Imagine you start to notice a weird smell in your RV. Maybe you even start having some allergy-like symptoms. Searching for the cause, you pull up your RV mattress and—gross! A colony of mold is growing right beneath where you sleep at night!
It’s not a pleasant story, but unfortunately, it can be a fairly common one. When conditions are right, mold in a camper can flourish. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to combat it.
Let’s take a look at what causes mold growth and how to prevent mold under an RV mattress.
What Causes Mold Under an RV Mattress?
Mold needs one main thing to grow: moisture. But where does that moisture actually come from? Well, a few things can increase the moisture in your RV:
- Outside humidity
- Water vapor and steam created by bathing and cooking
- Moisture created when burning propane, such as from your RV furnance
- Some moisture also comes from your body, such as through your breath and sweat
The real trouble isn’t just moisture though, it’s condensation. When warm air meets a cold surface, the water in the air becomes liquid and gathers on the cold surface. Think of the outside of an ice-cold glass of water on a hot day.
When you go to sleep at night, your mattress warms up from your body heat. But, the surface below it remains cold. This temperature difference, plus the moisture from your body, creates condensation below your mattress.
Unfortunately, without any airflow between your mattress and the cold surface, the moisture can’t evaporate away. That means moisture accumulates and soon you’ll have tons of nasty mold on the bottom of your mattress.
One of the best ways you can fight mold under your RV mattress is by creating airflow.
3 Products to Prevent Mold Under an RV Mattress
Now that we know the causes, we can answer the question of how to prevent mold under your RV mattress. Let’s look at the 3 best methods to prevent a moldy mattress.
1. Hypervent Aire-Flow Moisture Barrier
The HyperVent Aire-Flow Moisture Barrier is a special underlay for your mattress. The HyperVent mattress bottom’s material has a unique open texture that creates space for air to enter and for water to evaporate out, thus allowing your mattress to stay nice and dry.
Despite being lightweight and flexible, the HyperVent material is also very durable. It easily supports your weight without losing its shape or requiring maintenance. And if you need to clean it, it’s as easy as using soap and water.
2. Savvy Rest Natural Bed Rug
Looking for a natural alternative to keeping the under of your mattress mold-free? Try this natural bed rug from Savvy Rest, made of natural latex and coconut fiber.
Just like the HyperVent mattress bottom, the Savvy Rest mattress moisture barrier has an open woven structure. Air easily passes through the material, allowing moisture to evaporate and preventing a moldy mattress.
Unlike other options, the Savvy Rest Natural Bed Rug also has the bonus that it’s completely natural. The fiber, known as “coir”, is made from the outer part of a coconut. It’s all held together with natural latex made from rubber tree sap!
3. Froli System
The Froli System, like all the other options we’ve mentioned, creates space for air to flow under your mattress. But unlike other options, it also adds support and comfort!
This system is kind of like a high-tech, compact, customizable box spring. The Froli System is made out of interconnecting parts that are designed to fit any mattress.
The space created by the springs creates airflow and fights mold. But even better, the springs provide extra support while you sleep. There are even special springs that allow your shoulders to sink in deeper, helping to align your spine.
3 DIY Ways to Prevent Mold Under an RV Mattress
Prefer a DIY solution? Here are 3 great DIY ways to prevent mold under your RV mattress.
1. Use Mold-Resistant Paint
A clever solution from the folks at SMITHIN’ IT is to use mold-resistant paint. Simply apply the paint to the platform underneath your bed and even if there is moisture, mold won’t be able to grow.
First, you’ll want to remove your mattress and clean any mold growing beneath. Once the platform is clean and dry, you can apply your paint. Be sure it’s all the way dry before putting your mattress back!
Now you’ve got a special barrier right under your bed that prevents mold under your RV’s mattress. But because there’s still no space for airflow, you may still want to air out your mattress occasionally.
2. Make a DIY Ventilation System
Want to make your own HyperVent-style mattress bottom? You can do so easily by using drainage pads for plants.
Drainage pads are made out of material similar to the woven polymer material in the HyperVent so they work the same way! The open, looped fibers create airflow and allow moisture to evaporate from under your bed.
Typically, each pad measures 1 square foot. By combining them, you can create a custom pad to perfectly fit your mattress. You’ll want to attach the squares to each other somehow to prevent sliding around.
Once everything is put together, you can slide it under your mattress and say goodbye to mold!
3. Add Ventilation Holes
This last DIY tip may only work in some RV layouts, but one alternative method that is free (!) is to drill ventilation holes into the platform of your RV bed.
In my travel trailer, the mattress is on a flat platform over outside storage and the usual under-the-bed storage. To keep the air moving in the hot, humid summers, my husband drilled holes into the internal storage compartment sides and then downwards into the platform that makes the lid of the storage. We opted not to drill holes into the platform leading to the outdoor storage to prevent any outside intruders from getting in.
This method has worked for almost 2 years. Every so often we rotate the mattress so each side gets equal airflow time. So far so good – no mold on the underside of the mattress.
Now That You Know How to Prevent Mold Under Your Mattress, You Can Sleep More Soundly
Mold in your camper is never fun. And it’s even less so when the mold is under your RV mattress (ick!). But with these methods, you can make sure your mattress stays clean, dry, and mold-free.
The most important thing is going to be creating airflow. When air flows under your mattress, it takes moisture with it. And without moisture, mold can’t grow.
One last key tip is to NOT spill any liquids on or around your RV mattress. This happened to full-time RVers, Kirsten and Devin a while back. A glass of vino was spilled and cleaned up – or so they thought. The liquid penetrated their mattress and caused some serious havoc. So if you spill anything (even a little) make sure the mattress (all the way through) is super dry.
Now that you know how to prevent mold under your RV mattress, you can say goodbye to mold, and hello to a great night’s sleep!