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Underneath an RV mattress is one of the most susceptible areas for mold growth. Your bed is one of the most dangerous locations for bacteria and fungi. With mold, you breathe in fungus spores all night as you sleep. Living surrounded by mold spores can have both short and long-term health effects. You don’t want your great camping trip to make you sick.
Mold tends to grow on the bottom of RV mattresses and on platforms under mattresses. You can prevent mold under your RV mattress by increasing airflow. There are several simple ways to improve the airflow under your mattress.
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Why Does Mold Grow Under Your RV Mattress?
The first step to preventing mold growth under your mattress is understanding why mold develops. Mold thrives in damp, dark places with little to no airflow, and the underside of your RV mattress is the perfect location.
First, condensation occurs when warm air meets a cold surface. For example, most camper mattresses are placed on a thin sheet of plywood with no slats. That plywood gets cold, especially during the winter. While you sleep, your body heats and warms up the mattress, while the plywood remains cold. Also, moisture naturally develops when you are sleeping in your bed. Your sweat and breath add moisture to the bed that is absorbed throughout the mattress. This moisture naturally sinks to the bottom of your mattress, and condensation occurs. No airflow allows mold to grow on the underside of your mattress.
Preventing Mold Under Your RV Mattress
Since moisture occurs naturally, it is difficult to remove. We recommend using a dehumidifier (check it out on Amazon) to remove moisture from the air and help prevent mold throughout the RV (Read our article on preventing mold in your RV). However, dehumidifiers are ineffective under the mattress due to a lack of airflow because they are specifically made to remove air moisture only. The best way to avoid mold under your camper bed is to increase that airflow. Several options are available to increase the airflow and prevent mold under your RV mattress.
The Froli System
The Froli System is a series of springs installed under a mattress that provides ventilation and increases support. The unit first gained popularity among travelers in the marine industry but is now widely used in the RV community. The Froli System comes standard on some campers and is available as an added option on many others.
In addition to preventing mold under your RV mattress, the Froli System (Use this link and enter the code Campers15 to receive 15% off your order) has the added benefit of making your bed more comfortable. There are three different Froli models, Travel, Star, and Zona. The primary difference between the three systems is the height of the springs. The Travel model is the shortest, and the Zona is the tallest. The Star model is in the middle and the most common model used in RVs.
You can customize the Froli System to fit any mattress in your RV. One advantage of using the unit is that it is modular and easily adapts to work with beds of all shapes and sizes.
Essentially, the Froli System acts like a set of box springs. You can choose from two different firmness levels. Dark blue springs are used for a somewhat standard firmness level, and light blue springs provide a little less firmness. Red tension springs are used to increase the firmness of all springs. One of the neat features is that you can custom-build your Froli and vary the firmness under each side of the mattress. So if you like a firmer bed than your spouse, make those adjustments by how you arrange the springs to build your unit.
Installing the Froli Modular System is similar to putting together a puzzle; installation runs about an hour, depending upon the size of your mattress. Each spring is approximately 5 x 5 inches. The system is installed by laying the springs out in a grid pattern. Springs are made of a thermoplastic elastomer designed to be strong and flexible. The company reports that the Froli System will last about ten years. Depending upon the model, the unit will raise your bed from about 1 3/8 inches to 2 3/8 inches, allowing plenty of room for ventilation.
Coir Bed Mats
Coir Bed Mats are an organic solution for adding airflow under your mattress. The Coir Bed Mat, or “bed rug,” is natural and made from husks from coconut shells. The husks are woven and bound together using natural latex. The Coir mat is certified organic, so you can rest assured that this bed rug is pesticide and chemical free. In addition, the material is anti-microbial and dust mite resistant making it ideal for a bed mat. Coir Bed Mats are available at The Futon Shop.
Coir Bed Mats are naturally porous, allowing for airflow under the mattress. The Coir underlays are one inch thick and available in various sizes. They are easily trimmable, so if you have a short queen bed in your camper, purchase a queen-sized mat and trim it.
The Coir Bed Mats have firm elastic layers, allowing your bed to provide additional support as you sleep. In addition, the Coir mat will prevent your mattress from sagging. If you use a bed mat that has “give” and is not firm, it will allow your mattress to sag in areas, shortening the life of the mattress.
Hypervent Aire-Flow Mattress Underlay
One of the most popular ways to increase airflow under your mattress is using the Hypervent Aire-Flow Mattress Underlay (click here to purchase) produced by Mattress Insider. An advantage of using the Hypervent system is that it is easily customizable to any size and shape mattress. If you contact Mattress Insider, they will customize the underlay to fit your needs. Read more about Mattress Insider in our article 7 great options for replacing your camper mattress.
The Hypervent Aire-Flow Underlay is ¾ inch thick and made from a woven polymer material. The underlay is easily trimmed with scissors, and you can cut it yourself. Hypervent is breathable and will not get too hot. The material is light and does not add much weight to your RV. However, the underlay is firm, providing plenty of support.
Like the Froli System, the Hypervent is easily customizable and can be used with odd-shaped mattresses.
Den-Dry Mattress Underlay
Our final recommendation is the Den-Dry Mattress Underlay (Check it out on Amazon). Like the other products, the Den-Dry is an underlay that goes beneath your mattress. Installation only takes a few minutes. The Den-Dry is constructed of spun polyethylene and can be easily trimmed with scissors to fit under any bed. It is ¾ inch thick and allows air to easily pass underneath your mattress to prevent condensation buildup.
Add Insulation Under Your Bed
One way that you can help reduce condensation is to add insulation under your bed. The bed in many campers lays upon a plywood platform that opens up for added storage. You can add insulation under the plywood in this storage compartment, which will help keep the plywood from getting cold and reduce condensation in this area. The added insulation will help, but we recommend using a mattress underlay or the Froli System in conjunction with the additional insulation.
Mold under your RV mattress is a concern for anyone that sleeps in an RV. You do not want to spend nights on end breathing in mold spores, which will make you sick. Therefore, we recommend choosing one of these underlays for your camper. They all work well to increase airflow and reduce condensation to prevent mold growth.
Do you use one of these products or a different one in your camper to prevent mold under your RV mattress? We would love to hear from you. Please drop us a line in the comment section below.
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