At some point, your mattress is likely to get dirty, whether from spills or bedwetting accidents or the gradual accumulation of sweat or other grime from sleeping. If you want to keep your mattress in good shape and get the most from it, it’s important to take the time to clean your mattress when needed.
However, there are certain dos and don’ts when it comes to cleaning your mattress if you want the best results. Some methods for cleaning your mattress are better than others, and some could even void your mattress’s warranty (like Serta’s) or cause additional damage.
When Should I Clean My Mattress?
You may want to clean your mattress immediately if any spills or other accidents occur, but it’s generally recommended to clean the mattress regardless once or twice a year.. Taking the time to remove any stains or dust particles from the mattress, along with any excess moisture that may have developed, can help you eliminate the need to buy a mattress sooner than you might otherwise need to.
Mattresses should last around 10 years or even longer, and keeping them consistently clean is the key to maximizing their longevity.
Problems When Trying to Clean a Mattress
A clean mattress is one of the most vital elements of a good night’s sleep, which means that you will need to clean it from time to time if you want to keep the mattress in good condition. Unfortunately, many mattress owners make certain mistakes when cleaning their mattresses that can do more harm than good, or at the very least be a waste of time that doesn’t actually leave the mattress any cleaner.
When cleaning your mattress, try to avoid the following potential mistakes.
Cleaning with Water
It’s pretty much inevitable that a spill will take place on your mattress. Whether you’re enjoying a glass of wine in the evening while lounging on your bed or bedwetting incidents take place, liquid stains are always a possibility that you should be prepared to address.
Many people tend to turn to water and soap to remove liquid stains from their mattresses, but making the mattress wetter can just make things worse.
Many manufacturers actually warn of the potential damage that liquids, including water, can cause to the mattress’s upholstery.
Urine stains are some of the worst to deal with, but you can effectively clean these by blotting away the fluid and spraying the stain with an enzyme-based cleaner, which will keep the mattress drier when cleaning. You can also use baking soda to eliminate any odor and vacuum it up without any need for water.
Using Traditional Vacuum Cleaners
It’s also important to keep in mind that you can’t use a conventional vacuum cleaner on a mattress or the rest of the bed, which is because most multi-purpose vacuums aren’t designed to handle upholstery and bedding.
You can use these vacuum cleaners to clean the floor and other furniture in the home such as sofas, you will need to use an attachment specifically intended for the bed and mattress.
Beating the Mattress
Using a beater might not hurt, but it’s not as effective when it comes to removing any bugs or dust mites from the bed. You’re better off using a vacuum cleaner designed for bed upholstery to suck up any dust, bugs, or other particles.
Once you’ve done the vacuuming, you can still use a beater if you really want to, but it’s more effective as a method of stress relief than anything else.
Using a Steam Cleaner
Steam cleaners may be effective at removing stains on hard surfaces, and they may be able to help remove bacteria and other potentially harmful microbes, but a steam cleaner will ultimately be ineffective when cleaning a mattress.
This goes in hand with avoiding water, since steaming your mattress can cause moisture to seep into the mattress, encouraging the growth of mold or other infestations.
5 Best Ways to Clean a Mattress
While the above mattress cleaning methods are ones you should avoid to keep the mattress in good shape, the following methods are some of the most effective to keep the mattress consistently clean while preventing wear. You should never have to spend too much money or time cleaning your mattress, but the following methods will make sure you can keep your mattress clean without the need for professional services.
1. Use a Vacuum with Upholstery and Crevice Attachments
One of the best methods for cleaning a mattress of dust or other debris that may have accumulated is to use a vacuum with an upholstery and/or crevice attachment. You can reach a lot of the mattress’s crevices for some deep cleaning of debris if you know how to properly use a vacuum. Follow these steps to vacuum a mattress:
- Remove all of the bedding, including any mattress covers and toppers.
- Attach the upholstery attachment to the vacuum and start vacuuming at the top of the mattress, working your way to the bottom.
