How to Get the Musty Smell Out of Camp Mattresses

Musty odorYou know the smell -- It's that musty smell that doesn't let up regardless of whether you're using your camp mattresses in cabins or you're storing them in a shed.

Mattresses seem to get musty no matter what. The important thing is knowing how to get rid of those musty odors on your camp mattresses when you notice them.

And because we're your mattress experts, we, of course, have some tips. Here’s what you need to know to get that musty smell out of your camp or facility mattresses.


What doesn't work

Sometimes knowing what not to do is just as important as knowing what you should do. So first, let's discuss the things to avoid when you're trying to remove that musty smell from your camp mattresses.

  • Immersing them in water. While the camp mattresses from American Bedding are waterproof, they're not designed to be submerged in water. Not only will dunking them fail to remove the musty smell — it will actually make it worse! Musty smells thrive in wet environments.
  • Trapping the smell inside a mattress cover. While we fully support and recommend the use of mattress covers, these protective encasements will not act as a barrier against musty smells that already exist. However, putting a mattress cover on a fresh mattress will protect it from developing odors and also defend it against other damage such as fluid, rips, and stains.

What really works

Now that we know what won't do your musty mattresses any good, let's talk about what will.

Help, my camp mattresses are musty!

Getting that musty smell out of your mattress isn't rocket science. Here's what we recommend for musty vinyl and nylon mattresses:

  • Wipe them down with a non-bleach solution spray.
  • Dry them off with a towel. (Remember, dampness escalates the musty problem.)
  • Put them in the sun. The hotter the sun, the better because direct sunlight not only dries the mattresses, but if it's hot enough, the sun's rays can actually kill any bacteria living on your mattresses.

Prevention is the best cure

The best way to avoid musty smelling camp mattresses is to buy good quality camp mattresses in the first place. The qualities that keep your mattresses clean also keep them from getting musty. Here's what we mean:

  • Waterproof. A mattress that doesn't absorb fluids is less likely to develop a musty smell.
  • Antibacterial. A mattress that fights bacteria isn't going to retain odor-causing bacteria. 
  • Breathable. Lack of airflow causes mattresses to become musty. If your mattresses are made with breathable fabric, whether vinyl or nylon, they won't get as musty as they otherwise would. Also, make sure they're on a bed frame as opposed to sitting on the floor. This increases airflow as well. 

And that’s it! Taking the musty smell out of your camp mattress really is as easy as washing it with a non-bleach solution spray, towel drying, and leaving it in the hot sun to dry! Don’t forget that even though the remedy is simple, prevention really is the best cure for a musty smell. So be sure to buy mattresses with durable, breathable fabrics and protect new mattresses with a cover. 

Now, you're probably wondering where you can find camp mattresses with these odor-fighting qualities? Right here at American Bedding! Browse our site, request a catalog or give us a call at (800) 203-2507! We have answers to all of your camp mattress questions. Really — just try us!

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Editor's Note: This blog post was originally published on 7/18/18 & has been updated to include new information.

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