How to Clean Your Mattress


Credit: iStock.com/AndreyPopov

You have drawn up a table to track the regular cleaning of your apartment or house and you have stocked up on laundry products. But what about your mattress? Cleaning a mattress can seem like an overwhelming chore, but mattresses inevitably encounter stains and you’ll want to do general maintenance regularly to keep your mattress fresh.

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How to clean a mattress

If you furnish the place of your dreams and are in the market for a mattress, you know you are making a serious investment. Learning how to clean a dirty mattress (or just follow through with regular cleaning) will keep your investment in the best possible shape. Even if you don’t have to deal with stains, mattresses can harbor dead skin, dirt, and mites. You should therefore clean your mattress regularly, especially if you have pets or if you suffer from allergies.

Fortunately, cleaning a mattress is much easier than you might imagine. First step? Make sure you have the right tools and mattress cleaning supplies on hand. The materials you’ll need to thoroughly clean a mattress include:

  • Baking soda
  • Cloths for cleaning
  • Cold water
  • Enzyme cleaner or dish soap (for stains)
  • Laundry
  • A vacuum cleaner with an upholstery accessory

Then you can follow these mattress cleaning tips to make sure you always have a clean bed.

Wash all bedding

Take off your pillow cases, sheets, and mattress covers and toss them in the washing machine for their own cleaning session while you work hard on the mattress. Setting the washing machine to hot water will help you banish dust mites. You can put pillows in the washing machine, but check the care label first to make sure you can wash yours.

Vacuum your mattress

Can you wash a mattress? Not exactly, but you can certainly suck it up! Take the upholstery accessory for your vacuum cleaner and run it over the entire surface of the mattress. Don’t forget the sides and pay close attention to the seams. The crevice attachment can help you reach the hidden dust and dirt.

Detach stains

You are not alone if you are wondering how to clean mattress stains at home. At some point, every mattress will encounter stains, so knowing how to deal with those stains is essential.

You should never apply cleaning solution or water directly to a mattress, nor should you ever soak a mattress. The amount of moisture a given mattress can tolerate varies depending on the material. For example, you are not supposed to wet memory foam at all. Spot cleaning is the safest way to go when cleaning a dirty mattress. Choose a stain remover based on the type of mattress you have and the type of stain you need to get rid of.

Biological stains like blood, sweat, urine or vomit require an enzyme-based cleanser. Take a clean white cloth and spray the enzymatic cleaner on it, then use the cloth to blot the stain. Then put cold water on another clean cloth and start blotting again until the stain is gone. Use as little moisture and product as possible.

You can also go for a DIY solution as an alternative to an enzymatic cleaner. Mix dish soap and water, then just apply the lather you get to the stain. Another DIY solution uses equal parts hydrogen peroxide and cold water.

Sprinkle with baking soda

Ideally, we could all put our mattresses in the sun and fresh air after cleaning. Of course, most people who rent an apartment don’t have this option. Enter: baking soda. Baking soda breaks down the acid, absorbing any odor or moisture left behind after the initial cleaning steps.

You’ll want to sprinkle a layer of baking soda on top of the full mattress, leaving it on for several hours at a minimum. The longer you leave it on, the better it works. If you can schedule your mattress cleaning so that you can leave the mattress with baking soda overnight (for example, before an overnight trip), even better.

Open the windows to let in the sun while the baking soda works its magic to eliminate odors. UV rays help kill bacteria or mold on your mattress.

Vacuum, round two

Once the baking soda has done its job, you’ll want to make another pass with your vacuum. Vacuum carefully to remove all of the baking soda from the mattress.

Flip your mattress

You have a spotless side of your mattress. Now turn it over and repeat the above steps.

Pro tip: Even when you aren’t deep cleaning your mattress, you should always turn it over at regular intervals. Constant turning helps the mattress last longer because it allows it to wear more evenly. If you have a spring mattress that compresses over time, turning it over every three months can help preserve the mattress. Otherwise, check with your mattress manufacturer for best practices for the model you own. If you start to notice sagging, you can go ahead and turn around even if you haven’t hit the three-month mark.

Put on layers of protection

Once you have thoroughly cleaned your mattress and allowed it to dry completely, there are a few steps you can take to protect the mattress. Cover a new mattress with a mattress protector to make future cleaning even easier. Using fitted sheets (as long as you wash them regularly) can also help protect them from dust. However, mattress covers offer more protection, especially if you have asthma or allergies.

Learning the best ways to clean a mattress can help preserve your mattress for years to come. Mattresses are expensive, so you definitely can’t throw one in the trash every time it gets dirty. At the same time, you can’t avoid all the stains, and sleeping regularly just creates debris. These simple steps will help you clean your mattress at home to make sure your mattress stays cool and comfortable.