Do Latex Mattresses Smell?

Last Updated December 29, 2023

As your recently ordered Latex mattress arrives home, you excitedly rip apart the packaging, ready to incorporate the newly found source of comfort into your daily life. Suddenly, it hits you - the smell from the mattress.

latex mattress

What causes this? Do all latex mattresses smell as such? And if it doesn’t sit right with you, how do you deal with it? Come, let’s uncover the truth behind this phenomenon and how you can take your stance on the matter.

why do latex mattresses smell

Does Latex have an odor?

Latex, at its root, originates from rubber. And natural rubber, well, it stinks. When taken out of the rubber tree, it begins to coagulate and eventually degrades. Furthermore, the combination of enzymes and bacteria present in the rubber produces the compounds that bring with it the distinct aroma that pollutes the nose.

Although there is an odor in latex, its strength varies. Mainly two factors decide this – The drying process and the quality of the rubber. The lesser the quality, the greater the smell. Thermal degradation, i.e., introducing the latex to heat during processing, also enhances the aroma.

This smell eventually finds its path onto the mattresses. While it isn’t a hindrance to many, others are bound to take offense to it. Particularly those sensitive to smell have a hard time adjusting to this new odor.

It is an almost impossible task to get rid of this odor during manufacturing, as faint traces of it will linger on even in the purest of latex mattresses.

What does a latex mattress smell like?

Noticing brand new products emit an odor upon purchase isn’t uncommon amongst buyers. Latex mattresses are no exception to this experience.

Natural/Organic latex mattresses, while undergoing manufacturing, are associated with natural materials and nontoxic chemicals such as water, fats, and Hevea milk.  Along with the washing and curing that takes place after, the odor that previously existed is lessened to a great extent and is reduced to a smell that is often described as somewhat sweet, similar to the scent of vanilla.

Compared to the pungent chemical smell associated with many poly-foam and memory foam mattresses, latex mattresses are much tamer and bearable. The sweet-smelling natural latex has been a bother to a very limited percentage of the populace, and some have even professed a liking to it, considering it an advantage when selecting a latex mattress.

Be wary while selecting your latex mattress by smell alone, though. Lower quality products are intoxicated with great levels of chemical masking agents that make it almost impossible to distinguish them from better quality products.

Synthetic latex, on the other hand, emanates a much stronger odor. A lot of this depends on the ingredients used in manufacturing, turning the smell into either rubbery or chemical. Hybrid beds fall under this category too, as they are mixtures of natural and synthetic latex components, but the smell will differ based on the model.

Is natural latex toxic to breathe?

While it could be misconceived that the smell of natural latex is harmful, it is only a misconception. The odor that natural latex mattresses give off contains no Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). VOCs are the guilty chemical compounds that are attributed to off-gassing (emission of noxious gasses from mattresses).

As natural latex mattresses are organic in all aspects ranging from the ingredients used to the manufacturing processes, there is not a thing to worry about relating to the odor being harmful to you or anyone else.

However, the same cannot be said for synthetic latex mattresses, as these are known to off-gas quite often as a result of the chemicals incorporated into them during manufacturing. Synthetic latex mattresses can come for quite a cheap price, but the harm caused by them to both the buyer and the environment is considerable and unworthy of the headache that accompanies it.

How do you get the smell out of a latex mattress?

We’ve talked about the existence of smell in latex mattresses but are yet to engage in the methods of tackling it. Let us break it down into two parts for a better understanding – Pre-Purchase Tactics and Post-Purchase Tactics.

natural and organic latex mattress topper

1. Pre-Purchase Tactics

  • Look exclusively for GOLS (Global Organic Latex Standard) certified Latex mattresses as it guarantees you the riddance of chemical ingredients, fillers, and other synthetic additives.
  • When searching for a bed cover, opt for one that is made from a combination of natural materials like cotton and wool, preferably GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified.
  • Try to pick mattresses that avoid glues and adhesives (especially solvent-based, due to toxicity). These often tend to be the catalysts for a long-lasting and pervasive odor.
  • If the sensitivity to smell is a big concern for you, then inquire with the manufacturer on whether they could provide a sample. Try it out once you get it. See how well it suits you or how bad it affects you.
  • Always purchase from a reliable source that provides high-quality foams. These are thoroughly washed and cured before being sold, denying any pre-existing smell from lingering on for long.

