How Long Does the Smell Last on Memory Foam?
Thoroughly air out your memory-foam mattress before sleeping on it.
- 1 Do Mattresses Have Expiration Dates?
- 2 Memory Foam Facts
- 3 Take a Mold Smell Away From a Water Bed
- 4 Memory Foam Dangers
Most memory-foam mattresses include a mixture of chemicals that emit toxic odors when you first take them from their protective packaging. Unless the manufacturer opted to use plant-based oils or latex from naturally occurring rubber sources, many mattresses emit or off-gas moderate to strong odors. Most memory-foam mattresses take up to three days before the off-gassing dissipates. Highly sensitive people or those with chemical allergies should wait even longer than three days before sleeping on the bed.
Off-gassing Memory Foam
In a 2014 survey, Sleep Like the Dead, a private sleep research firm, reported that nearly 2 percent of surveyed owners returned their beds due to the smells of the memory foam. Close to a quarter of the 6,934 memory-foam mattress owners surveyed indicated that it took three to 10 days for the smells to disappear, while a little over half cited up to 20 days for the odors to dissipate. About an eighth of those surveyed indicated more than 20 days for the mattress to quit smelling.
How Long Should You Air Out An Off Gassing Mattress?
Getting a new mattress can be an exciting time, after all, you spend about a quarter of your life in bed, and therefore it’s not only an important investment, but it can drastically improve your quality of life. But things aren’t all rosy; there are some health issues that you need to consider when you receive your new purchase, especially when one of those is an off-gassing mattress.
Although there is a serious debate in the healthcare community about the health impacts of off-gassing, what’s not debated is the effect it can have on the environment and your air quality. Mattresses aren’t produced using only natural ingredients, and therefore the manufacturing process uses machinery, chemicals, and human-made products.
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What Is Mattress Off-Gassing?
Mattress off-gassing is the continualrelease of gases from your mattress, not only at night but also throughout the day. Off-gassing occurs as a result of the breakdown in the volatile organic compounds, known as VOCs, which are emitted as gases or vapors from some of the compounds in the product.
VOCs aren’t rare, in fact, they are found in thousands of the products which we use in homesevery dayincluding cleaning products, paints, and air fresheners. Typically, the VOCs which are released from your mattress will come from the adhesives and foams used in the product.
These VOCs Include:
- Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)
- Methylene Chloride
These volatile organic compounds break down over time, slowly releasing these gases into our homes. However, studies have shown that a huge percentage of all the gas that will be released is done so in the first two months of the product being used.
This statistic is important because while VOCs could be harmful. In small quantities, it’sunlikely to have any drastic impactwhile at higher concentrations it could be dangerous. In this first two months, the concentration of VOC emissions is likely to be far higher and therefore during this period you must make an effort to reduce the risk to yourself and your family.
Memory Foam Off-Gassing
Memory foam is so called because it adapts to the shape of your body. Once you stand up, you’ll see an imprint of your body before it quickly returns to the standard shape. Memory foam is viscoelastic foam which is what many popular brands use, including some of the Tempur-Pedic mattresses below.
Many believe that memory foam off-gassing is far more prevalent than other materials, because memory foam mattresses have a more pungent smell which tends to last for weeks instead of days.
For this reason, it’s even more important that you allow the product to air out before you start using it. If you can, leaving it upright near a window for two to three days can drastically reduce the smell and allows much of the VOCs to break down and the gases to be released. As usual, removing the sheets and allowing for regular off-gassing can reduce the smell quicker.
Mattress Off-Gassing How Long?
It’s unrealistic for us to allow it to air out for weeks on end. You need the space in your home, and you want to be able to use the new product that you just paid for. As a result, most experts recommend that you air it out for 24 hours, a number which is backed by the Sleep Products Safety Council.
Once this time has passed, you can smell the surface up close and compare it to how visceral the scent was when it first arrived. As long as the smell doesn’t bother you any longer, it’s okay for you to start sleeping on it. If the scent is too strong, you can continue to air it out for longer and rotate it periodically to ensure that the entire bed can air out.
