Check out our cleaning advice on how to clean and disinfect a mattress.
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If you need to know how to clean a mattress properly, we have a simple six-step method for you to quickly implement.
Mattresses are one of the most used items in our homes, and we spend one-third of our lives horizontally on them, so they deserve a good cleaning every now and then. Because, over time, even the best mattress will absorb sweat, blood, dead skin cells (dare we say tears), and other glorious bodily things, but who wants to get cozy with that?
Fortunately for our wallets, a dirty mattress does not always necessitate replacement. We'll show you how to clean and sanitize your mattress with common household items like baking soda and vinegar. So there's no need to spend money on expensive specialty products that can smell chemically and aren't always eco-friendly.
Pay attention to stains and odors early on to not only extend the life of your mattress but also to your overall well-being.
How to Clean a Mattress in Steps
(Photo credit: Very)
'Mattresses are infested with mites,' says Lynsey Crombie, also known as the Lynsey Queen of Clean. (Opens in a new window)
'These mites feed on the dead skin that we naturally shed while sleeping.' This means you're rolling around and inhaling a variety of noxious particles, such as fungal spores, bacteria, plasticizers, and flame retardants. '
You will require:
- A reliable handheld vacuum cleaner (such as the Prosenic S1 Handheld vacuum) (Opens in a new tab) sourced from Amazon)
- Bicarbonate of soda or baking soda
- Distilled white vinegar
- Lavender essential oil (this 30ml bottle) (Opens in a new window) has over 107,000 Amazon reviews)
- Laundry detergent in powder form
1. Make the bed.
(Photo credit: Future)
To begin, remove your bed sheets and mattress cover and place them in the washer.
'First and foremost, you should completely strip the bed and wash the sheets, pillowcases, and blankets,' says Lauren Fountain, Sleep Foundation certified sleep science coach. (Opens in new window)
'Confirm that your pillows are machine washable by checking the label. To get rid of dust mites, it's best to wash bedding in hot water, but it's also important to follow the care instructions to avoid shrinkage or fading. To help keep your mattress clean, we recommend washing sheets once a week. '
Today's almost futuristic washing machines have a plethora of sophisticated and performance-based settings to ensure the best possible cleaning of your mattress and bedding.
Also, if you don't have one, it's worthwhile to look for the best mattress protector for you. They say prevention is better than cure, so these will not only help extend the life of your mattress, but they will also make cleaning easier because most can be washed on a regular basis.
2. Vigorously vacuum
(Photo courtesy of Dyson)
Use a clean (note the word clean) upholstery attachment to get into any grooves and remove any food crumbs, dirt, dead skin cells, debris, dust, and pet hair (yes, we know you let them up there). Vacuum the mattress's sides as well.
The best handheld vacuum cleaners allow you to clean every nook and cranny in difficult-to-reach areas.
While you're thinking about how to clean a mattress, don't forget about your headboard. Because you don't want to do a half-finished job.
'A weekly vacuum and spritz of fabric spray will keep your headboard free of dirt and dust while also keeping it smelling nice and fresh.' ' says Jonathan Warren, director of Time4Sleep, a bed specialist. (Opens in a new window)
'For a deeper clean, start with a quick hoover, then apply a mixture of warm water and detergent to a dry cloth and blot any visible stains before leaving to dry and hoovering again.' It'll be like new in no time. '
3. Remember to flip your mattress.
(Photo courtesy of Gardner Matress & More)
Not all mattresses require it, but many do, even if only for the first year or so, and we recommend it every season. So, if your mattress requires regular flipping and turning, do so to avoid warping and sagging.
'While the underside of your mattress is unlikely to have visible stains, it can still harbor a lot of dust, moisture, and other contaminants.' 'Fountain claims
'If your mattress is not designed to be flipped, you can still clean the underside; however, be careful when flipping it over and avoid applying too much pressure to the mattress.' '
While one expert claims that rotating your mattress is good for your health:
'By keeping your mattress in good condition, your body will receive the best possible sleep support.' This means your spine will be aligned, lowering the likelihood of waking up with neck and back pain. Gardner's Mattress & More co-owner Ben McClure says (Opens in a new window)
'You'll also feel more at ease while sleeping, allowing for longer stretches of quality sleep.' Good sleep and proper sleeping positions have been linked to improved health, so creating optimal sleeping conditions is critical for your overall well-being. '
'With over 20 million Americans allergic to mattress allergens such as dust mites, it's critical to do everything possible to reduce their numbers.' By not exposing only one side of our old skin cells and indoor dust, regularly flipping and vacuuming your mattress can reduce the number of pesky allergens. '
It's worth noting that the best mattress toppers can also help to cradle a sore body (in addition to being a quick, rental-friendly upgrade to a cheap mattress), but if the aches and pains persist, it's best to seek medical advice.
