According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), absorbent or porous materials may need to be thrown away if they become moldy because mold can grow on or fill in the empty spaces and crevices of porous materials, making the mold difficult or impossible to completely remove. Porous materials that are likely culprits for harboring mold include carpeting, wallboard, ceiling tiles, wallpaper, fabric, upholstered furniture, and last but not least: your memory foam mattress.
In fact, a class-action lawsuit was filed in October of 2008 in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, San Jose Division, against several manufacturers who sell the Sleep Number bed including Select Comfort, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Sleep Train - all for exhibiting signs of mold inside the pillowtop bed. The suit lists 17 causes for action: negligence, breach of express warranty, intentional misrepresentation, and more.
California-based bedding manufacturer Nest Bedding recently published an article that explains, "If your mattress is on the floor, on a solid, non-breathable base, or the slats are too plentiful or too wide, or simply too close together, the mattress cannot breathe properly and you accumulate moisture and eventually mold." In simple terms, the moisture comes from your sweat. Everyone sweats in their sleep - some up to a pint during the course of an evening.
Nest continues, "If you are sleeping hot, consider replacing your bedding with natural, synthetic-free bedding. If you use down and feather comforters, consider switching to wool as it's better at temperature regulation. If you are sleeping hot and have a memory foam mattress, consider adding a wool topper or switching to an all-natural organic mattress comprised of natural cottons and wools, which breathe much better."
Mold on memory foam mattress or other porous materials...Here's What to do:
- Schedule a mold inspection with a certified mold remediation specialist to assess possible further damage. (Mold on your memory foam mattress might be indicative of a bigger problem.)
- Identify the type of material that has been affected. While semi-porous, hardwoods can likely be saved through the use of an antimicrobial scrub.
- Wearing proper personal protective equipment (PPE), clean salvageable moldy materials outside. Items such as clothes, furniture, area rugs, and mattresses may need to be discarded.
Note that prevention here is key. You may want to consider an alternative to a memory foam mattress or pillowtop mattress; and it is imperative that you clean your mattress every month. This can help you prevent a problem from occurring, and can help you spot a problem quickly if it's not preventable.
More info? For more information on where mold comes from, read our post: Identify Mold and Mildew in Your Home.