Memory Foam and Odor

We often hear questions about memory foam and odor. Do memory foam mattresses have an odor? Yes, unfortunately, some do. This is especially true of the cheap memory foam mattresses, especially those from China. I have heard from some people who bought memory foam mattresses with odor so horrific that it actually made them sick. So how do you find a memory foam mattress that does not have an odor? How do you separate the stink bombs from the odor-free memory foam mattresses?

To find a memory foam mattress that does not have a bad odor, look for one that is low VOC (volatile organic compound – less than .5 parts per million).  To ensure the foams used in a memory foam mattress are low VOC, check to see if the mattress is CertiPUR-US® Certified.  A memory foam mattress that is CertiPUR-US® approved foams are:

  • Made without ozone depleters
  • Made without PBDEs, TDCPP or TCEP (“Tris”) flame retardants
  • Made without mercury, lead and other heavy metals
  • Made without formaldehyde
  • Made without phthalates regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission
  • Low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) emissions for indoor air quality (less than 0.5 parts per million)

If a mattress is CertiPUR-US® certified, that will usually be displayed prominently in the mattress’ description.  If a memory foam mattress claims to be CertiPUR-US® certified, you can check on the company by going directly to CertiPUR’s website at  Understand that these are the companies with CertiPUR-US® certified foams.  That does not mean every product the company sells is CertiPUR-US® certified. If you see that the mattress model you are interested in is not listed as CertiPUR-US certified, but its manufacturer is, that particular mattress likely is not made with certified foams.

Most new products, including new memory foam mattresses, will have a slight odor when you first receive them (think “new car smell”), but there is a difference between “new car smell” and an odorous product that stinks or even makes you sick.  Choosing only CertiPUR-US® certified foams will ensure you have the safest, highest quality foams available.

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