How to Clean a Mattress Yourself, and When to Call the Professionals

By

Maria DeSouza

| Published September 20, 2023

We spend about a third of our lives in bed, as we try to sleep for 7-9 hours daily. Sleeping on a freshly cleaned mattress is key to achieving quality rest!

Cleaning your mattress is as important as regularly washing your bedding and pillows, whether there are visible stains or not.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll be discussing how to clean a mattress.

Why Is Mattress Cleaning Important?

A mattress is not just a place to rest. Even if your mattress doesn’t have visible stains, it can still breed dust mites, bacteria, allergens, and unwanted odors over time.

Cleaning your mattress is essential for the following reasons:

Impact on Health and Hygiene

A mattress accumulates dust, dirt, dead skin cells, allergens, and even dust mites.

Dust and dirt can trigger allergies, asthma, and sneezing. And even if you’re not allergic to dust, you can still get nasal congestion, itchy eyes, and an irritated throat.

Dust mites can also infiltrate your dirty mattress. If you feel your skin itch from lying on your mattress, it’s time to give it a deep clean!

Night sweats are also common while we sleep. Your sweat can seep into the surface of your mattress, making it moist. This can easily breed bacteria.

Clean your mattress regularly for a healthier sleeping environment. You’ll keep your bedroom smelling fresh, and may even fall asleep faster!

Extending the Life of Your Mattress

If you own a memory foam mattress, you want to keep it as long as possible because they aren’t cheap. Regardless of what kind of mattress you have, you’ll want to save money instead of buying a replacement.

Regular cleaning can help prolong the lifespan of your mattress. Removing dirt and debris prevents the breakdown of mattress materials and ensures it stays in top condition for years.

A clean mattress also helps retain its original support and firmness, ensuring you get the proper spinal alignment and adequate support as you sleep.

Basic Mattress Cleaning Guide

Now that we understand the significance of mattress cleaning, let’s delve into basic cleaning steps:

Regular Vacuuming

a picture of a male cleaner vacuuming a mattress

Start by vacuuming your mattress regularly using the upholstery attachment of your vacuum cleaner. This removes dust, dirt, and surface debris.

Spot Cleaning for Stains

For spills and food stains, use a mixture of mild liquid detergent or dish soap with water.

Spot cleaning involves gently blotting the stained area with a clean cloth dampened with your cleaning solution. Avoid saturating the mattress, as this could cause bacterial growth and odors if not dried properly.

Deodorizing the Mattress

To eliminate odors, sprinkle baking soda (or sodium bicarbonate) over the entire surface of the mattress. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes, preferably an hour or more, for maximum odor absorption.

Afterward, vacuum the baking soda thoroughly to remove it along with the absorbed odors.

How to Clean a Mattress: Step-by-Step Guide

Keeping your mattress fresh and tidy is crucial for sleep quality. Here is how to clean a mattress properly:

Preparing the Mattress for Cleaning

Before you can clean an entire mattress, remove the top layer of items from it first.

Strip off all the bedding, pillows, toys, blankets, and mattress protectors.

Launder all the bedding separately, including the top sheets, fitted sheets, pillowcases, and protectors. Make sure to follow the care instructions provided by their manufacturers.

Washing them in hot water should help remove dust mites and other unwanted debris.

Next, move the mattress to an open and well-ventilated area, preferably near your bedroom windows. This will make it easier to dry and air out after the cleaning process.

Use of Baking Soda and Household Items for Cleaning

Baking soda is a natural powerhouse cleaning agent for all your home cleaning needs. Follow these easy steps:

  1. Sprinkle baking soda over the entire mattress. You might want to add more of it to stained and smelly areas.
  2. Gently rub the baking soda into the fabric with a clean cloth or your hands. This helps the baking soda penetrate deeper into the mattress fibers, helping remove yellow stains too.
  3. Leave it on for at least 15 minutes. But for best results, keep it for an hour or longer.

TIP: You can leave the baking soda on for several hours, like before going on an overnight trip. The longer you allow the baking soda to seep into the mattress, the better.

