What Causes Sleep Smell In The Bedroom & How To Prevent It

Many of us notice that our bedroom smells bad in the morning. However certain odors are normal since we sweat and breathe out carbon dioxide while we sleep, but constant musty smells or stale odors need attention. Those who feel that the air in their bedroom is stagnant after waking up should read this guide to learn what causes the bad smells and how to fix them.

Why does my bedroom smell bad when I wake up?

You shouldn’t live with odors in your home, just find their source and stop them! Here are the most common reasons for morning bedroom odors:

Mold and mildew

Mold and mildew are two common causes of bad bedroom smells. Fungus spores naturally occur in the air that in humid conditions settle and start growing on the walls, carpets, curtains and soft furnishings. Since it is a living fungus, it releases spores and spread across large areas quickly and forms black or green patches on them depending on the type of mold.

mold growing around the window in the bedroom

There can be several reasons behind excess moisture: weather conditions, poor ventilation in the room, bad insulation on the walls and around the windows, and even wet laundry left in the room or a leaky roof.

If you experience a musty smell in the bedroom, mold or mildew has started to grow somewhere. Take steps to address this issue immediately before it causes health problems. Find the source, clean the mold off completely, or remove the affected items. This may include hiring a professional if there is an extensive amount of mold.

Dirty bedding

During sleep, our body transfers oils, skin cells, and bacteria to the bedding causing stains and unpleasant odors on the sheets and pillowcases.

white gray bed linen

Conditions such as stress, sickness, a nightmare, or hot weather can contribute to heavy sweating too causing a strong sleep smell in the bedroom and making your beddings and even the mattress smell like sweat.

Smelly carpeting

Dust, pollutants, and dirt from shoes accumulate on the carpet over time. Even a well-kept, frequently vacuumed rug can cause foul smells in your bedroom when such debris mixes with liquids from spills, pet accidents, or excess moisture resulting in mold grow between the fibers.

brown leather shoes on white carpet

If you experience odors after waking up but don’t find its source, you will want to check your carpeting’s hidden areas. Should you find stains or mold spots, treat them immediately and deodorize the carpet to cut odors.

Cigarette smoke

Smoking inside can have many negative effects on your living space; it is not just the smells, but also stains that can get very unpleasant if left untreated for a long time.

Your bedroom may smell like cigarettes even if you are a non-smoker. The source of such odors could be secondhand furniture, carpets, or curtains left in the house from the previous tenant/owner. Smoke smell mixed with used air can turn into a pretty sour morning smell in the bedroom by morning.

cigarettes on ashtray

If your bedroom smells bad in the morning because you smoked inside in the evening, airing it properly usually solves the problem. In case there is no window to open, running an air purifier helps remove the cigarette smell.

Unfortunately, if the odor is already accumulated in the walls and furnishings, it is very difficult to fully eliminate smoke smells. Even after thorough deodorizing, those who are sensitive to smells might feel the unpleasant aroma so a fresh coat of paint, new furniture or sometimes even new flooring would be needed.

Pets in the bedroom

We all know that pets can be gross but still, we share our sleeping area with them since we love our furry friends a lot. So, if your bedroom smells bad in the morning, maybe your dogs or cats are responsible for the smells!

dog in the bed

Let’s be honest, accidents do happen, especially at night even if your pets are potty trained, and those odors will linger in the morning. While it can be challenging to get rid of such strong odors, with extra effort and regular cleaning, it is entirely possible.

How to get rid of & prevent sleep smell in the bedroom

So now that you know why your room smells bad when you wake up, it’s time to address the issues. Follow these tips to get rid of those foul odors!

Improve ventilation

The simplest solution to freshen up your bedroom if it smells after sleeping is opening the windows. It ensures better airflow so you can get rid of stale air; such a perfect way to welcome a new day!

bedroom ceiling fan

Those who don’t have a window in their bedroom or can’t open it because they live in a city environment should use fans to promote ventilation. Even a standing fan helps a lot, but if you can allow it, invest in a ceiling fan that improves airflow by creating a draft. It is also a great alternative to air conditioning because it consumes much less energy.

Clean your room regularly

One way to get rid of bad smells is by cleaning your bedroom regularly. This may sound obvious, but we often forget how much difference even a quick cleanup means!

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Regular vacuuming, washing curtains, and wiping down surfaces is the best way to prevent odors, but all these may not fit a busy morning routine. For instant refreshment, here are some quick tricks: air the room quickly while spraying your favorite room mist in the air and onto your soft furnishings! This procedure doesn’t take more than 3 minutes but will instantly stop the sleeping smell in your bedroom!

Deal with excess humidity

Extra moisture in your house may be a permanent problem if you live in such a climate, but also just a seasonal issue. Moisture levels can change quickly causing mold problems even before you would notice that the air got wet in your house, but by keeping your eye on the humidity level you can take action quickly. The ideal humidity in the bedroom is 40-60% which can be easily monitored with a digital hygrometer.

White hygrometer

To reduce humidity, the best is to get a dehumidifier that removes or minimizes water in the air. By taking excess moisture out, it helps prevent mold growth and odd smells in your room.

Authors’ Tip: If you are on the opposite side and the humidity level is low in your home, get an essential oil diffuser that adds not only moisture to the air but also a wonderful aroma! Choose a relaxing bedroom scent that will help relax and sleep better!

Invest in plants

Bedroom plants are an excellent way to naturally purify the air. They don’t only make your sleeping area cozy but prevent those unpleasant morning smell by releasing oxygen. Rather than investing in chemical-containing air fresheners, freshen up your bedroom with some greenery!

Wash and air your bedding

To maintain a hygienic and fresh-smelling bedroom, make sure to wash your beddings regularly, at least once a week. If you have allergies or let your pets sleep in your bed, clean your bedding more frequently and from time to time, freshen your pillows, duvets, and mattress too.

grey and white bed sheets

If you are a sweaty sleeper, regular washing may not remove body odor from your sheets and pillows. I recommend soaking them for a couple of hours in a 1 part white vinegar 5 parts hot water solution before washing to eliminate the residue and bacteria that are causing the odors.

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