Do Latex Mattresses Grow Mold?

October 28, 2022

Do Latex Mattresses Grow Mold?

Mold is the homeowner’s and renter’s worst nightmare. Mold can be difficult to spot and harder to get rid of. It can cause a number of serious health problems at its worst, and it is irritating and can cause allergies at its best. Most people look out for mold in their bathrooms, attics, basements, and kitchens, but fewer are aware that mold can take hold in your bedroom and mattress as well.

Not only can mold in your bedroom and mattress directly cause health problems, but it can disrupt your sleep, putting both your mind and body in a worse position. Plus, think about how much time you spend in your bedroom just sleeping. So, if there’s mold in your bedroom, you're likely getting a lot of exposure to it.

One of the places that mold can take root in the bedroom is in your bed. Mold can ruin a mattress, and make sleep disruptive. Furthermore, if there’s mold in the bed you sleep in every night, your exposure to it is going to be very high, which means your chances of having adverse health effects from the mold are also higher.

If you're considering a latex mattress for your next purchase, you may be wondering, “Do latex mattresses grow mold?” In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about mold as related to mattresses, and more specifically, latex mattresses.

What is Mold?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines mold as a fungal growth that forms and spreads on organic and decaying matter. There are many different kinds of mold species, and each creates different colored molds. Mold is commonly referred to as mildew, which is found both indoors and outdoors throughout the year, in different seasons and climates, although they prefer warmer temperatures and higher levels of humidity.

In order to grow, mold requires organic material that provides it with carbon. Outdoors, you can find mold growing on fallen leaves, on plants, or in the soil. Indoors, mold is mostly found on moist surfaces that provide it with the carbon it needs to form.

How does Mold Form?

As we mentioned, mold requires two things to form and grow: moisture and organic materials (in other words, carbon-based matter). Therefore, any place that meets these two criteria (especially places with moderate temperatures) can potentially harbor mold.

How does Mold Spread?

Mold spreads through spores in the air. The air we live and breathe in every day is packed with mold spores, many of which are completely harmless. It is impossible to entirely eliminate mold spores from indoor spaces; even the cleanest spaces, like operating rooms, have mold spores to some degree. Mold releases spores into the air, and when it lands on an organic surface that has excess moisture, it is in the perfect environment to grow and spread, forming new mold colonies.

How does Mold Affect Your Health?

While most strains of mold are harmless, there are many species of mold that have been shown to be harmful to human health. Luckily, only a few of these toxic molds are found in homes. In addition, some people are more sensitive to mold than others, and may have more serious reactions to spores in the air. Furthermore, sleeping on a mattress with mold can lead to increased exposure, which may make the health effects even worse.

When touched or inhaled, mold can cause different kinds of reactions, such as irritation, allergic reactions, and toxic effects. Below, we’ll go over the most common impacts of mold on human health.

  • Skin irritation, redness, and rash
  • Red, itchy eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Sinus congestion
  • Sinus infection
  • Runny nose
  • Blurred vision
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Sore throat
  • Fevers
  • Pneumonia
  • Bronchitis
  • Asthma attacks
  • Achy joints
  • Fatigue
  • Depression

People with a weakened immune system or underlying health problems are at risk for more severe symptoms like fevers, chronic lung illnesses, and shortness of breath. Furthermore, children exposed to mold have an increased risk of developing asthma.

How Mold Affects Your Sleep

As we discussed, harmful molds aren’t just bad for your health, they can also be detrimental to your sleep, which can lead to other health problems. In one research study, researchers found a link between household molds and increased sleep problems, including excessive daytime fatigue, insomnia, and snoring. A different study found that almost 5,000 adults who reported mold-related odors also had increased rates of sleep disturbances.

Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis, also referred to as hay fever, is an allergic reaction that occurs when you breathe in something that you are allergic to. Common symptoms include sneezing and nasal congestion.

While allergic rhinitis is commonly associated with pollen, pet dander, and dust, mold is a known cause of hay fever. In addition to the symptoms listed above, allergic rhinitis has been linked to many sleep problems, including obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia, restless sleep, and snoring.

