Leanna asked: Please help. My mattress has a lingering smell on it that I cannot get rid of. The odor smells like something decomposing. A few weeks ago, we found a dead rat in my dresser. We got it out and cleaned and sterilized the dresser, but I have been noticing a faint smell in my room. I noticed it coming from my bed. It smells like something dead. I am still paying on this mattress and cannot afford another one. What can I do?
No one wants to end a long day on a stinky mattress, but by design, a mattress can be extremely hard to deodorize. Further complicating matters is the fact that they tend to be expensive, and toss-and-replace is seldom a reasonable solution for stubborn odors. If you’ve got an unpleasant smell residing in your mattress and the usual methods for eradicating that scent aren’t doing the trick, give some of these ideas a try.
You Will Need:
- Baking soda
- Kids ‘N Pets Stain and Odor Remover
- Spray bottle
Steps to Remove the Smell:
- Begin with a careful examination of your mattress. Remove the bedding and look closely over the entire surface, paying particular attention to the seams and side(s) that may have been against the wall. A really bad decomposition smell is unlikely to linger once the body has been carted off, so look for holes (and they might be very small) where critters could have climbed in. Use your nose as you search, and don’t forget to flip the mattress and check adjacent areas like the box springs and in any nearby containers. Just flipping the mattress may help with the smell. Remove all evidence of nests or other remnant pest invasions. An ultraviolet black light, if available can be used to find urine and other bodily fluids left by your unwelcome guests.
- Once you’re sure there are no deceased rodents in the vicinity, cover the bare mattress with a general dose of baking soda. Place your fitted sheet over the baking soda and leave for as long as possible. Depending on your sheets, you may be able to sleep on them with the baking soda there for a night or two.
- Remove the sheet and vacuum the baking soda.
- If the odor HAS improved, repeat steps 2-3 as often as needed. If there wasn’t a noticeable improvement, move on to step 5.
- Get an enzyme cleaner. These can usually be found on the pet a major supermerket or at a pet store. Choose one that is specifically intended for odor removal. Kids ‘N’ Pets works exceptionally well. Nature’s Miracle is also a good choice.
- If the cleaner is not already in a spray bottle, pour it into a clean spray bottle.
- Spray the cleaner over the entire exposed surface of the mattress, following the directions for application on the label. Don’t forget about the edges of the mattress.
- Allow the cleaner to air dry. To use the mattress before it has finished drying, make the bed at night and remove bedding in the morning. An extra blanket under the bottom sheet will keep the moisture from seeping through or some cut open trash bags can work too.
- If you still notice an odor, drag the mattress outside and lean it against a wall with direct sun exposure. Flip to expose the second side after several hours. Do not do this if there are undesirable odors outside, you’ll be able to smell them on your mattress when you bring it back indoors.
Additional Tips and Advice
- Before using any cleaners or deodorizers on the mattress, be sure to spot test in a hidden area.
- Another option is white vinegar, which is an excellent natural deodorizer. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle and generously spray the mattress. The vinegar smell will dissipate once it has dried.
- Avoid using bleach or other strong chemicals on your mattress, especially at high concentrations. If you get the mattress wet enough to penetrate the padding, there’s probably enough there to weaken or damage the fibers. Additionally, the chemical odor in the mattress could irritate those with respiratory problems.
- Do NOT mix chemicals or cleaners in your attempt to deodorize your mattress.
- If all else fails, and you can’t replace the mattress, consider a waterproof mattress pad. The plastic or vinyl barrier will help keep the smell down, while the padding helps to hide the feeling of sleeping on plastic.