Can't the manufactures of Memory Foam mattresses do something to avoid the awful off gassing?

Seriously, mine was so bad that it gave me a migraine, caused my eyes to be swollen by morning, and gave me breathing congestion like I had a cold that would soon go away as soon as I got up and away from the mattress. Not to mention the smell was just so strong and horrible that even with all the windows open in the bedroom all day while I was at work, as soon as I opened the door the odor was just so overpowering. For the first few weeks I had to sleep on a futon in another room! And then, I had use a water proof mattress protector (which I hate using and don’t currently use) plus sleep on top of a thick comforter for a couple months until the smell finally started subsiding!

A year later I can happily say that all the smell and symptoms have pretty much totally disappeared. But I’m very close to either making a warranty claim and/or going with another model in the lineup of the brand I bought. But I really don’t think I could tolerate waiting at least six months to a year for the off gassing to subside. How can a company charge nearly $3000 for a bed that you have to put up with such non-sense? Look at any website with real user reviews of say Tempur-Pedic you have plenty of people complaining about this and a lot even returned their mattress because of it (I actually did start a process for the store I bought it from to take it back but never followed through because I liked it so much in the showroom and wanted to make it work).

Now my bed has a manufacturing date of 8 months before I received it. It comes sealed wrapped in plastic. Surely if it wasn’t “sealed” air tight for 8 months it could of been nearly finished with it’s horrendous off-gassing? So it had me thinking, especially with the prices they charge, why couldn’t a company like Tempur-Pedic build or lease a giant warehouse where they let them sit up with ventilation fans to let them air out before they hit a customers home?


It’s a good idea… It would be interesting to know if they already do that (it could be worse and they air it out to get to the level you have).

That said, it’s pretty costly… Many manufacturers will do production runs to meet demand, which may fluctuate. Trying to project demand a few months forwards, and having a warehouse with a suitable number of mattresses ready to go wouldn’t be trivial.

Now, it’s also the kind of thing a good retailer could do far easier. The problem for retailers would be that customers are fickle… And no doubt they’d have problems with customers canceling orders of mattresses inside their warehouses airing out. They’d need to make a contract that says you’ve taken possession of a mattress, even where it’s inside their facility.

It has revenue implications for either the manufacturer or retailer. A company cannot record a sale as being revenue, even if they’ve taken cash, until they deliver the product or service. Sitting on a few months revenue in inventory airing out sucks. Delivery as fast as possible means a bunch of these problems go away.

The easiest I can imagine (from my uneducated armchair quarterbacking) is a retailer that makes the sale with contracted terms that say as an optional service they will air out the mattress, and if you agree to that option then you accept delivery of the mattress the moment they remove it from its ‘new’ packaging material, and accept all of the implications that may have with respect to warranty, refund, and comfort exchange options (I.e. The time airing out may count against your time to return). There’s still a liability issue (I.e. The mattress is no longer protected, who pays if the mattress becomes soiled or damaged?- they may charge a fee to address this, or bundle it as part of their value equation.

Anyhow, one rule of business… Deliver as fast as possible. You get cash faster, revenue faster, and don’t have the liability for the merchandise. Plus, less risk the customer changes their mind.

No doubt, the foam manufacturers are aware of the complain re off gassing. So, the question at the end of the day is… Can they make more profit by doing as you suggest. What if tempurpedic said they do that, would they win more business than they would have won already? I see a ton of posts on this forum of people that want tempurpedic, but not prepared to pay the price - how many more would buy if they did that? What if they charged $500 for the service, would you pay it?

Personally if it were me, I’d invest the r&d dollars into making the initial odor pleasant smelling or not offensive in the first place, so I didn’t need to go through the costly process of doing a band-aide solution of pre airing out the chemical smell prior to delivery.

(Good ideas typically need to make someone profit or be govt legislated.)

Yea but they can also be loosing sales once people research online or ask a friend who had one. In fact, I had friends and family trying to talk me out of my purchase because they said that they had a foam mattress and slept too hot and woke up in sweat. Also, reading some reviews recently there’s a lot of complaints about the off gassing and some people returned their mattress because of it: Shopping Online at | Price Comparison Site That’s just one site and one example, I can cite plenty more if needed.

Hey dn,

Very thorough and I think accurate response as to why this process would be too costly, mattresses at the end of the day is a highly competitive business. And IMO if more people knew about the off-gasing issues that many beds have there would be more people looking to buy mattress made without the normal laundry list of chemicals.

Oh I hear you. I recently had the joy of polyfoam in a small room. It’s pretty nasty smelling.

The industry has set up CertiPUR, which is (theoretically) to ensure the safety of the materials and off gassing.

Other than that, while they might be losing sales, that’s only a bad thing if they lose more sales than the cost of changing. It’s a pet peev of mine - everyone thinks this company or that should do something ‘better’ without addressing the question of how do they make money at it. If there’s a way to make money, it’s a great idea… If it’s just a cost then you’re just asking the company to voluntarily donate some portion of its profits to you because you think it’s a good idea / the product will be that much better… It’s just not going to happen.

I actually find tempurpedic a novel case study… They have a fleet of competitors all claiming to have made the same product (or nearly compatible). They are supporting an industry of “me too” companies, who all advertise how cheap their prices are vs tempurpedic. Those same companies then tell their would be customers to go try a tempurpedic at any of the retail outlets that tempurpedic has spent a huge ton of money setting up, select the one they like, then come back and buy at the reduced price. Several of them make nothing except would be tempurpedic clones and don’t innovate at all. My guess is that’s a far larger threat in the market (for tempurpedic and others) than off gassing… Again, I’m just guessing here.