Stain Removal Tactics

Surface stains from spills and accidents are inevitable, especially if you eat in bed. Use the following tactics for removing blemishes:

  1. Dampen a clean cloth with a cleaning solution made from mild dish soap and cold water.
  2. Use this damp cloth to spot clean fresh stains. Scrub gently until the stain starts to fade.
  3. Rinse the cloth with clean water and repeat as necessary. Make sure not to scrub vigorously, as it can spread the stain or even cause damage to the fabric.

TIP: Mattresses, especially memory foam mattresses, aren’t designed to get wet. Use as little liquid as possible to treat stains. Don’t spray the cleaner directly onto the mattress fabric.

For deep stains, an enzyme cleaner might be the better solution. To spot clean biological stains with an enzyme cleaner, follow the following steps:

  1. Spray some enzyme cleaner on a damp cloth.
  2. Blot the stain with this cloth to saturate it. Keep blotting until the stain fades.
  3. Let the enzyme cleaner sit on the stain for about 15 minutes.
  4. Finish it off with a clean cloth dampened in cold water.

NOTE: An enzyme cleaner breaks down the proteins in urine, sweat, vomit, oil, grease, blood, and other biological stains. This effectively gets rid of odors, bacteria, and germs.

Deep Clean and Deodorization

Once the baking soda has had time to work, it’s time for a vacuum session:

  1. Use the vacuum’s upholstery attachment to thoroughly clean the entire surface of the mattress. Vacuum in long, overlapping strokes to ensure you remove all the baking soda and dirt.
  2. Vacuum seams, crevices, and corners where dust, dead skin, hair, and other debris tend to accumulate.
  3. If your mattress is double-sided, vacuum the other side as well.

Homemade Mattress Cleaning Products

While there are commercial cleaning products available, you can also use homemade solutions that are effective, safe, and budget-friendly.

Let’s explore three popular homemade mattress-cleaning products:

Baking Soda-Based Cleaner

Baking soda is a natural cleaning agent effective at removing mattress stains. It helps absorb moisture and neutralize odors. 

Sprinkle the baking soda and let it sit for at least 15 minutes. For better results, leave it on for an hour or more to work its magic. For an even deeper clean, let the baking soda sit overnight.

It’s also good to air out your mattress and let some sunlight in. The UV rays of the sun help kill bacteria and dust mites.

Vacuum with the upholstery attachment to thoroughly remove all the baking soda, odors, and dirt.

Hydrogen Peroxide-Based Cleaner

Hydrogen peroxide is a cleaning solution that is excellent at removing biological stains like blood and urine.

To create a hydrogen peroxide-based cleaner, mix one part hydrogen peroxide with two parts water in a spray bottle.

Spray the solution directly on the stain. Make sure it is evenly moistened but not soaked. Keep blotting the stain until it is completely gone.

If you are unsure if hydrogen peroxide is safe for your mattress, check with your mattress company.

Essential Oil Cleansers

Essential oils are naturally antibacterial and antifungal. They can easily freshen up a mattress and box spring.

To effectively use essential oils, add a few drops of your preferred oil, such as lavender, tea tree, or eucalyptus, to your stain remover. Mix the oil and baking soda to distribute the fragrance evenly.

If you’re using a hydrogen peroxide-based stain remover, you can add a couple of drops of essential oil to the spray bottle before mixing it with water.

Professional Mattress Cleaning Service: When and Why?

Now that we know how to clean a mattress, when is professional cleaning necessary? Let’s find out!

When to Opt for Professional Cleaning

In our opinion, professional cleaning is worth every buck when you need to deep clean a mattress. It’s especially helpful if your mattress hasn’t been cleaned in ages, or if you own an expensive memory foam mattress.

Doing it yourself can get very tedious and is not worth your stress. Here are more reasons to prefer professional help:

  • Tough Stains – If it is too difficult to spot, clean or remove stains with regular cleaning methods, specialized professional techniques might be more effective.
  • Deep Cleaning – Professional cleaning services have powerful equipment and cleaning solutions that can penetrate deep into the mattress to thoroughly clean and sanitize it.
  • Allergies and Respiratory Issues Professionals have special equipment that can significantly reduce allergens, dust mites, and other triggers.
  • Pet Owners – For those with pets that share their beds, a professional cleaning can effectively remove pet dander, fur, and odor.

