lady drinking coffee covered in blanket
lady drinking coffee covered in blanket

Can My Old Mattress or Bed Make Me Sick?

People spend approximately a third of their lives in bed. A good comfortable mattress helps ensure a good night’s rest. However traditional Mattresses are easily damaged from moisture such as sweat or urine from bedwetting. These moistures help the mattress become breeding grounds for mold, germs and bedbugs. They can hide within the mattress core and cause serious health issues or make you sick.

This blog will explore all of the possible health issues caused by wet mattresses, and warning signs to look out for.

Mold and Mildew

If your mattress is always wet, it is a perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew. Mold and mildew are types of fungus that grow in warm, moist environments. Mold grows within soft materials such as wood, foam, insulation, and drywall. 

A wet mattress is a perfect environment for mold growth, especially with bedwetting accidents. If your child has regular accidents it’s important to protect your mattress or invest in a waterproof mattress to fight off mold mildew or fungus problems.

Humid climates prevent mattresses from drying completely and increase the risk of mold growth. Mold can destroy the soft materials inside mattresses and make people sick.

Bedbugs, Mites and Bacteria

Mites, bedbugs and bacteria thrive in warm, moist environments, especially mattresses that have become wet from urine. Bacteria can thrive in a urine soaked bed creating a home for bacteria to live and breed. A study done by Amerisleep shows that the average sheets and bed carry more bacteria than a toilet seat. Bacteria and Mites are microscopic bugs that live in mattresses. Dust mites feed on tiny flakes of dead skin from people or animals.

 A small spot of mold or mildew can become a breeding ground for thousands of mold mites. Some people find themselves with itchy skin, sneezing, and trouble breathing because they’re allergic to dust mites. Bedbugs are tiny brown insects that bite humans to feed on their blood. They hide inside the mattress and come out at night when people are sleeping. 

Foam vs. Innerspring Mattresses

Foam mattresses have tiny air pockets that trap liquid and moisture. Mold and mildew start to grow within the mattress if water stays inside the mattress for more than 24 hours

Foam mattresses can look dry on the outside but contain lots of moisture within the tiny air pockets. Foam mattresses hold moisture very well and their dense structure prevents air from reaching the inner core. Liquids can quickly destroy even the highest quality memory foam mattresses. 

Innerspring mattresses have a top layer of foam and metal coils within the core. Prolonged exposure to moisture causes the metal to rust so that the coils are less springy. Rusty metal springs make harsh grating sounds and give off an unpleasant metallic smell. The mattress becomes stained, noisy and uncomfortable. 

Mattress Warning Signs

Mold growth often begins in the core of the mattress and spreads to the outer surfaces as green, purple, pink or black spots. Once mold is visible on the top of the mattress, it might be too late to stop decay within the foam core. Mold hides in the tiny spaces within foam, making it difficult to remove completely. Cleaning mold from a mattress can release spores into the air and make people sicker. The safest option at this point is to buy a new mattress. 

doctor writing on clipboard for patient.

Other signs that a mattress is contaminated with mold include a pungent, musty odor or new, unexplained stains. An odd smell may develop before mold is visible on the surface of the mattress. Gnats, termites and spiders are attracted by the smell of mold. Bugs in the bedroom may be a sign that the mattress is moldy.  

Health Symptoms

Prolonged exposure to mold within the mattress can cause serious health problems. Allergic reactions like headache, nasal congestion and itchy eyes are common. Mold spores can irritate the airways and cause snoring, sleep apnea, and wheezing. Itchy, painful rashes are common because the skin comes into close contact with the mattress.

People with weakened immune systems can develop life-threatening bacterial or fungal pneumonia. Infants and young children are more vulnerable because their immune systems are still developing. Constant exposure to mold can cause them to have impaired motor skills, learning and memory. 

Scratching itchy bites from bedbugs and mites can cause breaks in the skin and lead to secondary infections. After being bitten, people may first notice a burning sensation which then turns into a red, bumpy rash. Bites are most common on exposed skin that comes in direct contact with the mattress or bed linens. Some people develop only a mild rash but others may experience severe allergic reactions. 

People with health problems due to contaminated mattresses find that their symptoms are worse at night and improve during the day. If sleep improves when staying at a hotel or a friend’s house, the mattress may be to blame. People with snoring or sleep apnea may consider replacing the mattress before consulting a sleep specialist.  

In The End

The answer is yes, your mattress could be making you sick or ill. Bacteria, viruses, dust mites, and other pests could be breeding inside of your mattress if moisture has reached the inner core. Almost all types of mattresses are vulnerable to liquids and moisture. Even though the mattress surface can be cleaned, there is no way to eliminate mold and mildew that have grown inside the foam. An infested mattress is impossible to salvage and sleeping on it can cause serious health problems. 

What is a Possible Solution?

One of the best things to prevent all moisture, bedbug and bacteria issues would be to choose a SaniSnooze Mattress or Mattress Cover. Made from a 100% waterproof membrane protector and secondary fluid barrier, SaniSnooze technology protects your mattress core from fluids in addition to household allergens, mold, mildew, moisture, dust mites and bed bugs.

At SaniSnooze, we offer the best waterproof incontinence mattress options for every age group and incontinence issue. Our SaniSnooze customer support team is here to help guide you through your incontinence solutions. Please call (844) 510-0100 if you have any questions or concerns.

Related:

Choosing an Incontinence Mattress

Bedwetting: Tips & Treatment Options

Mattress Buying Guide

Our mission at SaniSnooze™ is to get back you to sleep faster. SaniSnooze™ will keep your mattress core clean and dry all long night.