Mold in the Bedroom

Even the cleanest and tidiest of bedrooms can foster mold. While cleanliness does help, there is no guarantee that mold will not be able to get in and grow, and then spread to your mattress. Mold can grow on many different surfaces, but it favors porous and natural materials like wood, cardboard, paper, and ceiling tiles. In addition, mold can be very difficult to spot, because it can grow inside other surfaces like behind wallpaper or insulation.

Common Causes of Mold in the Bedroom

While there’s nothing you can do to completely eliminate any possibility of mold growth, there are things that increase your chances of getting mold in the bedroom. Most importantly, moisture.

Sources of Moisture in the Bedroom

Moisture can get into the bedroom in a number of ways. For example, leaky pipes, windows, and roofs can all lead to excess moisture. In addition, flooding, or simply spilling water and not cleaning it up in time, can provide the perfect environment for mold to form.

In addition to these obvious sources of moisture, there are more covert ways that moisture can seep into your bedroom. For example, if your bedroom isn’t properly ventilated, humidity and condensation can build up, which can also lead to mold growth.

Signs of Mold in the Bedroom

It’s important to know what the signs of mold are, and what conditions allow for mold, so that you can fix them before the problem gets worse. Remember to look out for the following conditions:

  • Condensation on windows
  • A damp or humid closet
  • A strange, musty odor
  • Signs of water damage: cracking paint, dark stains on the wall or ceiling

Make sure to look at the corners of your bedroom and behind furniture where there is little ventilation, and a higher chance for condensation and moisture to build up.

Mattress Mold

If you have mold in the bedroom, the last thing you want is for it to spread to your mattress. While mold in the bedroom may lead to mattress mold, especially if you have a memory foam mattress, it’s important to note that mold can start growing in the mattress before there are any signs of mold in the rest of your bedroom or house.

How Mold Forms in Mattresses

Mold loves organic material and moisture, and some mattresses are more susceptible to mold than others. For example, memory foam mattresses are more susceptible to mold than other types of mattresses, like innerspring mattresses. This is because memory foam mattresses hold trapped moisture well, and often lay flat on the ground or mattress foundation.

Furthermore, if you are a hot sleeper, and tend to sweat during the night, you have a higher chance of developing mold in the bed. Likewise, if you drink (and spill) water, or are prone to incontinence, your mattress will also have a higher chance of developing mold.

The last thing you want is for mold to grow in your mattress. Sleeping on it will expose you to lots of spores throughout the night, which will trigger reactions from allergies to more serious ones like fevers. Furthermore, removing mold from a bed can be difficult, as mold may not only be on the surface of the mattress, but inside it as well.

How to Remove Mold from a Mattress

1. Wear personal protective gear, and open your windows to improve air quality.

Wear eye protection, rubber hospital gloves, and a mask to reduce your exposure to mold spores while you’re cleaning. Also, opening your windows, or using an air purifier will help to reduce the number of spores in your bedroom while you clean the mattress.

2. Remove and wash bedding.

Remove your sheets, pillows and pillowcases, mattress protector, mattress cover, and any other bedding from the bed. Wash it in the hottest water that the fabric allows with a disinfectant, like pine oil disinfectant or chlorine bleach. Then, dry the bedding at high heat to kill any leftover mold in the bedding. Cleaning the mattress without eliminating all of the molds in the bedding will just give it a chance to spread back to the mattress after the mold is removed.

3. Vacuum the mattress.

Use a high-powered vacuum with a hose and upholstery brush. Vacuum all sides of the mattress thoroughly, even where you don’t see any mold. Turn the mattress over to vacuum the underside, and look for additional mold growth. When you’re finished, take the vacuum outside, and empty the bag into a trash bag. Tightly seal it, and throw it away to ensure that no spores get back into your home.

4. Treat the mold.

Mix a 50:50 solution of isopropyl alcohol and water to kill the mold. Gently rub the surface of the mattress with a clean cloth that is soaked in the solution to remove all mold residue. Once you’ve treated an area and all signs of the mold are gone, rinse it with a clean cloth and water.

5. Sanitize the fabric.

Fabric sanitizers prevent the growth of mold for a period of time. Use a fabric sanitizing spray over the surface of the mattress to prevent any leftover mold from growing.

