Memory Foam Mattress Mold - What to Do About It?

Memory foam mattresses are a very popular choice for a lot of people, and it’s no wonder why, honestly. Memory foam provides excellent support and comfort by contouring to the body’s shape, relieving pressure points, and resulting in better sleep quality.

This is why memory foam is a particularly appealing choice for those seeking relief from back and joint pain.

Additionally, memory foam mattresses are known for their motion isolation, making them an excellent choice for couples, as movements on one side of the bed are less likely to disturb the other sleeper. The material also tends to absorb sound, contributing to a quieter sleep environment.

Moreover, memory foam is hypoallergenic, resistant to dust mites, and often made with materials that are less likely to accumulate allergens.

Overall, the combination of comfort, sleep quality, and health benefits has led to an explosion in popularity for memory foam mattresses. But…

There is always a but, right?

The open-cell structure of memory foam allows it to take in and retain moisture, whether from sweat, spills, or other sources of humidity in the room.

This absorption capability is a double-edged sword—it can contribute to a more comfortable sleep experience by wicking away moisture from the body, but it also means that if not properly managed, the mattress can become a breeding ground for mold and mildew.

Mold growth on memory foam mattresses is not uncommon. For those experiencing mold growth for the first time, know that mold can quickly turn your sleep quality from great to horrible.

Mold eats everything it grows on, fueling it to grow even more and spread throughout the room, all the while releasing a musty, rotten odor in the process.

So, you’ve got memory foam mold? Wondering what you should do about it?

Today, we’ll cover all of that and more. Let’s go!

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mold on mattress

Causes of Mold in Memory Foam Mattresses

Okay, so why in the world is there mold on your memory foam mattress?

As we’ve briefly explained in the first paragraph, mold grows whenever there’s moisture accumulating in a particular area, usually a room like a bathroom or basement, but it’s also very possible in your bedroom.

However, in addition to moisture, there has to be organic material that mold can settle on and grow on. This organic matter will serve as fuel for the mold as its colonies eat it up to continue growing.

The more the mold eats, the more it grows. The more it grows, the more it eats. And the cycle continues.

But where does mold come from?

“Mold,” as we know it, is actually a group of colonies. Those colonies form when mold spores land on a particular surface in large quantities. 

Mold spores are everywhere, all the time. You’re breathing them in right now.

However, those quantities are small and unlikely to cause any damage to you or your house unless the conditions we’ve outlined above are present. 

Ventilation is also a big thing, as less air circulation means less flow of mold spores and moisture out of your room, allowing them to settle more easily.

Signs of Mold Growth to Look Out for

Be on the lookout if you’re not sure. Mold exposure can cause allergic reactions or respiratory issues. If you experience symptoms like sneezing, coughing, itchy skin, or watery eyes when near the mattress, you need to take this seriously.

For signs of mold presence, look for dark spots, discoloration, or unusual patches on and around the mattress. Check seams, edges, and corners, as these areas are more prone to mold.

Dab a small area with a white cloth. If you notice discoloration on the cloth, it’s a clear red flag that something is wrong.

And, of course, if you notice that musty smell (like rotten food), it’s a dead giveaway of mold on your memory foam mattress.

You might not have mold on your memory foam, but instead on the walls behind your bed. But if you notice that smell in addition to discoloration on the actual mattress, you can safely draw the conclusion that you indeed do have memory foam mattress mold.

How to Clean Memory Foam Mattress Mold

Just a heads up, in severe cases, you’ll likely need a new mattress. But it’s rare for mold to eat up most of your mattress before you notice it. If you’re reading this blog, it’s likely not too late.

So, here’s what you need to do to clean a moldy mattress. First, the prep up.

Materials Needed for Mattress Mold Cleanup

Have these with you:

  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Distilled water
  • Soft brush or sponge
  • Clean cloths
  • Vacuum cleaner with upholstery attachment
  • Fan or dehumidifier

Mattress Mold Cleanup Steps

Isolate the Mattress:

  • Remove your sheets, pillowcases, and mattress protectors. Take the mattress to a well-ventilated area. Ideally, in your garden if the weather is good. Sunlight is a natural disinfectant and helps to dry out the mattress once you’re done with the cleanup.

Vacuum the Surface:

  • Use a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment to carefully vacuum the entire surface of the mattress. This helps remove loose spores and debris. Vacuum the mattress, even if you don’t see a lot of mold on the surface.

Prepare Cleaning Solutions:

  • Mix equal parts of white vinegar and distilled water in a spray bottle. Alternatively, if you don’t use a spray, create a paste using baking soda and a small amount of water.

Spot Cleaning:

  • Spray the vinegar solution directly onto the moldy areas. If using the baking soda paste, apply it to the surface. Allow it about 15 minutes. Vinegar is great for killing mold, as it penetrates the surface it’s applied to. Baking soda also does the job well, but it also needs a few minutes. 

Scrub Gently:

  • Use a soft brush or sponge to gently scrub the moldy spots. Be careful not to oversaturate the mattress with moisture.

Rinse with Hydrogen Peroxide:

  • Mix hydrogen peroxide with an equal amount of water. Lightly spray this solution on the cleaned areas to disinfect and then allow it to dry.

