How to Clean A Mattress
Sleeping on a clean and fresh mattress can make you feel at ease. It can add to the overall comfort you experience while catching some ZZZs. So, as a bed owner and sleeper, you should know when and how to clean a mattress. It should be included in your routine, and you can schedule it as you deem necessary.
Isn’t flipping enough? While this practice is important, it’s only one of the steps you can take to ensure your sleeping space wears out evenly. Now, you may think: I also wash my bedding regularly. That’s great! But more thorough routine cleaning helps keep your bed safe from dust, allergens, and bugs. It also allows you to deal with spots, stains, and odors which aren’t just about the sheets.
When it comes to protecting the product you use for a third of your day, it’s important to see the big picture. Constant care will not only prolong its life but will also boost your health and wellbeing. The task is not always going to be intense. There are times you will have to address problematic stains or vacuum dead bugs. But washing linens will have to do some days.
We have put this review together to answer any questions you may have. You may want to know how to clean different types of bed, or how to drive away dust mites. Maybe you’re looking for signs for when you should clean your mattress or when you should replace it altogether. Continue reading to learn more. Using the Table of Contents, you can also browse this guide by section.
Table of Contents
- Signs You Should Clean Your Mattress
- How to Clean A Mattress
- How to Deep Clean A Mattress
- Signs You Should Replace Your Mattress
Signs You Should Clean Your Mattress
- You’re getting allergies while snoozing. The smallest particles can affect sleepers who are allergic to dust. However, it is not until you’ve inhaled a lot of dust that you may realize you’re allergic to it. Dust mites can also be the cause. Aside from cleaning, you should visit a professional if you are noticing a reaction whenever you hit the sack, as well as when you wake up.
- Dust and dirt have accumulated. Over time, dust and dirt can pile up on your sheets. They can also be found in the crevices of the bed. Aside from washing the bedding every two weeks, you should also wash the mattress cover if it is the zip-off, removable type. You can do this every few months or every quarter.
- It’s emitting a strong odor. A strong smell can come from a mattress because of the dust and skin on its surface. Sweat, moisture, and other bodily fluids can also contribute to the odor. If not dealt with, the smell can affect your sleep and the atmosphere in your bedroom.
- Your bed has a noticeable stain/s. Bloodstains from a woman’s period or accidental spills can penetrate the bed covers and reach the mattress. While hiding them with linens, the issue will not go away. You will need to address it at some point. Also, the spot can attract insects, like ants if a sweet liquid is the source of the staining.
- You haven’t washed it in months. Whether or not any of the above reasons occur, or become noticeable to you, it is imperative that you clean your mattress to keep it safe, healthy, and fresh. There are physical as well as psychological benefits to gain from this. You can set your own schedule for this, e.g. every two months or every quarter.
How to Clean A Mattress
Don’t fret if you haven’t washed or cleaned a mattress before. Just googling “How to clean a mattress,” tells us you want to learn more about it. Like any habit, you can cultivate it through practice, patience, and perseverance.
The process is also pretty easy. Believe us when we say it’s a straightforward and fuss-free event. To help you a little, we are breaking down the process into bite-size information. Just check out which mattress type is applicable to you. And then we’ll take it from there.
Memory Foam Mattress
Memory foam beds can absorb moisture, sweat, and stain throughout time. Keeping yours clean is essential to ensuring you get the most out of it. Consider the following instructions on how to clean a memory foam mattress. But do note that your bed comes with its own set of care instructions. If any of the items below contradict the manufacturer’s directions, feel free to disregard them.
- Vacuum dirt, hair, and lint. These common particles or strays can get stuck on the mattress, especially in the nooks and crannies. Left uninspected for a time, they can cause damage to your all-foam bed. Use a hand vacuum or a full vacuum with the fabric attachment to remove them. Once or twice a month can be fine.
