How to Dry a Wet Mattress Fast?

This research is supported by you, our readers, through our independently chosen links, which earn us a commission with no extra cost to you. Learn More

Written by: Alex Savy
Read 9 minLast updated March 18, 2021

Okay, let’s be honest: accidents happen.

You can water your plants on the window and drop the bottle on your bed. Or forget to close the window during the rain. Or, you might have a kid and a bedwetting issue.

All of these situations will leave you wondering: how to dry a wet mattress fast?

Well, you’re in the right place! This article will help you find the best way of drying the wet mattress depending on its type and construction and teaches you some ways to deal with the odors and stains.

Why It’s Important to Act Quickly?

Before we dive in, you need to know one thing:

Even the liquid that soaks into the layers of your mattress is just water, it’s still a hazard to your mattress (1).

Some materials have a spongy structure and can retain water, turning it into a breeding ground for bacteria and mold. Mold is one of the common allergens in U.S. homes and is accountable for asthma, allergies, and breathing problems.

Plus, if your mattress has metal elements, such as coils, they can rust when getting in contact with water, which results in loss of support and contouring properties, especially if you purchased a cheap mattress

So in the case of an emergency, be sure to act quickly.

Which Mattress Type is the Quickest to Dry?

If you need to dry a wet mattress fast, one of the first things to do is to look at its type. Certain construction features of your mattress can facilitate the drying or, on the contrary, can make it slower.

Here’s how the drying time depends on the mattress type. 

  • Memory foam. Super comfortable mattresses are typically made of memory foam. But their soft and sponge-like materials can also be a flaw because they easily soak up moisture. If you spill a liquid on a memory foam bed, it’s best to act quickly to prevent it from soaking into deep layers, where it will be impossible to draw out. Memory foam mattresses usually take the longest to dry and may still retain some moisture, so it’s better to encase them in a waterproof mattress protector to prevent accidents. 
  • Latex. Like memory foam, latex has a sponge-like structure. However, latex mattresses are usually denser and heavier, and the water doesn’t soak in deeper layers, which results in quicker drying time. You can use a wet-dry vacuum or absorbing agent for a latex mattress to dry it out.
  • Hybrid. Hybrid mattresses, in most cases, feature a coil unit as a core layer. Along with giving a hybrid that signature bounce, the coil layer promotes air circulation between the layers and makes it easier to dry. Plus, the coils in hybrid mattresses are usually encased in a fabric that can also absorb moisture and prevent them from rusting.
  • Innerspring. Innerspring mattresses typically have a coil core layer and a thin comfort layer. Such a simple construction facilitates drying time: you need to dry out a few inches of foam instead of a whole mattress.
  • Pillow top. Pillow top mattresses might have both coil or foam structures, which impacts their drying time. However, the pillow top is typically made of fiberfill, which is very hygroscopic and may absorb the majority of liquid, which makes it easy to dry, especially if it’s detachable.

Step-by-Step Guide for Drying a Mattress

#1 Preparations

The first thing you need to do is to minimize the amount of liquid that goes into your mattress layers. So if you spilled something on it, quickly remove the bedding — it usually takes the maximum impact.

Then, use a cotton towel, a rug, or any dry fabric to blot the excess moisture. Just press it on the spill area and then discard the liquid into a bucket. Repeat until there are no visible puddles on the mattress surface or until you aren’t feeling any excess moisture 

To collect even more liquid, you can use a wet-dry vacuum if you have it. A wet-dry vacuum is suitable for removing spills and can suck out some moisture from deeper layers. Use the cleaning brush that you normally use and vary the suction pressure until you removed all the excess.

#2 Apply the Absorbents

Another thing that might help you to dry a wet mattress fast, is absorbent agents. These are things that can draw the moisture from deeper layers and soak it in. Depending on the size of your spill, you can use the following absorbents:

  • Clean cat litter. You can use silica crystals, or cellulose granules if the spill area is big and deep. These agents can draw out large amounts of moisture and help your mattress dry more quickly. Just sprinkle a generous amount of cat litter above the spill area and let it soak. You can also cover the litter with a towel and press on it to facilitate soaking. Leave it for 2-3 hours and then vacuum the mattress.
  • Baking soda. Regular baking soda also has moisture-absorbing properties and may work for you if the area of a spill isn’t too big. The main idea is the same as with the cat litter: sprinkle the generous amount of soda on the wet area, let it sit for a couple of hours, and then vacuum a mattress.

