Posted on by Amber Merton

Do Latex Mattresses Smell? - PlushBeds

Whereas innerspring and memory foam used to be two of the most popular types of mattresses, more people are opting for latex mattresses due to their significant benefits, many of which you can’t find with other types of mattresses. Latex mattresses provide pressure relief, support, and comfort that other mattresses can’t match. All the while, they are also antimicrobial and extremely durable, which allows buyers to own their latex mattresses longer than they would with memory foam or innerspring mattresses.

While the benefits of sleeping on a latex mattress are clear, concerns naturally surface as latex mattresses become more popular, and more people consider buying one. It’s important to note that there is no mattress out there that meets everybody’s individual needs; however, latex mattresses are great for supporting many different body types and sleep preferences.

One concern that many people have about latex mattresses is whether or not they smell. Believe it or not, the answer to this question depends on different factors, so it is not an easy yes or no. Read on to learn more about latex mattresses, and how to find a high-quality latex mattress that has a mild new mattress smell.

What is a Latex Mattress?

A latex mattress is a mattress that is made up of latex foam. Latex foam is known for being bouncy, responsive, supportive, and providing pressure point relief. Furthermore, it is breathable, durable, and antimicrobial.

Synthetic Latex vs. Natural Latex

There is a big difference between synthetic and natural latex. Synthetic latex and natural latex each have different qualities, and the type of latex you purchase may contribute to whether or not your mattress smells. So, if you’re considering a latex mattress for your next purchase, pay attention to what the mattress manufacturer says about the type of latex they use.

Synthetic Latex

Synthetic latex is an artificial latex that is petroleum-based, and made with Styrene-Butadiene Rubber (SBR). Synthetic latex is generally considered lower quality than natural latex because it is less healthy, cheaper to make, and less durable and elastic.

However, synthetic latex still maintains similar air circulation and cooling properties as natural latex, and should support your body and provide pressure relief. Some synthetic latex mattresses may also be hypoallergenic, and resistant to dust mites and mold, but they are less effective in this regard when compared to natural latex.

Natural Latex

Natural latex mattresses are made from natural latex sap that is harvested from rubber trees. This sap is then processed, and turned into natural latex foam. Natural latex is extremely durable, supportive, and responsive. It is also known to be very breathable, which is great for hot sleepers. It is also hypoallergenic. Similar to memory foam mattresses, natural latex contours the shape of the body; however, there are still many differences between these two types of mattresses. In addition, latex is excellent at distributing weight across the mattress while you sleep.

Furthermore, natural latex is eco-friendly, non-toxic, and an all-around better option than synthetic latex. However, it may come with a higher price tag.

Talalay Latex vs. Dunlop Latex

Talalay latex and Dunlop latex are both two types of natural latex. They differ only in the methods of harvesting the sap from the latex rubber trees, and the processing of the sap. While both Talalay latex and Dunlop latex are great options for any sleeper, there are small differences between the two.

For example, Dunlop latex is considered to be slightly more durable and springy, whereas sleeping on a Talalay latex is usually described as “floating on a cloud”, due to its lightweight feel. That being said, both types of latex can come in different levels of firmness, so how soft or firm either type depends on the level of firmness you select.

Blended Latex

Blended latex is a mix of synthetic and natural latex. Some mattress manufacturers will trick consumers by using labels like “made with natural latex”, or other labels that make it seem like it’s all-natural when really it’s a blend of synthetic and natural latex. Blended latex is usually considered higher quality than pure synthetic latex, but we recommend always buying natural latex.

Why do Some Mattresses Smell?

If you’ve ever unpacked a new mattress, you’ve probably noticed an odor. The smell of any given mattress can vary, but it is usually connected to the materials that make up the mattress. Furthermore, some mattresses, specifically synthetic foam mattresses, may have a strong odor that lasts for a long period of time. This is often due to what is called off gassing, where the mattress is emitting particles into the air that have an odor.

So, what about latex mattresses; do they smell?

Do Latex Mattresses Smell?

Yes, latex mattresses do smell. So, if you’ve just opened up your new latex mattress, and detected an odor, this is completely normal. On the other hand, if you’re considering buying latex, and wondering about the smell, read on to learn more.

Why do Latex Mattresses Smell?

Latex mattresses smell because they are made from the sap of rubber trees, and if you’ve ever smelled rubber before, you know it smells. However, how much the latex mattress smells depends largely on the drying process, and the quality of the rubber used. Higher-quality latex is made from higher-quality rubber sap, which smells less than lower-quality rubber sap. So the lower the quality of the mattress, the more it will smell. Another factor that influences the smell of the latex mattress is whether or not heat, i.e., thermal degradation, was used during the processing. This process enhances the fragrance of the latex.

Because of these factors, most latex mattresses have a smell to some degree when you first open them. Removing the smell during manufacturing is currently impossible, so an initial smell is a price of buying a new latex mattress. Furthermore, most people aren’t bothered by the smell, but we can’t speak for everyone, as everyone reacts differently to different smells. It’s also important to note that regardless of what type of mattress you buy, it will probably have some type of smell right after you open it, although the type of mattress will likely affect the odor it emits.

What does a New Latex Mattress Smell Like?

The smell of a new latex mattress depends largely on the quality of the latex and the type of latex used. For example, the smell of natural latex may be different than the smell of synthetic latex.