4. Use a deodorizer and sanitizer to spruce up your fort.
(Photo courtesy of Getty)
If your mattress smells, it is most likely due to dried sweat - delightful, we know. Sprinkle a light layer of baking soda or bicarbonate of soda over the entire surface using a sieve (if you have one) and gently rub in with a scrubbing brush - leave for at least one hour, longer if possible.
If you want an extra scent in the days after your deep clean, add a few drops of essential oil like lavender to the baking soda before sieving it. This absorbs any excess liquid from the stain removal procedure, leaving your mattress smelling fresh and clean. Vacuum the soda thoroughly, getting into all crevices.
Fresh air, preferably in the sun, is the best way to naturally eliminate bacteria from your mattress. If you can't get your mattress into the garden, a well-ventilated, sunlit room will suffice. The sun is a fantastic (and free) source of energy. ) is a natural disinfectant and deodorizer that is just as effective as cleaning your mattress with detergent.
You will need a full eight hours of sunlight for this to work properly, so choose a cloudless spring day for this task, as well as position your mattress in a way that will ensure direct sunlight. We recommend doing this as the final drying step after cleaning your mattress.
5. Spot clean and treat any stains on your mattress.
(Photo by Hayley Ryczek (Hayley in the Kitchen))
You are probably dealing with old protein stains. e urine, menstrual blood, sweat, and similar substances Use an enzyme treatment that uses as little water as possible. Damp can damage a mattress' fibers, and if you have a memory foam mattress, water can completely ruin it, so be cautious with liquids on a daily basis and when cleaning.
There are numerous approaches that use both chemical and environmentally friendly methods. What you use to clean a stain is determined by the stain. Whatever you're removing, the golden rules are to never scrub, but rather dab, and to avoid getting the mattress wetter than necessary.
After vacuuming the mattress, spray it with anti-bacterial white vinegar and then sprinkle it with baking soda (bicarbonate of soda is the same thing).
Allow vinegar to bubble before covering it with a towel for a couple of hours when cleaning. Allow any leftover baking soda to dry naturally. The vinegar smell will fade as the mattress dries.
You can also combine 2oz of powdered detergent with 300ml of warm water and thoroughly mix until soap suds form. Apply a thin layer to the mattress and use a sponge to rub it in. Continue rubbing until any visible stains fade; otherwise, simply work up a good lather. Using a clean sponge, remove any remaining detergent. Allow to dry completely or use a hairdryer held 50cm above the stain to expedite the process.
Cleaning specific mattress stains
(Image courtesy of Mattress Clarity)
'It's important to be cautious when using soaps and cleaning products on your mattress,' warns Fountain.
'You don't want to use anything too abrasive that will harm the delicate fabric of your mattress.' Remember that it is difficult to completely remove detergents from a mattress, so choose products with a mild scent. '
- Tea and coffee stains on a mattress: For fresh tea or coffee spills, dab the stain with a baking soda solution (115g in 600ml water). Leave it for 30 minutes. Rinse with clean water.
- Mattress blood stains: If you're wondering how to clean blood stains, the temperature of your water is the most important factor. Dab with cold water (never hot water), and if that doesn't work, try the baking soda solution.
- Mattress sweat stains: If the stain is caused by other bodily fluids, use a washing-up liquid solution on a clean cloth.
- Vomit stains: After cleaning, begin blotting up any liquid. Then, in a spray bottle, combine equal parts water and white vinegar, wet the stain, and blot it. Repeat until the stain is gone.
- Urine stains: Because small children and pets frequently have accidents in the middle of the night, here is one of the best ways to clean up urine stains. Strip the bed and blot the urine with paper towels, applying pressure to reach deeper layers. Spray a white vinegar solution (two parts warm water, one part white vinegar) on the urine stain. Using a paper towel, blot the affected area. Repeat two or three times to get rid of the stain and odor. Finally, allow to dry naturally.
