The Best Ways to Clean Your Mattress

You spend about a third of your life sleeping on your mattress, so keeping it clean is one housekeeping chore that should always be on your cleaning checklist. Knowing how to clean a mattress–and how often–helps keep allergens, mildew, odors, and dust mites at bay. We don’t want to alarm you, but your mattress could have a combination of sweat, blood, urine, and other liquids embedded in it—which means plenty of bacteria and other germs are sharing your bed, too. Yuck!

According to WebMD, lab tests of 7-year-old mattresses found over 16 million units of yeast, mold, and bacteria like E. coli and Staphylococcus per square inch. You may not notice any moisture, but mold, mildew, and bacteria do—and that means that every night you sleep on a dirty mattress is an unhealthy one. With every breath you take, you’re breathing in all those spores, dust mite allergens, bacteria, and other unhealthy stuff. Yikes!

Bottom line: If you want to enjoy more serene sleep and a healthier bedroom, keep your mattress cleaner.

How Do You Know When Your Mattress Needs Cleaning?

If you can’t remember the last time you cleaned your mattress, much less the mattress cleaner you used, it’s time! Cleaning your mattress every few months will keep it fresh and healthy. That said, there are situations where you may need to clean your mattress more often:

If you wake up several times during the night with allergy symptoms, the cause could be dust, dust mites, and a host of other allergens, it’s time to clean your mattress and get rid of all those pollutants.

  • If you’ve noticed bites on your skin or little bug skeletons. Bed bug infestations may not be very obvious until they get out of hand, so if you see any signs on your skin or your mattress, it’s time to break out the mattress cleaner.
  • If your mattress has a musty or sour odor. Again, your mattress is a catch-all for dead skin cells, sweat, bodily fluids, and even mold. If your mattress is not smelling its freshest, it’s time to strip those sheets and start cleaning.
  • If your mattress has stains. We get it—you aren’t going to deep clean your mattress every time you change the sheets, but how often do you ignore those accumulating stains? They may be out of sight when you put on fresh sheets, but they are still there. Stop putting it off and take care of those mattress stains once and for all.

Once you learn how to clean your mattress and keep it that way, you can enjoy a healthier night’s sleep more often. From daily cleaning maintenance to removing stains, we’ve got you covered with the latest mattress cleaning tips.

Use Your Vacuum as a Routine Mattress Cleaner

The first and easiest step for cleaning your mattress is vacuuming. A good vacuuming will remove dust mites, dust, dead skin, hair, and other pollutants from the mattress. Use a brush attachment to loosen up dried debris and remove surface dust, and use an attachment like a long nozzle to vacuum the sides, corners, and seams.

Vacuuming is your first line of attack when you’re deep cleaning, but it’s also something you should do every time you change the linens. If that seems like overkill, go back and read the section above!

Regularly removing dust and dead skin from your mattress surface is very effective for keeping dust mites and the allergens they produce from aggravating allergies. For memory foam mattresses, regular vacuuming can help you breathe easier too. Because these mattresses also release gases that could cause respiratory issues as they age, capture those fumes with a HEPA vacuum to create a healthier sleeping environment.

Ways to Clean Your Mattress if it Has Stains

You should spot clean stains when they happen or at least when you see them. Combine 2 parts of hydrogen peroxide and 1 part liquid dish soap in a container. Dip an old toothbrush into the mixtures and gently scrub the stains on your mattress.

Wipe away any extra suds with a clean, damp cloth. For a memory foam mattress, use only enough to dampen the area because memory foam soaks up liquids much faster than traditional mattresses. This method will work on stains from dirt, drinks and food. 

Biological stains can be a little tougher and may require an enzyme cleaner. Enzyme cleaners work on blood, urine, sweat, vomit and more. They are also effective at breaking down greasy or oily stains. 

Spray some enzyme cleaner onto a clean microfiber cloth instead of directly on the stain. Blot the stain with the cloth until it’s damp. Let the enzyme cleaner sit for 15 minutes to break down the stain. Blot the stain gently with the same cloth to slowly remove the stain. Wipe it all down with a clean, damp cloth and you’re done. 

Make sure your mattress is completely dry before putting on fresh sheets. 

Steam is a Safe and Natural Mattress Cleaner

Whether you have a steam cleaner or just a garment steamer, this safe and natural method is great for breaking down stains, killing germs, and eliminating odors. Warm-up your steamer and start applying short bursts of steam all across your mattress surface. Give stains a little extra steam.

You want to be thorough, but be careful not to go overboard and get your mattress too wet. If it’s too damp, you’ll have to wait longer for it to dry, and you could be at risk for mold and mildew.

Steam cleaning is a simple, chemical-free way to deodorize, sanitize and kill mites/bugs in your mattress. But it’s not suitable for every type of mattress. Always check the manufacturer’s recommendations and warranty terms to see if steam cleaning is a good option.

After you steam clean your mattress, you have to let it dry. Turn on the ceiling fan, open windows, and make sure you give it time to dry thoroughly before making the bed. You may want to use this method when you know you’ll be gone overnight or longer.

Protect and Keep Your Mattress Cleaner Longer

Whether you’re steam cleaning, spot cleaning, or vacuuming your mattress, it’s a good idea to use a natural deodorizer. Sprinkle baking soda liberally onto the mattress. Let the baking soda sit for at least an hour to deodorize and help eliminate some of the moisture. Give your mattress another good vacuuming, and you can finally put fresh, clean sheets on.

Regularly flip and rotate your mattress every quarter for even wear to make it last longer. You’ll prevent dips and soft spots and sleep more comfortably. For a mattress that isn’t two-sided, just rotate it regularly. Since the best way to clean a mattress is not to get it dirty, consider putting a mattress protector on your mattress. Most mattress protectors zip closed to seal the mattress and protect it from spills, dust, stains, and bed bugs. At the very least, invest in a mattress pad or cover that protects the top of the mattress.

Now that you know all about how to clean a mattress, if you need help with tackling the rest of the bedroom, window cleaning, or any other kind of housecleaning, The Maids has your back. We’re experts at fighting dirt, grime, and stains, and we even use commercial-grade vacuums with HEPA filtration that can help clean memory foam mattresses.

The Maids is committed to helping you enjoy a sparkling clean more often with our extensive collection of cleaning posts and our popular house cleaning services. Find out more about what a difference healthy cleaning can make in your home when you get your free estimate online.


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