How to Remove Mold from a Mattress: Tips That Work

Mold is a serious problem for homeowners, and it can grow in the strangest of places. For instance, it can ruin your mattress. The good news? Mold doesn’t have to be the end of your mattress—you can remove it and restore your mattress to its former glory.

There are various methods to remove mold from your mattress. For example, you can place the bed in direct sunlight for a few hours to kill any mold spores. Plus, solutions made of rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide mixed with warm water also work.

So sit back, relax, and read on to learn all the methods for how to revive a moldy mattress.

How to remove mold on a mattress

1. Use Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is one of the most effective ways to kill mold and prevent it from coming back.

It’s an easy, natural solution that won’t break the bank or leave you with a bunch of toxic chemicals in your home. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Give your mattress a good vacuum on both sides to get rid of any dirt, dust mites, or other allergens
  • Combine equal parts of rubbing alcohol and warm water in a bowl
  • After that, get a clean cloth and dip it into the solution (wring out any excess liquid)
  • Scrub any moldy parts off the mattress with the cloth, and clean the surrounding areas near the mold, as well to ensure you are getting it all
  • Once you’ve finished, dip the cloth in clean water again and lightly rinse the area (don’t get the mattress too wet, though; wring out the extra water)
  • Spray a disinfectant suitable for upholstery over the surface of the mattress
  • Finally, let the mattress dry with a fan turned on to circulate the air and help it dry thoroughly

Keep in mind that you’ll need to clean out your vacuum’s dust catcher—otherwise, you might spread mold around the house.

2. Try Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a chemical compound that’s used as a substitute for alcohol by some people. It’s commonly used as a disinfectant because it kills bacteria and other microorganisms.

When applied to the skin, it can even reduce inflammation and prevent infection. Now let’s take a look at how you can use this on your mattress:

  • Vacuum your mattress to eliminate dust mites and other allergens
  • Combine one part hydrogen peroxide with three parts water in a container
  • Start scrubbing the mold off with a cloth or a brush dipped in the solution using a circular motion
  • When you’re done, leave the mattress to dry in a room with a running fan
  • Repeat the process as much as needed to remove the mold completely

Note: Before using this technique, check the label on your mattress. Hydrogen peroxide can bleach your mattress, so do a test first on a hidden spot.

What Causes Mold on a Mattress?

Mold isn’t just an issue for walls and floors. It can also grow on your furniture and mattresses. In homes with high humidity levels, moisture in the air makes for a prime breeding ground for mold growth. Maintaining a balanced humidity in the home will help protect your mattress from mold in the future.

Mold is often difficult to spot in a mattress, as it grows behind the fabric and other parts of the mattress that are stitched together.

Here are some common causes of mold on mattresses:

  1. If you spill liquid on the mattress, it may get trapped under the fabric. The moisture from this spilled liquid will cause mold growth inside the mattress over time
  2. If there’s a leaky pipe or roof above your bed, water may drip down through cracks in the ceiling onto your bedding. This water can also cause mold growth in those locations as well
  3. If there’s any leaking from your air conditioning system or heating unit, condensation water can drip out of vents and onto furniture or bedding below them; this includes mattresses.
  4. Finally, if you live in a humid climate or have inadequate ventilation in your home, then it’s likely that mold will grow on your mattress.

What Does Mold on a Mattress Look Like?

Mold on a mattress will often look like pink, off-white, or black spots, and many times will appear fluffy. You can see the signs of mold on the top of your mattress, but the mold beneath your mattress that you don’t see is also alarming.

The amount of time we spend on our mattresses should be of concern considering the health ramifications of mold exposure.

Signs of mold on your mattress include:

  • Stains in a variety of colors
  • A strong musty odor
  • New, mysterious stains
  • Your mattress attracts insects and parasites.

Mold exposure is nothing to shrug off, so if you notice changes in your mattress, take note and take action.

