Everyone enjoys a good night’s sleep on a clean and cozy mattress. But what if the mattress was covered in deadly fungus? Would you still be able to sleep soundly then?
Mold on mattresses isn’t only disgusting, but it can also be a health hazard for your entire family. Caused by humidity and excess moisture, mold can ruin your mattress. Moreover, if left untreated, it might spread and slowly destroy your house and belongings.
In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about mold on mattresses, from the symptoms of mold on mattresses, what causes mold to grow, to tips on removing mold from a bed.
Symptoms of Mold on Mattresses
Mold is a fungus that consists of small organisms, which exist anywhere. Mattress molds vary in appearance, but they usually appear as black, pink, or off-white spots dotting your mattress.
Those spots you’re seeing are the fungi’s fruiting bodies, which contain the spores that the fungi need to multiply.
Underneath all that, there’s mycelium, the fungi’s vast branching network that can take up more space than the visible part. In fact, sometimes, you won’t even realize you have a mold infestation because there are no fruiting bodies yet, even though the mycelium has grown all over the mattress.
That’s why it’s extremely important to understand the early signs of mold infestation on your mattress before it becomes too severe. Here are some common symptoms to look out for:
The most prominent symptom of a mold infestation is the smell. You’ll probably smell the mold before you can even see it.
Mold has a pungent and musty odor that gets stronger over time. Sometimes, the scent might be slightly sweet at first, but it’ll become foul and disgusting over time.
Mattresses should have little to no odor at all. So, if your bed starts to smell foul, you may have a mold infestation.
Additionally, you won’t be able to get rid of this musty odor easily. If you spilled anything on your bed, then changing the sheets or cleaning the spill may help get rid of the smell. However, if nothing you do seems to help and the foul smell persists, that’s a huge sign of a mold infestation.
Discoloration and Stains on the Mattress
As mentioned earlier, you’ll be able to see the mold’s fruiting bodies after a while. Mold may appear as fuzzy, discolored, or slimy spots that grow in size over time.
However, not all molds will have that tell-tale black color. Molds come in various colors, including pink, off-white, green, purple, and orange.
So, if there are discolorations or stains on your mattress surface for no apparent reason, you may have mold.
Bugs on Your Mattress
Molds are already disgusting on their own, but did you know they can attract bugs as well?
The smell of mold attracts bugs and critters, such as ants, gnats, and mites. Eventually, you may even find spiders on your bed because they’re feeding on the smaller creatures that run around under your mattress.
That’s why any sudden appearance of bugs in your bedroom is a potential sign of mold.
You’re Experiencing Health Problems
Do you get sick after spending time in your bedroom? Are you unable to get a good night’s sleep? If you’re experiencing health and sleep problems, there’s a chance you might be dealing with a moldy mattress.
Molds are notorious for causing a slew of problems, including:
- Difficulty breathing
- Runny nose
If you’re experiencing those problems for no apparent reason, and they seem to get worse at night, check your mattress for mold.
Is Mold on a Mattress Dangerous (Can It Make You Sick)?
Mold on a mattress is dangerous to your health. Being near a moldy mattress can result in various respiratory issues, including difficulty breathing and wheezing. Constant exposure over long periods can also cause allergy-like symptoms, such as red eyes, runny nose, fatigue, and even asthma attacks.
Additionally, moldy mattresses can pose even more danger to:
- People with mold sensitivity
- People with asthma
- People with chronic lung disease
- Infants and children
- The elderly
- People with compromised immune systems
Molds are dangerous, regardless of where they grow. However, when they grow on a mattress, they pose a bigger threat than mold in any other part of the house.
This is because you likely spend at least 8 hours per day in bed. Thus, you’re exposed to the danger for longer periods.
How do you know if your mattress is causing the problems instead of other parts of your home?
Usually, the symptoms will subside when you leave the infected area. In general, there are always mold spores in the air you breathe. However, the amount is tiny enough that it can be overlooked.
So, if you only feel unwell while you’re lying in bed or experience worse symptoms at night, then you can be sure that the mold is on your mattress and not the rest of the house.
What Causes a Moldy Mattress?
A moldy mattress is caused by high humidity and excess moisture. Moreover, poor ventilation and minimum light exposure can exacerbate the problem. The underside of a mattress is especially susceptible to mold because that part isn’t exposed to much light and rarely gets aerated.
A number of factors can cause moisture build-up on a mattress. For example, the problem usually arises when there’s a leak in your bedroom. If the moisture constantly seeps into your mattress, mold can grow in as quickly as three days.
Spills and sweat should be monitored as well. If not cleaned and dried properly, moisture can build up in the mattress, making it easier for mold colonies to develop.
The location of your mattress can play a huge role in mold infestations. Placing your mattress on the ground or close to the ground makes it more vulnerable to mold. This is because doing so limits airflow from reaching the bottom of your mattress.
Lastly, while all mattresses can grow mold, certain types are more susceptible. For example, foam mattresses tend to absorb more moisture and take longer to dry completely, encouraging mold to thrive.
How to Get Mold Out of a Mattress
If your mattress has signs of a mold infestation, don’t worry; you may still be able to salvage it.