Benefits and Costs

To deep clean a mattress professionally, you are likely to spend more than if you were to DIY.

The cost will vary depending on factors like mattress size, level of soiling, and specific services, but will typically range from $100 to $300.

While these upfront costs may be expensive, you can benefit from improved sleep quality, prolonged mattress life, a healthier sleep environment, and convenience. It is definitely a worthwhile investment!

Care and Maintenance Tips for Your Mattress

Routine mattress cleaning is key to prolonging the lifespan of your mattress. Here are more ways to care for and maintain your mattress:

Regular Cleaning Routine

It’s important to make maintaining cleanliness in the bedroom part of your regular routine.

Prioritize sweeping your bedroom floor, and changing your sheets and pillowcases. Make sure to incorporate mattress cleaning in your bedroom cleaning routine too.

Follow these steps to maintain a clean and fresh sleeping surface:

  1. Vacuum your mattress with the upholstery attachment every 3-6 months, or more often if you have allergies or pets.
  2. Perform spot cleaning immediately when spills and spots occur. Use a mixture of dish soap and water. Avoid saturating the mattress, and always blot gently to prevent spreading the stain.
  3. To keep your mattress smelling fresh, deodorize it with baking soda. Sprinkle a liberal amount of baking soda over the entire surface, allow it to sit for at least 15 minutes, and then vacuum thoroughly.

Using a Mattress Protector

A mattress protector keeps your mattress clean by acting as a barrier. You put it over the mattress, under a fitted sheet.

They are effective at preventing spills, blemishes, dust mites, bed bugs, and other allergens from penetrating the mattress. Go for a waterproof, hypoallergenic protector that is easy to remove and machine washable.

Tips for Keeping the Mattress Fresh

Now that we’ve covered how to clean a mattress, here are some more tips to keep things fresh in the bedroom:

  • If you own a double-sided or flippable mattress, conventional wisdom dictates you should flip it every 3 months. This helps maintain the evenness and adequate support you get from your mattress. 
  • Your mattress should air dry completely. The fresh air and UV rays from sunlight help kill bacteria and reduce moisture.
  • Don’t eat or drink in bed to minimize the risk of spills, messes, and lingering odors.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

We have more info on how to clean a mattress for you here.

Can Baking Soda Clean a Mattress?

Yes, you can absolutely clean your mattress with baking soda. It is excellent for removing odors, absorbing moisture, and tackling light stains. 

To keep your mattress clean, sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda on it. Leave it for at least 15 minutes, then vacuum it off along with its absorbed odors and dirt.

How Often Should You Clean Your Mattress?

The recommended frequency of mattress cleaning depends on various factors, such as allergies, pets, and personal preferences. As a general guideline, it is advisable to clean your mattress every 3-6 months. 

You may want to vacuum and perform regular mattress cleaning more often if you suffer from allergies or respiratory issues.

Can a Dirty Mattress Cause Health Issues?

Yes, dust, dirt, and other allergens can trigger allergies and respiratory problems, such as asthma, sneezing, and congestion. A mattress with mold or mildew growth due to accumulated moisture can also pose health risks.

Is Professional Mattress Cleaning Worth It?

Professional mattress cleaning services are worth considering, especially if your mattress has stubborn stains, deeply embedded dirt, or has not been cleaned for an extended period.

How to Remove Specific Stains Like Urine or Wine From a Mattress?

Removing specific stains like urine or wine requires prompt action and the right cleaning approach.

If you want to remove urine stains, an effective method to remove the pee smell is to use a mixture of one part white vinegar and two parts cold water.

For wine stains, blot the stained area immediately with a clean cloth to absorb as much wine as possible.

Mix one tablespoon of dish soap with two tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide and apply this cleaning solution to the stain. Gently blot the stain until it’s gone.

Conclusion

We hope our comprehensive guide on how to clean a mattress has been helpful! Remember to vacuum regularly, use a mattress protector, and deodorize with baking soda.

This promotes better health and hygiene, and extends the life of your mattress. You’ll be saving a lot of money in the long run!

By adopting good mattress care practices, you can enjoy a restful and comfortable sleep for years to come.

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