How To Air Out A New Mattress
When you first unbox one, you’ll notice a potent chemical smell which can be overpowering and nauseating. While the jury is still out on whether it’s dangerous for your health in small amounts and for short periods, the smell is unpleasant, and it can make you reluctant to sleep. To prevent this, you need to do whatever you can to air it out. Here are some tips:
Remove Plastic Cover Immediately
All mattresses will come covered with a thin plastic layer which prevents staining and damage during transportation. However, not only does this plastic have a noticeably unpleasant smell, but it also keeps in the VOCs from the foam and adhesives, preventing them from escaping and causing them to seep back into the bed.
Typically to conform to local safety laws, they are doused with chemical flame retardants that help to reduce the spread of fire. However, some believe that these chemicals can cause a variety of severe health problems including developmental brain disorders and cancer. To reduce this risk, you must remove the plastic and let the gas escape, typically for about 24 hours at least.
Choosing Where To Air It Out
Some bloggers have suggested that airing out your mattress outdoors can speed up the process and allow for greater gas release. However, there seems to be little evidence of this, and it will drastically increase the risk of damage from critters and animals.
Outside it’s likely that bugs will end up on the surface, even if you’re airing it out on a balcony or outside of your condo. Instead, it’s wise to keep it inside at all times to prevent it from becoming tarnished.
The smartest way to air out your mattress is to lean it up against a wall near a range of windows so that only the smallest amount of the surface is touching the floor and wall. This position allows for greater ventilation and ensures that more of the gas is released. If you leave it lying down the gases from the bottom will be unable to escape.
Reducing The Chemical Smell
To reduce the smell which is going to spread through the home, you ideally want to locate the mattress on a wall near to a few windows. By opening these windows, you can create air circulation which will drag out the VOCs and the associated smell, while bringing in fresh air which will allow you to continue to enjoy your home.
It’s also possible to use air freshener to mask the smell but because these release VOCs too it’s not the wisest decision. Instead, lighting a few candles around the home can get rid of much of the scent without putting more dangerous gases into your house.
With an open window and a few candles around the home, not near the mattress, you should notice that the smell dissipates significantly in the first few hours. After 24 hours, almost all of the scent should disappear, allowing you to start using your new bed.
In the first 24 hours, a lot of the VOCs are released, but they will continue to be emitted for the lifetime of the bed. Noticeably, in the first two months much of the lifetime VOCs will be released, and therefore you would expect the continuation of off-gassing for the first two months.
At least once a week it’s wise to peel back the sheets from the mattress and stand it up straight or lean it against a wall while you’re out at work. This period will allow further off-gassing which is nearly impossible with your sheets on the bed. Doing this once a week for the first eight weeks, with the windows open, will get rid of practically all of the smell and can drastically reduce the VOCs emissions in your home.
Mattress Off-Gassing Symptoms
Although the science is debatable, and experts are still figuring out the truth, many believe that the chemicals and products used in mattresses can cause health problems. Some suggest that they could lead to:
- Sleep disturbance
- Neurodevelopment disorders
- Behavioral issues
- Fertility problems
- Skin, eye and lung irritation
- Cancer from chronic toxic exposure
In particular, the pesticides which are found in textiles can influence the nervous system, contribute to cancer and cause skin and eye irritation.
Similarly, the flame-retardant chemicals, phthalates, and benzene have been linked to other issues including cancer, chromosome damage, fertility problems, and behavioral issues.
Using A Mattress Cover To Prevent Off-Gassing
One method that some homeowners and parents swear by is the use of a mattress cover to prevent off-gassing. A mattress wrap made using a polyethylene sheeting, or similar material can prevent gases from permeating through it, forcing off-gassing through the bottom of the mattress which is less likely to be inhaled.
The main problem is that we sleep directly on our mattresses with only thin cotton sheets, allowing the VOCs to be inhaled easily. A non-permeable cover can prevent this while still allowing the surface to breathe through the bottom. These wraps or covers also act as spill protectors, dust mite barriers and will trap bedbugs too.
Tuft and Needle Off-Gassing
Tuft and Needle mattresses are made using polyurethane foam which is incredibly comfortable to sleep on but more importantly, can be manipulated to fit into a box to ship directly to your home. Polyurethane foam is a common emitter of VOCs and is therefore tightly regulated by CertiPUR-US which measures the amount of gas emitted over a 72 hour period.
