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Why Do Foams Have an Odor?

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We come into contact with foam every day. Be it in the shape of mattresses, pillows, floor covering, or the interior of a car, foam is everywhere. It’s comfortable and can be tossed around without worrying that it will break. It is uber portable, and most travel pillows are made with foam. The foam pillow is also very durable, I have been using it for the past 5 years, and I cannot imagine life without it.

But we’re not here to talk about foams and how great they are. We are here to address their number one problem: their odor. Imagine purchasing a new foam product, for instance, a memory foam pillow. You are satisfied with the pillow you have seen in the store or online, and you ask the sales staff to pack one up for you. You’re buzzing with excitement on the way home, desperate to rest your tired head on the soft pillow. Now, the moment is here. You take the pillow out. But what hits you is not how soft it is but how bad it smells. You feel let down as all your excitement turns into disappointment.

So, why does foam smell?

Now, questions flood your brain. The first and most important being: why does foam have an odor? Well, I have got the answer for you. Foam is an artificial product. Different chemicals are combined together to give foam its feel and texture. Some of these chemicals are volatile organic compounds, and when they break down, they give off-gas. This gives rise to an important question.

Are foam odors safe?

However, this is nothing to be afraid of. While off-gassing from volatile organic compounds may be dangerous, the amount of these chemicals in foams are so low that they virtually cause no harm. Like every chemical, these too vanish over time, usually in 2-3 days. However, in some poor-quality foams, the smell may remain for a few weeks.

Foams, especially memory foams, have become significantly popular in the past decade. Most people have had no health problems sleeping on memory foam. While there are some bad eggs, the product is generally safe. Furthermore, there are new certifications that customers can use to identify the best quality, least off-gassing, healthy foams.

Well, what are foam certifications?

The most important one is CertiPUR-US, a U.S.-based agency that tests foams for their contents, emissions, and durability at independent laboratories. The rigorous testing process includes analysis of the foam twice in its first year of production followed by re-certification every year. The CertiPUR-US team also organizes random production factory visits to make sure producers are adhering to set standards. 

All the range at Mobius is CertiPUR-US certified, making sure that your sleep is undeterred and healthy. 

You may view our products by following this link: https://foammfg.com/product/

How to ensure foam does not off-gas?

While certification is the most reliable method of ensuring the foam you purchase is hygienic, there are other ways of ensuring that foam does not off-gas. Below we have compiled the top 5 such methods for your perusal:

1. Remove plastic covering immediately.

remove plastic

The first thing you should do after purchasing a foam product is to remove its plastic wrapping immediately. This allows a channel for the off-gassing to escape the foam. If you are transporting the product and it is necessary to keep it wrapped, you may poke a few holes into the plastic wrap. This will allow the off-gassed air to escape too.

2. Put the foam product in a well-ventilated room.

open window make it well ventilated

If odor from foam persists, it should be placed in a well-ventilated room. The ceiling fan (if available) should be powered on while all windows should be opened. It is recommended that this process be carried out for 24 hours.

3. Baking soda and vacuum method. 

mattress cleaning process. man cleans bed from dirt and bacteria

Baking soda absorbs odor from various textiles. Simply sprinkle the baking soda over foam in a well-ventilated room. Let it rest for approximately 6 to 8 hours. Once done, dust the baking soda away by shaking the foam vigorously. After that, grab a hand vacuum and remove the small layers of soda on the surface and crevices of the foam. Finally, proceed to give it a final brush. The built-in brush that comes along with hand vacuums will work perfectly. 

4. Apply different sprays. 

apply different sprays

Enzyme sprays are useful odor agents that will not only remove the smell of foams but also give it a natural air it. They are powerful and are mostly used for the removal of stronger odors, so one must apply the spray sparingly on foams. After the first dose of spraying, the foam must be given an hour to let the fragrance settle in. If the smell persists, apply a second dose. 

Homemade vinegar sprays can also be used to remove foam odor. Put a mixture of vinegar and water in a spraying bottle. Apply it to the foam. Leave the foam to rest for a few hours. Now, grab your trusty hand vacuum again, and thoroughly vacuum remnants of the vinegar mixture. The foam should now be good to go. 

5. Use plants

use plants

Remember the volatile organize chemicals that we discussed earlier? Well, it turns out that plants such as peace lilies, Chinese evergreens, aloe, chrysanthemum, and spider plants have the ability to absorb these chemicals, thereby purifying the gasses by foams. They also add to the aesthetic appearance of the room, allowing you to impress guests the next time they come around.


Foam odor is nothing to worry about. It is not harmful in the long term. Its smell may annoy you for a while, but, as explained, the remedies for smell removal are reasonably simple. When purchasing a foam product, be sure to view its certifications. They might be slightly more expensive than uncertified foams, but you are guaranteed every bang for your buck. Since foams, in the shape of mattresses and pillows, are something that you will use almost every day, spending more on it, in our opinion, is wholly justified. 

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