Posted by: seekingacademia | September 3, 2008

Mattress Woes

So, apparently mattresses are made by the devil. Did you all know that?

I have always had hand-me-down mattresses. I figured I finally deserved to have a new mattress. I did my comparison shopping, and found a good deal here in town. Laid on it in the store. Felt good. Very comfy, can’t feel the springs at all! I bought it. They delivered it same day. Brought it upstairs, woohoo! My bed does not need a box spring, so I decided to put the box spring downstairs, along with my old mattress, to serve as temporary guest bedroom and parents’ bed before the stuff arrives from California. My lovely friend helped me bring my mattress downstairs. We put together the bed rails (ok so she’s the engineer and just directed me to hold things while *she* put together the bed rails).

I let the mattress air out that day and made my bed that night. Hmm, I say, I can still smell the “new mattress” smell. Must be like a new car smell. Even after a sheet, a mattress pad, and another sheet on top, I could still smell as I fel asleep. I realized I probably should have febreezed it, so I let it air another day and febreezed it. Same smell.

So yesterday morning, I did a little research. This mattress was giving me a monster headache with its smell, and I was nauseous. And not PMSing, so why was I feeling this way. Apparently, thanks to thing thing called the internets, I found out that people have been complaining about mattress smells and making people sick for years. years i tell you! Apparently even the workers in the companies and there is talk (but no action) of a class action suit.

People say to buy organic mattresses. What, organic, I mean, it’s just batting, springs and material. And I’m not sleeping directly on it.

Apparently, it is not *ANY* of those things. It is made from VOCs and Polyurethane crap and they spray it with chemicals and fire retardants and shit. Why does a mattress need to be fire retardant? for those dumb people that smoke in bed? Our clothes and couches aren’t fire retardant, and we spend as much time in those. That’s just dumb.

So I look into the prices of organic mattresses. That shit starts at 1000 dollars. For just mattress. WTF?!? Then consider shipping for that since of course, there are only a few places that make them. I’m looking at a 3000 dollar price tag here!

What the heck? I just spent 500 dollars on a new mattress set that I can no longer return, but must take up with the manufacturer. Who is it? Serta. Yep, those fucking numbered sheep are high on chemicals in those ads. That’s the thing, it’s not like I bought a joe schmoe brand that uses materials they find on the side of the road to make mattresses, but freaking Serta!

So this morning I decided to move my mattress into one of the other upstairs bedrooms and close the door tight and open the windows. Which by the way, seems to have no effect, I am basically creating a chemical lab in that room. Well, let me just remind people, that I am a petite woman. With limited muscular resources.

While I was able to slide the mattress down the hall, etc, I had to stand very close to it, ie, breathing in its fumes. I was literally vomiting at the end. Not a pretty picture.

Then I went downstairs to try and bring up the queen mattress from my parents’ future bedroom back upstairs. Now while mattresses tend to slide easily, up the stairs, not so much. After pinning myself quite a few times, I decided to ask my neighbor for help. We got it up the stairs and now I am febreezing my entire room. And I have to wash the pillows and bed sheets and mattress pads and comforter for crying out loud because they all SMELL!

So now I go back to sleeping on old mattresses from my childhood or from friends that no longer smell but have doubled in weight due to dust mites and their feces? Yah, did you all know that? It’s true! How we’re not all dead is beyond me. I think my grandparents had it right in their home made mattresses stuffed with wool. I really do. Hmm, maybe that’s what we can use those stupid numbered Serta sheep for!

So that is how I spent my Labor Day weekend. Yah. Now to try and call the evil that is Serta and mattress companies in general.



  1. I didn’t have much trouble exchanging my Serta mattress since it wore funny I’m not sure how a return will go. I also looked into organic mattress but opted out for organic sheets instead due to the price, and we were getting a CA king.

    Also, I’m pretty sure couches and some clothes are sprayed with flame resistance chemicals. That’s just what I remember reading.

  2. Oh, this is all quite disturbing. I’m eyeing my mattress suspiciously now.

  3. Oh no! What about one of those protective covers that zips all the way around it?

  4. Yeah, those plastic covers might help a lot. My partner and I buy locally produced mattresses. They are actually cheaper than the Serta brand and they tend to have less of that nauseating smell. I don’t know what the heck an organic mattress would be like but ours works fairly well. I hope you are able to get some satisfaction from the manufacturer.

  5. Our new mattress smelled like cedar, only more synthetic. An odd smell. But it’s mostly gone now after a month.

    The thing that pisses me off about mattresses these days is that they’re all “no-flip,” which means once you’ve created a divot by lying on one side, the only thing you can do is rotate it–thus creating a bigger depression in the mattress. And it’s hard to find a good-quality mattress that doesn’t have some fancy-schmancy plush topping, which makes the whole situation worse. Sometimes I wonder if I wouldn’t be better off sleeping on plywood wrapped in cotton batting. *grumble*

    Good luck with Serta!

    • Funky cedar smell is excellent description – now at 9 days and going strong, thing is just standing on its side in a room with windows open

  6. We are going through the hell of returning a new mattress to SERTA. Customer service? HA! We bought a luxury pillow top – it was like sleeping on a marshmallow – was heavenly. Until- the insides started bunching up in a snakelike configuration. Nothing we did could make it lie down. We call Serta. They send out a “technician” in about 4 weeks. Technician decides it needs to be replaced (per warranty). 4 weeks later, we get a replacement mattress. WHAT A PIECE OF CRAP. It is nothing like we bought – hard as a rock and lumpy. The company states it is “comparable” to what we had. It’s not even close!!! Serta says that we are bascially shit out of luck. So, as far as Serta goes – their warranty just isn’t one. They will replace your mattress with one of THEIR choosing. How ridiculous is that when a mattress is such a personal choice? Will never buy Serta again.

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