If the thought of a mattress that has been used for years without proper cleaning makes you cringe, your instincts are right on. It's never too early or too late to make a habit of regularly washing bedding and mattresses—regardless of age or use—as they can harbor allergens and dirt.
Just like cleaning a toilet or kitchen, you'll want to get all of the gunk out from cracks and crevices, so it doesn't spread around your bedroom. If you don't know how to clean a mattress, here are some helpful steps. As always, though, check the mattress tag or manufacturer’s website before using any product on your bed.
What are the benefits of deep cleaning a mattress?
Mattress cleaning can help prevent mold and mildew growth, especially if you live in a humid area or are prone to sleeping hot. A fresh bed is also good for keeping away dust mites, dirt, and bed bugs. Dust mites, in particular, love to frequent beds, and unfortunately, they can exacerbate allergy symptoms.
Furthermore, regular cleanings can help extend the bed's lifespan. Most beds are usually good for about seven years, but keeping your mattress in good shape could allow you a few more years of use.
Additionally, make sure to spot clean immediately after any mattress spills or accidents. If you let a spill go untreated, this could not only stain the bed but cause bacteria to grow.
How often should I clean my bed?
Regardless of whether your bed experiences any accidents or spills, you should still regularly clean the item. Most experts suggest performing a deep clean at least every six months. However, you can choose to clean as often as you'd like, especially if you are vulnerable to allergies.
If you have pets or children that may be tempted to use the bed as a play area, consider purchasing a protective cover for your mattress to prevent extra dust mite accumulation between cleanings. There are many great mattress protectors available that are machine washable and can be easily removed.
How do I clean my mattress?
Take Off the Sheets and Pillows
Before you begin cleaning, make sure to remove everything from the bed, including sheets, blankets, and pillows. Not only will this make maneuvering around the mattress much easier, but it will give you a clear idea of the state it's in so you can decide which products to use.
You can also use this time to clean your other bedding items since they have to be removed either way.
Vacuum Mattress Thoroughly
You should also pull the mattress away from the wall and remove its dust ruffle, if applicable. Then take your vacuum cleaner hose attachment and thoroughly vacuum the mattress to clear up dirt and residue. Focus on all cracks and crevices, including the seams and stitching, and don't forget to vacuum the bottom side as well.
Use a Disinfectant Spray on All Surfaces
Once you’re done vacuuming, grab an all-purpose disinfectant spray and spray down all surfaces of the mattress. However, you should avoid getting too much moisture on the bed, as this can lead to mold and mildew buildup.
Let it Air Dry
Give your mattress plenty of time to completely air dry before putting your sheets back on the bed to prevent bacteria growth. Ideally, you should give the bed a full 24-hours to dry. Opening the windows and doors should further speed up the drying process too.
Avoid Using Harsh Chemicals Like Bleach
Since bleach can damage fabrics and cause skin irritations in some people, it's best to avoid using it altogether when cleaning a mattress. Instead, look for natural, non-toxic enzyme cleaners to disinfect the surface.
Sprinkle Baking Soda to Deodorize
If you've noticed the mattress has accumulated a pungent smell, baking soda works as an excellent way to remove bad smells. Take a box of baking soda and generously sprinkle a layer across the bed's surface. Let the baking soda sit for at least a few hours, if not more.
You'll then take your vacuum using the upholstery attachment and vacuum up the baking soda. You should also repeat this step on the bottom of the mattress.
Adding Essential Oils for Deodorizing
You can also add essential oils to your baking soda to create an even stronger deodorizer. Some popular scents to consider are orange oil, lavender oil, and tea tree oil. Once you've sprinkled the box of baking soda with your choice of oil, let it sit overnight before vacuuming.
Can I steam clean my mattress?
Steam cleaning is also an option, but you'll need to be extra careful. While it might seem like an easy process at first glance, using too much moisture or heat isn't ideal since water can damage fabrics and cause mold issues. If you choose this method, keep the device several inches away from the bed to prevent excess moisture buildup.