Once these nuances are secured, request with the manufacturer that they air out the layers before manufacturing. This will be done for a short period (Around 3 weeks) and will save you the time and effort of having to do it yourself.

2. Post-Purchase Tactics

  • If the smell still exists after the previous steps, then the first thing we need to do is air out the mattress. Leave it to breathe in an open area. Prefer indoor spaces (such as a room with windows and airflow or an open garage) to the outdoors. Refrain from putting anything on top of it during this period.
  • Every morning, take off the sheets and pillows from atop the mattress. Let it air out during the day.
  • Apply pressure on the mattress by walking or rolling atop it. Though, don’t forget to manage the amount of weight being put on, as it is a deciding factor in the longevity of the mattress.

Alternatively, just as a temporary measure, covering the mattress with a waterproof cover or an extra sheet will contain the smell. But it will come at the cost of altering the feel of the mattress.

What should you not do when getting rid of the smell?

In this period of getting rid of the smell, one must take certain precautions to avoid worsening the situation. Here are a few things to keep in mind while accomplishing this: -

  • Keep your pets away from the mattress top. Fur, lint, and excrement from pets could get stuck in the mattress, dirtying it quickly and further enabling the smell.
  • Prevent exposure to the sun if the outdoors is being used to air out the mattress. Sunlight exposure breaks down the Latex much faster, reducing the lifespan of your mattress considerably.
  • Don’t block the underside of your mattress. Opt for a slatted bed base instead of a flat base. This’ll help maintain the air circulation, thus scattering the odor quicker.

How long does latex scent last?

After unpacking, the smell from natural latex mattresses should vanish within a few hours or days. This is due to the zero VOC content present within the material. If the odor lingers past these few days, wait up to a month before taking further action. It could be that your nose is much more sensitive to smell than the others.

When it comes to synthetic latex mattresses, there is a specific amount of VOCs present in these. This, in turn, causes the smell to last for a much longer period.

Take note that these VOCs are not only pungent but also very harmful to your health. Respiratory ailments such as asthma and breathing difficulties are common side-effects of inhaling certain VOCs. Not to mention the other illnesses such as nausea, irritation of the eye, nose, and throat, and even cancer!

How does the smell of latex mattresses compare with other mattresses?

When drawing a comparison with the various bedding options that are available on the market nowadays and the odors that accompany them upon purchase, natural latex mattresses always come out on top of the list.

Being that it is 100% organically engineered, it is environmentally conscious and eco-friendly.

Natural latex mattresses don’t contain any volatile organic compounds and synthetic additives in their material, saving you from the off-gassings that have been reported in a variety of mattresses such as innerspring and memory foams that often use polyurethane foams, glues, and adhesives while manufacturing.

Every mattress you buy will bring about its distinct smell with it. Most of us never concern ourselves with it as it is of very little bother to us. But for those of us who do, we can take solace in the fact that there is no harm from inhaling this odor.

Latex, being a naturally extracted material, will accommodate within it the smell that nature has bestowed it with. Processing and curing can help lessen the effect of this smell and maybe even change it to something more breathable, but to get rid of it wholly takes a little more effort.

natural and organic pillows

Aside from the smell, latex mattresses are the most comfortable and relaxing beddings available to you. The benefits provided by it are extensive, to the point where the smell will be just a minor nuisance in a sea of major comfort.

Related blog posts:

1. Mattress Sizes and Bed Dimensions Chart

mattress sizes and bed dimensions guide

2. Your Guide to Finding the Perfect Pillowcase Sizes

pillow case sizes

3. How To Care For Your Latex Mattress?

how to care for your latex mattress

4. How To Recycle/repurpose Your Old Mattresses And toppers?

how to recycle/repurpose your old mattresses and toppers

5. Choosing The Right Pillow For A Good Night’s Sleep

choosing the right pillow for a good night’s sleep

Now that you’ve gained knowledge on smell in latex mattresses, what action will you seek to mitigate the odor? Will you remain unfazed by it and let it pass on its own? Or will you approach it head-on and sort it out as quickly as possible?

Converse with us on your plan. Leave us a comment. We enjoy a fun opinion from our reader’s perspective!

Disclaimer: What is said in this article has been referenced from multiple sources and is intended only for educational and informational purposes. Please note that no content in this article is a substitute for professional advice from a qualified doctor or healthcare provider. Always consult an experienced doctor with any concerns you may have regarding a health condition or treatment, and never disregard any medical suggestions or delay in seeking treatment because of something you read here.

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.