How to Dry a Mattress Without Damaging It?

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By Deirdre Mundorf

Updated: May 15, 2024

8 min read

How to Dry a Mattress
Photo: @ifonlyhome

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    Unintentionally soaking your mattress, whether due to an accident, flooding, or spills, can present a challenging situation. Understanding the effective techniques for drying and restoring your mattress is essential to prevent harm and maintain cleanliness.

    This discussion will outline the steps for drying a soaked mattress, particularly focusing on foam types, and offer practical advice for cleaning and extracting water. Investing in a mattress is vital for quality sleep, and ensuring its cleanliness and dryness is important for its durability and comfort.

    Risk of Having a Soaked Mattress

    Risk of Having a Soaked Mattress
    Photo: Ghostbed

    The mattresses have the capacity to soak up a substantial quantity of water, which may harm the foam's integrity.

    Mold and Mildew Growth

    Extended moisture exposure can trigger the growth of mold and mildew, which presents health hazards. Especially if you have a futon mattress as they soak more water, it's essential to keep your mattress dry either by giving them a good sun exposure or using hair dryer depending on the moisture it has soaked.


    Thoroughly drying out a waterlogged memory foam mattress demands intense care to prevent lasting harm.


    Employing a waterproof mattress protector can avert such situations and safeguard the mattress from saturation.

    Safely Cleaning a Soaked Mattress

    Timely action is crucial. Absorb surplus moisture with towels and commence the drying procedure promptly. When addressing stains, opt for gentle detergent or enzyme-infused cleansers. Refrain from using harsh chemicals as they may harm the mattress components.

    Efficient Techniques for Mattress Drying

    Speed up mattress drying by extracting excess moisture with a wet/dry vacuum. Sprinkle baking soda on damp spots to absorb moisture and eliminate odors, then let it air dry, using fans or sunlight to expedite the process. Typically, a thoroughly soaked mattress may require 24 to 48 hours to dry, while smaller incidents like bedwetting could take just a few hours. However, air drying carries the risk of mold growth if not done promptly.

    Air Drying

    To have your mattress air dry depends on the level of moisture it holds. If it's heavily soaked, it's risky as it might lead to mold or mildew formation if not dried promptly. However, if it's just slightly damp, airing it out on a warm day should be fine.

    Assessing Moisture

    The assessment aids in measuring the extent of the harm and selecting the suitable drying approach for your mattress.

    Utilize Absorbent Substance

    Sprinkle baking soda, kitty litter, or a commercial powder that absorbs over the mattress. These substances can extract moisture and alleviate smells.

    Eliminating the Moisture

    In the process of drying a mattress, the initial action involves eliminating any surplus moisture. Promptly address the issue by gently pressing clean towels or absorbent materials onto the impacted spot to hinder additional saturation. The most effective method for accomplishing this task is by utilizing a wet and dry vacuum cleaner.

    Use of Dryer

    Utilize a blow dryer to target wet areas. This aids in achieving uniform drying across the mattress.

    Use of Fans

    • Elevate the mattress and place it near a fan.
    • Even if the surface appears dry, moisture can linger inside, fostering mold and bacterial growth. To ensure thorough drying, elevate the mattress against a wall or stable surface and direct a fan towards the damp regions.
    • Keep the fan running for 6 to 8 hours until the mattress is completely dry. For added efficiency, consider placing a dehumidifier nearby to accelerate the drying process.

    Harness Sunlight

    Sun exposure facilitates mattress drying and possesses natural disinfectant properties. Yet, exercise caution with foam mattresses as prolonged sunlight exposure may harm the material.

    Cleaning and Maintenance of Mattress

    Cleaning and Maintenance of Mattress
    Photo: Molblly


    If your cover is machine washable, opt for cold water and the gentle cycle, followed by tumble drying on low heat for optimal results. Avoid ironing or dry cleaning, as heat can harm the fabric's integrity.

    Spot Cleaning

    For prompt spot cleaning of foam or mattress covers, attend to the affected area immediately. Use a cool, damp cloth to blot up any spills, ensuring the water temperature remains cool to avoid setting certain protein-based stains like urine. Once excess moisture is absorbed, use a dry cloth to firmly press up and down on the mattress to lift the stain, avoiding any rubbing that can worsen the situation.


    After removing the liquid, address any remaining stains and disinfect the mattress by applying a small amount of enzyme-based cleaner. It's crucial to minimize liquid usage and avoid soaking the mattress during this process. Enzyme-based cleaners, which are eco-friendly, are available for purchase online, or you can create your own using household ingredients such as sugar and lemon.


    If an odor lingers post-spot cleaning or if your mattress retains some dampness, you might need to utilize baking soda to neutralize the smell and facilitate drying. Sprinkle baking soda onto the affected area and let it sit for at least half an hour (extend the duration for stronger odors). For even distribution, employ a kitchen sifter. Once the odor is gone and the mattress is dry, vacuum the baking soda using the upholstery attachment.

    Proper Drying

    Once your mattress is free of stains, ensure it is thoroughly dried before remaking the bed or using it for sleep. This process could take up to 48 hours but is essential to prevent bacterial growth and mold formation, as a moist mattress can foster these issues. To expedite drying, employ a cool electric fan; however, refrain from using heat sources like blow dryers as they can damage the fabric or foam.

    Thorough Cleansing

    In certain cases, it's necessary to enlist professional assistance. If a stain or odor persists despite attempts to clean and deodorize, or if you are dealing with a bed bug problem, consider hiring a local mattress cleaning expert for optimal results. The specialists possess the necessary equipment and expertise to effectively remove stubborn stains.

    Longevity of Your Mattress

    Considering we spend about a third of our lives in bed. To ensure consistent mattress hygiene, aim for a thorough cleaning every season. Even if the sweat and dead skin aren't visible beneath the protector, it's still advisable to remove and wash it periodically. Use cold water and the gentle cycle for washing, and tumble dry on low heat.

    Meanwhile, while the cover is in the laundry, sprinkle baking soda directly onto the memory foam and let it sit for 30 minutes before vacuuming to eliminate moisture and odors effectively.

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