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Can Your Mattress Make You Sick? Understanding the Health Impact

From the Puffy Editorial Team | 5 min read.
Can Your Mattress Make You Sick? Understanding the Health Impact

A good night’s sleep is crucial for health, but what if the very place you rest could be making you sick? From new mattress off-gassing to allergens in old mattresses, understanding the potential health risks associated with mattresses is essential for ensuring a safe sleep environment.

Can a New Mattress Make You Sick?

The prospect of a new mattress can be exciting, but it’s important to be aware of potential health concerns:

  1. Chemical Off-Gassing:

    • Many new mattresses, especially those made with synthetic materials like memory foam, can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) when first unpacked.
    • These VOCs can cause symptoms like headaches, nausea, and respiratory irritation in some individuals, particularly those with chemical sensitivities or allergies.
  2. Choosing Safer Materials:

    • Opt for mattresses with certifications like CertiPUR-US, which ensure low VOC emissions.
    • Consider natural or organic mattresses as they tend to have fewer chemicals.
  3. Ventilation:

    • Allow the new mattress to air out in a well-ventilated room for several days before using it to let the majority of VOCs dissipate.

For those looking for a healthy sleep solution, Puffy mattresses offer a comfortable, hypoallergenic option, ensuring a good night’s rest without compromising health.

Can an Old Mattress Make You Sick?

An old mattress can indeed become a health hazard over time:

  1. Accumulation of Allergens:

    • Dust mites, pet dander, and other allergens can accumulate in an old mattress, potentially exacerbating allergies and asthma symptoms.
    • Regular cleaning and using hypoallergenic mattress covers can mitigate this issue.
  2. Support and Hygiene Issues:

    • Over time, mattresses lose their support, which can lead to back pain and poor sleep quality.
    • An old mattress may also harbor bacteria and fungi, posing further health risks.

Can a Moldy Mattress Make You Sick?

Mold growth in mattresses is a serious concern:

  1. Health Risks from Mold:

    • Exposure to mold can cause respiratory problems, allergic reactions, and in severe cases, may lead to neurological issues and other serious health problems.
    • Individuals with existing respiratory conditions or compromised immune systems are particularly at risk.
  2. Preventing Mold Growth:

    • Keep the sleeping area well-ventilated and maintain a moderate room temperature to reduce humidity levels.
    • Use a dehumidifier in damp environments.
    • Clean spills and moisture immediately and thoroughly dry the area.

Interested in how Puffy stacks up against other brands? Check out our mattress comparisons: Puffy vs Purple, Puffy vs Nectar, Puffy vs Casper, Puffy vs Leesa, Puffy vs Saatva, Puffy vs DreamCloud, and Puffy vs Tuft and Needle.

How to Get Sick Out of a Mattress

Dealing with a mattress that has been soiled due to illness requires careful cleaning to restore its hygiene and comfort. Here’s an extended guide on how to effectively clean a mattress:

  1. Immediate Action:

    • If the mattress has been soiled, act quickly to prevent the stain and odor from setting in. Remove all bedding and wash them in hot water.
  2. Blotting Up Fluids:

    • Use an absorbent towel to blot up any liquids. Avoid rubbing, as this can push the fluids deeper into the mattress.
  3. Cleaning Solution:

    • Prepare a mild cleaning solution with water and gentle detergent. For biological stains, an enzyme-based cleaner can be more effective in breaking down proteins and eliminating odors.
  4. Application of the Solution:

    • Apply the solution sparingly to the affected area using a spray bottle or a damp cloth. Avoid saturating the mattress.
  5. Gentle Scrubbing:

    • Gently scrub the area with a soft brush or cloth to work in the cleaning solution.
  6. Rinsing:

    • Use a clean damp cloth to remove any soap residue. Excess detergent can attract more dirt over time.
  7. Drying the Mattress:

    • Allow the mattress to air dry completely. Use fans or a dehumidifier to speed up the drying process. Ensure the mattress is fully dry before remaking the bed.

How to Get Sick Smell Out of Mattress

Removing odors from a mattress, especially after illness, involves a few crucial steps:

  1. Baking Soda:

    • Liberally sprinkle baking soda over the entire surface of the mattress. Baking soda is excellent for absorbing odors and drawing out moisture.
    • Let the baking soda sit for several hours, or even overnight, for maximum effectiveness.
  2. Vacuuming:

    • After the baking soda has had time to work, thoroughly vacuum the mattress to remove the powder along with any absorbed odors.
  3. Sunlight and Fresh Air:

    • If possible, let the mattress sit in sunlight and fresh air for a few hours. Sunlight has natural sanitizing properties, and fresh air can help remove lingering odors.
  4. Essential Oils:

    • For a fresh scent, consider lightly spritzing the mattress with a mixture of water and a few drops of essential oil like lavender or eucalyptus.
  5. Repeat if Necessary:

    • For persistent odors, repeat the baking soda treatment. In severe cases, a second cleaning might be necessary.

Check out Puffy mattress reviews from real customers and see how we compare with other brands.

Maintaining a Healthy Mattress

To ensure your mattress remains a healthy environment:

  • Regular Cleaning: Vacuum your mattress regularly and spot clean as needed.
  • Use Protective Covers: Mattress protectors can shield against dust mites, allergens, and spills.
  • Regular Inspection: Check for signs of wear, mold, or mildew, especially if you have an older mattress.

When to Replace Your Mattress

  • Lifespan Considerations: Most mattresses have a lifespan of 7-10 years. Consider replacing your mattress if it shows signs of wear or if you’re experiencing increased allergies or discomfort.

In the market for a new mattress? Puffy mattresses are designed for durability and comfort, ensuring a healthy sleep environment for years to come.

Use our store locator to find the closest furniture or mattress store near you and feel the cloudlike comfort of our Puffy Mattress in person.


Your mattress can impact your health in various ways, from new mattress off-gassing to allergens in older mattresses. By understanding these factors and taking proactive steps to maintain a clean and healthy mattress, you can ensure that your sleep environment supports your well-being.

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