Natural and Organic Latex Mattresses

Natural and organic latex mattresses are made from nontoxic chemicals, and natural materials that generally lend to a more pleasant smell than synthetic latex mattresses. During processing, the original odor of the latex is lessened, and some people describe the odor as a sweet and pleasant vanilla-like smell. Even citing the smell of the mattress was an additional reason that helped them make the decision to buy it.

Furthermore, you may notice that organic latex mattresses have a more mild and more pleasant smell than other natural latex mattresses. If you’re looking for an organic and natural latex foam mattress, look for mattresses that are certified by the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS).

If you’ve ever smelled a new polyurethane foam mattress, or memory foam mattresses, you will find that the smell of a natural latex mattress is much milder, and the fragrance is less offensive. This is because both memory foam and poly foam mattresses off gas a chemical smell that is toxic.

Synthetic Latex Mattresses

Synthetic latex mattresses emit a stronger odor than natural latex. The materials used to manufacture the synthetic latex mattress play a large part in creating the smell of the mattress, so the degree to which synthetic mattresses smell, and their specific odor, can vary. For example, some synthetic latex mattresses may have a rubbery smell that is similar to natural latex, or they could have a chemical smell like poly foam.

Is Mattress Odor Toxic?

A concern when buying any type of mattress is whether or not it’s toxic. Some mattresses, for example, release harmful chemicals known as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), that are toxic. This is most common with synthetic mattresses like memory foam and poly foam that are known for off gassing. In addition, some mattress manufacturers may add chemical masking agents to their mattresses to disguise the unpleasant odor of their mattresses. These chemical masking agents can also be harmful to your health. Therefore, the lack of odor is not necessarily an indicator that the mattress is nontoxic.

On the other hand, a mattress that does have an odor does not mean it is toxic.

Are Latex Mattresses Toxic?

Natural latex mattresses are made of non-toxic latex foam, and do not off gas VOCs. Because latex mattresses use the natural sap from the rubber tree, it does not include synthetic compounds that are used to make synthetic latex foam. Therefore, the odor from a natural latex mattress should not be toxic.

That being said, it’s important to go the extra step when buying a natural latex mattress, and look for an organic latex mattress. This ensures that in addition to the core and foam of the mattress, no harmful chemicals like toxic glues or fire retardants are included in the construction of the mattress.

While natural and organic latex mattresses are nontoxic, synthetic latex mattresses are often toxic to some degree. They’re known for off gassing quite a bit, due to the chemical agents used in their manufacturing. So, if you’re considering a synthetic latex mattress to save some money, consider a natural latex mattress instead. It will support your health and the health of the environment if you do.

How to Eliminate and Prevent Natural Latex Mattress Smells

As we mentioned, there is no such thing as a completely odor-free latex mattress. However, there are some steps to take before you buy your mattress to reduce the smell, and some things you can do after purchasing the bed to further eliminate any remaining smells.

How to Prevent Latex Mattress Smell

1. Choose the Right Latex Mattress

Some latex mattresses smell more than others. Therefore, choose a Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) certified mattress to ensure that it is made from organic, natural materials.

This will result in a mattress that has a milder and more pleasant odor.

2. Choose the Right Mattress Protector

Choose a bed cover or mattress protector that is made from organic cotton or organic wool, to reduce the smell, and ensure that you are sleeping on a safe and healthy mattress protector.

3. Avoid Mattresses with Chemical Glues

Chemical glues and adhesives will add to the odor of the bed, and can last long after purchase. Therefore, look for mattresses that are made without glues to avoid a stinky mattress.

4. Use a Reputable, and High-Quality Manufacturer

Ensure that whichever brand you choose, the manufacturer makes their mattresses from only high-quality foams that are washed and cured before being sold. This should drastically reduce the rubbery smell of the mattress.

5. Ask for a Sample

If you’re particularly smell-sensitive, and concerned about the offensive odor, ask the manufacturer for a sample, so you can test it out yourself. In addition, you can ask the manufacturer to air out the mattress prior to shipping, so it won’t be as strong when you receive it. Additionally, make sure you go with a company that provides a trial period, so that you can return your mattress if the smell doesn’t dissipate.

How to Reduce the Smell After Purchase

1. Air it Out!

Before you sleep on your mattress, air it out in a room with open windows for a couple of days to allow the smell to dissipate. Then, if the smell persists while you sleep on it, remove all of the bedding during the day to air it out even more.

2. Apply Pressure to It

Apply pressure to the bed by walking on it, or rolling on it, to allow the smell to surface and dissipate into the air.

3. Baking Soda Wash

Follow these steps to eliminate any lingering smell in your mattress:

1. Strip all of the sheets off of your bed.
2. Thoroughly vacuum the surface of your mattress.
3. Sprinkle baking soda over every inch of your bed.
4. Let it sit for as long as you can (at least 6 hours). The longer it sits, the more it will deodorize your mattress.
5. Vacuum the baking soda up. You should notice that the smell is significantly reduced.

4.  Return It

If the smell persists for weeks, and you can’t get a good night’s sleep, consider returning the mattress before the trial period is up, and opting for a different mattress company. The mattress world is packed full of different manufacturers, so just because you don’t like one latex mattress, it doesn’t mean you won’t find any that you like.


If you’re looking for a high-quality, natural, certified-organic latex mattress, look no further than PlushBeds. At PlushBeds, we offer a wide range of luxuriously comfortable, supportive, and safe mattresses to ensure that all of our customers get a good night’s sleep every night. Because our latex mattresses are Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) certified, you can rest assured that the natural latex is completely safe, has little odor, and is of the highest quality. Click here to browse our selection of high-quality mattresses, and sleep soundly every night!

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