Cleaning with shaving cream is also a cheap, effective, and quick-drying method for removing the most stubborn stains from a mattress.
6. Allow it to air out
(Photo courtesy of Getty)
No matter what treatment you used, your mattress should not be overly damp; however, make sure it is completely dry before replacing your clean mattress protector and bedding.
'There are numerous advantages to airing out your mattress.' Not only does it allow any remaining moisture to dry out, but it also exposes your mattress to sunlight and fresh air,' says Sarah Fishburne, Home Depot's director of trend and design. (Opens in a new window)
Simply open a window and expose your mattress to sunlight, or pick it up and bring it outside to air out. This will kill any bacteria or mold that may be present on your mattress. It will also help to reduce or eliminate odor.
(Photo courtesy of Home Depot.)
How to Remove Mattress Dust Mites
(Photo by Anete Lusina via Pexels)
Airing the bed every morning is one way to get rid of - or at least limit - dust mites. The best steam cleaners are also excellent at removing bugs. Simply go over the mattress before vacuuming to help kill and remove any unwanted pests.
Pets are also to blame for finding fleas in your bedroom. So, if you can't get enough of your pets, check out our guides to cleaning up after dogs and cleaning up after cats for some mess-cutting tips.
Cleaning and caring for your mattress: expert advice
'When it comes to heavy-duty jobs like bed bug removal and steam cleaning, you should definitely hire a professional. Bed bugs are a very time-sensitive issue because they spread like wildfire, so I'll add that you should contact a professional as soon as possible. Have them treat your mattress, bedroom, and any other affected areas of the house right away. 'Melissa Maker says (Opens in a new window) , YouTube sensation and Clean My Space author
She also recommends regular flipping and using a mattress protector at all times.
Sophie Hinchliffe (aka Mrs Hinch) is social media's most sought-after cleanfluencer. (Opens in a new window) ) has some mattress magic advice. 'For those wondering why I use bicarb and what it does, it's an odor eliminator, so any odors that may be lingering in the mattress, it just soaks them up and absorbs them,' she says. It works extremely well. '
How frequently should a mattress be cleaned?
This is determined by factors such as whether you sleep alone or with pets (or children). You should treat urine and bloodstains as soon as possible, as well as spills and the like, but you should also deep clean your mattress at least twice a year. ensuring that it is done during the summer months so that it can be sanitized in the sun (more on this later)
'We recommend removing your sheets and protective mattress cover and gently vacuuming the mattress at least once or twice a year to keep your mattress clean and refreshed.' Tempur-Pedic's vice president of marketing, Jill Johnson, says (Opens in a new window)
If you buy a mattress online, for example, from a classified ad website like Facebook Marketplace, (Opens in new window) , Gumtree (Opens in a new window) or Craig's List (Opens in a new window) - You should clean the mattress before putting it in your bedroom. After all, you don't know the owner's cleaning habits, so it's better to be safe than sorry, right?
Also, consider how you style your mattress. For example, if you do not elevate your bed on a bed frame, it is more likely to become dirty sooner. This applies to you if you, for example, sleep on a mattress on the floor. Who wants to lift a mattress only to discover a 'rug' of lint and dust bunnies? Not us
Satisfied that you have a raised bed with a headboard Not so quickly. Because you, too, have some homework According to one expert, bedheads can harbor a variety of germy particles (which can then fall onto your mattress), so it's important to clean them as well.
Paul Morris, antimicrobial expert at Addmaster (Opens in a new window) did some research on people's bed cleaning habits and discovered some shocking (read: disgusting) results
'The fabric on upholstered headboards provides the ideal environment for several types of skin bacteria that break down sweat on the body,' he says.
'We're more aware of bacteria found on bed linen, but given that one-third of people (30%) have never cleaned their headboard, it could be a much larger source of bacteria than we realize. '
When should I vacuum my mattress?
'It's best to clean your mattress first thing in the morning,' Fountain recommends.
'This way, you can leave the baking soda to work for 8 hours or more and have everything cleaned up by the evening.' Another good time is the day before an overnight trip, as you can leave the baking soda on your mattress overnight. '
Of course, there are times when you'll want to clean a mattress right away. For example, if you've had a nosebleed or Aunt Flo's monthly gift has arrived, you'll want to get rid of the nasal or menstrual blood right away.