Here are some things you can do to get mold out of a mattress.
Use Rubbing Alcohol
Rubbing alcohol can be quite effective in getting mold out of your mattress. It can penetrate the cellular membrane of the fungus and destroy it from the inside.
Follow these steps:
- Mix equal parts of rubbing alcohol and warm water to make your cleaning mixture.
- Vacuum the mattress first to loosen any dirt.
- Wet the area where mold grows to make it easier for the alcohol to penetrate the organic matter.
- Dip a clean cloth into the cleaning mixture and wring it out.
- Scrub the mold stain in a circular motion.
- Allow it to sit for at least an hour.
- Take a new cloth, dip it in warm water, and wring it out. Use that cloth to rinse the area.
- Spray the entire mattress with an upholstery disinfectant.
- Dry the mattress by airing it out or using a hairdryer.
Use Hydrogen Peroxide
Just like rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide is also effective at killing and removing mold. Hydrogen peroxide can even inhibit mold growth in the future.
Here are the steps to remove mold with hydrogen peroxide:
- Mix one part hydrogen peroxide and three parts warm water to create your cleaning mixture.
- Vacuum the mattress first to loosen any dirt.
- Apply the cleaning mixture to the moldy area using a spray bottle, sponge, or cloth.
- Scrub the area gently using a nylon brush.
- Let it sit for 15 minutes.
- Wipe the excess moisture with a paper towel.
- Dry the mattress by letting it sit in the sun or using a hairdryer.
Please note that mold can be difficult to remove completely. If the problem is too severe, you should consider calling professional help.
Additionally, the molds may return if you don’t nip the problem in the bud. So, you should also determine the cause of the mold and fix it.
Fix any leaks that may be present, close any dark cracks on the wall, and build healthy habits to prevent the molds from coming back.
How Do You Keep a Mattress From Getting Moldy?
Keep your mattress from getting moldy by controlling the moisture levels in your home. It can be difficult to get rid of mold completely once it has taken hold of your mattress. Therefore, it’s better to take precautions so that it doesn’t grow on your mattress in the first place.
Here are some tips to keep molds at bay and prevent them from growing on your mattress.
Control the Humidity
Humidity is one of the main culprits behind mold infestations. High humidity will support mold growth and even cause structural damage and rot in your house.
According to the CDC, to prevent molds, the humidity levels in your home should be no higher than 50%. In general, most consider 30-50% the ideal range for indoor humidity.
It’s recommended to buy a meter to check your home’s humidity at all times. For example, you can get this ThermoPro Digital Hygrometer & Indoor Thermometer, which has a built-in indoor thermometer and an easy-to-read display to help you monitor the situation at all times. Install it in your bedroom to keep the situation in check and avoid moldy mattresses.
If the humidity levels in your house or your bedroom are exceptionally high, here are some things you can do:
- Use an air conditioner.
- Clean your air conditioner’s filter regularly.
- Avoid keeping damp laundry inside.
- Fix any leaks.
- Invest in a dehumidifier.
- Use charcoal briquettes.
- Consider getting house plants that can absorb humidity.
- Open the window regularly.
Then, improve the ventilation in your bedroom. Make sure to allow air to flow freely in and out of the area.
Poor ventilation can result in condensation and dampness, which can support mold growth. Even a small amount of condensation can encourage mold to develop in your bedroom and your mattress.
Opening the window regularly is the easiest way to improve airflow in your room. Additionally, it’s also recommended to use exhaust fans to promote airflow and pull out excess moisture from your room. Lastly, check and clean your vents regularly to ensure they’re functioning as they should be.
You may also like: The Effects of Sleeping in a Room With No Windows
Keep Your Mattress Dry
You should also keep your mattress dry. Even the smallest amount of moisture can result in a mold infestation. By keeping your mattress dry, you’re also creating an environment where it’ll be difficult for mold to flourish.
First, make sure to clean any spills immediately. Remove the bedding and dab the area using clean towels. Using a hairdryer to remove excess moisture is also a good idea.
A mattress protector is also a good idea. Encasing your mattress in a waterproof protector sheet can prevent moisture from seeping in and keep mold spores at bay.
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Aerating your mattress and letting it breathe can prevent mold growth. You can do this by removing the bedding completely and opening the bedroom window. Rotating and flipping your mattress may also improve air circulation to repel moisture and mold spores. It’s recommended to aerate your bed every two months.
Lastly, consider getting mold-resistant mattresses. Now don’t get this wrong, any type of mattress can grow mold, but mattresses made from natural materials, including latex and plant-based foams, tend to be more resistant to mold.
Moldy mattresses are dangerous for your health. So, the moment you notice mold on your mattress, take action immediately! Otherwise, it may jeopardize your health and result in long-term effects on your well-being. Moreover, there’s a possibility the mold might spread and destroy your entire house as well.
Hopefully, after reading this article, you’ll be able to spot mold symptoms and even prevent molds from growing on your mattress in the first place. If the mold infestation is severe, don’t hesitate to call a professional or even buy a new mattress.