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Off gassing (or out gassing) in our research refers to an odor that a mattress may give off when it is new due to its chemical composition and packaging.
The odor is caused by the breakdown of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which are common in household products. The science of VOCs is beyond the scope of our mattress research. Our research focuses instead on analyzing mattress owner reports of off gassing.
The chart below shows how the different mattress types compare on this issue
based on consumer experiences. Keep in mind that the information represents
what is often but not always the case; off gassing from particular brand,
model or individual mattress may vary from these findings.
Only those airbed models that contain memory foam and or synthetic / blended latex tend to have reports of significant off gassing.
Among latex mattresses, the all-natural / all-latex type seldom has reports of off gassing (but may have an initial and unpleasant rubber smell). However, at least 10% of owners of models that contain synthetic / blended latex report considerable off gassing.
Innerspring mattresses that feature a thick foam comfort layer tend to have the most off gassing potential.
Futon mattresses usually have a different off gassing odor than that of the other mattress types. It tends to be reported as being musty rather than chemical-like.
Hybrid mattresses are a combination of memory foam and springs. Those models with two inches or more of memory tend to have the most off gassing complaints.
Memory foam thickness and density appear to be the main factors driving memory foam off gassing. See memory foam off gassing odor for more analysis.
The vinyl of a waterbed can produce a significant and bothersome initial odor.
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