How To Get Mildew Smell Out Of Your Mattress

We spend a good chunk of our lives in bed, but it’s harder to sleep once you’ve noticed a musty, mildew smell coming from your mattress.

Mildew smell is usually an indicator of moisture, germs, and allergens, all of which make good sleep nearly impossible to get.

Luckily, we’ve done the research, and getting mildew smell out of your mattress can be done in four easy steps, allowing you to get back to good sleep.

Continue reading to learn how to get a mildew smell out of your mattress.

What You’ll Need

You need a few simple things to get the mildew smell out of your mattress.


You probably already own a vacuum cleaner, and if your vacuum cleaner has an upholstery attachment, it will work well for getting a mildew smell out of your mattress.

You don’t need to rent a fancy vacuum cleaner or a deep steam cleaner.

Instead, all you need is a standard vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment.

Empty Spray Bottle

Any kind of spray bottle will work.

You can purchase a new one from the cleaning supplies aisle of your grocery store, or you can use an old empty spray bottle, which is what I do.

All it needs is a working spray function and a lid that fully closes.

White Distilled Vinegar

White distilled vinegar is acidic, which makes it an excellent natural deodorizer.

It also kills some bacteria, which helps to eliminate the mildew smell.

You probably already have distilled white vinegar, so use that.

If you don’t have any or have never used it to clean, try Calyptus 45% Pure Super Concentrated Vinegar.

Calyptus is extremely concentrated and can be diluted to make 9 gallons, which should last all year or even years.


You need enough water to mix with your vinegar in your spray bottle.

You don’t need to buy a particular brand or type of water; the water from your faucet will work well for your deodorizing endeavors.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is alkaline, which means it is also an excellent natural deodorizer.

Baking soda can be used in tandem with vinegar (but not at the same time) to create a neutral environment where mildew smell causing bacteria can’t survive.

You probably already have baking soda in your kitchen or laundry room, so you can use that to get the mildew smell out of your mattress. 

If you’ve run out and need to order more, click here.

And that’s all the items that you’ll need.

Most, if not all, you already have in your home.

Continue reading below to find the detailed steps that show how to remove the mildew smell from a mattress.

Step By Step Instructions On How To Get Mildew Smell Out Of Your Mattress

Getting the mildew smell out of your mattress takes a little time, but once you have finished these four easy steps, you will be able to sleep comfortably without breathing in the musty smell of mildew.

1. Dry Out Your Mattress

A mildew smell usually means there is moisture in the environment, so you should dry your mattress out before beginning to deodorize it.

Take off all pillows and bedding and expose your bed to moving fresh air.

I recommend opening a window or taking your mattress outside.

Prop your mattress onto its side to allow the sun and wind to get to both sides of your mattress.

The wind will dry it out, and the sun will kill certain kinds of bacteria on your mattress that cause a mildew smell. 

Pro tip: Completely drying out your mattress may take one or two days, so plan to sleep somewhere else while your mattress is drying.

If you put your mattress outside in the sun, don’t forget to bring it back in for the evening.

2. Use Upholstery Attachment To Vacuum Your Mattress

Once your mattress is dry, vacuum it thoroughly with the upholstery attachment on your vacuum cleaner.

Take care to vacuum every seam, crease, and side to remove all spores, germs, bacteria, and allergens.

Once you have finished vacuuming, empty your vacuum bag outside to prevent any of the microbes from returning to your mattress.

Pro tip: Before using your upholstery attachment on your mattress, wash it in warm water.

Any germs or grime on the attachment will be washed away by the soap and warm water, allowing you to get your mattress even cleaner.

3. Spray Your Mattress With The Water-Vinegar Mixture

Mix equal parts of white distilled vinegar and water in your empty spray bottle.

Spray your mixture gently over the top of your mattress until it is slightly damp.

If you can stand your mattress on its side, then spray the bottom of your mattress as well.

Allow both sides to air dry completely before putting it back on your bed frame. 

If you cannot stand your mattress on its side, allow the top to dry thoroughly before flipping your mattress over and spraying the bottom of your mattress with the water-vinegar mixture.

Allow the bottom to also fully dry.

4. Sprinkle Baking Soda Across The Mattress

Sprinkle baking soda across the top of your mattress and let it sit for at least 8 hours.

You can allow the baking soda to sit for up to 24 hours, but I found that either all day or overnight is sufficient to get rid of the mildew smell on your mattress.

Once the baking soda has sat, vacuum it up.

Pro tip: Open your curtains to allow the sunlight onto your mattress.

This will help to increase the baking soda’s effectiveness at removing the mildew smell. 

Commonly Asked Questions

What can I do if I can’t get my mattress outside into the sun?

If you can’t get your mattress outside, you can still deodorize your mattress.

As long as you create a steady breeze by opening your window or turning on a fan, you can leave it on your bed frame and apply the water-vinegar mixture and the baking soda in stages, first one side and then the other.

Make sure you allow time for your mattress to dry before moving to the next step.

What should I do if my mattress still has a mildew smell after I have cleaned it?

If your mattress still has a strong mildew smell after cleaning it, you may have mildew inside your mattress itself.

At that point, the mildew has taken hold, and the best thing to do is to buy a new mattress.


I hope you have enjoyed learning how to get mildew smell out of your mattress.

Removing the mildew smell is easy as long as you have some time and a few natural household deodorizers.

You can now sleep comfortably on a fresh-smelling mattress without having to worry about a mildew smell.