Do Latex Mattresses Smell?

If you are worried about odors and latex mattresses, read this.

 Do Latex Mattresses Smell?

We all know that rubber products can have a certain odor, and many people wonder if this applies to latex mattresses as well.  It should be understood that most new products have a certain aroma and latex mattresses are no exception. Mattress odors can range from fairly mild to downright unbearable depending upon what the chemical makeup includes. Essentially, all products will retain some scents attributed to their ingredients but this has to be assessed and taken into perspective.  Here, we will examine what consumers should expect in terms of smells when they purchase a latex mattress.

What Do Latex Mattresses Smell Like?

All new products have an odor, but the type and intensity is a direct result of what goes into the mattress. In owner surveys, little to no odor complaints are reported for natural, all-latex beds (about 1-2%), though blended latex and latex-over-foam beds receive moderate complaints of odor and offgassing (9-12%).

Natural Latex Mattresses

The makeup of a 100% natural latex mattress is comprised of 6 nontoxic chemicals as well as natural materials including hevea milk, water, and fats. Rubber, by nature, does have a certain odor. However with mattresses, due to the manufacturing, washing, and curing processes, the lingering smell is typically very minimal and often described as somewhat sweet. While there is nothing in the mattress that is harmful, it does permit a certain smell that people may notice. The large majority of people will not be bothered by the faint, slightly sweet smell of natural latex, and some cite it as an advantage when selecting a latex mattress.

Products like tires and gloves are made using entirely different processes than mattress foam, and thus give off much stronger smells when new that do not apply to natural latex. Many manufacturers air layers out before packaging, and new latex mattresses smells should dissipate within a few weeks in a well-ventilated area.

Synthetic and Hybrid Latex Beds

Synthetic latex may give off a stronger odor, either chemical or rubber, due to different ingredients used in manufacturing. Hybrid beds, those that feature latex mixed with poly foam cores, comfort layers, or memory foam, will have the odors associated with those products.

What Can You Do About It?

If the thought of your mattress having any odor at all is an issue for you then there is something you can do about it. The best option is to allow your mattress to completely air out. Mattresses packaged securely for shipping can smell somewhat stronger than those that have been airing out, so often people opt to unpack their mattress and allow it to sit in an isolated location like a garage or spare bedroom until the smell goes away. Other people remove linens throughout the day and let their mattress air out while it is not being used. Either way, airing out your mattress is a great idea to get rid of that “new bed” smell. Some people have even found that simply spraying the mattress with a bedding spray removes the odor. Another option is to simply do nothing and allow the smell to slowly go away on its own. It all comes down to whether or not the odor is bothersome.

Pick a mattress less likely to smell.

  • Choose a 100% natural latex mattress with no fillers or synthetic materials.
  • Opt for Talalay latex, which is washed several times more than Dunlop and typically cured (aired out) for longer periods of time.
  • Look for a bed with a cover made from natural materials like cotton and wool.
  • Choose an unglued mattress. Glues and adhesives are often one of the most odorous mattress components.

In our article about eco-friendly mattress options, we identified Astrabeds as a good source for 100% natural Talalay latex mattresses, as they have Oeko-Tex 100 safety certifications, no toxic chemicals or glues, and organic cotton covers. The composition of their beds would be ideal for those concerned about odors, and reviews do not mention issues with unpleasant or strong smells.

Takes these steps to further eliminate lingering odors.

  • Unpack your bed and let it air out for several days in an open area.
  • Take sheets off during the day to let the material breathe.
  • Using a waterproof mattress cover can also help reduce odors.

How Latex Mattresses Compare to Others

While some consumers may be bothered that their latex mattress has a smell it should be understood that all mattresses have an odor when they are brand new. For instance, when you consider a new innerspring mattress – these are created with glues and adhesives that can be comprised of over 48 toxic chemicals, not to mention poly foam layers. Of course, in memory foam mattresses there are around seven toxic chemicals which also release potentially hazardous VOCs as compounds breakdown and “off-gas”. While consumers may be a bit bothered by the latex smell there is some comfort in knowing that the smell is not coming from harmful chemicals and it will go away over time.  You can rest assured knowing that the odors are non-toxic and not attributed to volatile organic compound off-gassing people report with polyurethane foams and glues.

To answer the question of whether or not latex mattress smells, the simple answer is yes. However, it is not an odor that many people find offensive and it is not due to chemicals.  There are a number of great qualities about latex mattresses that should be taken into account as well, not just odors as these fade relatively soon.  For those that do have a sensitive nose it helps to opt for a bed with as few additives as possible and to simply air out the mattress for a few weeks until the smell is completely gone. Latex mattresses are a comfortable and natural bedding option, and probably one of the most unoffensive in terms of smells compared to other beds on the market.

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