How to Dry a Mattress? And All Questions Answered

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Written by:

Max Stevens

How to Dry a Mattress? And All Questions Answered

Looking for ways to dry a wet mattress fast? When it comes to a wet mattress, drying it quickly is a must. Moisture can cause irreparable damage to the mattress, and if moisture lingers it create the ideal environment for mould growth, mildew formation, and even unpleasant odours.

If you have a spring mattress, the springs can also become damaged when exposed to water over a long time – making them weak and brittle.

Drawing from my own experiences, here’s a few tips on effectively managing water-soaked mattresses, drying any accidental spills, and removing wet spots caused by bed wetting if you have little ones at home.

Evaluate the Damage to Your Mattress

Before attempting one of the ways to dry a mattress, first determine the reason why it’s wet. Did something spill on it? Is there a leak somewhere nearby? Did the high humidity levels in the room cause condensation? Or did someone wet the bed? 

By determining the source of moisture on your mattress, you can ensure clean the stain and dry appropriately to promote a clean and healthy sleeping environment.

Next, assess how severe the wetness in your mattress is and determine if it’s already a water-damaged mattress or can still be used. 

Lastly, check for any visible sign of mould or damage. You can spot a developed mould if your mattress smells musty and the fabric has discolouration and dark spots.

Ultra Fresh | Mouldy Mattress Fabric

Step 1: Absorb Water From the Mattress

Undoubtedly, you have also experienced the unfortunate incident of spilling a beverage on your mattress. Having to deal with a dampened mattress when you want to relax on your bed after a long and tiring day is no fun. I once spilled water on top of my mattress, so I quickly searched the internet on how to dry it using the materials available inside my house for a quick remedy.

Use towels or other absorbent materials

First, I grabbed a dry towel to soak up the water on the surface, preventing it from sinking further into the layers of my mattress.

Any towel or fabric is okay to soak up the water, but I recommend using a thick bath towel when drying a dampened mattress due to its high absorbency. Cotton and rayon fabric towels are also incredibly efficient in soaking up liquids.

Spread cat litter

Cat owners will love this step! You can further absorb the moisture from your mattress by using cat litter. To use this, sprinkle it all over the surface, leave for a few minutes and then vacuum up to draw in the wet litter.

If you don’t have cat litter at home, baking soda is another option for soaking up any wetness from your mattress. The process follows the same steps as with using cat litter!

Step 2: Remove Leftover Moisture

Using towels and cat litter to absorb the moisture is an ideal first step to drying your mattress effectively. After this, air-blowing devices can further remove any remaining dampness on your mattress.

Use a hairdryer

After soaking up all the liquid from your mattress, use a hairdryer to speed up the drying process. Additionally, be cautious and mindful of any electrical appliances near the wet mattress to prevent any hazardous accidents. 

Use a vacuum to dry out the area

After using any devices to speed up the drying process, use your vacuum again to ensure the area is completely dried.

Try airing the mattress out with a fan

After you’ve dried your mattress with a hair dryer, use an electric fan to accelerate the drying process and provide adequate ventilation. You can also bring your mattress outside to allow breathability further; however, ensure that the weather is ideal! Doing so will help to circulate fresh air around the mattress and speed up the drying.

This step is not limited to spilt drinks because your mattress can also suffer from moisture caused by humidity, especially if you live somewhere with hot weather.

If the air circulation inside the room is poor, there is a high chance that humidity will moisten the mattress inside. As Professor Waldemar Karwowski of the University of Central Florida noted in his book, your mattress soaks up around 25% of the moisture you naturally release during a night’s sleep. 

And the sweat excreted by your body contributes to this build-up, increasing moisture within your mattress. This is why regularly doing this step is also helpful if you live in a humid environment!

Step 3: Prevent Mould on Your Mattress

Check for potential signs to avoid mould growth within your mattress. Monitor any odours or discolourations that may point to mildew development and take action right away if you detect one. As discussed above, musty smells and dark spots indicate possible mould growth.

If you spot any of these signs, I recommend using mould inhibitors – feed additives used to reduce the risk of mould growth and contamination. 

To prevent mould growth, combine a mould inhibitor with warm water in a disposable container to remove mattress mould. Dip a cloth into the mixture, then wring out excess liquid. Scrub all visible signs of mould in circular motions to ensure complete mould eradication.

And if you don’t have a mould inhibitor at home, you can use vinegar, alcohol, or tea tree oil and do the same procedure.

Step 4: Ensure Your Mattress is Completely Dry

Following the initial three steps, it is essential to ensure that your mattress has been completely dried by inspecting if there are any traces of moisture left in the mattress.

