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Mildew on Mattress: Effective Solutions for a Fresh Sleep Environment

From the Puffy Editorial Team | 6 min read.
Mildew on Mattress: Effective Solutions for a Fresh Sleep Environment

Mildew on a mattress is more than an inconvenience; it’s a disturbance to the sanctuary of sleep. The presence of mildew indicates moisture issues that can compromise both the comfort and cleanliness of your mattress.

In this extensive guide, we’ll navigate through the causes, identification, and eradication of mildew, and we’ll explore how mattresses like Puffy can resist mildew, enhancing the longevity of your investment.

Mattress Mildew: Uncovering the Fundamentals

Mildew, a type of fungus similar to mold, often appears on mattresses due to excess moisture and poor ventilation, leading to staining and a musty odor.

Characteristics of Mildew in Mattresses:

  • Appearance: Usually appears as a patchy white or grayish area on the fabric.
  • Odor: A distinctive musty, damp smell that’s hard to miss.

How to Get Mildew Out of a Mattress

Removing mildew from your mattress can be a daunting task, but with patience and the correct techniques, it can often be done effectively, saving you the expense and hassle of purchasing a new mattress.

Comprehensive Steps to Remove Mildew:

  1. Safety First: Before handling the affected mattress, protect yourself with gloves and a mask to prevent inhaling mildew spores.
  2. Isolation: Move the mattress to a well-ventilated area or outdoors if possible, away from other furniture to prevent cross-contamination.
  3. Surface Cleaning: Begin by vacuuming the mattress thoroughly using a HEPA-filter vacuum cleaner to remove loose mildew spores.
  4. Spot Treatment: Mix a solution of either rubbing alcohol and water or white vinegar and water in equal parts. Both solutions are effective at killing mildew without overly saturating the mattress.
  5. Application: Apply the mixture to a clean cloth or sponge and gently dab it onto the affected areas. Avoid rubbing or soaking the mattress.
  6. Gentle Scrubbing: For persistent mildew, lightly scrub the area with a soft-bristled brush in circular motions to loosen the mildew from the mattress fibers.
  7. Rinse: Wipe the area with a clean, damp cloth to pick up any remaining mildew and cleaning solution.
  8. Air Dry: Allow the mattress to air dry completely. Sunshine will help to kill any remaining mildew spores and deodorize the mattress. If you can’t take the mattress outside, use a fan or dehumidifier to aid in drying.
  9. Deodorize: After the mattress is dry, sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda over the surface, let it sit for several hours, and then vacuum it off. This will help absorb any lingering odors.
  10. Preventive Spray: As an optional step, lightly mist the mattress with a mixture of essential oils like tea tree or eucalyptus and water, known for their natural antifungal properties.


  • Maintenance: Keep the mattress dry and well-ventilated. Regularly inspect for any signs of returning mildew.
  • Protector Use: Once completely dry, encase your mattress in a mildew-resistant cover to prevent future issues.

New Memory Foam Mattress Smells Like Mildew

Sometimes, a new memory foam mattress may emit an odor that can be mistaken for mildew, commonly known as off-gassing.

Addressing New Mattress Odors:

  • Air Out: Allow the mattress to breathe in a well-ventilated room for a few days.
  • Baking Soda: Sprinkle baking soda over the mattress surface to absorb odors, vacuum after a few hours.
  • Protective Covers: Use a hypoallergenic mattress protector to safeguard against actual mildew.

If the mildew smell persists, consider a Puffy Lux Mattress, designed to minimize off-gassing and resist moisture build-up.

Mildew Prevention: Keeping Your Mattress Pristine

Preventing mildew is about controlling moisture and ensuring proper airflow around your mattress.

Preventative Measures:

  • Use a Dehumidifier: Regulate the humidity levels in your bedroom.
  • Bed Base: Elevate the mattress to promote air circulation underneath.
  • Protective Covers: Invest in a mattress cover that offers moisture protection.

Identifying Mildew vs. Mold on Mattresses

While both are fungi, mildew and mold have some distinctions, particularly in how they affect mattresses.

Differences Between Mildew and Mold:

  • Color: Mildew tends to be lighter in color, while mold appears darker.
  • Texture: Mildew is usually fluffy or powdery, while mold can be fuzzy or slimy.

The Health Implications of Sleeping on a Mildew-Infected Mattress

Consistent exposure to mildew can lead to health issues, especially for those with allergies or respiratory conditions.

Health Concerns from Mildew Exposure:

  • Allergic Reactions: Mildew can trigger sneezing, coughing, and watery eyes.
  • Respiratory Problems: It can exacerbate asthma symptoms or cause difficulty breathing.

Signs Your Mattress May Have Mildew

Recognizing the signs of mildew early can prevent it from becoming a larger issue.

Indications of Mildew Presence:

  • Persistent Odor: A continuous musty smell even after airing out the mattress.
  • Visible Stains: White or grayish spots that do not improve with regular cleaning.

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, and Puffy vs DreamCloud.

Cleaning Agents: What Works Best Against Mattress Mildew

Choosing the right cleaning agent is crucial for effectively removing mildew without damaging the mattress.

Effective Cleaning Agents:

  • Rubbing Alcohol: Kills fungi and dries quickly.
  • White Vinegar: A natural alternative that breaks down mildew.

When to Replace vs. Clean a Mildew-Affected Mattress

Sometimes, cleaning may not be enough, and replacing the mattress is the more hygienic option.

Replacement Indicators:

  • Deep Infestation: Mildew that has penetrated deep into the mattress is often irreparable.
  • Structural Damage: If the integrity of the mattress is compromised, it’s time for a new one.

For those in need of a replacement, Puffy mattresses come with climate-adaptive materials that reduce the risk of mildew and ensure a fresher sleeping surface.

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

DIY Mildew Solutions: Home Remedies for a Clean Mattress

For those who prefer natural solutions, several home remedies can be effective against mildew.

Home Remedies Include:

  • Tea Tree Oil: Known for its antifungal properties.
  • Grapefruit Seed Extract: Acts as a natural disinfectant.

Conclusion: Mastering Mildew Management for Mattress Maintenance

Mildew on a mattress shouldn’t spell the end of your comfortable sleep. By identifying the signs, applying the right cleaning techniques, and taking proactive measures for prevention, you can extend the life of your mattress and maintain a healthy sleep environment.

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.

Whether you’re cleaning a mildew-prone mattress or seeking to replace it with an option like a Puffy mattress, which boasts mildew-resistant features, this guide provides the know-how to achieve a mildew-free mattress. With the right care, your mattress can continue to be a haven of rest, free from the worries of mildew.

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