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I need advice on how to get rid of VOCs even after removing memory foam mattress 11 Sep 2020 07:49 #1

Hi there, my name is Alex. I've been looking around online trying to find someone with specialized knowledge to inform me about my situation. I've done a lot of research and reading up on VOCs and off-gassing. Unfortunately this was only after I bought a Serta memory foam mattress. When I first got it, I didn't notice anything besides the nasty smell, and figured it was no big deal and would go away. A little less than a week later I started waking up with very puffy eyes (lower eyelids swollen). That first day with swollen eyes I realized the connection and began reading about off-gassing and couldn't believe all of the horrible things that are in the foam. This was especially alarming since Serta is supposedly a higher end certified foam mattress, which only proves that if I can have this kind of reaction with their bed, their standards are pointless and probably greatly exaggerated. I eventually got Mattress Firm to agree to honor my return policy, which was not easy since they are technically a clearance store, and even though the mattress was brand new they didn't want to let me return it. After almost 2 weeks of bickering with them and Serta (Serta was 100% useless by the way, wouldn't step in and give me a direct return to them and they wouldn't even take any responsibility for their toxic product), I finally got it returned; the best they could do was full refund minus a 20% restock fee. I had even wrapped the mattress in plastic sheeting for the last week or so that it was in my room. I wrapped it up because after that first day with swollen eyes, the symptoms got worse and worse, even after starting to sleep in the living room on an air mattress I couldn't even sit in a chair in my bedroom and watch TV without my eyes burning. I also experienced coughing when trying to lie on the bed and blood in both nostrils when blowing my nose. Turns out that by trying to air out the foam mattress for a few days before having given up on it, I made the matter much worse. I now have a great organic mattress I bought from Joybed. I've been still having to massively air out my room however. I had been sleeping in the living room for over a week and my eyes were returning to normal, and then after going back into my bedroom even days after the foam mattress had been removed, I am still waking up with swollen eyes every morning from the leftover VOCs! I have opened both windows and put 2 fans on high circulating as much air through my room as possible for days and days, I've been using a large Moso charcoal activated carbon air filter bag to help absorb the gasses. I've cleaned the furniture, washed my sheets and blankets, and vacuumed the room multiple times. Even after all of this I'm still feeling the sting in my eyes and waking up to super puffy eyes every day. Is there anything else I can do to help remove the VOCs from my room?

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I need advice on how to get rid of VOCs even after removing memory foam mattress 11 Sep 2020 19:12 #2

Alex,
I feel for you. Years ago, before we bought our first latex mattress, we bought a memory foam mattress. It was toxic! We returned it after just one night. Luckily the store we bought it from had a return policy and they came to get it right away.

Is there a way to take the Joybed mattress out of your bedroom and try it in another location? This will tell you if there is something in the mattress that you are reacting to or if it is in your room. You probably aren't reacting to it but it is best to be sure. It sounds like you have done everything possible to clean out your bedroom.

I know you don't think it is the Joybed but we bought two Joybeds based on their advertising. One had no odor and one had a persistent odor. But I didn't react to it, I just noticed it. When I looked into the Joybed a little further the tag indicates it is manufactured by Grand Rapids Bedding/KRC Corporation. When I looked this company up on-line it was Spring Air.

Before buying Joybed I watched their promotional video that touted it as an organic mattress. But on their website they say they aren't organic, just all natural with an organic cotton cover. It made me wonder if they used common components from Spring Air. I also figured the materials were stored next to each other or in the same area and could soak up the fumes from the chemical laden Spring Air materials.

If it turns out you are reacting to the new Joybed then I recommend you get something from My Green Mattress. They have an organic certified factory. Or Naturepedic which is an all organic mattress line with their own manufacturing.

In the end we returned the Joybeds (I had no faith in what I was getting with them as there was no materials list on the label as required by law) and got Naturepedic mattresses. No odor at all.

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I need advice on how to get rid of VOCs even after removing memory foam mattress 11 Sep 2020 20:38 #3

Thanks for the feedback. I'm pretty sure there's no problem with the Joybed. I set it up in the living room when it arrived to stretch it out. It had only a faint and pleasant natural clay-like smell. The reaction I'm having in my room is exactly the same as when the Serta memory foam mattress was in there, just not quite as strong. I can even feel the sting in my eyes when a couple feet away from the bed area in a recliner. Definitely seems to me like it's just persistent VOCs trapped in my room, probably mostly settled into the carpet but possibly on the walls, ceiling and on all other surfaces and items in the room. I've vacuumed the room multiple times, even under the bed. There's also a chance quite a bit of it has seeped into the box spring, still have the same one under the Joybed that was under the Serta. Hoping that while I continue to excessively air out the room it will go away in the next week or so.

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I need advice on how to get rid of VOCs even after removing memory foam mattress 11 Sep 2020 20:58 #4

We keep house plants in the bedroom to help purify the air. You could try adding some house plants.
www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom/newsreleases/2016/august/selecting-the-right-house-plant-could-improve-indoor-air-animation.html

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I need advice on how to get rid of VOCs even after removing memory foam mattress 12 Sep 2020 21:03 #5

Not a bad idea, that's one thing that slipped my mind. Turns out since we have a ton of potted plants outside at my house I had quite a few to choose from that were at the top of the list for air purifying. I placed 1 large and 1 medium plant in my room, every little bit makes a difference. Thanks for the tip! Now if it would just stop raining 24-7 here in Florida I could open the windows more haha.

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I need advice on how to get rid of VOCs even after removing memory foam mattress 12 Sep 2020 23:04 #6

Hi Alex/Ardillamente.

