How To Clean A Mattress: All In One Plus Tips From A Professional

Here is an interesting fact: you spend one-third of your life sleeping. To put things in perspective, on average, the time you spend on top of your mattress is:

  • 318 months
  • or 9670 days
  • or 232080 hours
  • Even more, if you enjoy just laying in bed, and who doesn’t

And that’s a lot of time. Here is another fact: the cleanliness of your mattress affects the quality of your sleep.

Think of your bedroom as a mini ecosystem in which your mattress plays a lead role. Keeping it clean will get you better sleep, thus greater body recovery.

Here, you will learn how to clean and maintain your mattress. You will also understand:

  • what habits to implement for a better mattress upkeep
  • how to clean bed bugs and dust mites which invade your privacy
  • how to clean stains from blood, vomit, sweat, and urine
  • how to disinfect and remove unpleasant odors from your mattress

(Since this guide is quite long, you can use these links to jump to each section.)

We’ll look into almost every cleaning technique that exists out there. You’ll also have the chance to get a few cleaning tips directly from a professional in the field.

Cleaning Mattress

Using this knowledge, you can maintain your bedroom mattress or any custom mattress out there in a top condition, thus have a healthier sleep.

* These handy tips on mattress cleaning were wrapped up with the helpful advice of Dean Davies, professional at the upholstery and mattress cleaning of FantasticServices.com.

So, here is how you can clean and maintain your mattress!

How to Upkeep and Care for Your Mattress

If you are still unsure whether you need to clean your mattress, let me share two extremely eww reasons why you should:

  • There is a study which reveals that a typical mattress can hold from 100,000 to 10 million mites. Although these nasty crawlies are harmless, their droppings and body fragments can get you a cold.
  • Dust mites are responsible for most of the allergies in your home according to “The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America” (AAFA)

Eww bonus reason: Another thing you may find simultaneously amusing and gross, is that nearly 10% of the weight of a 2-year-old-pillow can be made of dead mites and their excrements. Creepy, eh?

Luckily, with some elbow grease, you can keep your mattress neat.

All you’ve got to do is to embrace some new habits and add the mattress upkeep to your maintenance to-do list.

Upkeep habits to implement in your maintenance routine

  • Replace your bed sheets bi-weekly at a minimum. Dirty sheets on a clean mattress is a no-no
  • Spin your mattress monthly. This is done to ensure an even wear and tear on all sides
  • Flip your piece (if possible) monthly. For the same reason as above
  • Don’t consume liquids in bed. While it may sound harsh, you will be thankful for this advice in future
  • Invest in a mattress protector. Stain prevention is the best way to reduce the risk of a spillage accident. Also, protectors are washed way easier compared to mattresses
  • Thoroughly vacuum your mattress. Do it with the soft brush attachment used on upholstery. You don’t want to vacuum your mattress with the head you use for the floors
  • If possible, set the temperature in your bedroom a bit lower. Dust mites and bacteria tend to develop in warm places, close that door for them
  • Let your mattress air out frequently. Choose a sunny day and place your mattress outside. This will reduce the risk of any mold or mildew development

Note: Rotating your mattress on a regular basis can increase its lifespan by up to 3-5 years.

How to Clean Dust Mites From a Mattress

Removing Dust Mites From Mattress

Dust mites are eight-legged microscopic crawling creatures which you can’t see with an unarmed eye. They love humans and our bedding space because they feed with flakes of dead human skin.

Gross, I know.

“Dust mites love humid and warm environments, and if the humidity in your bedroom is around 80% (which is relatively high, though), then you probably have them on your mattress, bedding, pillows, and sheets.

This means you could end up with a property 100% infested. If you’re planning to rent or sale, it would affect the final price considerably ” Mark, a property expert at AccelerateHomes.co.uk.

Fear not. There are ways to fight them. You could:

  • Poison them
  • Freeze them
  • Boil them

When it comes to mattresses, you will have to rely on the heat in order to kill the dust mites.