The mattresses from Tuft and Needle easily passed their safety test which means it gives off no more than 0.16ppm of benzene over 72 hours and 0.13ppm for toluene. The Tuft and Needle is shipped directly from the factory to your home in a box, and therefore it needs to be allowed to air out.
As with other brands, you’re required to remove it from the box and take off any plastic packaging before you let it expand. Once it is fully extended, you can lean it up against a wall with open windows to ensure circulation and leave it there for 24 hours to reduce the unpleasant smell and to allow the VOCs to be emitted. (Read the full Tuft and Needle Review).
According to some experts, Leesa is one of the most superior online mattress companies which also delivers in a box. With layers of supportive foam, it can help to give you a better night sleep and prevent aches and pains.
As with the Tuft and Needle mattresses, polyurethane foam is used because it’s incredibly effective, cheap and durable. However, it produces lots of VOCs and therefore airing out the bed to allow for off-gassing in the first few weeks is essential. While many would argue that the health impacts are negligible, the smell can be unpleasant and the effort required is minimal. (Read the full Leesa Mattress Review).
Tempur-Pedic is the manufacturer of possibly the most famous mattress of all time, which uses viscoelastic foam that allows for pressure reduction and adaptive temperature contouring. Traditional polyurethane foam which is used by Leesa and Tuft and Needle is excellent, but it compresses under your weight rather than contouring and adjusting.
These Tempur-Pedic mattresses can give you greater support where you need it with little to no counter pressure. However, many would argue that this type of viscoelastic foam, otherwise known as memory foam, has high levels of off-gassing.
To prevent against any increased risk, it’s wise to let your Tempur-Pedic air out for at least 24 hours. Also, ensure that you remove the sheets and stand it up to air out at least once per week for the first two months. After four weeks you will notice that practically all of the scent has disappeared.
Purple Mattress Off-Gassing
Purple is one of the fastest-growing companies of all time, originally started through a crowdfunding campaign. They use a variety of different materials in their mattresses, but for those worried about VOCs and off-gassing, it’s important to note that it uses polyurethane foam just like the Leesa.
Polyurethane foam off gasses quite heavily and because the Purple is transported in a box and plastic wrap, it might need slightly longer to off-gas than a mattress shipped whole in a container without any compressed wrapping. For this reason, make sure to remove the plastic wrapping quickly, let it expand and then lean it up against a wall to off-gas for 24 hours before use. (Read the full Purple Mattress Review).
New Mattress Off-Gassing: How Long Will the Smell Last?
Are you growing tired of your old coil spring mattress? If you are thinking about making the switch to memory foam, you are not alone. A growing number of people are turning to online “bed-in-a-box” retailers that offer the chance to get a new mattress quickly and easily delivered right to your front door. All that you have to do is open the box, sit back and watch your mattress expand to full size. Before you do, learn more about the “new mattress smell” that you can expect when you lay out your new bed, and whether you should be concerned about its effects on your home’s indoor air quality.
What is causing my new mattress to smell?
Most new mattresses will have a certain chemical odor when they are first delivered. This is especially true for those that come in a box, rolled up and vacuum-sealed, because the lack of airflow through the package can cause the “new mattress smell” to become concentrated. When you open your mattress, you will probably notice an odor coming from the foam, caused by a process called off-gassing.
Off-gassing is that “new” smell that we associate with new cars, a fresh coat of paint and, yes, new mattresses. When your mattress comes in an airtight package, the volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) used in the manufacturing process remain trapped in the mattress with nowhere to go. After you open the box and lay out your mattress, the foam starts to expand and some components used to make the mattress will start to break down. These VOCs are then released as a gas, causing the distinct off-gassing smell.
What chemicals do mattress release during off-gassing?
The off-gassing smell usually comes mainly from the foam and adhesive elements of the mattress. The exact chemical makeup of the VOCs that off-gas from a mattress varies from mattress to mattress, but independent tests have shown that they can include benzene, toluene chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and formaldehyde.