Welcome to our Mattress Forum! :)

You’ve had quite the ordeal with the VOCs and off-gassing you experienced with the Serta memory foam mattress. I’m glad that you were eventually able to get Mattress Firm to honor their return policy, and quickly find a new mattress that works for you. You’ve certainly made a good call going natural with organic cover and working on removing the trapped and lingering VOCs in your room and carpet.

To address one of your points, Serta does use CertiPUR certified foam – CertiPUR does have high standards for testing (see post #2 here for more information about some of the more reliable "safety" certifications, including more in-depth information about CertiPUR).

This is not to minimize what you are experiencing, some people may be quite sensitive to some materials, and some others have certain medical issues such as MCS (multiple chemical sensitivities) or may be sensitive to some materials that the large majority of people would be fine with that are really impossible to predict ... I would suspect you’re sensitive, as you’re still experiencing discomfort even though the mattress is a long time gone from your home and you took massive action to remove VOCs from the room.

Even after all of this I'm still feeling the sting in my eyes and waking up to super puffy eyes every day. Is there anything else I can do to help remove the VOCs from my room?


Marshmallowforme offered some great tips to help.

You already have fans circulating with the windows open, and you mentioned you are using a Moso charcoal activated carbon air filter to help absorb any lingering VOCs. You’ve also already taken the proactive step of cleaning the furniture and bedding. Some people use high-performance air purifiers along with heating the room to encourage the VOCs to evaporate (heat increases VOCs evaporation rate), circulate, and to be “absorbed” by the purifiers.

I would certainly keep doing what you’re doing!

Phoenix
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I need advice on how to get rid of VOCs even after removing memory foam mattress 13 Sep 2020 17:43 #7

Thank you very much for the info. I remember reading that heat causes the VOCs to vent out more. If only it wasn't raining every day right now here in Florida I'd be blowing the air out of the windows more and heating up the room at the same time with the circulation of the outside air. Today I was only able to open the windows for about 10 minutes before the interior of the room was far too humid. I spent today re-cleaning all of my sheets and blankets and also placed a third large house plant in the room; a peace lily. You're probably right about me having a sensitivity to the VOCs, that's what I assumed after reading up on the subject. I still feel that if I reacted in such a major way to them, they're probably unhealthy for anyone to be breathing. Kind of a blessing in disguise that I was able to be made aware of the off gassing with my sensitivity, otherwise I may never have learned so much about the toxicity of memory foam and could have been breathing the stuff in for years. I'll keep doing what I'm doing and hope that sometime in the next few days I will wake up with less swelling in my eyes. How long do you think it might take with these measures to fully rid my room of the VOCs, given the fact that the memory foam mattress was only in the room for about 10 days?

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I need advice on how to get rid of VOCs even after removing memory foam mattress 15 Sep 2020 13:20 #8

I've slept in my room for about 4 or 5 nights now and my eye swelling is only getting worse still. I decided to go out and buy a Germ Guardian carbon filter 167 square foot air purifier. Just finished setting it up and I'm going to keep it on high with the UVC bulb on 24-7, maybe turning it off for an hour or so a day to avoid messing it up somehow. In the mean time it's back to the air mattress in the living room, only way to improve my eyes. I'll probably try going back to my bed again in 3-5 days and see if there's any improvement. Phoenix, do you have any idea how long it might take to rid the room of all VOCs with my combination of air purifier, Moso bag and house plants? Ballpark idea would be fine, I'm sure you know more than I do about the subject. Thanks.

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I need advice on how to get rid of VOCs even after removing memory foam mattress 15 Sep 2020 14:16 #9

Hi Ardillamente.

Too bad that you’re not able to air out the room for longer with all the rain in Florida. Hopefully, the rainy weather will end soon!

Kind of a blessing in disguise that I was able to be made aware of the off gassing with my sensitivity, otherwise I may never have learned so much about the toxicity of memory foam and could have been breathing the stuff in for years.

It's always a pleasure to interact with consumers who look for solutions and turn things around by looking for the “blessing in disguise” like you did. I am glad that you took swift action. I’d also look a little deeper and make sure to investigate if this is not a compound issue. Some people may have hidden conditions that get triggered by the VOC situation (e.g. overloaded or weak organs that deal with toxic waste such as liver and kidneys). Dealing with chemical sensitivities over a prolonged period of time usually does not occur at once and it may be a build-up from toxic environment and products used over the years (even toothpaste and laundry detergent) I’d say be on the lookout. You can certainly take your new findings with you into future mattress purchases for you or people you know, even if the experience is less than enjoyable :ohmy:

Phoenix, do you have any idea how long it might take to rid the room of all VOCs with my combination of air purifier, Moso bag and house plants?


There isn’t a way to know for sure how long it will take for the VOCs to completely dissipate from your room, but hopefully, it will be much better in the next few days once you have a chance to properly air out the room and use the new carbon filter air purifier! Even though I am not a medical practitioner I'd think that drinking lots of water may help flush your own system of accumulated toxins.

We have many followers looking for solutions in dealing with VOCs so please keep us updated with any revelations you may have as there nothing like firsthand experience.

Phoenix
Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read The Mattress Shopping Tutorial.
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I need advice on how to get rid of VOCs even after removing memory foam mattress 15 Sep 2020 17:57 #10

I'll make a new post in about 5-7 days after I sleep on the air mattress a while and then try the new bed out again. Also, to help put it in perspective I shouldn't have any underlying issues, I'm a 32 year old male and I'm in great shape. I don't smoke or drink. I've been practicing martial arts for 25 years and I do long hikes out in the woods a couple times a week (when it's not raining every day haha). I've never had any sensitivities like this before, but then I've probably never been exposed to anything this chemical ridden for prolonged amounts of time.

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