Many memory foam mattress users complain of its chemical odors. Nearly 15% of memory foam mattress buyers are complaining of a noticeable smell. While Sleep Like The Dead said only less than 2% of returns are due to chemical odor, this is still a cause of potential health problems for users.
Just like other household furniture, memory foam is a polyurethane foam processed using sophisticated technology. It is produced using a mixture of natural and artificial materials, such as petroleum-based substances that release volatile organic compounds (VOC). VOCs can easily degrade or break down even at room temperature. This nature of VOC is responsible for releasing the bad odor.
Dangers of VOC
The smell from VOC can be dangerous for people who are sensitive to chemicals. Once exposed to VOC, they may suffer irritations in their eyes, nose, and throat and can have headaches and allergic reactions like asthma attacks when exposed for longer periods.
More hazardous VOC variants can result in damage to the central nervous system, some organs, and can even lead to cancer.
In the past, foam manufacturers add other chemicals such as PBDEs, formaldehyde, and CFCs in some memory foams. These substances also emit dangerous VOC. Though they are mainly banned in the United States, importation of memory foam from abroad where these materials are poorly regulated increases our risk of owning one of them.
Buy safe memory foam mattress
So how can you know that the memory foam you are buying is safe? While eliminating VOC is impossible, ensuring that the mattress you want to buy has passed safety certification is an excellent way to make sure that it is not harmful to your health. Mattress having a CertiPUR-US seal means that the mattress you have has very low VOC emission (less than 0.5 parts per million).
CertiPUR-US-certified mattresses are also free from PBDEs, formaldehyde, and CFCs. The CertiPUR-US seal assures the buyers that the foam they about to buy has no substances that may be dangerous to our health and environment.
While noticeable and irritating to some – especially sensitive – people, the smell from the mattress with CertiPUR-US certification are not harmful to health.
Tips to reduce bad odor
No foam producer can guarantee that their memory foam mattress and its other advanced forms like gel memory foam mattress are VOC free. But just like paint and other materials with VOC, the odor can only last for a short time. If you have just received your brand new memory foam, here are some ways to reduce its bad smell:
– Place it in a well-ventilated area
Before using, let your mattress stay for a few hours in a place where there is good ventilation, such as outdoors or porch. This action will allow the VOC to escape and your memory foam to breathe. Proper ventilation also makes the smell less noticeable.
– Use baking soda
Baking soda is an excellent natural deodorizer. Sprinkle baking soda directly on your mattress after airing it out. You may also put it on your bed sheets and pillows to further minimize the odor. After some time, vacuum the baking soda away from your mattress and pillows.
– Place a bowl of white vinegar in your bedroom
White vinegar is another effective deodorant. You can put a bowl of it in your room to let it absorb the odor.
– Keep your mattress fresh
Allowing air to flow freely in your mattress from time to time reduces the smell it emits. Air out your mattress when it is time to wash your bedding. If you cannot place it outdoors, run your ceiling fan or electric fan at high speed to dry the moisture in the mattress.
Memory foam – especially gel memory foam – mattress gives the best consumer satisfaction among all mattress types in the market. To experience quality and healthy sleep nightly, make sure to buy CertiPUR-US-certified brands to avoid dangerous substances that are used in making them and to reduce the risk of inhaling toxic fumes from VOCs. You may also need to do the tips above to reduce its bad odor.
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