Strong-smelling pet urine or poop can also be a little stinky (the former can have an ammonia odor), so whether they've done their business in the best dog bed or had an accident while snuggled up next to you, you'll want to clean it up as soon as possible. When left to their own devices, our fluffy friends can be a little experimental with their diet, so it's important to get rid of any fecal matter as soon as possible to prevent bacteria from harboring in your bed and spreading to other areas of the home.
How can I keep my mattress safe?
(Photo credit: Vlarda Karpovich (Pexels))
We are aware. Breakfast in bed is unbeatable, the cat does whatever it wants, and the dog is just too cute to resist, right? All of this, however, increases bacteria levels (and thus smells), dust mites love pet dander as much as human skin flakes, and muddy paw prints on a duvet are not a good look. If we haven't convinced you to reconsider that smoked salmon bagel or crispy croissant, the experts have. We're not making this up.
'While having breakfast in bed on occasion can be enjoyable, treating your bed as your permanent dining room is a bad habit to develop in the long run. 'Mattress Firm senior brand manager Hannah Miller says (Opens in a new window)
'Keeping a clean mattress is a difficult task for the chronic bed-eater. If you eat on your mattress, consider every part of it a potential breeding ground for germs and bacteria. '
'Experts say the average sleeper should change their sheets every 1-2 weeks — an activity that will undoubtedly need to be increased if you enjoy eating in bed. To summarize Snacking in bed means more mattress maintenance and possibly a faster mattress replacement. '
'I'm still not convinced.' Move over and make room in your bed for a different kind of visitor. From ants to roaches, eating in bed exposes your sacred sleeping space to hungry pests (and their friends). ) Even the smallest spill can invite bugs into your bedroom. Even the most conscientious eater finds it difficult to eat in bed without leaving something behind for unwanted guests to enjoy later. '
Finally, for a miracle in a bottle, try Scotchguard. (Opens in a new window) , which is available on Amazon
They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and the same is true for mattress stains. ' McClure says
'Protect your mattress by spraying it with Scotchguard, or if you prefer to avoid chemicals, use a thin mattress protector.' Many people are concerned that sleeping with a "plastic sheet" will be uncomfortable, but many of today's protective covers are barely noticeable and surprisingly comfortable. It is far easier to remove a protective sheet and wash it, or even replace it, than it is to clean a mattress. '
Why should a mattress be cleaned?
Sleeping on your mattress every night, in all seasons, obviously wears it out. All that sweat, dirt, and dead skin cells accumulates over time, and if you don't take care of it, you could end up with a stinky mattress, a bad night's sleep, and, if you're really unlucky, an infestation of some kind.
'The place where we spend one-third of our lives sleeping and relaxing is also a breeding ground for germs.' 'Online-bedrooms.co.uk's head of marketing and brand development, Nic Shacklock, says (Opens in a new window)
'Yeast, mold, and bacteria could all be living in your mattress, especially if it is more than eight years old.' Gravity, in addition to microbes, skin cells, and food particles transferred from our bodies, contributes to mattresses being such a germy environment. '
'Airborne dust and debris float around the bedroom before landing on the bed.' Daily exposure to this slew of noxious microorganisms is not good for anyone, which is why it is recommended that you replace your mattress every seven to eight years. '
'Remove all of the sheets and begin vacuuming the mattress, making sure the vacuum head is clean.' Then, spray some disinfectant spray all over the mattress and let it air out for a couple of hours. '
If that doesn't convince you, the average person sweats half a pint of perspiration every night. And it's not just a part of growing up. Yes, as adults, we expend more energy than children, but even the best crib mattresses can quickly become soiled by a wet diaper that has leaked or an explosive baby bowel moment - aka the 'poonami.'
When it comes to toilet training, the best toddler mattresses are the same. Because knowing how to clean a mattress after a few nighttime mishaps will allow you to be patient throughout the process.
What should you do if you are unable to clean your mattress?
While we are confident that the methods listed above will clean your mattress, We aren't wizards. Stains that are old, highly pigmented, or deeply penetrated into the material may be too difficult to remove.
So you have a few options here, including mattress disposal or learning how to recycle a mattress. As part of their after-sale agreement, most mattress retailers will assist you in disposing of your mattress in a sustainable manner. Ideally, try to contact your manufacturer first.
If you're replacing your mattress, you might be wondering 'how much does a mattress cost?' If you haven't bought one in a while (you should change yours every 7-10 years, FYI), manage your expectations with our guide.
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