How To Clean a Mattress

We spend about a third of our lives in bed so our beds need to be clean and smelling fresh. You may change and wash your sheets regularly, but a dirty mattress will still affect your sleep comfort. This is because dust mites, body fluids, oils, sweat, dead skin cells and other debris make their way through your sheets to the mattress. Additionally, keeping your mattress clean will extend the life of your mattress.

You don't need to clean your mattress regularly - like on a weekly basis - but you can be inspecting it every time you change the linens to ensure it's not dirty or stained. As for deep cleaning, do it once or twice every month. Many shy from cleaning their mattresses because they believe it to be an impossible or rather hectic task. Good news is, it's quite simple and only requires a few items. Read on to discover the simple steps on how to clean a mattress.

Steps to Cleaning Your Mattress

The workload ahead of you depends on several factors. Do you use a mattress cover? If so, then you'll probably need to only dust off your mattress since these covers protect your mattress from dirt and stains. If you don't use a cover, the next question is how stained is your bed? There are different stains that get on mattresses such as urine stains, blood stains, vomit, wine spills, bodily fluids and many more. These are the type of stains that cause bad odor and if left unattended, can be hard to wash off.

Another factor is how long has the stain been there? If the spill just happened, then cleaning it off will be very easy. However, if it happened weeks or months ago and you let it dry on your mattress, then you may or may not be lucky in getting rid of the stain marks. Either way, a good cleaning process will help clear any stenches and stains for the most part. Last but not least, if you have a mattress pad or topper, you'll need to clean them separately from the mattress. Let's get into the steps for cleaning.

Tip: When dealing with vomit stains, you should also strive to get rid of the awful smell as they can lead to sleepless nights. In our how to get vomit smell out of a mattress post, we expand more on how to clean vomit stains from different types of mattresses and discuss how you can puke proof your sleep surface with mattress protectors and pads. Feel free to check it out.

Step 1: Gather your cleaning supplies

The best part about mattress cleaning is that you can achieve it with the simple items in your pantry, plus a vacuum cleaner at hand. Here are the items you'll need.

  • Cold water
  • An enzyme cleaner or clear liquid dish soap
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Baking soda
  • Cleaning microfiber cloths
  • A Spray bottle

When it comes to using detergents and cleaning products on your mattress, choose products with a mild scent. You don’t want to use anything too harsh that could damage the delicate fabric of your mattress. On that same note, avoid using excess liquid soap and other ingredients. You can clean in rounds and each time use a small amount until the stain or odor is gone.

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Step 2: Let's Get the Beddings Out

Remove the sheets, pillowcases, mattress covers and wash them. Check the care instructions to see if your pillows are machine washable or if they have a removable cover you can wash. Cleaning your beddings will add an extra touch of freshness to your sleeping experience. It is recommended to wash your bedding in hot water to get rid of any dust mites.

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Step 3: Vacuum the surface

Using your vacuum’s upholstery attachment, go over the entire surface of the mattress, including the sides to get any hidden dust and debris before you start deep cleaning.

Step 4: Soda-up your mattress

After vacuuming, take a sieve and some baking soda and spread the soda around your mattress. Using a sieve helps you spread it more evenly instead of more in some places. Make sure all stained areas are covered in baking soda. Now let the baking soda sit for a few hours. After which, vacuum out the baking soda.

Baking soda is a good agent for getting rid of stains and bad odors as well as sipping moisture from surfaces. In this step, feel free to add an essential oil as you strain the baking soda to add some scent to the mattress.

Step 5: Spot-clean any mattress stains

Check for stains and areas of discoloration. The best way to remove mattress stains is to use a gentle a clear liquid dish soap mixed in lukewarm water with white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide. Apply a small amount of the cleaning solution to a clean rag and gently blot the stained area. Leave it to soak for about 30 minutes then wipe off the substances using a slightly damp cloth until the stains lift.

You may also use a spray bottle in this step and instead spray the solution directly onto the mattress. However, spray as little cleaning solution as possible to avoid over-wetting your mattress. The stain remover you choose will depend on the type of stain. For biological stains like blood, sweat and urine the best substance is hydrogen peroxide. Stains like vomit can be cleaned by using white vinegar.

Step 6: Let the Mattress Dry

Be sure to give your mattress plenty of time to dry on each side. A few hours is best. If at all possible, dry your mattress outside on a warm, sunny day. The sunlight will help your mattress dry as you clean it and act as a natural disinfectant, killing any bacteria in the mattress. If you can't get outside, the next best option is to face a fan directly towards the mattress, and open the bedroom windows to introduce fresh air into the room until it dries up.

Final Step: Flip the mattress

Now that side one is spotless, flip the mattress over and repeat steps 3 to 6 so both sides are equally fresh and clean. The underside of your mattress won’t likely have any visible stains, but it can still harbor a lot of dust, moisture, and more.

Check your care booklet to see if your mattress is double or single sided. If your mattress is double-sided, flip and repeat steps to make sure that both sides of your mattress get a deep clean. If you have a single-sided mattress, then all you need to do is vacuum the underside to get rid of any dust, dirt or hair.

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How to Keep Your Mattress Clean

To maintain a clean mattress for longer and to protect yourself from experiencing the effects of a bad mattress, make sure you spot clean stains as soon as they happen. Make a habit of vacuuming the mattress regularly and air out your mattress often - under the sun if possible. The sun helps kill pests, dry up fluids and keep your mattress smelling fresh. Additionally, avoid eating in bed and letting kids and pets play in your bed, which can also sag a mattress.

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A clean mattress goes a long way in improving your quality of sleep as well as the air you breathe around it. A mattress can be a hefty investment, so you want to make sure it lasts and that means learning how to clean a mattress properly. Remember that a mattress protector goes a long way, as earlier mentioned, therefore get one for your bed. Don't let mold and mildew grow in your mattress since they can't be removed and can cause diseases. Last tip, make sure to open your windows everyday and aerate your room to keep your beddings dry. Now that you know how to clean a mattress, you can check out our useful guide on signs your bed is causing back pain to prevent the condition from worsening. 

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