To do that, use the hot wash settings on your washing machine for the bed sheets. Make sure you are washing them frequently enough. While the mattress is free of any sheets, vacuum it thoroughly using the brush attachment.

Extra read: See how they are secretly ruining your home.

How to Clean Bed Bugs From a Mattress

Mattress Bed Bugs

So now you are probably sitting there and asking yourself: “Aren’t bed bugs these small insects who feed by sucking human blood?”

Sadly, you are right.

But unlike dust mites, the bed bugs are relatively easy to spot. They are up to 5mm long and are red/brown colored. Also, they leave black or brown stains whenever they poop.

To fight them, simply use the exact cleaning technique as you would for fighting dust mites -- use high temperature to wash your bed sheets and thoroughly vacuum your mattress.

How to Disinfect a Mattress to Ensure a Healthier Sleep

Spraying Mattress

Just like your body needs a detox once in awhile, the same applies to your mattress. It is always a good idea to disinfect your newly bought mattress or disinfect a used piece.

To do that, follow these steps:

  • Separate all your bedding stuff - sheets, pillows, covers, etc
  • Vacuum your mattress using the upholstery attachment
  • Remove all present stains and spills using the techniques mentioned here
  • Place the mattress somewhere outside for a couple of hours and ensure there is a good airflow around it. Alternatively, you can stand your mattress up against an open window. Your mattress has two sides, so make sure they both get some sunlight
  • Steam the mattress using a steam cleaner. Or, grab the baking soda and generously sprinkle over the mattress. Leave it for a couple of hours and then vacuum it
  • Spray the mattress with an antibacterial spray. However, be cautious and don’t overspray it as you may saturate the mattress. So, spray moderately and wipe using a clean cloth or a rag

How to Remove Unpleasant Odors and Lingering Smells

Stuff For Cleaning Mattress

You can’t have a quality rest if your nose receptors keep alerting you because of unpleasant odors lingering from your mattress.

To please your receptors and remove the bad smell, simply:

  • Take a mixing bowl and combine one teaspoon of water with one teaspoon of laundry detergent and 1 tablespoon of vinegar. You also need to add 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Finish by adding 1 drop of disinfectant
  • Grab a clean cloth and dip it into the solution and gently dab the stain. Then wipe clean the surface with water
  • Generously sprinkle baking soda on the stain and let it sit for a day
  • Then vacuum the residue away. You can also apply an anti-odor spray on the affected area. If the problem persists after a week or so, simply repeat the steps

How to Clean Blood Stains From a Mattress

Dirty Mattress

Protein-based stains like vomit, blood, and urine require immediate action. The faster you tackle a protein stain, the better result you will achieve. Here is how you can clean blood stains from a mattress:

  • Grab a wet cloth. Use cool water because heat will set the protein stains permanent
  • Gently dab the stain. Avoid wiping or rubbing the stained area, or else you risk to worsen the situation
  • Make a paste by combining salt, water, and baking soda. Then apply it to the stain. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes
  • Brush away the paste and use a cloth dampened in cool water to remove the residue. Leave the surface to air dry naturally
  • If the above was not sufficient, fear not. There is a plan B -- make a solution from 2 parts of hydrogen peroxide and 1 part of dish soap
  • Apply a small amount of the mixture onto the stain. Then, using a toothbrush brush the solution onto the affected area, and let it sit for 5 minutes. Finish by wiping away the residue with a cloth dampened with cool water

How to Clean Vomit Stains From a Mattress

Cleaning Mattress

Although this process is not pleasant, sometimes it is just necessary. See how you can make sure you’ve removed any signs of vomit from your favorite mattress:

  • Remove and reasonably dispose of any solid particles
  • Remove sheets, mattress covers or protectors. Toss them in the washing machine and wash them using a high-temperature setting
  • Take a dry cloth or a rag and try to soak up as much of the remaining liquid as possible. Again, you should dab the vomit stain, not rub it
  • Apply a small amount of hydrogen peroxide over the stain. Make sure you don’t overdo it, thus saturate the mattress and ruin its features
  • Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes, and after that use a towel to soak up the remaining hydrogen peroxide
  • Sprinkle baking soda over the stain and gently rub the affected area. Leave it for a day
  • Vacuum away the baking soda residue

Note: The above technique works for vomit stains from both pet and human source.

