How to Air Out a Mattress

Two Methods:Airing the MattressPlanning When to Air the Mattress

Airing your mattress regularly is a crucial but often neglected aspect of home care. Mattresses which are aired regularly have fewer allergens and germs than mattresses which are not aired. Airing can be done indoors or outdoors, and can be easily integrated into your home cleaning routine. Cleaning your mattress can be done in concert with other housecleaning tasks or separately. Airing the mattress is possible in almost all weather, and even winter airing can result in reducing dust and nasty bed bugs.

Method 1
Airing the Mattress

  1. Image titled Air Out a Mattress Step 1
    Pull off all the bed linen and let the mattress breathe. Remove all clothing, sheets and even pillows from the mattress so that it is completely open to the air. If possible, open all windows and allow the sun to shine on the mattress through the window.
    • When the sun shines on the mattress, it will naturally purge it of many germs and bacteria.
    • This is the ideal time to wash your sheets and other bedding as necessary. A recommended washing time is weekly for sheets and pillowcases and quarterly for blankets and heavier bedding items.
    • Wash the mattress cover monthly to quarterly, depending on how dirty it appears.
  2. Image titled Air Out a Mattress Step 2
    Vacuum the mattress. With the mattress exposed to the fresh air, run your vacuum over the mattress to gather any dust which may have accumulated on it. You need not vacuum every time you air the mattress, but a weekly or monthly vacuuming will help to remove dust and dust mites. With the mattress vacuumed, air will more easily flow over and through the mattress, and you will reduce the amount of time needed to air it.
  3. Image titled Air Out a Mattress Step 3
    Get a friend to help lift the mattress. You will be unable to easily maneuver your mattress outside yourself. In order to get it through your house and outside, enlist the aid of an able-bodied friend. Air the mattress outdoors as often as you have time for, but aim for once or twice a year. Get help moving it to a dry, clean spot outdoors. Make sure it is a sunny out, whether it's winter or summer.
  4. Image titled Air Out a Mattress Step 4
    Leave the mattress in the sun to air for at least 3-4 hours.[1] Leaving it out for 6 hours or more is preferable. Don't leave the mattress out in the evening air or it will become damp. Return it to the bedroom before the sun disappears.

Method 2
Planning When to Air the Mattress

  1. Image titled Air Out a Mattress Step 5
    Ensure the weather is pleasant. If you want to expose the mattress to sunlight as well as fresh air, you’ll need to wait for a sunny, warm day. Spring through fall is the best time to find a day free of rain or excessive cold. If the weather is unpleasant, you do have the option of airing the mattress indoors, but the ideal, of course, is to air it out-of-doors.
  2. Image titled Air Out a Mattress Step 6
    Choose a good time of day. You should try to let your mattress breathe for at least one hour before replacing the bedding.[2] Airing the mattress in the morning is often the preferred time because the average morning routine before going to work takes about an hour. This way, you can shower and breakfast at the same time your mattress is being aired, and replace it just before heading out the door.
    • If you work late, you might be too tired to strip the bedding and pillows from the mattress just to let it air. Late in the evening, the only thing you’ll want to do with a bed is sleep on it!
  3. Image titled Air Out a Mattress Step 7
    Air your mattress when it is new.[3] Mattresses often have a residual odor which lingers on them due to the manufacturing and packaging process. In order to minimize or eliminate this odor, the first thing you should do after stripping off its protective plastic wrapping is to let it air. While normally mattresses should air for just an hour or two, new mattresses should air for a full 24 hours because off-gassing will occur during that entire first day.[4]
  4. Image titled Air Out a Mattress Step 8
    Clean other bedroom components. When you air your mattress, you have to remove – at the very least -- the sheets, blankets, and pillows from the bed. If airing the mattress outside, you could remove the bed skirt easily, too. You might consider laundering these things since you’ll be removing them from the bed anyhow, and if you don’t, they’ll just be strewn haphazardly about your bedroom, crowding your bedroom walking space.
  5. Image titled Air Out a Mattress Step 9
    Decide where to air your mattress. If you live in a relatively rural environment with lots of critters like mice and raccoons, you don’t want them making your new mattress into their home.[5] Worse, they could mark it as their territory with urine or feces. In such an environment, air your mattress in doors. In an urban area, you might lack space and be obligated to air your mattress indoors as well. If you live in the suburbs, though, you’ll be able to air your mattress outside. Your backyard is the best place to air the mattress out. You could also lean it against a wall on a clean porch.
    • Urbanists whose homes have an upper-story balcony which can accommodate the mattress could consider setting it up there if they want to air it outside.
  6. Image titled Air Out a Mattress Step 10
    Choose a good environment in which to air the mattress. You can air the mattress outside or inside. If airing inside, all you have to do after stripping the bed of linens is to open the window(s). For added purification, introduce plants into the bedroom. Plants purify the air naturally and will ensure the air your mattress is exposed to is as fresh as can be.[6]
    • If airing outside, ensure the spot you’re setting the mattress on is free of puddles or wetness, and will not be exposed to dripping water or precipitation. Find a place which is clean and dry for the mattress to stand. You should try to lean the mattress against a wall or vertical beam, either on its end or on its side. In this way, the maximum amount of area possible will be exposed to the air.
    • If airing outside, find a place where the sun can touch the mattress as well. [7] If necessary, place a tarp between the mattress and the ground. A wet mattress will encourage mold.


  • Use a mattress liner to protect the mattress against spills and stains. Breathable but liquid-tight mattress pads are preferable.


  • Don't eat in bed except for rare occasions like when you are ill. Crumbs encourage bugs to move in, and stains can result from spills.

Sources and Citations

Article Info

Featured Article

Categories: Featured Articles | Bedding and Mattress Care