Cleaning a moldy mattress

How to Get Mold Out of a Foam Mattress

If you’ve got a foam mattress, then you can use the same methods we outlined above to remove the mold. For instance, you can apply the alcohol and water solution to a cloth, then scrub the mold away with it.

Once you’ve done this, make sure to air out your mattress as well, so that no moisture remains locked inside.

How to Deep Clean a Foam Mattress Topper

Cleaning a mattress topper is a pretty simple process. You don’t need any fancy products or tools—just a few basic supplies and a little bit of time. First, gather your materials:

  • A vacuum cleaner with attachments for upholstery cleaning
  • A small brush
  • Stain remover if there are any visible stains on the mattress topper (be sure to test it out in an inconspicuous area first)

Next, vacuum off any visible debris and dust from the mattress topper. This can be done with an attachment designed for upholstery cleaning if you have one, or with an ordinary household vacuum cleaner.

After completing this step, use your small brush to remove dirt or pet hair from the topper’s surface and its edges.

To finish up, use a handheld vacuum to clean around where the cover meets your mattress. If you can, remove the topper completely so that you can clean it better.

This process should take about 15 minutes, but it’ll leave you with a pristine-looking topper.

How to Deep Clean a Memory Foam Mattress

Memory foam mattresses have become increasingly popular over the past several years, due to their unique ability to conform to a person’s body.

However, like every piece of furniture we have, they can get dirty pretty easily. Fortunately, it’s easy to clean your memory foam mattress using these simple instructions:

  • Remove the cover and any other removable parts from the mattress and wash it in the washing machine
  • Vacuum the surface of the mattress thoroughly, paying special attention to any stains or areas where dust and dirt may have accumulated
  • Take a damp cloth and dip it in a solution of equal parts rubbing alcohol and water
  • Wipe down all surfaces of your mattress until they’re completely dry again. This will remove any dust or dirt left behind after vacuuming

Now that everything is clean and dry again, spray it down with a cleaning solution made specifically for cleaning mattresses.

Let the mattress air out for a few hours, then put the covers back on.

Does Bleach Kill Mold on a Mattress?

Yes, bleach will kill mold on a mattress.

Bleach is a strong, chemical-based cleaner that kills bacteria and other germs. It’s also effective at killing mold, which can spread quickly from one area to another if left unchecked.

However, it’s important to note that bleach isn’t always the best option for removing mold from a mattress.

It’s a good thing to have around, but you should also consider other options like rubbing alcohol.

Clean Mold Off Mattress with Vinegar

Vinegar is a great way to clean mold off a mattress. It’s easy and cheap, and will likely remove that musty smell from your moldy mattress.

Here’s what you do:

  • Make sure the mattress is dry so that the vinegar can work its magic without getting diluted by water
  • Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle, then spray it on the moldy area on your mattress
  • Let it sit for about a minute before brushing it off with a soft-bristled brush

In the end, vacuum the mattress thoroughly and then let it dry.

6 Steps to Dry a Mattress After Cleaning

A wet mattress is no fun to sleep on, yet if you’ve found yourself having to clean your mattress or something spilled onto your mattress, you will need to know how to dry it.

The following steps will help in the processing of drying your mattress:

Step 1. Use Towels

Place dry towels on the wet area of the mattress and stand on the towels. Your body weight will push down on the mattress, helping to pull the moisture out of the mattress.

This is a great first step to pull as much excess moisture out of the mattress as possible.

Step 2. Turn Up the Heat

Turning up the heat in your room will help dry out your mattress faster. For smaller areas of moisture, try using a blow dryer to help speed up the drying process.

Step 3. Try Cat Litter

This might sound crazy, but cat litter is well known for its moisture-absorbing capabilities. This method works well for a mattress that is wet all over and desperately needs some help.

Pour the cat litter evenly over the entire area of the mattress that is wet. Place large towels over the cat litter. Here again, standing on the towels will help you take advantage of your body weight, absorbing more water.