- Spot clean stains. If you have one or more stained areas on your sleep surface, you can spot-clean them instead of washing the entire thing. Mix fabric solution and water in equal parts and shake well. Then spray on the problematic areas. Don’t spray too much as memory foam absorbs water like a sponge.
- Apply common household ingredients to urine. Teaching you how to clean urine from a mattress is a running subtopic in this guide. Your child or pet may be in the potty training phase. So, you’re still bound to deal with pee on the mattress any day now. Use some paper towels to absorb the liquid and then spot-clean with a vinegar solution. Rinse with a damp cloth.
Next, pour baking soda on the spot/s and leave for 8 to 10 hours. This should cover your waking hours, having the bed ready again for the night. By then, you will have vacuumed up the baking soda. If the smell persists, dry the mattress out in the sun.
- Dry wet areas immediately. Use a fan or a hairdryer to dry the wet areas of the memory foam mattress. As we said, this material tends to absorb liquid fast. So don’t spray or wipe it with wet rags too much. Also, do not set the dryer to high to avoid damaging the bed.
- Keep the outer parts protected. Before any of these can happen to your mattress, make sure it is protected by sheets and/or a mattress topper. Washing and removing these can be easier than cleaning the whole thing. This doesn’t mean you will skip the routine cleaning of your memory foam bed, but it shows it’s got the first line of defense.
Latex is a preferred material for beds because of its responsiveness. It’s also derived from nature (at least the natural and/or organic ones). It’s innately breathable and durable, although it’s not as conforming as memory foam. Learning how to care for your latex mattress is essential to having you and your co-sleeper sleep well on it.
- Spot clean affected areas. Use a mild liquid detergent for fabric or dishes, mixed with warm water, to wash spots with stains, dirt, or other issues. Avoid using harsh chemicals as these may damage the composition of the latex layer. You may remove the bed cover before cleaning and toss it into the washing machine. And then you can spot clean the bare surface.
- Keep away from direct sunlight. Before covering up the bed with fresh linen, make sure it is completely dry. If it’s still damp, you can air dry it indoors. Do not expose it to direct sunlight as the heat can destroy the open cell structure of the latex. This structure is a defining feature of the material, made to promote airflow.
Related to this point is where you place your bed. Best to position it where there is some shade instead of right where sunlight streams into your room.
- Keep it dry. As mentioned above, you need to keep your latex mattress dry all the time. If you are planning to clean it, schedule the task early in the day so you can get ample time for drying.
- Deodorize with baking soda. Baking soda is a cleaning agent that is safe to use on your mattress, including one made of latex. Pouring this on the surface can help soak up odors. This common household ware is also great at removing dirt from surfaces. Just leave it for 6 to 8 hours and vacuum it afterward to ensure optimal results.
One of the more expensive mattress types, hybrids combine coils and foams in its design. Usually, you will find individually encased springs at the base and one to multiple layers of foam above them. Memory foam and latex are also popular parts of hybrids. So, you can refer to the previous tips and then complement them with the following steps:
- Mix common household cleaners. Your kitchen cupboard can be an ideal source of ingredients for cleaning mattress stains. The combination depends on how tough the stains you’re dealing with. You can make a paste out of lemon and water, or combine baking soda, dishwashing liquid, and hydrogen peroxide. We will tackle these differences more in the section called How to Deep Clean A Mattress.
- Do not use harsh chemicals. Speaking of chemicals, you should avoid those that can be harsh not only to the fabric cover but also to the foam layers of your bed. Bleach and ammonia, or solutions containing these, are not recommended. Instead, try non-toxic, natural enzyme cleaners, to address dirt, stains, and odors. These can also help preserve the natural and organic materials used in your mattress.
- Keep your room well-ventilated. If you can, air out the room and mattress each morning. Open the windows to let air circulate. If it’s not a latex mattress, you can also place it near one or more windows. Another trick is to leave your bed undone for 30 minutes to promote ventilation. After some time, you can put the sheets in place to keep things in order in the bedroom.