Use a Fan or Dehumidifier:

  • If you’ve not placed your mattress outside on the sun, use a fan or dehumidifier to speed up the drying process. The mattress should also be in a well-ventilated room. It’s crucial for it to be completely dry before you start using it again.

Repeat the Steps:

  • If these cleanup methods haven’t done the job completely, just repeat the steps. Sometimes it takes a couple of jabs for the opponent to be knocked out. 

And there you go! Consider using a mattress encasement or protector to prevent future mold growth. Choose one that is breathable and waterproof.

Speaking of mold prevention, here are some more tips to prevent this mess from occurring again.

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How to Prevent Mold from Growing on the Mattress Again

Great work! By now you should not only know why the mold has grown on your mattress but also how to get rid of it. Ideally, you’ve been implementing the tips as you’ve read the article.

Nevertheless, this post wouldn’t be complete if we hadn’t gone over the mold prevention strategies – how to never have mold grow on your memory foam mattress again.

First and foremost, if you live in a sunny, warm place near the beach, like in Florida or California, you’re never safe from mold. These places have ideal weather conditions for mold growth. 

But that doesn’t mean that you can be lazy. Actively working on making your home the least mold-prone as possible will be worth it for both your health and your wallet.

Think of it this way – how much does a new mattress cost? $1,000? $2,000? $5,000?

Unless you don’t care about a thousand bucks, you should dedicate at least 15 minutes to implementing some of these mold prevention tips:

Use a Mattress Protector:

  • As we’ve said before, invest in a breathable and waterproof mattress protector. This barrier helps protect the mattress from spills, sweat, and other sources of moisture.

Maintain Proper Ventilation:

  • Ensure good airflow in your bedroom. Use fans, open windows, or consider using an air purifier to circulate air and reduce humidity. However, we do not recommend placing your mattress directly next to the window. Windows condensate easily, and moisture can then quickly reach your mattress.

Control Humidity:

  • Use a dehumidifier in the bedroom if you need to. Keep humidity levels below 50%.

Rotate and Flip Your Mattress:

  • Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for rotating and flipping your memory foam mattress. This helps distribute wear and tear evenly and prevents moisture buildup in one area.

Regular Cleaning:

  • Implement a regular cleaning routine for your mattress. Vacuum it periodically to remove dust and debris, and spot clean any spills using a mild detergent and water solution. After that kind of cleanup, place your mattress outside in the sunlight.

Choose Breathable Bedding:

  • Opt for breathable bedding materials, such as cotton or moisture-wicking fabrics. These materials allow better air circulation and are less moisture-prone.

Temperature Control:

  • Temperature extremes can contribute to moisture-related issues. Your room shouldn’t be hot, but it also shouldn’t be freezing cold. The temperature should be mild, in the middle.

Regularly Inspect Your Bedroom:

  • Check for any signs of water leaks or seepage in your bedroom. Address any plumbing issues IMMEDIATELY to prevent water damage. These types of problems can lead to a lot more headaches than just a moldy mattress (flooded room, damp and ruined carpets, wall cracks, and more).

Avoid Eating in Bed:

  • Eating in bed can lead to spills and crumbs. Do not do that. You’re not a teenager anymore.

Proper Storage When You’re Not There:

  • Store the mattress in a dry and cool place if not in use. Avoid placing it directly on the floor; use a bed frame or foundation instead.

I’m a Tenant, What Should I Do About Memory Foam Mold?

Okay, so you’re not the actual owner of the moldy mattress?

As a tenant, know that there are certain responsibilities both you and your landlord have when it comes to mold and water damage.

You need to quickly report any bigger problems, while a landlord needs to address them ASAP. Depending on the state you live in, there are laws to protect you. 

Most states require their landlords to repair health-threatening damage right away so that the well-being of their tenants is ensured.

But if the issue you’re dealing with is not a big deal or it was caused directly by your negligence, you should just clean it up yourself to avoid unnecessarily disrupting your landlord’s day and schedule.

Who will pay for the new mattress, if needed?

Great question! This all depends on what caused the mold.

If the mold was caused by your negligence and nothing else, you may be held responsible for your irresponsibility. 

However, if there was an accidental water leak from a pipe behind a wall, and the room had water damage you didn’t cause, which then led to mold, you likely won’t have to worry.

In that case, either the landlord or their insurance would cover the costs of the new mattress and other repairs. 

When to Call in a Professional

Here’s a rule of thumb:

    • If it’s just the mattress that’s moldy, you likely don’t need professional assistance. You may be lazy; we get it, there’s a ton of better things to do. But you need to clean that mess up yourself.
    • If the problem is bigger than just a moldy memory foam mattress (like, for instance, mold that’s also on your walls and other furniture, or there’s a water leak that damaged other items), you should call in a professional restoration company.

How to Dispose of Moldy Memory Foam Mattress

It’s simple. Reach out to your local recycling centers or waste management facilities. Ask if they accept memory foam mattresses for recycling.

Some facilities have programs dedicated to recycling different mattress components, so it’s worth a shot.

This is a good, eco-friendly wrap up of your moldy situation.


So, that’s it! Hopefully, you’ve managed to save some money and clean up the mold yourself. Of course, if you need further assistance, you can always use our website to find a mold removal professional near you. Good luck!

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