these filters are not as efficient as they should be at capturing the dust that these VOCs have. By upgrading to a few pleated filters this problem of yours can be solved.

If you get a HEPA filter, then it can definitely help you catch the VOCs of your new mattress, and you can always go back to your original air filters after the off-gassing is done.

The ‘White Sock’ treatment

It means jumping on your bed, which will help release the gasses quicker. Your children might bounce on the surface the first day of degassing and this is how you can break in your new mattress too, but you have to make sure that you and your children shouldn’t stay inside the room for more than a few minutes, as you will be inhaling those toxic gasses that you are trying to avoid. Before trying this method, you should also check the warranty of your product.

How long mattress off-gassing lasts?

After having the new product, it will be unrealistic for you to allow it to air out for weeks and more. Naturally, you will need the space in your house, and you would also want to enjoy the new bed you just paid for. According to most experts, you should air it out for 24 hours, this number is given by the Sleep Products Safety Council.

After this period, you will be able to smell the surface up close and compare it to how the smell appeared when it first arrived. If the smell isn’t disturbing you, then you can start sleeping on it right away, but if it does bother you then you need to continue to air it out for a longer time and rotate it periodically.

How long does memory foam smell last?

According to a 2014 survey, a private sleep research firm, also known as ‘Sleep like the dead’ reported that almost 2 percent of surveyed owners returned their mattresses due to the odor of memory foam.

It is declared that 6,934 memory foam beds owners announced that it took three to ten days for the smells to go away, while a little over half of the people stated that it took up to twenty for the stenches to dissolve. So those who are highly sensitive people to chemical allergies should wait longer than three days before sleeping on their mattress.

After unboxing this product, it takes two days before it goes back to its original shape and size. Some wonder if they should sleep on the bed on the very first day or not! There is no restriction, as soon as you receive it, you can sleep on it, jump on it, or whatever you want to do with it, it will only speed up the procedure of expanding your memory foam.

Do every foam mattress off-gas equally?

The answer is no, as there is a huge collection of foams that are being used in these products. Each behaves separately and have different discharge levels.

You should at least look for a CertiPUR-US certification before getting a product. GREENGUARD, GREENGUARD Gold, and Made Safe are better but rarer certifications. Another one is the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) for latex foams.

You can ask why CertiPUR-US is not at the same level as other certifications mentioned above? It is run by not-for-profit organization Alliance for Flexible Polyurethane Foam, which is funded by big chemical and foam companies. It doesn’t mean that their certification is not reliable- just that non-biased individuals are more credible and maintains more precise codes.


It’s not easy to tell these days which mattresses are going to contain harmful substances that may affect your health unless you read through countless reviews. If you have bought a product that smells a little, you can try some of our solutions to get the stench to go away. Still, if it doesn’t escape, then you can try to contain it with a mattress encasement. To sum up, here are the steps once again we mentioned above:

  • Remove plastic cover soon
  • Let the air out
  • Allow further off-gassing
  • Reduce the chemical smell
  • Use a cover
  • Air filters
  • The ‘White Sock’ treatment

We hope this article has helped you by pointing you to the directions of proper instructions about how you can speed up the off-gassing process of your mattress.


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