Help my mattress smell less terrible.
November 18, 2008 10:52 AM   Subscribe

I bought a new mattress at ikea about 3 weeks ago… and it’s smelly.

It’s not like a garbage smell, it’s more like if a plastic bottle factory farted. It's actually getting kind of unbearable as my room is pretty small... I’ve been carpet bombing the thing with febreeze and letting it air out, but no luck. What should I do?
posted by pwally to Home & Garden (12 answers total)
I'm pretty sure IKEA wants you to air a new mattress out for two days or so before using, at least some mattresses. But even if you've used it from the start, you'd think the stink would have cleared up after three weeks.

When you say "letting it air out" what exactly do you mean? Standing it on its side in a relatively well ventilated space?
posted by bjrn at 11:11 AM on November 18, 2008

My own Ikea mattress also took a while to air out, kind of reminded me of mildew.

But -- it did eventually go away. I didn't do anything in particular to it, it just took its time. But yeah, I do remember it being about three weeks. I'd say give it another week -- but leave windows open in your room if you can, to let the smell dissipate from the room in general.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:18 AM on November 18, 2008

Best answer: Go to WalMart and get one of those alergy dust covers. It will seal things up nicely and a good idea regardless.
posted by trinity8-director at 11:19 AM on November 18, 2008

According to this page: "All pillows, cushions and mattresses smell to begin with, you just notice it more with pillows as they are closer to your nostrils. The smell is entirely normal. It is caused by the chemicals used to make the foam fire resistant, and will fade with time. It is a good idea to air the pillow for a few days before using it to remove the worst of the smell."

And apparently memory foam is especially prone to this (you don't mention what sort of mattress you have).

Anecdotally, I have noticed that all the new carpets, sofas, mattresses, and non-feather pillows I've bought have taken a while to de-gas. The carpet was the worst, and took the best part of a month.
posted by hot soup girl at 11:53 AM on November 18, 2008

Response by poster: Yah it's ikeas version of memory foam, so that makes sense. At least the smell is due to something that will help me from catching on fire :)
posted by pwally at 12:12 PM on November 18, 2008

Been there, it was an Ikea futon mattress in my case. Possibly worse since it ended-up putting me an an asthma inhaler for a while, even after I shoved it into a closet. After several weeks I sold it, and the problems went away. Another new futon from some unknown different company off-gassed for a couple of days then was fine. An Ikea fabric armchair also was ok after several days, but that was with windows open. Since after 3 weeks the smell is still bothering you, it may be time to cut your losses, get rid of it, and buy something else.
posted by hungrysquirrels at 12:26 PM on November 18, 2008

Our Ikea mattress has a memory foam core, and I aired it by stripping the sheets and duvet of every day and making sure wind blew across it from the windows. You can simulate this with a fan. I also mixed up a 50/50 white vinegar and water spray and would spray it two or three times a day. It took about ten days for the smell to go away.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:36 PM on November 18, 2008

off every day
posted by oneirodynia at 12:37 PM on November 18, 2008

Best answer: Go to WalMart and get one of those alergy dust covers. It will seal things up nicely and a good idea regardless.
Second this. My last mattress, an Ikea memory foam deal similar to yours, came with a fabric cover that did not lend itself to cleaning. I took it to a dry cleaner and they said all they could do was sponge-wash it. I then went for broke and laundered it in a big machine and naturally it never fit right again. Get some kind of water-impermeable cover.
posted by Brian James at 1:55 PM on November 18, 2008

Response by poster: Just ordered a sealed allergy dust cover, should take care of it.
posted by pwally at 2:19 PM on November 18, 2008

Also, consider what sort of platform you have the mattress on. I think they recommend using a slatted bed frame because it'll let air circulate on both sides of the mattress. If you have it resting on the floor or on solid planks, you might not be giving the mattress the air it needs after absorbing all of the sleeper(s)'s moisture in the night.
posted by msbrauer at 3:58 PM on November 18, 2008

Response by poster: Yah good thinking, it's a slatted platform ftw.
posted by pwally at 4:01 PM on November 18, 2008

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