Tips for drying a mattress outdoors

  • To dehumidify your mattress, take it outside to dry your mattress out naturally. Position it vertically against a wall with small blocks supporting it to ensure the air can circulate freely.
  • Drying your mattress outside will also disinfect your mattress due to the natural rays of sunlight. This factor is essential to eradicate mould development and odours further.
  • When the weather is unsuitable for airing out your mattress, a dehumidifier and or an indoor fan should be enough to dry out your mattress. Completely air-dry the mattress before reuse, or else mould growth may occur.

How do you dry a wet mattress from bed wetting?

For many parents, bed wetting is unavoidable in having children at home. After all, infants have little control over their bladder, and it can be hard to predict when they will urinate at night and even during the day.

To prevent the mattress from absorbing the pee, grab the nearest towel to soak it up — an easy remedy! Then spray alcohol on the affected surface to further sanitise the area.

Moved the wet mattress outside to let the sunlight disinfect and thoroughly dry out any moisture within the mattress. The sun should also help fade any yellow stains caused by the urine.

Check out our library of cleaning mattress stains.

Safety Precautions When Drying a Mattress

Before drying your mattress, always ensure that you move it away from any electrical outlets or appliances that could lead to hazardous electrocution if someone came close to it.

Use a GCFI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlet whenever possible to ensure the safety of those around you and to keep yourself secure. Not only does it guard against electric shocks, but it also halts potential electrical fires from starting in the first place. Furthermore, if electrical fires occur nearby, this type of outlet can reduce their intensity by ceasing the electricity flow.

Additionally, refrain from over-drying your mattress when it’s dampened, as this can cause potential damage to the materials inside it. Doing so can cause the foam and the fabric to become brittle — decreasing the lifespan of your mattress.

Can I dry the mattress with a heater?

In the event of minor liquid spillage, such as a glass of water, it is possible dry the mattress area with a heater. Place the heater in the room, at a safe distance from the mattress, and keep the air circulating for optimal results.

But take caution! Heat can damage the fabric of your bedding, so it’s best not to bring heating elements too close.

How do you dry a mattress quickly?

Whenever you try to dry your mattress on your own, you can combine the steps we’ve mentioned and see which one works best for you.

Moreover, you can absorb the wetness using a towel, sprinkle some baking soda or cat litter on the surface, and then vacuum it afterwards. The next thing you can do is leave your mattress in a well-ventilated room to give it time to dry.

Drying it outside is also best because it can help quickly dry your mattress because of the heat while also disinfecting it to prevent mould development due to the natural UV rays. Then to further eliminate the odour, you can spray some essential oils mixed with water on the surface or plain rubbing alcohol.

How long does it take a mattress to dry?

Using the drying procedure above, your mattress can take roughly 6-8 hours to dry completely. Yet if you opt for air-drying or indoor fans to help with the process, it could take up to two or three times longer.

Nevertheless, mattresses can take one to two days (24-48 hours) to dry when completely soaked in water. The drying time relies on the interior materials and how saturated it is with moisture.

You can refer to the table above, which outlines drying speed and factors affecting it based on the mattress type.

Which Mattress Type is the Quickest to Dry?

The process of drying your mattress is heavily influenced by its type and construction. We’ve compared the various types of mattresses, their structures, factors influencing how quickly they dry, and how quickly it typically takes for each one to air out thoroughly.

Mattress TypeStructureFactors affecting drying speedDrying Speed
Hybrid mattressesCoil-core with foamThe coil layer optimises air circulation, and the fabric absorbs moisture.Up to 24 hours 
Innerspring mattressesCoil layer with a thin cushioning layerOnly a few inches of foam will need to dry.Up to 24 hours
Pillowtop mattressesCoil or Fiberfill foamIts hygroscopic material absorbs most moisture — especially if it’s removable.6-8 hours
Memory foam mattressesSponge-like foamThe foam material cannot easily prevent moisture because it’s highly absorbent that sinks further into the layers.1-2 days 

Is a mattress ruined if it gets wet?

Not instantly, but it can get damaged over time, especially if it’s not properly dried.

Although it should be noted that any liquid could ruin your mattress. And just like rugs and carpets, mattresses are often filled with allergens, allowing mould to grow if dampened for extended periods.

How fast can mould spread within a mattress?

As the Federal Emergency Management Agency states, mould can start building up on the mattress surface within 24 to 48 hours, and could grow quickly if the environment has elevated humidity.

What type of mattress is more prone to mould?

Any mattress is at risk of developing mould and mildew if the environmental conditions enable its growth.