- Get rid of bed bugs. Bed bug infestation can be a hassle. Those tiny insects feed on your blood, leaving you with bites. In worse scenarios, they can trigger allergies, cause redness, rashes, and blisters, and even affect you psychologically. In hybrid mattresses with thicker profiles, it can be harder to detect these pesky creatures. To get rid of them, clean the surface and vacuum bed bugs out.
Innerspring is the classic mattress type known for its bounce. More often than not, it is now paired with one or more foam layers, making it a hybrid. But in cases where the bed is still classified as innerspring, you may find polyurethane foam topping it. You can take note of how hybrids are cleaned for the basics. But here are more ways to handle your innerspring.
- Clean it up in a wide, open space. It’s better to take your innerspring bed out of its frame or foundation. Much so if you bring it outside the room to clean and disinfect. This will help you prevent the mattress from getting molds and mildew. Plus, you need some space to work through its entirety.
- Use vinegar as a cleaning agent. Distilled white vinegar, or vinegar diluted in water, is needed to break down dirt and stains on your mattress. It can also address molds and mildew. But it does not work alone. It has to be complemented by baking soda. You can put your solution in a spray bottle and spray on the areas that need attention.
- Vacuum all sides. Before you spray your vinegar solution, you should vacuum all sides of your innerspring mattress. When you place baking soda after spot cleaning, you need to vacuum the surface again. Make sure you are using a handheld vacuum or a vacuum with an attachment designed for cleaning fiber.
- Wrap pillows and mattresses in dust mite cover. Treating dust mites can be repetitive if you don’t know how to clean a deep used mattress. This means you aren’t getting to the bottom of the problem. See the next section for more details about dust mites. If you don’t have this problem, such as when your mattress is new, prevent it from happening by using dust mite covers.
- Thin, quiet waterproof barrier protects all six sides of the mattress from fluids and spills vinyl free materials are safe for kids
- Machine washable encasement has a zippered closure for a comfortable secure fit on mattresses up to 12" deep
- Fully encases your mattress with a smooth, lightweight fabric to form a reliable barrier against bed bugs, dust mites and allergens
How to Deep Clean A Mattress
Before we discuss how to deep clean a mattress, it is just as important to determine when to do this. Consumer Reports says twice a year is a good rule of thumb. This should allow you to address issues you may have overlooked or ignored in the past six months.
Removing Spots, Stains, Odor, & Urine
While we recommend spot cleaning as soon as spills and stains occur, we also understand that you have other important things to do. Thus, the step-by-step solutions provided below work for when they are still fresh, have dried out, or are being stubborn.
How to Clean Spots, Spills, and Stains From A Mattress
Spots, spills, and stains can be biological–blood, sweat, urine, and vomit–or not–food, wine, and milk. You can use the following solution to remove blood stains or buy a ready-made enzyme to spray on a white rag and wipe on the problem area.
You will need:
- 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide, add more as needed
- 1 tbsp liquid dish soap
- 1 tbsp table salt
What to do:
- Create a paste by mixing the three ingredients.
- Apply the paste lightly on the stain. Leave to dry.
- Then, dip a white rag into hydrogen peroxide and pat the cloth on the stain to lift the residue. Make sure you use a white rag to avoid transferring the color onto the mattress.
How to Remove Odor From A Mattress
What you will need:
- A generous sprinkle of baking soda
- Essential oil (optional)
- Sifter (optional)
What to do:
- Dust the mattress with a generous amount of baking soda. Leave it for several hours–we suggest 6 to 8 hours–to allow the baking soda to absorb the odor and break down molds and mildew. You can add five drops of your favorite essential oil to the baking soda and/or put it in a sifter for even distribution.
- When at least 30 minutes have elapsed, vacuum the mattress to clear out the baking soda including the odor and particles it has absorbed.
