Maria asked: Is my mattress sanitary after water damage? The roof leaked in my rental apartment, and dirty water spilled onto a corner of the mattress and box springs. I washed it with water and detergent within a couple of hours, but I don’t know if it soaked through. The stain was only in the corner of the mattress, but along the width of the box springs. It appears to have removed the surface stain at least. How would I know if it is sanitary to keep the mattress?
When water damage hits furniture, it can be difficult to remove all of the liquid to avoid the growth of mold and mildew, which is the number one concern. If you cleaned the mattress with detergent, you will want to follow it up with a disinfectant. A spray such as Lysol can be used on both the mattress and box spring. Allow both pieces to air dry completely. Keeping fans moving in the area will help. Once dry, if there are no further stains or signs of damage, the piece is safe to use.
If over time, you begin to see growth in the area, it is likely that there was moisture left behind. This is a larger concern in the mattress as the box springs are typically hollow and are able to dry much faster. Mold and mildew will start out as a white fuzz, and then grow into green and black splotches. If there is mold growing in the interior, it will reach the surface over time. If you notice mold growing on the surface, it is difficult to remove and the mattress should be replaced.
If you are unsure about cleaning the mattress yourself, contact an upholstery cleaner in your area to do the job for you. They have machines that are able to introduce cleaning products deep into the padding and pull it back out with strong vacuums. They can also apply disinfectant sprays. Some may even offer to give you a consultation with regards to the status of your mattress.