Otherwise, press your hands onto the towels to absorb the moisture the best you can.

Step 4. Direct Sunlight

This option will only work during times of the year when the weather is sunny and very warm. After using the above methods to try and pull out as much moisture from the mattress as possible and weather permitting, it’s time to give this a try.

Find an old sheet, blanket, or sheet of plastic to lay down in the hottest, sunniest place you can find outside. This will protect your mattress from getting dirty. Lay the mattress on top of the blanket or plastic with the wettest side of the mattress facing the sun.

And did you know that sunlight kills bacteria?

Step 5. Indoor Drying

If drying your mattress outside is not an option, then try using the air circulation of a fan along with open windows to increase airflow. Tip your mattress to its side so it’s standing up for better air circulation through the mattress.

Step 6: Waiting

In order to dry a mattress thoroughly, it will take at least a full day for the mattress to dry completely. Resist the urge to throw sheets and blanks onto the mattress when it’s bedtime, as doing so when the mattress is not completely dry will create a breeding ground for mold.

Mold on Mattress Symptoms

There are many symptoms of mold being present besides seeing it and knowing it’s there. The following symptoms may indicate mold on your mattress:

  • Dark spots on your mattress
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Mattress smells musty

Other indications that your mattress may be moldy are if you notice condensation anywhere near or on the bed itself, or if you notice mold in other areas of your room in close proximity to your bed.

Is Mold on a Mattress Dangerous?

Mold on a mattress may be dangerous for those suffering from lung diseases such as asthma or COPD. Those with a compromised immune system may also be at great risk as well. If your mattress does have mold, then sleeping on your mattress all night means mold exposure for hours.

According to the CDC, mold exposure can cause or exacerbate many health issues. Mold growth produces mold spores that are likely to become airborne and inhaled as we breathe.

As you toss and turn, any mold spores produced by the spreading mold get launched into the air, which is then inhaled.

Mold exposure can trigger allergy-like symptoms such as but not limited to the following:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Skin rash
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Headaches

The symptoms of mold exposure in those who suffer from a lung illness may also include more severe allergic reactions such as:

  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing up bloody phlegm

Each person’s immune system reacts differently, and the above list of symptoms is not inclusive of all possible symptoms of mold exposure.

Mold Under Mattress on the Floor

When you put your mattress on the floor, especially in humid places, moisture, mold, and mildew are more likely to grow underneath it. If your mattress is on the floor and you notice the floor underneath the mattress has mold, you know you have a problem.

Once you’ve moved your mattress and cleaned both the moldy floor and any mold areas on your mattress, it’s time to rethink things.

A very affordable bed stand may be purchased at your local furniture or bed store, and many times, even through a local department store online.

Not only can mold occur when a mattress is placed directly on the floor but there is also the issue of cleanliness.

Mattresses placed directly onto the floor will require being moved on a regular basis so the flooring underneath can be vacuumed, swept, and thoroughly cleaned.

Is a Mattress Ruined If It Gets Wet?

It’s possible that a wet mattress cannot be salvaged. However, it’s worth a shot if you can start drying the mattress right away. Try to pull as much water as you can out of the mattress using dry towels. Paper towels are also worth a try, and better-quality paper towels are very absorbent.

A damp mattress will rapidly develop bacteria, making the bedding unhygienic, and the stuffing within will start to deteriorate.

If your mattress was a pricey investment, it may be worth hiring a restoration company to help you restore your mattress with the least amount of damage to the mattress.


Now that you know how to remove mold from a mattress, you can feel confident that your mattress will be safe and clean.


Trina Greenfield, Author
SmackDown Media LLC

About the Author:
Trina Greenfield, the owner of SmackDown Media LLC, is passionate about providing information to those interested in the air quality in and around their homes. Trina writes content about things she’s passionate about, such as safe, in-home air, educational platforms for children and adults, as well as all things family-related.