What To Do When Your Waterbed Smells Bad

There are basically 3 reasons for Waterbed odors and if your Waterbed Stinks, Smells, and Has A Bad Odor We are going to share with you How To Fix It.

How to fix a bad waterbed odor

Secret #1: What.The.Huh.

Waterbed Stinks, Smells, and Has A Bad Odor. How To Fix It.

1) Waterbed mattresses are made from PVC vinyl and to make it more flexible and pliable plasticizers are added and when a mattress is brand new and out of the box much like paint that hasn’t fully dried waterbed mattresses can sometimes have a stronger smell. The smell is similar to the smell of a blow up air raft used in a swimming pool. This smell dissipates with in a couple days or weeks after being unpackaged and exposed to air for a while. Some say to use  a good vinyl cleaner but it too has a bit of a chemical smell and it really is only masking the smell.

2) If you notice a musty odor these can be tough to treat. Time and the following solution are the answer. The cause is typically bacteria growth. First look to see if there is moisture in the safety liner from a seam leak, puncture, or condensation. Start by cleaning and drying the mattress, heater, and liner. Don’t forget to clean bedding thoroughly as well. It is important to remove any possible mold and mildew. Leave the bed uncovered as long as possible to speed up the process of airing out. Dont forget to then turn up the temperature on your heater to at least 80 degrees to reduce or eliminate condensation which in turn causes mold.

3) The odor is coming from inside the waterbed bladder. If you have removed your plug and cap and the stench spews like a volcano from the open you have the most serious of waterbed odor issues. The cause is usually bacteria. This can either develop over time when the bed has been used without conditioner or has been introduced by way of a garden hose that has not been carefully flushed. Bacteria multiply rapidly in a warm wet environment such as a waterbed mattress. There are no guarantees but you can try the use of a waterbed shock treatment especially if the odor has permeated the vinyl. Follow the instructions exactly. This is a slow tedious process that may or may not work. If it does not you may very well be in the market for a new water bed bladder.

Always use a multi-purpose water conditioner regularly to keep the water in the mattress free from bacteria, but multi-purpose water conditioner will not fix a bacteria growth that has already started. Use of a shock treatment to clear this problem will be necessary. You will need to use the shock treatment for both the inside of the mattress, and also to wipe down the outside of the mattress, the safety liner, and the heater pad. Musty odors will permeate the vinyl to affect these other items, and if they are not treated, even though the bed had been treated, the odor will return.

An additional odor-causing source can be well water from private wells. Typically the water  is not treated and there is often high mineral content. The solution is adding a second bottle of  multi-purpose water conditioner. It  may help keep the problem to a minimum.

By Helga Weber Secret #1: What.The.Huh. http://www.flickr.com/photos/helga/3264983583/


Doug Belleville and his father Dave own and run STLBeds - a specialty sleep store located in Arnold, MO. The staff at STLBeds is highly educated about sleep, comfort and their special sleep products. STLBeds only carries high quality mattresses and bed-related products. You won't find the brand names here - just call and ask us why!

9 Comments Leave your comment »

the smell is not too bad can I add vinegar or bleach?

Comment by Pam Robertson — December 18, 2013 @ 12:08 pm

the smell is no too bad can I add vinegar or bleach?

Comment by Pam Robertson — December 18, 2013 @ 12:08 pm

Hi Pam, Bleach I have been told will damage the vinyl and to be frank I am not sure those two things would smell any better than the bad mattress when your finished. Just a personal thought Doug

Comment by Douglas Belleville — December 23, 2013 @ 7:44 am

Above ground pools have a vinyl liner and are filled with water and chlorine and exposed to the sun daily. There is a lot of water In a waterbed even if you add bleach it’s pretty diluted.

Comment by Lacey — February 16, 2014 @ 2:35 pm

Lacey We hear customers say that a lot and it may seem logical however I think the important thing to note here this that improper usage of chemicals can be very dangerous. Most people try this type of thing to save a few dollars. The truth is that it not worth any level of risk to the product or individuals using those products. We cannot place a value on our family’s safety. With that said both swimming pools and vinyl water mattresses can be costly to replace and the manufacturers instruct us on how to properly care for their products that we purchase. Of course neither industry suggests simply dumping chlorine bleach into a pool or into a waterbed. Our suggestion is to follow their recommendations and use proper amounts of suggested pool treatments. The same can be said for adding proper dosages of industry correct biocides for waterbed treatment. Thank you for commenting. Doug

Comment by Douglas Belleville — February 17, 2014 @ 8:04 am

We have tank supplied rain water in our waterbed. The water in the tanks was treated 3 days ago with sodium hyperchlorite, but during that time I topped up my bed with 10 litres of said water. I now notice a new mattress smell coming off a 2 year old mattress. I have put in two bottles of conditioner. Will this smell affect the mattress at all.

Comment by sharyn — May 6, 2014 @ 3:11 pm

Sharyn, If the odor has permeated the vinyl if can be very tough to remove the smell. I would recommend a bottle of Super Shock and follow the directions on the bottle. This is not guaranteed to solve your problem. You did not say if you added two bottles of conditioner before the smell occurred or after? If it was after the conditioner is likely to do nothing to help your problem. Conditioner is a preventive maintenance treatment.

Comment by Douglas Belleville — May 10, 2014 @ 2:30 pm

My waterbed smells. I have cleaned the vinyl, put conditioner in, cleaned all the dead skin away, checked for leaks. The smell will wear off in about 3 to 4 weeks but then will come back after a few more weeks. It gets so bad i cant sleep in the bed and in the morning i can still ‘taste’ the smell in the back of my throat. I have tried everything. My room is ventilated, the heat is not too high, as my human internal thermostat is broken. Any one help please.

Comment by L Fold — June 2, 2014 @ 7:54 am

L Fold, I must admit I have no clue why the smell would wear off and then come back. This doesn’t not jive with the order of how this problem works. I can only suggest if you have already tried what we suggested and if this is a reoccurring issue to replace the current water mattress, especially if it is older. (Vinyl can trap smells and permeates the material however it usually does not go away or dissipate. Ruling out the old mattress). With the new one in be sure to treat the new one properly and regularly. Be sure to flush garden hose before filling new mattress. Keep the exterior of the new mattress dry and clean.

Comment by Douglas Belleville — June 3, 2014 @ 3:59 pm

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