These methods can work for every mattress type and aren’t damaging to foam and synthetic materials.

#3 Use a Hair Dryer

If the absorbent method didn’t work for you and there’s still some moisture, you can use a more direct approach and dry your mattress with a hairdryer. The hairdryer creates a direct flow of warm air that can reach deeper layers and evaporate moisture.

However, if you try to use this method, be sure to follow our recommendations:

  • Don’t set the hairdryer on the highest heat setting. You might think that using more heat is more productive, but it’s better if you blow the water out instead of trying to evaporate it. Use the low heat settings or even the cold mode to achieve that.
  • Keep the distance. If your mattress is made of memory foam, too much heat can damage it and ruin your bed. Be sure to keep at least 10 inches between the hairdryer and your mattress to minimize the negative impact.

#4 Try Airing the Mattress Out with a Fan

This method of drying a wet mattress fast works best for very big spills that can take a long time to dry with a blow-dryer.

It’s also a good method of drying an extra-firm mattress or bed with coils, which are more responsive to the governed air circulation.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Remove the mattress from the bed and place it on the side. Don’t worry, your mattress will stay like this only for a couple of hours, so it won’t get damaged.
  • Place the bottom side of the mattress against the window and open it.
  • Place the fan near the top side of the mattress — the one with a spill — and turn it on.

The open window and the working fan create a powerful stream of air, which can reach the deep layers of the mattress and help the water evaporate.

#5 Tips for Drying a Mattress Outdoors

Finally, if the weather allows, and if you can move your mattress outdoors, you can dry it there (2). The warm sun and proper airflow will not only draw the moisture out of the mattress but also kill all the dust mites and mold, so your bed may feel even fresher than before the spill!

Here are some recommendations on how to dry the mattress outdoors:

  • Set up a platform. You can use wood pellets or a couple of concrete blocks — just make sure that they’re clean. Place the mattress on a platform to ensure proper air circulation.
  • Avoid direct sunlight. The best way to dry a mattress outdoors is to place it somewhere with a warm air movement. Or, you can facilitate the drying process by using some extra fans placed around the mattress.

How to Dry an RV Mattress?

Even the best RV mattresses aren’t immune to moisture build-up or accidents and may need drying up.

So, how do you do that in the limited space of your RV truck?

Here are some tips for you:

  • If you’re drying your mattress indoors, create an airflow. Open all windows and turn your mattress on its side to facilitate drying.
  • Use a hairdryer or heater. Make sure that you use the moderate heat setting and place the hairdryer at least 10 inches away from the mattress.
  • Disinfect your mattress. RV mattresses are more prone to mildew buildup, so after you dried it out, sprinkle it with a rubbing alcohol spray from all sides and let it evaporate.

F.A.Q.

When it’s safe to dry a wet mattress?

If your mattress got wet from rain, bedwetting, pipe outburst, water spill, or an overflowed bathtub, then it will be safe to use after you dry it. However, if it got wet from sewage backup, groundwater flood, if it’s dripping wet, or if there’s mold already growing, it’s better to throw it away and get a new one.

How to remove odors from a wet mattress?

You can use rubbing alcohol solution that can evaporate odors, as well as baking soda or baby powder that can draw away moisture and urine odors pretty efficiently.

Can I dry the mattress with a heater?

You can use a heater with a fan to create a stream of warm air to dry your mattress. However, it’s best to avoid using heating elements too close to a mattress to prevent its damage.

Conclusion

We hope that this article will help you get prepared for possible accidents and repair the damage quickly. Remember to act as fast as possible and combine the different methods — for example, cat litter and a hairdryer — to achieve more efficient results.

Have you tried any of these methods? Which one gave you the best outcome? Share your feedback below!

References:

  1. Kay Wagers (n.d.) What Are the Causes of Under Mattress Moisture? Retrieved from https://www.hunker.com/12387351/what-are-the-causes-of-under-mattress-moisture
  2. Karie Lapham Fay (2018, December 27). How to Dry a Mattress Quickly? Retrieved from https://homeguides.sfgate.com/dry-mattress-quickly-50976.html

Leave a comment