How to Save a Water Damaged Mattress During a Hurricane or Flood

Last Updated on October 15, 2021

by Marc Werner, Founder - GhostBed

With hurricane season, can come the unforeseen harm to belongings as winds send the destruction of rain and flood waters storming through a home. Furnishings that are hard surfaced can often be dried out and repaired. It is important for the weather weary to understand how to save a water damaged mattress, along with other upholstered items.

I: Evaluate the Damage of Your Mattress

II: Self-Clean or Professional to Restore Your Mattress

III: Method 1: Self Cleaning

IV: Method 2: Professional Cleaning

V: Conclusion

I: Evaluate the Damage of Your Mattress

It is very important to inspect your mattress to evaluate just how water soaked it is. If it has been submersed in water for some time, then the damage could be severe enough that you will want to consider getting a professional to restore your mattress.

A completely soaked mattress presents a very difficult job for you to totally remove water and moisture. The water damaged mattress that is not properly cleaned can be a dangerous breeding ground for mold, mildew, and bacteria. Flood waters often contain toxins and sewage. This is absorbed into the mattress and other upholstered furnishings that have been affected.

II: Self-Clean or Professional to Restore Your Mattress

FEMA advises often to just throw away a contaminated bed. In these situations, you must only consider keeping the mattress if you have a company that specializes in water damage restoration take care of cleaning it.

If the mattress has not been fully submersed in flood waters, you can work to save the water damaged bed yourself. When doing so, take special care to disinfect and assure that all moisture has been removed. After cleaning, be careful to watch for signs of growing mold, as well as nasty smells.

Signs of mold growth:

  • First stage: Mold will begin inside appearing as white fuzz.
  • Second stage: Mold turns green as it spreads towards surface.
  • Third stage: Mold will be black once it appears on the surface.

If you see any mold then the mattress must be thrown out immediately, as it is now a toxic environment and should not be used.

III: Method One: Self Cleaning

With weather hammering on the home, or burst pipes, the unforeseen can cause a water soaked mattress. The moment you find yourself with the wet bed, it is pertinent to get your mattress clean and dried as soon as possible before mold and mildew has a chance to invade. It is important to know how to save a water damaged mattress.

Step 1: Absorb Up Water from Mattress

Replace wet towels with dry ones and keep repeating this step until you feel you have absorbed as much of the water that you possibly can from the wet mattress.

Step 2: Remove Leftover Moisture

Once the towels have done their job soaking up water from the mattress surface, it is of utmost importance to assure that moisture sitting inside the mattress is removed fully as well.

Buy or rent a wet/dry shop vacuum built to vacuum up liquids. Use the vacuum on the mattress to suction up the water from the inside of the bed.

Using baking soda, sprinkle it onto the mattress to completely cover it. Work it into the inside of the mattress by scrubbing the baking soda with a dry sponge. The baking soda works to not only absorb moisture, but also to assist in preventing the growth of mold. Let the baking soda sit for a few hours, then remove by vacuuming.

For a very wet mattress you can also use cat litter to work to soak up extra dampness. Just like the baking soda, sprinkle the kitty litter over the mattresses surfaces. Use pressure to push the litter into the surface to help it to do its absorbing work. Vacuum wet litter up and then repeat until you feel you have removed as much moisture as you can.

Keep repeating the baking soda, and/ or kitty litter, and vacuuming steps until you feel that the water has been removed from the mattress as much as conceivable.

Step 3: Mold Deterence

Even if you work your magic wringing out the mattress with baking soda and a shop vac, mold may still find a place to grow. Once mold appears, all of your hard work saving the mattress will be for naught, as, for health and safety reasons, you must throw away a mold infested bed.

The use of alcohol in the cleaning process will work as a deterrent against any mold growth.

Mix up a cleaning solution with one cup of water and one cup of rubbing alcohol. Use a clean cloth to dip into the mixture. Wring the cloth out and begin wiping the entire surface of the bed to let the alcohol do its mold preventing job.

Step 3: Ensure Drying

Sunshine is a natural sanitizer and the best way to make sure your mattress will be full dried. If possible place the mattress outside in the sun.

Stand the mattress up on its side supported on small blocks and leaning against wall. It is important to get the air to circulate around the mattress as much as possible. You can also use a dehumidifier and fans inside to dry the mattress. Do not use the mattress until it is completely and absolutely dry.

IV: Method Two: Professional Cleaning

If your mattress has been sitting soaking up water for an extended period, then your healthiest and best option will be to call in an expert to assess the damage.

With so many cleaning products on the market, cleaning the household can get costly. By making your own eco-friendly cleaning solutions you will have a comfortable clean mattress without the added cost of an additional cleaning product.

Step 1: Contact Professional Restoration Company

Certified professionals cater to water damage restoration. Contact a company that works using the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) guidelines. These businesses have the equipment and education in which to fully assess, and know the best way to advise you, on how to proceed when dealing with a water damaged mattress.

Step 2: Evaluation by Cleaning Service

The IICRC cleaning service will come to your home to inspect the damage. With special equipment, the technician will be able to evaluate the complete damage to the mattress and if it can be saved.

You will have to give authorization for the work to restore your mattress and other furnishings to begin. The service will also ask you to provide insurance information so that they can seek reimbursement for you, if possible, from your insurance. Note that this is where it may be important for you to know if you have flood insurance.

Step 3: Clean-Up Process

The cleaning process should involve setting up machines and dehumidifiers that will work to restore your mattress and additional damaged furnishings. Machines are used to move cleaning solutions into the center of the layers of the mattress, and then sucked out with commercial vacuums. Disinfectant sprays are also used.

As the restoration specialist works, he or she will document the job with notes and by taking photos. If mold is found, you should be contacted immediately and advised what to do.

Step 4: Restored Mattress

Once the mattress is restored by the expert, and confirmed that it is safe to use, the bed will be positioned back in place.

V: Conclusion

Although it is important to know how to save a water damaged mattress, it is also vital to understand that it may be safer to replace a flood soaked bed. Make sure to contact professionals if you are unsure as to the extent damage that your mattress has incurred. Whether cleaning the bed yourself, or by a professional, take extra care to assure that all moisture and smells have been removed and that the mattress is completely dry before using again. Always be on the lookout for mold that may appear after the restoration process has taken place.

Marc Werner - Founder, GhostBed

Marc Werner

Founder - GhostBed

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After undergoing three neck surgeries, Marc knew what it was like to live and sleep in constant pain. In 2001, after searching fruitlessly for a comfortable pillow and mattress that supported his neck and back ... Learn More


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