How to Dry a Mattress Correctly

NOTE: If you use a mattress protector and /or encasement, this will not be a problem.

If you are asking how to dry a mattress chances are you've had a spill or a burst pipe or a flood. There is little that can cause as much damage to a mattress as water or other liquid being spilled and absorbed into the bedding.

A wet mattress provides the perfect environment for mold and mildew to flourish. This can quickly lead to odors that reach far beyond the mattress and to an unhealthy environment.

Wetness may be nothing more than a glass that was spilled by accident but can also be a leaky roof, water damage from a fire or an overall dampness caused by a flooded house even though the mattress itself was not immersed in water.

The first thing to learn about how to dry a mattress is that time is critical if you are to have any chance of success. Bacteria breeds quickly in a wet mattress and the bedding will quickly become unhealthy and stuffing inside will begin to decompose.

A mattress that has been immersed in water may not be salvageable. However, if you are able to start drying the mattress immediately it's worth a try. Blot up as much of the liquid as possible. Layers of paper towels can absorb significant moisture when pressed into a wet mattress.

If the mattress is new and expensive and has been saturated with water, the best path is to call a professional restoration company. Such professionals can dry and recondition your mattress. The cost can be high but may be considerably less than purchasing a new product.

Professional Restoration Companies

These professional restoration companies are the best choice if the wet mattress was exposed to large amounts of water from flooding. The process they use dries the bedding quickly and they clean and sterilize it as well.

Even a small home fire can cause water from firefighters to soak your mattress even when there is no smoke or fire damage to your bed. A restoration service is the only choice in this instance as they have processes to dry the mattress quickly and also to remove any smoke odors that are so easily absorbed by the mattress padding.

If the problem is a spilled glass of water or a leaky roof you can blot up excess liquid with paper towels or bath towels and then remove the mattress to the outdoors to allow the sun to dry it.

If the weather does not allow outdoor drying turn fans on the spot and keep them running at high speed. If placing the mattress outdoors try to allow the air to circulate over as much of the mattress surface - top and bottom - as possible.

It is better to place the mattress outside on a series of trestles or supports rather than on a large flat surface that keeps air from circulating or requires you to frequently turn the heavy mattress. You can also use a fan when drying the mattress outdoors to speed up the drying process.

For a very wet mattress you can use cat litter to absorb some of the excess moisture. This method works on a spot that is very wet as well. Place the clean cat litter on the spot and apply pressure to help the litter absorb the moisture.


Vacuum off the wet litter with a shop vac and reapply if needed. Allow the litter to sit on the surface for an hour or two and then replace it with new dry litter if moisture is still present. After the mattress is totally dry, vacuum well to remove any residue or dust left by the cat litter.

A shop vacuum that can be used for cleaning up liquids can remove quite a bit of excess moisture from the mattress. Do not use a standard household vacuum as this will expose you to electrical shock and ruin the vacuum cleaner as well.

For smaller wet spots an easy way to dry a mattress is to use your hair dryer. Remember that fabric may feel dry when it has been warmed by the air dryer but if the wetness is beneath the surface of the mattress you will need to use the dryer or fans until the mattress is totally dry.


There is little that will destroy a mattress as quickly as liquids. If your entire mattress is wet or heavily damp, consider using a professional restoration company to dry and sanitize it.

For spills or for a mattress that has become damp due to absorbing excess humidity in the air, the best option is to remove the bedding to the outdoors where the heat of the sun can dry and sanitize it.

Fans can be used to create cross currents of air to dry the fabric and padding and using a fan outdoors in conjunction with the heat of the sun is also an option.

Use paper towels or cat litter spread over the wet surface to quickly blot up as much excess water as possible.