How Long for Mattress VOCs to Offgas?

Jul 13, 2015

In a previous blog post, I established that Casper and Tuft & Needle foam mattress VOCs were very high in the packaging and that they should be opened outdoors.  For good measure, I tested yet another manufacturer’s product… Nest Bedding’s Love Bed.  I got the same results as with the other manufacturers:

What do all these videos prove?  They demonstrate that foam mattresses shipped straight to your home should be opened outdoors and allowed to air out.  But that begs the question, “For how long should they air out?”

To test that question, I did a “backyard” experiment after testing the Nest Bedding mattress.  I pressed my VOC measuring device (ppbRAE 3000 photoionization detector) right up against the mattress.  The video below shows what happened over the next 24 hours:

So as you can see in the video above, it’s important to not only open your mattress outdoors, but let it air out also.  The vast majority of VOC emission occurs in the first hour, and drops considerably after a day.   The mattress will continue to off gas at a much lower rate for an unknown amount of time, which is true of all furniture, finishes and building materials.

For a frame of reference, I let my foam mattresses air out for 2 days before bringing them indoors.  Once inside, I kept the windows open in the bedroom for a week as weather allowed.  If you are chemically sensitive, consider letting your foam mattress air out for even longer (or skip foam altogether).

These backyard experiments have lots of limitations. Nevertheless, they demonstrate that independent tests should be carried out in the mattress industry. I hope this message doesn’t fall on deaf ears. Share this blog post and pass on the message!