7 Tips To Prevent Mold Build-Up Under Your RV Mattress (+ DIY Ideas!)

Are you tired of dealing with mold growth under your RV mattress? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Mold growth can be a common problem in RVs due to the moist environment and lack of ventilation.

If you notice black or greenish patches on your mattress, along with a musty odor, chances are you have a mold issue. But fret not, I’ll share a few steps you can take to prevent it from happening again!

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Why Does Mold Happens So Often in RVs

Mold thrives in areas with poor air circulation and high humidity. This is why RV mattresses are particularly susceptible to mold growth. When they’re situated on top of a plywood platform with no air ventilation underneath, moisture can become trapped and lead to mold.

In the U.S., the southern and eastern areas of the country are especially humid and can accumulate even quicker in RVs. In combination with the warmth created by body heat, the mattress quickly becomes a good place for mold to grow!

Another common place for mold is in your awning – condensation builds up very easy, and unless you roll it out and dry it after every storm and temperature change, it’s hard to prevent. Luckily, it’s a bit easier to clean mold from your awning!

via Paula H.

How to Prevent Mold Under Your Camper’s Mattresses

So how can you prevent mold from building up under your RV mattress? Here are three ways to help alleviate the problem:

Use a Moisture Barrier

Investing in a moisture condensation barrier for your RV mattress is an excellent first step in preventing mold growth. A moisture barrier is anything that prevents the build up of moisture – such as the this.

The Aire-Flow is a common solution people turn to because of it’s ease to set up and how well it seems to work! Since it’s actually just a roll of material that’s easy to cut, you don’t have to worry about getting the exact size and having to “install” it.

Increase the Ventilation

Since mold thrives in areas with poor air circulation, it’s important to increase ventilation. Some ways to do that include adding air vents to the plywood platform under your mattress or adding a fan to circulate the air. This will help keep the area under your mattress completely dry.

Many people utilize something like the Den Dry (circled in yellow below!) to put under their mattress to increase the ventilation to the platform itself. Like the Aire-Flow, it is easy to cut to size and reportedly have AWESOME customer service – handwritten thank you note type service! =D

den dry to stop mold from growing under rv mattress
via Tom. O, amazon.com

Keep it Clean + Use Basic Preventative Measures

One of the simplest steps you can take is to keep the area under your mattress clean and dry. Just lift up your mattress before/after every trip to check for any signs of mold (it tends to be black/dark brown) so that you can make sure the problem never gets too bad.

Here are some other tips that can make a big difference in your RV’s mold situation

  • Get a dehumidifier – This is especially true if you are living in your camper or often shower/cook in it (which creates ALOT of moisture in the air). The dehumidifier should stay running anytime you are using your camper, especially during winter when you won’t be able to open windows as often for extra airflow.
  • Keep roof vents open and fans on (weather permitting) – Creating air flow in your camper helps ALL areas of your camper
  • Get a humidity monitor – These are way cheaper than you think (the top rated Amazon monitor is under $15… in 2023!) and can let you know of a problem as soon as it happens. Someone one a reddit thread mentioned they were able to discover a mold problem because of a sudden, continued spike in their humidity monitor!
  • Utilize moisture absorbers – Another cheap way to get rid of extra moisture is to stash a couple of Damp Rids around your camper. They have hangers on them, so it’s easy to hang from a handle in the kitchen or somewhere in the bathroom!

DIY Mattress Ventilation

While there are plenty of buyable solutions to help with mattress mold situations, sometimes you need a quick solution or just want to save some money and do it yourself! Creating a way for air to get under and through your mattress doesn’t require anything fancy (especially if convenience/aesthetics aren’t important to you!).

Here are the top DIYs from forums I’ve seen to create mattress ventilation

  • Upside down artificial turf
  • Vent holes drilled through the platform and a small fan placed underneath
  • Rug pad under mattress
  • Pool noodles cut in half and taped to the wood
  • Adding damp rid containers in various places near bedding area

DIY Lattice Air Flow Design for RV Bed Platform

Stephanie shared her DIY solution for a less pricey version of the Hypervent. In addition to drilling hole through the bed platform, they also painted it with mold killing primer and added a lattice on top for more airflow.

via Stephanie W.

DIY Grid Platform to Increase Airflow Under Mattress

This is another simple DIY option for your mattress, especially if you’re handy and have some extra wood laying around!

wood slat system to increase airflow under mattress
via Todd D.

Pegboard on Slats for Airflow

The combination of all the holes and the slats to elevate the mattress make this a budget friendly way to prevent mold growth under your mattress!.

diy mattress ventilation idea for rv using pegboard and slats
via Deenise T.

Pool Noodle / Foam Pipe Cover Elevation

By creating space between the mattress and the platform (as well as the wall at the head of the bed), the noodles create a ton of space for airflow. These are usually pretty cheap, and can be found at the Dollar Tree!

pool noodle foam tubes taped to rv bed  platform to prevent mold and increase airflow
via Michelle B

FAQ About Mold Prevention in Mattresses

Many people, especially those who don’t full time in their camper or live somewhere with humidity, are surprised to hear that mold can and DOES grow in campers without extra prep work done ahead of time.

Here are some common questions I see in forums and Facebook groups

Where else should I check for mold in my camper or RV?

Besides under your mattress, you should also check under your couches as well as near window seals. Couches encounter the same issues as beds, especially if they are folded back up after use and never get a chance to thoroughly dry.

Window seals are a common fail point, and should be checked before every winter. In particular, check to see that the exterior frame drains are open and clear so that water will properly be routed out.

How can I clean the mold off my mattress?

According to Amerisleep, you should first vacuum the loose mold spores, spray it down and soak the affected areas with a 50/50 vinegar water solution, blot and let it dry. You can also use rubbing alcohol with the same ratio, let it soak, then blot clean also.

Can I keep my RV mattress if I cleaned the mold off?

This is going to be determined by how confident you feel in your mold cleanup job and how much of an issue it’s already been thus far. If you think it was only a small spot, then it might make the most sense financially to keep your mattress.

However, if you have already been suffering with mold sicknesses, or have someone with a sensitive respiratory condition who is susceptible to mold sickness, it may be better to be safe than sorry and invest in a new RV mattress.

Can I paint over the wood plywood platform that had mold on it in my camper?

Although there are mold resistant paints, they cannot “fix” or “get rid of” current mold. And according to the experts, paint will not stop it from growing either. Plywood isn’t too expensive luckily, and it’s better to be safe than sorry… replace it!

Is the Froli System worth the money?

If you haven’t heard of them, Froli designed a premium interlocking grid you build under your mattress that is dual purpose – it increases the ventilation, but also increases the comfort due to it’s spring like design.

However, with a price tag of $400+ it it VERY expensive compared to competitors (like this one) for under if you’re *only* looking to improve ventilation. In fact, it’s almost triple the price!

They are also a German company, and I always think it’s better to go American, small business made if possible (such as the Den Dry brand.. handwritten thank you notes and everything!)

den dry best way to stop mold from growing in camper
via amazon.com

Ready to Conquer Your Camper’s Mattress Mold?

Mold growth is a serious problem that can lead to respiratory issues and damage to your RV mattress. To prevent mold from building up under your RV mattress, it is crucial to maintain proper ventilation, use a moisture barrier, and keep the area clean and dry. By taking these steps, you can extend the life of your mattress and keep your RV healthy and mold-free.

Remember to inspect your RV for leakages regularly to prevent mold from growing. With a little effort, you can protect your RV investment and have peace of mind while you’re on the road.

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