How to Clean Sweat Stains From a Mattress

Spraying On Mattress

As part of our physiological needs, we sweat during our sleep. Our bodies can produce up to a liter of sweat during only a single night.

Guess where this water is going? It is soaked up in your bedding and mattress!

To avoid any mold and mildew growth, you should tackle liquids on your mattress as soon as possible.

But... but... if we are sweating that much every night, shouldn’t we clean our mattresses every day?!?

That would be great, but it is a scenario which is extremely less likely to happen. So what to do?

Create your own cleaning solution, of course!

  • Create a solution by mixing 3 tablespoons of baking soda with 8 ounces of hydrogen soap. Put a drop of dish soap into it
  • Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and spray over the sweat stain
  • Let the solution sit for 10-15 minutes
  • Wipe clean the remaining residue
  • Take the mattress outside and allow it to air dry. (give it a full 24h)

How to Clean Urine Stains From a Mattress

Mattress After Cleaning

If your pets had an accident on your mattress, don’t get mad at them. There is a simple way to remove those urine stains from the mattress:

  • Remove the excess liquid using a cloth or a rag. Aim your efforts at soaking up as much as possible
  • Take an enzyme-based cleaner and spray the affected area. Alternatively, you can make your own detergent by combining 3 tablespoons of baking soda with 8 ounces of hydrogen peroxide
  • Wait until the area is dry and then scatter baking soda on top of it
  • Let it sit for a day. Suck it up using a vacuum cleaner on the next day

Note: The above technique is also applicable in cases when children are prone to bed-wetting.

Bonus tips:

Use foam shaving cream as a stain remover

The magic is behind its consistency. Foam shaving cream is made of denatured alcohol which makes it an efficient stain remover.

Simply apply a layer on the affected area and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. Take a wet cloth and wipe away the foam. Then make a solution from ½ vinegar and ½ water, and rinse the stain thoroughly.

Opt for an enzyme-based cleaner

Usually, you should have your issues resolved by now, but if your cleaning efforts have failed, try an enzyme cleaner, such as Nature’s Miracle which is available at most of the pet stores.

Cornstarch against bad odors

To remove odors from a natural source, make a paste using cornstarch and the mighty baking soda. Cornstarch does a great job of absorbing body oils, while the baking soda helps for disinfection.

“Along with mattresses, all of our upholstered items need regular upkeep in order to look good, especially if you have pets or small children.

If you don’t have the time to do it yourself, I suggest getting your mattress and upholstery items deep cleaned at least once a year by a professional. “ - Harley Ward, part of the team behind the Casper mattress review.

Nothing helped me. What should I do?

In case you’ve tried your best using the mentioned methods but still can’t get rid of stains from your mattress, maybe it is time to get some professional help.

An experienced mattress cleaner or reputable mattress cleaning company will have tackled and removed more stains than you could think of.

Their experience in the field is essential in such cases. Getting someone to clean your mattress is not free, but it is definitely cheaper than buying a new one.

Final words

Hand On Mattress

Well, this was a long post. Let me summarize it for you. In short, you should:

  • wash and clean your mattress and bed sheets frequently
  • tackle spillages and stains ASAP
  • not saturate the mattress regardless of what technique or solution you are using
  • consult with a professional in case you are not getting the result you want

Now it is time to take care of your bed and turn it into a sleep sanctuary. Keeping your mattress clean along with your bedding sheets, pillows, and covers will help you sleep and rest better. So, accept the mattress care as an investment in your healthy sleep.

This post was last updated on September 19th, 2018 at 09:50 pm

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