6. Let the mattress dry.

Dry the mattress by placing it in direct sunlight and running a circulating fan over it.

How to Prevent Mattress Mold

While the steps described above will work for removing mold from the surface of a mattress, if the mold has spread to the core of the mattress, you will not be able to save it. Therefore, it’s important to take steps before the mold ever forms to prevent it from getting there in the first place.

Improve circulation.

Poor circulation allows humidity to build up in your bedroom. Therefore, regularly air out your room, use a window or standing fan to cycle air out, or use a whole house fan to clear out the air in your bedroom.

Reduce humidity.

Keep an eye out for high humidity levels in your room. If you have a bathroom next to your bedroom, make sure to run the bathroom fan to clear out any steam after a shower. Also, use a dehumidifier in your bedroom to keep humidity levels down.

Use an air purifier.

Air purifiers are great at filtering out the air and catching mold spores before they get a chance to form a new colony on your mattress or in your bedroom.

Get the right mattress!

Some mattresses are more prone to mold than others. For example, a memory foam mattress is particularly susceptible, while latex mattresses are mold resistant.

Do Latex Mattresses Prevent Mold Growth?

Natural latex mattresses are known for their durability, pressure point relief, support, and non-toxicity. However, what about mold - do latex mattresses prevent mold growth?

Yes, unlike memory foam mattresses, latex mattresses do prevent mold growth. Natural latex mattresses are known for their natural antimicrobial properties, which actively work at preventing mold and mildew from taking hold within the bed, and starting a colony.

How does it Work?

You may have heard that natural latex mattresses are antimicrobial. They are great at preventing dust mites from taking hold and causing allergic reactions, and the same goes for mold.

  • First of all, natural latex is antimicrobial, which means its naturally resistant to dust mites and mold. Because mold requires a suitable habitat to form and spread, and a natural latex foam mattress is an unsuitable environment, it prevents mold from taking root.
  • Secondly, natural latex mattresses are known for their natural airflow. Unlike memory foam, natural latex foam allows air to easily pass through the mattress, improving airflow and circulation, and making it difficult for mold to thrive. Also, proper ventilation allows for moisture trapped within the mattress to easily evaporate and leave the mattress, rather than build up and provide an environment for mold to colonize.

While natural latex mattresses are resistant to mold and dust mites, they are not immune to either. In most bedroom environments, your natural latex mattress will not grow mold. However, if your bedroom is extremely warm and humid, your mattress may develop mold. Therefore, it’s important to regularly clean your bedding, ventilate your room, and keep humidity levels low.

In addition, it’s always a good idea to use a mattress protector to prevent moisture from sweat and spills from getting into your mattress.

Eco Terra Hybrid Latex Mattress

If you’re looking for a new mattress, and considering a latex mattress, we urge you to check out Eco Terra’s Hybrid Latex Mattress. This mattress is handcrafted in the US with pure, 100% natural latex foam, and a fabric-encased coil core. It comes in a soft, breathable mattress cover made from certified organic cotton and organic wool that is excellent at wicking away moisture, and keeping the mattress dry. These hybrid mattresses give you the benefits of both an innerspring and natural latex mattress in one bed.

This mattress is extremely supportive and luxurious, and it uses OEKO-TEX Standard 100 Certified 100% natural Talalay latex from sustainable growers. Other mattress manufacturers like to boast about their natural latex, but few use 100% natural latex in their beds, and instead use a mix of synthetic and natural latex to save money. You can rest assured with Eco Terra that all of the latex is 100% natural, and harvested from rubber trees to provide ultimate comfort, sustainability, and support to our customers.

In addition, we offer a 90-night trial for our hybrid mattresses, which includes both free shipping and free returns. You can choose between Medium and Medium-Firm, so both firm and soft mattress lovers can find exactly what they need. Get better sleep, and don’t worry about mold with our 100% natural latex mattress!

Patrick Gunther

Patrick is an accomplished writer. He has been in the retail mattress space for the past 13 years, and more specifically in the natural mattress niche. He blogs on the subjects of natural mattresses, sleep, health, fitness, and green living.