On the websites of many leading mattress brands, such as Purple, Casper and Tuft & Needle, you can find information on the different VOC certifications and standards that they adhere to. Common certifications to look for are CertiPUR-US, GREENGUARD Gold and STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX.
Is off-gassing harmful to your health?
VOCs are emitted by a wide range of household products, including furniture, paint and cleaning supplies. Exposure to VOCs can cause nausea, headaches, dizziness, loss of coordination and eye, nose and throat irritation, though, in the case of mattress off-gassing, many consumers report that these symptoms go away once the mattress has been aired out. Some of the more severe health effects caused by VOC exposure can include damage to the kidneys, liver or central nervous system. Additionally, some VOCs that off-gas are suspected or known carcinogens, such as formaldehyde.
One thing to remember, however, is that you are exposed to relatively low levels of VOCs while your mattress is off-gassing, and studies have yet to show whether exposure to low levels of VOCs during mattress off-gassing will cause increased health effects over time. Even so, the cumulative off-gassing of items in your home can contribute to adverse health effects, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. Long-term exposure to VOCs in the air can increase cancer risks, as well as cause damage to the kidneys, liver and central nervous system. For this reason, both mattress manufacturers and indoor air quality experts recommend letting your mattress off-gas in a well-ventilated area, preferably one outside of your home.
How long will my mattress off-gas?
Some mattress manufacturers may take steps to make sure that some of the off-gassing processes happens before the mattress is packaged and shipped. However, it should be noted that even if the bulk of the off-gassing occurs outside of your home, your mattress will still off-gas in some capacity throughout the time that you have it in your home.
The amount of off-gassing that you can expect depends on the type of mattress that you buy, the density of the foam inside the mattress, the chemicals used in the manufacturing process and the way that your mattress is packaged. The strongest off-gassing smell will fade within a few days to a couple of weeks, according to most major mattress manufacturers, though you may notice a faint smell for longer.
How much do leading brand mattress off-gas?
Tuft & Needleoffers two different polyfoam mattress options: the Original and the Mint. Both hold CentriPUR-US, GreenGuard Gold and STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX certifications. Buyers of Tuft & Needle mattresses can expect mild off-gassing that dissipates within a few days.
Leesamattress is a CertiPUR-US certified multilayer foam mattress made from a combination of memory foam and polyurethane. After opening, buyers will notice a strong off-gassing smell that should fade within a few days.
Casperoffers three different mattresses: the Caper, the Wave and the Essential. All three are made with layers of memory foam and polyurethane, but the Wave also includes a layer of natural latex. All Casper mattresses are CentriPUR-US certified. You can expect some off-gassing from Casper mattresses, but the odor typically dissipates within 24 hours.
Purplemattresses consist of an elastic polymer grid layered over CertiPUR-US certified polyurethane foam. New Purple mattresses may have a very faint off-gassing smell that fades quickly. However, many consumers report no off-gassing smell at all.
Tempur-Pedicoffers a wide range of memory foam mattresses. The off-gassing odor strength varies among models, but consumers can expect it to dissipate within the first two weeks.
Tips for off-gassing a new mattress
Some manufacturers recommend airing out a new mattress for three to seven days in a garage or well-ventilated room before sleeping on it, while others claim that you can start using your mattress within the first few hours after opening it. Use your nose as your judge. Avoid sleeping on your new mattress while you can still smell a strong off-gassing odor. If the strong smell persists after a week or two, consider returning your mattress and searching for a more air-quality-friendly alternative.
How can I speed up the off-gassing process of my new mattress?
When searching for a new mattress, pay attention to the VOCs used in the manufacturing process. If you cannot easily find the chemical compounds present in the mattress, and you cannot get a straight answer from the manufacturer, consider exploring other brands. You have a right to know which potential chemical emissions you may be bringing into your bedroom.
Your mattress manufacturer will list recommendations for the off-gassing of your particular mattress, but listed below are some helpful tips to speed up the off-gassing process.
- Open your mattress outside of your house and let it off-gas for at least two days in a well-ventilated area with a cross breeze.
- If you cannot avoid off-gassing your mattress inside of your home, you should open your windows and increase air circulation where possible. Fans and air filtration systems can also help improve the ventilation in your house.