How to Clean Urine From A Mattress
You will need:
- 3 tbsp baking soda
- 8 oz. hydrogen peroxide 3%
- A few drops of liquid dish soap
What to do:
- Mix all of the ingredients above. You can put the solution in a spray to control its application on the mattress.
- Spray the solution lightly on the mattress or use a white rag–see the previous subsection for the reason behind color specification–to wipe it on the pee stain.
If this doesn’t work, you can mix 3 tbsp laundry detergent powder and water until you create a dry foam. Dab this onto the stain and leave for 30 minutes. Once dried, the remaining paste can be scraped off with a spoon. If the stain is stubborn, dip a white cloth into hydrogen peroxide and dab on the residue.
Once the mattress is dry in all areas, vacuum out the remaining paste and/or dust and dirt.
Dealing With Bed Bugs
Bed bugs feed on human blood before they reproduce. While it sounds vampirish, they actually do not bring more than annoyance and bites, and sometimes allergies. Still, if you are to feel comfortable snoozing on your mattress, you need to get rid of these microscopic, pesky creatures.
When you are looking for a bed bug infestation, you need to inspect every crevice.
You will need:
- A stiff brush
- Vacuum cleaner
- Mattress cover
What to do:
- Using a stiff brush, scrub all the sides and seams of your mattress. You need to be gentle but thorough to ensure you’ve killed the bed bugs and their eggs.
- Vacuum the mattress and the surrounding area–during deep cleaning and regular cleaning. Throw the used vacuum cleaner bag in a plastic bag in a garbage bin outside right after vacuuming.
- Wrap your mattress in a zip-off, washable cover tightly. This will prevent bed bugs from entering or leaving the mattress. It will take at least one year to kill them off, as they can live up to that period without feeding.
Treating Dust Mites
Dust mites can cause a lot of annoying things, such as allergies and rashes. They can thrive in a clean environment and are mostly invisible to the naked eye. Instead of blood, they feed on shed skin, making the mattress a likely place for them to camp in.
You will need:
- Baking soda
What to do:
- You can lower the humidity of the room for a start. Dust mites survive in a humid environment. Use a dehumidifier to control the humidity in your bedroom. Mattresses that sleep cool can also help you with that.
- You can complement or replace this with the baking soda and vacuuming method, which we have been discussing across this guide.
- When all else fails, hire a professional mattress cleaning provider. They can help you get rid of the dust mites as well as other problems related to your mattress.
Signs You Should Replace Your Mattress
- Sagging. This may be caused by a few factors, among which are weak edge support, broken spring/s, and softened foam layer/s. This can be accompanied by an uneven surface, in which you and your co-sleeper roll toward the center, and dents due to body impressions.
- The Goldilocks Effect. Materials inside the mattress can change over time, affecting firmness. If you purchased one that is soft, firm, or just right, you may experience a change if the bed’s composition is prone to a particular trigger. For instance, memory foam can grow hard if kept in a small room and softer in a warm room.
- Allergies. Itchiness that won’t go away or wasn’t there before you sleep can be a symptom of the dust mite bite. While there are ways to kill off dust mites, you may have to throw away the mattress altogether if the problem doesn’t seem to go away even if you’re taking a proactive approach in dealing with it.
- Years of use. Depending on the brand and model, you may find yourself sleeping on a highly durable bed. However, there is still an expected lifespan for the mattress you’ve chosen. The averages for innerspring, memory foam, latex, and hybrid as follows: 5.5 years, 7 years, 8.5 years, and 6 years, respectively.
Of course, aside from the steps themselves, you have to internalize the reason you need to clean your mattress at least twice a year. Stains, dust, dirt, bacteria, dust mites, and bed bugs can hinder you from drifting off peacefully and comfortably at night. You should address these issues as they arise so your sleep quality isn’t affected negatively.
If you have been cleaning your mattress for a while, what can you add to our tips and tricks? Sound off in the comments section.