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How to Clean a Mattress: Maintenance Made Easy

According to research, we spend a third of our lives on our beds. This means that our mattresses are extremely important and must be kept clean at all times. Though we may not see the dirt with our naked eyes, mattresses can be quite dirty.

In one of the episodes of the TV show – “how clean is your house?” expert cleaners Aggie Mackenzie and Kim Woodburn were tasked to clean a dirty mattress. Now, what looked like a pure white mattress, after cleaning gave out dirt that could fill a whole bucket. Needless to say, everyone in the audience was in complete shock because they could not believe that all that dirt came out of that one clean looking mattress.

Regular cleaning of your mattress can help get rid of dust, bacteria, allergens, and even stop molds and bad odor. This also helps to keep it clean, healthy and safe and allows you to manage routine cleaning, as well as addressing problems such as stains, spots, bed bugs, dust mites and other types of odors.

Keeping your mattress clean is not that difficult, all you need to do is vacuum it regularly, wash the beddings, and use a mattress protector.

In this guide, we shall teach you how to clean your mattress, how to manage regular cleaning and how to take care of serious problems such as bedbugs and dust mites.

Signs that you need to clean your mattress

If you have never cleaned it

Well, if you have never cleaned your mattress, then, it’s about time you did. A mattress needs to be cleaned every few months in order to keep is fresh and clean always. You can do it twice a year if you want.

If you keep having allergic reactions

If you find yourself sneezing and getting blocked up especially at night when you lay on your bed, then your mattress needs cleaning.

Dust buildup can aggravate your allergic reaction and even cause you to suffer at night. If you have been going through this, then, your mattress may have a buildup of allergens that are making it difficult to breathe at night, and you need to clean your mattress immediately.

If you have noticed bugs in your bed

It is not obvious for you to notice bed bugs in your bed, especially if it is in the early stages. But, if you have been feeling strange like there are some eruptions on your body, and you can feel small insects walking all over you, then maybe there are some bedbugs in your bed and you need to do a thorough cleaning with immediate effect.

If your mattress has a bad odor

There are many things that can cause your mattress to smell, from dust to skin build up, or even mold and bodily fluids.

Odors are gross and disgusting, and they can disrupt your sleep at night, and they mostly give a sign that there is a bigger problem you need to be addressing.

If your mattress is filled with stains

It doesn’t matter how the stains got on your mattress, or whether they are a mystery or not, they must be removed. The best thing to do with stains is to address them the minute they occur, as this makes it very easy to get rid of them.

Here’s How to clean your mattress

Step 1: – Stripping the mattress

The first step is to remove all pillows and other decorations from your bed. Start with the top layer items which include your sleeping pillows, decorative pillows, and other objects you may be having.

Take the pillow cases off and put them in the laundry basket as you will need to clean these too.

Fold up the blankets and take them to a different room.

Step 2: Remove all the linens

Once you remove the pillows and decorative items, it is now time to remove the linens. Remove all the sheets covering the mattress, and this includes the fitted sheets, the top sheets, and even the mattress protector if you have it.

Again, put this in the laundry basket as you will also be cleaning them thoroughly.

Step 3: Clean the pillow cases and the bed linens

Once you have removed everything from the bed, and you have left the mattress bare, it is time to start the cleaning process.

Wash the pillowcases and linens in the washing machine using the highest setting of water and drier, in order for it to kill all the bacteria and dust mites that may be hiding in the beddings. If you have a duvet, then remove it and clean it as well.

The mattress – cleaning and deodorizing

Step 1 – Vacuum cleaning

The first step is to vacuum the mattress. This helps to remove all dust mites and other forms of debris from the mattress.

You should use a broad-brush attachment to vacuum the top part of the mattress. You will also need a long upholstery nozzle to get deep into the cracks and other edges and corners of the mattress.

Step 2 – Deal with the fresh spills

If there are any recent spills on the mattress that could still be a bit wet, clean these up immediately. Dampen a clean cloth with water and blot the spill carefully.

Do not scrub or rub the spill as this will take it further into the mattress and make it even harder to clean. Keep on blotting until you have absorbed everything.

Step 3 – Spot cleaning

In order to do this, you will need to combine two tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide – 30mls, and one tablespoon of liquid dish soap – 15mls in a small bowl. Using a spoon, stir them together to create studs.

Dip an old toothbrush into the mixture and gently use it to scrub the spots on your mattress. Wipe the excess liquid with a clean damp cloth.


If you have a memory foam mattress, use a minimal amount of cleaner because the memory foam should never be wet.

This solution is extremely powerful as it can clear away food stains, sweat, dirt and all other kinds of stains.

Step 4: Cleaning biological stains

For this, you will need to use an enzyme cleaner. Spray the cleaner on to a clean cloth and use this to blot all the stained areas to saturate.

Let it sit for at least 15 minutes and then clean it up with a damp clean cloth.

The enzyme cleaner can break down all the proteins in blood, sweat, urine, vomit, and all other biological stains that may be on your mattress. It can also get rid of oil and grease stains.

Step 5 -Baking soda

Once you have dealt with all the stains, it is essential to deodorize the mattress. To do this, sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda over the entire mattress.

This gives it a fresh smell. You can also stir in 5 droplets of your favorite and flavored essential oil and mix with the baking soda. Then sprinkle it all over the mattress.

Give it time to absorb the odors, by letting it sit on the mattress for at least 30 minutes. This will allow it to break down the acids and absorb the smells and the baking soda will also absorb any liquids that had been left during the spot cleaning.

You can leave it for longer, even several hours because the more you leave it, the more it will absorb.

Step 6 – Vacuum the mattress again

Once the baking soda has had time to sit, you will need to re-vacuum the mattress in order to remove it. This will remove all the acids, liquids and any odors that it will have absorbed.

Step 7 – Airing the mattress

Once you are done with all the steps, it is essential to let the mattress air for a short while. This also helps any liquids that may have been left to dry. Any moisture that may have been trapped on the mattress will dry out as well.

If it is summer, you can open the window to let air in, and dry out the mattress or you could open up the drapes to let in the sunshine.

Final thoughts

It may seem unnecessary to clean your mattress, especially if you use a mattress cover and all, but, as mentioned earlier, the mattress is full of dirt, even though you may not see this with the naked eye. Always ensure to clean it as often as you can.

Here are some tips to help you keep your mattress clean at all times;

  • Change and clean your bedsheets often – You should ensure to wash your bedsheets with hot water every two weeks, and more often if you are sick or if you notice stains on it.
  • Address spills, dirt, and odors right away – in case you spill something on your bed, or you see a particular stain or odor, DO NOT wait until the annual cleaning day to deal with it. Deal with this immediately so you can avoid further damage to the mattress. It is also easier to clean fresh stains than old ones.
  • Occasionally, when there is sunshine, air out your mattress.
  • Do not make your bed immediately you wake up, remove all the beddings to air it out daily.
  • Use a mattress protector- this could be a mattress topper or a mattress cover to keep your mattress clean at all times.