- Use a crevice attachment to reach cracks and other areas around the mattress where debris might have collected.
- When vacuuming, make sure you use overlapping strokes that can help make vacuuming more efficient.
- Flip the mattress over to clean the other side.
In addition to getting rid of dust and other particles, vacuuming can also clear the mattress of any potential pests such as small bugs making the mattress their home.
2. Deodorize the Mattress Using Baking Soda
Baking soda is a godsend if you want an easy and efficient way to clean a mattress and eliminate any unpleasant odors. Simply follow these steps to deodorize your mattress in no time:
- Remove all bed and mattress coverings.
- Apply some baking soda on the mattress directly on its surface, but try not to overdo it; a thin layer sprinkled over it should be sufficient.
- Gently rub the baking soda into the mattress fabric and let it sit for around 10 minutes.
- Once 10 minutes have passed, clean the mattress. If odors still remain, you may need to reapply the baking soda and let it sit for a longer period of time, but it generally doesn’t take too much to significantly reduce or eliminate odors.
3. Remove Stubborn Stains with Household Cleaning Products
For stains that are harder to get rid of, you can always use some effective household products to clean the mattress. It’s easy to use what you likely already have at home by taking the following steps:
- Mix one-fourth cup of hydrogen peroxide and a tablespoon each of table salt and dishwashing liquid.
- Spread the mixture over the mattress stain and give it some time to dry.
- Scrape the dried mixture away.
- Use a cloth soaked in hydrogen peroxide to dab at any leftover discoloration.
Before taking any of these steps, you may want to check your mattress’s warranty, as certain stains or liquids applied could void the warranty.
4. Kill Dust Mites Using Essential Oils
Dust mites can aggravate allergies throughout the year, and they can even cause rashes or asthma. Using essential oils, you can kill dust mites. To effectively kill dust mites that might be hiding in your mattress, you’ll want to:
- Use 16 ounces of distilled water.
- Combine with 2 teaspoons of certain essential oils such as rosemary, clove, caraway, tea tree, or eucalyptus.
- Fill a spray bottle with the mixture.
- Spray the mixture over the mattress
- Give the mixture time to dry.
5 Disinfect the Mattress to Complete a Deep Clean
One of the final steps to cleaning your mattress is to disinfect it. Over time, your mattress may experience a buildup of bacteria and other harmful pollutants that can make you and your family sick without proper cleaning. You can easily disinfect your mattress by taking the following steps:
- Combine around a gallon of water and two ounces of bleach, but do not combine with any other substances.
- Use goggles, gloves, or a safety mask to avoid inhaling the bleach and ensure the area is well-ventilated.
- Use a spray bottle to spray the mixture over the mattress and use a damp cloth to wipe it clean.
- Bring the mattress outside to dry out if it’s sunny and warm.
- If water and bleach isn’t an ideal method, you can also use alcohol or other cleaners such as Lysol to disinfect the mattress.
Following spraying, wiping, and drying the mattress, your mattress should be much cleaner, particularly if extensive stains or moisture developed.
In addition to cleaning your mattress, you may want to consider getting a mattress cover that can help keep the mattress protected and make cleaning even easier.
Maximize the Lifespan of Your Mattress and Keep Your Family Safe
By taking any of the steps mentioned, you can make sure your mattress stays in prime condition for much longer. At the same time, you’ll be able to eliminate any potentially harmful mold or mildew buildup and eliminate unpleasant odors that can develop over time.
At the same time, cleaning your mattress isn’t time-consuming or expensive, making it one of the easier ways to maintain the overall health of the home and get a good night’s sleep.
However, there are times when a mattress just needs to be retired. If you’re mattress is over 10 years old it’s likely time to get rid of it. While you can yield more than 10 years out of a mattress, it usually means you’ve kept it covered with a proper mattress cover. Additionally, you’ll need to consider the use. If it sat on a bed in a spare bedroom for most of it’s lifetime then time really won’t factor into the equation and a deep cleaning should do the trick.