- If you have a spare room, try leaving your mattress in there to off-gas for the first few days before bringing it into your bedroom.
- Some manufacturers recommend pouring baking soda on the mattress while you air it out to speed up the off-gassing process.
- If you would like to use the new mattress but the off-gassing smell persists, you can add a mattress cover to help contain the chemical smell to the bed. When you remove the cover to wash it, you will likely smell the off-gassing odor again, though it should dissipate over time.
While the health effects of mattress off-gassing are still being studied, it is always a good idea to protect yourself from VOC exposure whenever possible. It may be hard to avoid off-gassing altogether when you buy a new mattress, but by following the simple steps above, you can enjoy a good night’s sleep knowing that you are actively protecting your indoor air quality.
Andrea de Michaelis – Creating my own reality, one thought at a time
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How to release the chemical smells from a new bed
I bought my new bed last week. I noticed a distinct chemical odor. I Googled to find out what it was and found that is normal for a new mattress and that it’s simply an out-gassing of the internal materials, which are largely composed of chemical foam. See below for how to remove it. All bedding is non-returnable for health reasons. State laws require a merchant to remove all the covering to the spring core and rebuild the mattress, even if its only been used one night. Any merchant that accepts returns eats the cost of that re-manufacturing process, which is considerable. Flame retardant is required by law.
Here’s How to Remove the New Mattress Smell by R.J. Bowman
When a mattress is manufactured, it is pumped with gas to help push all of the cushioning and foam into its proper places. The gas that helps create your comfortable night’s sleep also gives off that new mattress smell. Some people worry that the gases are toxic and could cause harm. Other people just do not like the smell a mattress has when purchased. No matter the reason, the solution is the same. Getting rid of the gas inside the mattress will eliminate the smell.
1. Remove the plastic wrapping from the mattress. A mattress is packaged in airtight plastic wrap immediately after it is manufactured to ensure that it is sterile, dry and clean for the consumer. This has pros and cons. On the upside you know that no one has had dirty, sweaty hands on the place you plan to sleep. Unfortunately it also means that the mattress gases are trapped inside the airtight wrapping, leaving the mattress with that toxic “new mattress” smell.
2. Find an empty room in your home for the off-gassing process, which will remove the smell. You want a room that has good air circulation, with a window that can be left open at least ten hours per day or a room with a window unit air conditioner. The room also has to be off limits for about a week, so it needs to be a space that you will not miss. If you do not have an empty room, a garage or dry basement will also work. Leave the garage door open just an inch or two to allow in fresh air.
3. Run any fans, air conditioners and dehumidifiers you own in the de-gassing area. All of these will help keep the air moving and suck the gas and odors out of the room as they release from the mattress.
4. Lean the mattress against the wall at an angle . Each day, rotate the mattress so the opposite side is on top, getting more fresh air. This will allow the entire mattress to lose the new mattress smell evenly.
5. Allow the kids to jump on the mattress, or if you do not have kids, jump on it yourself. Jumping on the mattress will release the gas even more quickly. You can jump on the mattress the first day of degassing and as often as you’d like during the process. Just do not stay in the de-gassing area more than a few minutes, because you will be breathing in the gases you are trying to avoid.
6. Continue the de-gassing process at least four days but as long as two weeks if you would like. You can judge for yourself if the smell is going away.
Good advice, and I’ll talk to you later. Right now, I have a bed to go jump on.
What That New Mattress Smell Means For Your Health
S hopping around for the perfect mattress can be an overwhelming process.There are so many factors to consider for comfort-compatibility alone, that it’s tempting to pull the covers over our eyes for other little details. But when creepy terms like “off-gassing” land on our radars, we can’t ignore our wellness-conscience’s urging to explore the chemical nitty gritty.
It might be obnoxious to have to think about all these areas of toxic concern, but this is definitely not an situation in which ignorance is bliss.; sleeping through eight hours of toxic exposure isn’t our idea of a good night’s rest. We recently dove deep on the topic of chemicals in the bedroom and came across the brand new Saatva mattress, Zenhaven.