If tempurpedic wasn’t successful, and had the retail outlets they have developed, the me too companies would lose a huge chunk of their ability to sell to the customer bases they are targeting. Being able to test in person, especially bedding, is pretty huge.

Anyhow, I agree - the smell (sometimes) sucks royally and there may be some lost business, but given that you don’t have any (free) alternatives, and the strong competition based on price, I suspect you’ll see limited movement to add new costs, at least in the short term.

Outside of my business banter…

Ask your retailer if they’ll air out the mattress for you. Some will :slight_smile: those that do might get bonus marks in your personal value equation.


The mattress industry is downright cut throat from what I can tell. So much so that it hurts consumers and retailers alike, IMHO, so many people want the retail outlet to try, test, configure, tune, etc., and decide on their perfect mattress with knowledgable trained staff there to help, and then everyone wants wholesale direct pricing with free shipping :wink: oh and a discount too :wink: :wink:

Aggressively competitive. I’d guess that’s why, as a whole, it’s in the state it’s in.

Well I understand your point, but Tempur-Pedic cost too much to have to sleep in another room for a few weeks, wake up with swollen eyes, sore throat, and hard congested breathing when these things shouldn’t be a problem by the time they reach someones home… I think they should work on the initial off-gassing problem so that it doesn’t effect the end user. If I get a new one I’m wondering what I can do different to make the problem not so dramatic? Maybe just cut open the shipping plastic on the bottom of the mattress and leave the rest on for the first couple months? Because opening the windows, jumping on it, etc, didn’t do anything for me… Thing was horrid for at least a few months and wasn’t what I would even call 100% done at nearly a year in… After a year I don’t notice anything anymore… I really dread to get a new one and hope I can get a demo model from a store with light traffic instead and just swap outer covers with my new one…

I don’t know how long ago it was when you bought your prior tempurpedic, but perhaps they have improved it (if you last bought several years ago).

Otherwise, as I said, maybe try asking the retailer you buy through?

I’m not sure you would want a mattress that had been sitting unprotected in a warehouse for several months. Tempurpedic mattresses are shipped in a heavy-duty cardboard box with overlapping cardboard on the corners and a cardboard lid that acts as an additional layer of protection, banded shut, with a plastic bag between the mattress and cardboard layers.

All of these redundant layers are because a tempurpedic mattress that is not pristine white when received by the customer is often an automatic return.

Waterproof materials exist that are also breathable. If one could be found that was also durable and cheap, I am certain that Tempur would love to use it.

[quote=“dn” post=28915]I don’t know how long ago it was when you bought your prior tempurpedic, but perhaps they have improved it (if you last bought several years ago).

Otherwise, as I said, maybe try asking the retailer you buy through?[/quote]

I bought mine just a little over a year ago so I doubt anything is different now, heh.

Febreeze? :wink:

Well think about it, air fresheners are just a cover up. Any toxic vapors will still be there. Do you think Fabreeze would protect you from mustard gas? :wink: Personally I’m not even a fan of air fresheners. I like the smell of “nothing” actually… (some scents actually give me a headache)

I know, was just kidding. For what it’s worth, to the extent there are toxic vapors, they are there if you can smell them or not. The industry, by way of CertiPUR, would have you believe the vapors (whether they smell or not) are not harmful for your health.

I could just about taste the fumes from some polyfoam I got… Mind you I absolutely could have been smarter about it (let them ‘air’ out in a smallish enclosed room during winter when I couldn’t leave a window open. I do know what you’re saying. Luckily, the polyfoam odor mostly disappeared within 2-3 days.

It’s up to you to decide if you believe that or not and whether that holds true of your own experience.

Hi RipeSmellingButtArea,

I think that the previous replies have covered most of this and the simple answer to this is profit. Mattresses that sit in a warehouse and don’t turn over rapidly are not as profitable in this era of “just in time” manufacturing and delivery.

The “best” way to avoid VOC’s and offgassing and have some assurance that the levels are generally considered to be “safe” is to either check on the certifications of the materials in the mattress or to use more natural materials such as latex, innersprings, or natural fibers although even memory foam that is CertiPur certified (and Tempurpedic isn’t) can be problematic to some people that are more sensitive and the formulation of every batch of foam isn’t always consistent so some batches can have a bigger issue than others.

There are some suggestions in post #3 here for offgassing that can help but they don’t really address the underlying cause of the offassing itself.


I think what I’ll do if I wind up with another Tempur-Pedic (I really have my eye set on the Rhapsody) is I’ll start by only either cutting a few small holes or slits in the bottom of the plastic to let the mattress compress and decompress for the first week and then as each week passes cut the plastic open more and then up the sides and finally the top so that it all doesn’t hit all at once. Wish I had a clean garage I would just open it up fully and let it air out for a month. Alternatively, I could rent a climate controlled storage unit and let it sit there and air out. I just don’t agree with you guys because it’s not like these things are cheap, you’re paying top dollar with a high markup! I’m not the company, I’m the end user, so I’ll stick with I think they should be smell free and off-gassed before they sell them to you. :side:

If your heart is set on a Rhapsody, I think a storage unit is an excellent idea. Would ventilated be more important than climate controlled?

Perhaps, but it’s freezing here and I’d rather have it climate controlled and more room temp rather than more ventilated and frozen…