How to Get Rid of Polyurethane Foam Odor

A mattress with polyurethane foam.
  • 1-3 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-100
What You'll Need
Baking soda
Vacuum cleaner with soft brush attachment
Vinegar in a spray bottle

Polyurethane foam is an increasingly popular material being used in mattresses and cushions for many pieces of household furniture. One of the most common complaints about polyurethane foam, however, is that it often carries with it a distinct, unpleasant smell. With a little patience, you should be able to effectively neutralize, if not completely eliminate, this smell. Follow the steps below to find out how.

Warning: Polyurethane foam may be toxic to breathe in or touch especially for people who have worked with the chemicals used to manufacture it or who have breathing or skin condition problems. Read the product's ingredients carefully before using it.

Step 1 - Allow Foam To Air Out

One of the first things to remember about polyurethane foam products is that the manufacturer admits that there will typically be a chemical smell when you first unwrap your product and that this is normal and not at all dangerous. Still, it may be annoying to the user who does not particularly want to have a chemical smell in their house. The first step that you should take is to simply allow your polyurethane foam product to air out in a well-ventilated area for at least 24 hours, ideally even longer. In the majority of cases, this will eliminate the vast majority of the odor that comes along with polyurethane foam.

Step 2 - Sprinkle With Baking Soda

If the unpleasant smell of polyurethane persists after you allow your mattress to air out, you may need to use additional techniques to neutralize the odor. To do this, you will want to sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda over the entire surface of your mattress, cushion, or other polyurethane foam product. Do this in the same well-ventilated area that you allowed the product to air out in the previous step. Allow the baking soda to sit on the surface of the polyurethane product overnight.

Step 3 - Vacuum Baking Soda Off of Product

Once you have allowed the baking soda to set overnight, use a hand vacuum or the soft brush attachment of a conventional vacuum cleaner to thoroughly remove the baking soda from the surface of the polyurethane product. Do this carefully, making sure to remove as much of the baking soda as you possibly can.

Step 4 - Repeat on Other Side

Assuming you were only able to apply baking soda to one side of your polyurethane product, as would be the case with a large mattress or cushion, you will want to flip the product over and repeat steps 2 and 3 on the opposite side of the product to ensure that you have removed as much odor from the product as possible.

Step 5 - Spray Foam With Citrus Cleaner or Vinegar

If the disagreeable smell still persists after you have removed all baking soda from the surface of the foam, as a last resort you can try spraying the surface of the foam with vinegar in a spray bottle. After spraying the product, allow it to dry completely and then vacuum the surface once again to remove any residue that may have formed on the polyurethane foam.