Like almost everything that matters to us in the wellness world, we were impressed that this mattress lives up to it’s promise of a penthouse suite-quality of comfort, and is structurally sound enough to last much longer than traditional latex mattresses. Here are the pros at Zenhaven answering all our questions on the dangers of toxic materials found in our own beds…
The Chalkboard Mag: Let’s talk about that “new mattress smell.” In the past – just like with the “new car smell” – we’ve always thought of that scent as a good sign that something is new and clean. Talk to us about what we’re really smelling…
As with many new products, there’s a certain intangible, innocuous “new” smell that comes with them. However, the “new-mattress smell” warrants a closer sniff – especially as it relates to our health. What you’re smelling is off-gassing; the packaging materials and chemicals used are breaking down and dispersing into the air. This can last hours after the mattress is installed in its frame, and sometimes days.
Unlike the chemicals that create the “new car smell,” those used in mattresses, can be particularly harmful, and remain long after off-gassing is finished. While the chemicals may have broken down, the air circulation in our homes will continue carrying these toxins throughout our living space.
Cheaper beds that use 100% petroleum-based foams and that ship mattresses from overseas often require off-gassing. However, any all-natural product has no off-gassing. The Zenhaven is made of American Talalay latex harvested from pure havea sap from natural rubber trees and has no off-gassing. It arrives in the home ready to be placed in a bed frame and slept on that night.
TCM:Foam mattresses have been in style for years now. What chemical and health dangers have been associated with foam mattresses?
Foam mattresses have gained tremendous popularity, and for good reason – they are incredibly resistant to body impression, dustless, noiseless, durable and overall synonymous with comfortable, health-forward sleep. But synthetic foams are made with toxic chemicals, which also means they are particularly flammable. As a result, the toxic chemicals used to make the foam are then layered with even more toxic chemicals to make the foam fire-resistant. Side effects linked to sleeping on chemically-produced foam mattresses include: chest discomfort, headaches, coughing and nausea. So, yes polyurethane (foam) can be toxic if there are high levels of it used in a mattress.
Research by the CDC also shows that exposure to theisocyanate, a chemical used in the manufacturing of synthetic foams, like memory foam, can cause long-term headaches and respiratory irritations. The key is to find a mattress that has foams that aren’t processed with chemicals such as formaldehyde.
TCM :So, what’s to be done? Most of us don’t like the idea of removing the fire-safety benefits altogether.
Today, there are federal regulations in place by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) that require mattress companies to make sure their mattresses meet certain flammability standards. Unfortunately, these standards often lead mattress companies to use chemicals in order to withstand the required 30 minutes of exposure to an open flame.
Sometimes, though, products designed to protect us from one thing can cause harm elsewhere. Ultimately, the real safety concern is what’s happening on a daily basis; the daily breathing in of toxic air from an off-gassed mattress – rather than the unlikely event of a fire.
Eco-friendly and organic mattresses are anti-microbial, constructed with biodegradable materials and don’t have any harsh chemicals. Zenhaven actually uses a natural, organic wool flame retardant to protect it from fire.
TCM :Your brand is natural, but still high-tech. We love that. Talk to us about the innovations featured in the mattresses that promote overall sleep health.
Eco-friendly and organic mattresses made from natural and renewable resources, constructed with biodegradable materials and they don’t have any harsh chemicals. It has been proven in testing that antimicrobial organisms, such as bacteria and mildew, won’t grow on this natural material. These materials also make for a more comfortable, higher quality sleep, and increase the overall lifespan of the mattress. Our new Zenhaven latex mattress is manufactured to last 15-20 years!
The mattresses are made with the most buoyant and pressure relieving material available today, which gives sleepers a weightless feel and does not transfer motion; it is durable yet instantly conforms to the body for consistent support; it enhances natural air flow, resulting in a mattress that is cool and comfortable at all times. It has been designed with a proprietary “5-zone” design that gives customized support for heavier areas of the body like torso and shoulders.
It’s also the only mattress on the market that you can flip to find your comfort level; one side is firmer, the other more plush.
We know detoxing your life can be overwhelming, but shopping green for the bedroom is crucial! What do you think readers? Are you detoxing your bedrooms?
Tell us your thoughts and what you’re loving. at home..
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