A mattress is a serious investment, so you want to make sure it lasts—and that means learning how to clean a mattress. Mattresses can harbor dust mites, dead skin, dirt, and other debris, which means they need to be cleaned regularly—particularly if you suffer from allergies, have pets, or are just an avid midnight snacker.
The good news is that cleaning a mattress is far easier than you might think. Read on to discover the nine simple steps that will help you keep your mattress clean and ready for years of snoozing. Thanks to expert insights from Ed Curry, president of mattress company Duxiana, and Neil Parikh, cofounder of Casper, here are some pro tips for taking good care of your mattress so you can sleep easy.
1. Gather your mattress cleaning supplies
To deep clean a mattress, you’ll need certain materials on hand. Gather up:
- a vacuum with an upholstery attachment
- an enzyme cleaner or dish soap to get stains out
- laundry detergent
- baking soda
- cleaning cloths
- cold water
2. Strip the bed and wash all the bedding
Remove sheets, pillowcases, and mattress covers and let them take a spin in the washing machine while you work on cleaning the mattress. Washing all the bedding in hot water will help get rid of any dust mites. Depending on the type of pillows you have, you may be able to wash them as well. (Double-check the care label.)
3. Vacuum the mattress
Grab your vacuum cleaner’s upholstery attachment and go over the entire surface of the mattress, including the sides. Pay special attention to seams and break out the crevice attachment to get any hidden dirt or dust.
4. Spot-clean your mattress with a stain remover
Now it’s time to focus on getting stains out of the mattress, and that means spot-cleaning. Never soak your mattress or apply water or cleaning solution directly to it. Memory foam, for example, isn’t supposed to get wet at all. For that reason, it’s important to proceed with caution and operate on the principle that less is more.
So, spot-cleaning with a stain remover it is. The stain remover you choose will depend on the type of stain and the type of mattress. For biological stains, reach for an enzyme cleaner. Spray the cleaner onto a clean white cloth, and then blot the stained area with the cloth. After that, you can apply cold water to a different clean cloth and continue blotting until the stain lifts. The goal here is to use as little product and moisture as possible. This method is ideal for blood, sweat, vomit, urine, and other related stains.
As an alternative to an enzyme-based cleaner, you can make your own DIY solution by mixing dish soap with water and applying just the resulting foam to the stain. You can also make a DIY solution of equal parts cold water and hydrogen peroxide.
5. Sprinkle baking soda all over the entire mattress
If you can’t put your mattress out in the sun and fresh air, baking soda is the next best thing. Sprinkle a layer over the entire top of the mattress and leave for several hours (or better yet, apply before an overnight trip). Baking soda will break down acid and absorb any remaining moisture or odor. The longer you can leave baking soda on the mattress, the better it will work! As the mattress sits with the baking soda, open any windows in the room to let the light and sunshine in. The sun’s UV rays will actually help kill any mold or bacteria on the mattress.
6. Vacuum again
Once the baking soda has worked its magic, thoroughly vacuum it up. (If you have a fabric headboard, now’s a good time to vacuum that, as well! Might as well get a fresh start with everything bed-related.)
7. Flip the mattress
Now that side one is spotless, flip the mattress and repeat steps 1-5 so both sides are equally fresh and clean. Flipping, of course, should be done at regular intervals, whether you’re deep cleaning the mattress or not. The conventional wisdom has been that people should flip their mattress every three months, but that rule of thumb only applies to spring mattresses because they compress over time. As mattresses get more specialized, your best bet is to check with the model manufacturer. (The foam Casper mattress, for instance, only needs to be rotated 180 degrees every few months, while only the top pad of Duxiana’s Dux mattress needs to be flipped and turned.)WATCHInside J.B. Smoove’s Tricked-Out RV With A Lofted BedroomMORE ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST VIDEOSMost Popular
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(As a general rule of thumb, mattresses should be flipped every three months—or more often if you start to notice any sagging. Consistent mattress flipping will help the mattress wear more evenly and last longer.)
8. Protect the mattress
Now that you know how to clean a mattress, it’s time to protect it. Once it’s fully dry, cover your fresh mattress with a mattress protector, which will make cleaning easier in the future and protect from spills, dirt, and other unpleasantries (i.e. bed bugs).
9. Keep out dust with a fitted sheet
“Using fitted sheets that are regularly washed, and keeping the area around the mattress clean, should protect it from any dust,” says Neil. That said, wrapping mattresses and box springs in mattress encasements ensures that dust mites don’t take up residence, says Ed—an especially good idea for those who suffer from allergies or asthma.
Cleaning a mattress will no doubt extend its life and make it a treat to sleep on, but all good things must come to an end. After eight years or so, consider investing in a new mattress. Body impressions and sagging indicate that it’s no longer providing adequate support, says Ed. “It’s also important to listen to your body,” says Neil. “Waking up in pain or sleeping poorly every night are signs that it’s time to move on.”