It’s a fact of life: mattresses can get stinky. We spend about a third of each day laying on them, and without a plastic cover they have the potential to absorb all kinds of body fluids and bacteria. But what to do with a stinky mattress? Can putting a mattress in the sun naturally deodorize it?
- Better for you – no chemical laden cleaners needed
- Better for the Earth – there is pretty much zero carbon footprint* to putting something in the sun
- Saves Time – no spraying and drying time required, just set it in the backyard and forget it
- Saves Money – sunshine is free!
- Easy – let the sun do the work for you
*my educated guess, not actual scientific measurement
- You have to lug the mattress outside – the bigger the mattress, the harder this is
- A bird might poop on your mattress
I have a four year old kiddo who is fully potty trained, even at night. Except for those evenings where he downs three cups of water before I realize what’s going on. (Note to self: keep the kids well hydrated during the day and they won’t be thirsty at bedtime!) Without fail, I will later be awakened in the night by a little voice at my bedside saying, “Mama, I accidentally had an accident…”
While we would never let a kid sleep on a mattress without a waterproof cover, somehow with all his nighttime twisting and turning our little guy managed to tear a hole in the mattress cover we had. And of course this hole ended up right underneath him and he peed right through it, soaking the mattress.
If you’re anything like me, there’s only one thing to be done with a soaked mattress at 3AM: put a thick towel over the wet spot and get everyone back to bed ASAP. I got to it by late morning the next day. The wet spot had mostly dried, but was now developing a nasty stink.
Google suggested vinegar, baking soda, or sunshine to take the smell away. I opted for sunshine. There’s total science here: sunshine is full of UV light. UV light is often used in industrial settings to kill bacteria (for example on your hamburger meat, or sterile gauze). It’s usually bacteria or some other kind of living microbe that makes things smell bad. If you kill the bacteria, the smell should also go away.
So I lugged the mattress out to the backyard. I’m fortunate to live in southern California, where (almost) every day is a sunny day. I draped the mattress over a backyard chair to minimize contact with the ground, and let it soak up the midday sun for about 90 minutes. When I brought it back in the smell was completely gone!
Using the sun to kill the odor worked great! I highly recommend this method of mattress stink removal. It’s way easier than spraying the mattress with a cleaning solution then scrubbing and waiting to dry. I am looking forward to testing this out on other stinky objects around the house. Stay tuned to see if I can get sunshine into the toes of some stinky shoes we have lying around…
Have you ever used sunshine to freshen up a mattress? What other stinks might be killed using the sun?