You spend about a third of your time laying on your mattress. Do you remember the last time you gave your bed a deep, thorough cleaning? Chances are good that you routinely clean other furnishings more often even though you probably use them far less.
Why do so few of us even think about the cleanliness of our mattress or doing mattress vacuuming? Probably because those newly laundered sheets and other bedding give us the impression that our bed is fresh and clean. The truth is that there’s a lot going underneath that bedding that we may not be aware of.
Your mattress is a haven for some pretty unpleasant stuff. From the dust that settles on it from the air to the build-up of skin cells you shed, your mattress may very well be the dirtiest place in your home! That means that you’re laying in, and breathing in, some nasty particles night after night, year after year. In fact, your mattress may be a significant cause of allergies and other health problems and may aggravate conditions such as asthma.
Who and What Is Living in Your Mattress?
Here is a list of some things, both biological and synthetic, that are lurking just beneath your sheets:
- Allergens: Dust mites, pet dander, dead skin and particles. By-products of roaches and other insects can aggravate asthma and allergy sufferers.
- Fungal spores: Penicillium, Cladosporium, Alternaria and other types of fungi and mold have been shown to create health problems like bronchitis and respiratory infections.
- Bacteria: Skin, oral and intestinal/fecal matter and other bodily fluids create harmful bacteria.
- Chemicals: Many mattresses contain potentially harmful plasticisers, flame retardants, isocyanates and even formaldehyde that has been linked to asthma, allergies, and lung, nose, and throat cancers.
- Food: Decaying food from snacking in bed attracts ants and other insects and can promote the growth of bacteria.
- Cosmetics: There are plenty of hazardous chemicals in your makeup and lotions that can be absorbed into your mattress.
- 26 gallons of sweat! Mold, mildew and fungi love damp places, and all that perspiration that your mattress absorbs promotes bacterial growth.
No wonder many of us don’t sleep so well! With all that’s going on right beneath us as we sleep every night, it shouldn’t be too surprising that we wake up with a stuffy nose, dry throat and even a morning cough. And those are just the symptoms we notice. Bacteria, fungi and chemicals can cause health issues that may not have any obvious symptoms. Even if you wake up feeling rested and refreshed, your lungs and skin could still be affected by that innocent looking mattress.
How Often Should I Be Mattress Vacuuming?
Good Housekeeping recommends that you vacuum your mattress every three to six months, while other sources recommend mattress vacuuming on a monthly basis. If someone does have allergies in your home, you may need to vacuum more frequently to remove all that dust and other allergens. At the very least, you should make mattress vacuuming a part of your seasonal cleaning. When you clean up any spills or spots after vacuuming, make sure you give your mattress time to dry before putting on any bedding.
In addition to vacuuming your mattress, it certainly doesn’t hurt to disinfect your bed as part of your routine mattress cleaning. Choose a safe, antibacterial spray and avoid using bleach. Bleach is too harsh for the fabric on most mattresses. The goal is to clean the surface of the mattress without letting it get wet since that can lead to mold or mildew. For disinfectant sprays, spritz lightly across the surface of the mattress, then wipe with a clean cloth that’s been dipped in warm water and thoroughly wrung out. Be sure to give your mattress plenty of time to dry.
Mattress Vacuuming Best Practices
Controlling and eliminating dust mites, preventing the build-up of fungi and bacteria and clearing out all those other pollutants requires a regular mattress vacuuming schedule. While you can handle this cleaning chore yourself, you may want to consider using a cleaning service experienced in cleaning for health. If you go the DIY route, make sure to use a vacuum with HEPA filtration to capture more allergens and prevent any by-products from getting into the air.
- Be sure that the hoses and entire vacuuming route through your vacuum are clear of obstructions and securely connected for maximum suction. You want to remove as much of the dust and other pollutants as possible.
- Vacuum the entire mattress surface with the upholstery attachment on your vacuum cleaner. Switch to your vacuum’s crevice attachment for seams and crevices where dust, dead skin and other icky stuff collect.
- While you’re at it, vacuum thoroughly around the bed frame, baseboard, carpeting around the bed and any nearby upholstered furniture.
- Vacuum under your bed thoroughly as well. Some of us don’t do this twice in a lifetime, much less the recommended twice a month!
- For bagless vacuum cleaners, discard the contents into a plastic bag and seal it. Thoroughly wash the removable container and any filters with very hot, soapy water to get rid of any remaining bacteria and other contaminants.
- Once you’re finished vacuuming, spot treat any stains with an appropriate cleaner. A furniture upholstery cleaner or enzyme-based odor remover works well on many bodily fluids.
Mattress vacuuming can help control all those allergens, dead skin, dust mites and other yucky stuff in your bed. Just remember it’s essential to use a vacuum cleaner fitted with a HEPA filtration system like The Maids® commercial-grade vacuums and follow the tips above. When you add this healthy cleaning task to your regular cleaning list, you can sleep easier knowing that your bed is truly fresh and clean.