However, the air-tight construction of memory foam mattresses makes them particularly susceptible to mould growth. Investing in a breathable mattress is essential because it allows air circulation to dry out the wet area to avoid developing mattress mould. 

If you’ve had the misfortune of wetting your memory foam mattress, the best way to dry it is by letting it dry under direct sunlight and fresh air circulation.

An old mattress is also prone to mould because it has been exposed to different substances after years of continued use. In that case, it’s likely that mould has developed within your mattress – so replacing it with a new and breathable one is the best choice to keep your sleeping surface healthy!

How to Dry a Mattress Using a Professional Cleaning Service

If you are able to invest in it, procuring a professional cleaning service is the wisest decision you can make to dry your mattress. Not only are mattress cleaning specialists comprehensively trained in properly cleaning and caring for wet mattresses, but their expertise guarantees that they will do their job right.

Step 1: Contact a Professional Restoration Company

Of course, the first thing you will need to do to avail yourself of the cleaning service is to inquire and reach out to them. There are a couple of cleaning services available in the UK that are ready to serve you!

Step 2: Mattress Evaluation

As soon as the cleaning team arrives at your doorstep, they will evaluate the condition of your mattress to see what kind of water damage it suffers from. They may ask you some questions to understand better how they can help you with your mattress concern.

Step 3: The Clean-Up Process

After they’ve assessed your mattress, they will start their cleaning process. They will do the necessary cleaning procedure to avoid further damaging your mattress.

The mattress restoration service can also keep your mattress in better condition. Their expertise and specialised tools are guaranteed to ensure proper drying and cleaning of the mattress.

Step 4: Enjoy Your Restored Mattress

Unwind, recline, and take a moment to congratulate yourself for making the wise decision to hire professional mattress cleaners. Now you can relax in peace knowing your mattresses have been freshened up.

How to remove odours from a wet mattress?

Freshening up your mattress is the final step in achieving a hygienic, comfortable sleeping experience. That way, you can enjoy cleanliness and cosiness while getting some restful sleep.

Following the steps mentioned above, you can eliminate any lingering odours from mould by sprinkling a layer of baking soda to absorb moisture. Allow this to sit for 15 minutes, and then vacuum it up. Baking soda is renowned for neutralising smells, making your mattress a pleasant sleeping surface!

Furthermore, a water and vinegar mixture is also an effective way to eliminate odours. You can also spray some aromatic oils and laundry detergents, but this is optional.

You can read further about deodorizing your mattress at How to Freshen and Deodorize a Mattress.

How to Dry an RV Mattress?

Owning an RV mattress can be challenging because you only have limited space to move around your recreational vehicle when your mattress gets wet. If you ever had the misfortune of spilling something on your RV mattress, you can handle it in almost the same way as a traditional mattress. 

Furthermore, you can also make use of the materials that are already inside your RV. To begin, flip or rotate your RV mattress. After rotating the mattress, place a fan near the moistened area and adjust the fan parallel to the affected area. 

Leave it until completely dry; if you opt for more heat, keep the heater 10-15 inches away from the mattress so it won’t damage any of its foam materials while allowing warm air to eliminate all traces of excess moisture effectively.

When to Get a New Mattress

As I’ve mentioned, an old mattress is a great opportunity for mould to develop since it has been exposed to different temperatures and substances for longer. And replacing it with a new one is the best way to maintain a healthy sleeping environment.

Tell-Tale Signs Your Mattress Needs to Be Replaced

  • If your mattress is over six to eight years old, it’s time for a new one. The mould inside the mattress can cause allergic reactions and, even worse, respiratory problems.
  • When you notice that your mattress is already sagging, a drooping mattress can affect your sleep quality since resting on it with a weakened surface can be incredibly uncomfortable. 

Moreover, a weakened mattress can also hurt your body posture since it cannot correctly support the body due to the uneven surface.

  • By that time, you can already hear the springs whenever you move around. The squeaky noise is one of the signs that the coils inside your mattress are about to wear out, which may cause improper body support as you continue using it.

If you’re searching for a new mattress, you may refer to our mattress reviews to see which one best suits your sleeping needs!

Mattress Maintenance to Prevent Moisture Issues

It’s often said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – and this rings true when protecting your mattress from mould. You’ll be much better off preventing the dampness away in the first place than attempting to address mouldy mattresses later on.

The best way to maintain a mattress and prevent moisture from accumulating inside the mattress is to air it out and rotate the mattress regularly.

You can maintain the hygiene of your mattress by using waterproof mattress protectors. These protectors will help keep moisture away, keeping your mattress clean and dry.