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Knowing how to clean a mattress can help you sleep better at night, and removing mattress stains will protect your investment in your bed.
To deep clean mattresses, follow the steps below. You’ll get rid of stains, dust mites, and other allergens so you can rest easy at night.
How to Clean a Mattress
Why You Need to Clean Mattresses
You already know about dust mites and other critters in your mattress. Likewise, many mattresses contain sweat, blood, and urine along with mold and mildew.
Cleaning your mattress is particularly important in humid environments where surface sweat and moisture are unlikely to evaporate after you get out of bed. Also, if you have pets or small children, chances are your mattress has some stains you don’t even know are there.
Mattress Cleaning is Not Difficult
Naturally, you’re thinking “Now I’ll never be able to sleep!” Relax, you don’t have to take a siesta from snoozing. Just follow this guide, and you’ll know how to deep clean a mattress.
Afterwards, the only thing that will keep you up at night are forgotten to-do’s that pop into your head the instant you turn off the light. (Or is that just me?)
How to Clean a Mattress and Remove Stains
Before you start cleaning your mattress, strip the bed and launder your linens. Check the manufacturer’s labels and use the hottest settings allowed since heat will kill dust mites. While the washer and dryer are doing their thing, turn your attention to the mattress.
1. Vacuum the Mattress
First of all, your vacuum cleaner’s upholstery attachment is the best tool for mattress cleaning. Start at the top of the mattress and work your way down in overlapping, narrow paths.
Vacuum the sides the same way. Don’t worry about the other side of the mattress just yet — we’ll get there.
2. Deodorize Mattresses with Baking Soda
Although we don’t notice our personal bodily smells, over time sweat can build up and lead to an unmistakable aroma. A good mattress cleaning will leave your bed smelling fresh.
To do this, s
3. Vacuum Again
The first round of vacuuming removed dust and hair, so the baking soda could get to work on the mattress surface. Also, by scrubbing the baking soda into your mattress, you’ve helped it bond with moisture and body oils in the top layers of material.
Now, vacuuming the mattress a second time pulls that moisture out, along with the cause of the odors. Use the upholstery attachment for this step of mattress cleaning, too.
4. Remove Mattress Stains
Mattresses typically acquire three types of stains: blood, urine, and what we’ll call “other bodily fluids.” While it’s best to treat stains immediately, sometimes sleep is more important.
Fortunately, you can still clean stains on your mattress even after they’ve been there a while.
Dried Blood Stains on Mattresses
To remove dried blood stains on mattresses, you need the following:
- 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide, plus more as needed
- 1 tbsp. liquid dish soap
- 1 tbsp. table salt
- Combine all ingredients to form a paste.
- Lightly spread the paste on the mattress stain and allow it to dry.
- Scrape off the residue.
- Dab away any remaining stain and paste with a white rag* dipped into hydrogen peroxide. Rotate the cloth as the stain lifts.
*Using a white rag for cleaning stops dye transferring from the fabric to the mattress.
Urine Stains on Mattresses
Pets and kids can leave a mattress messy. Urine stains are tough but not impossible to get out once they’re dry. This two-step method helped me keep my kids’ mattresses clean when they were little.
Urine Stain Pre-Treatment
- 3 tbsp. baking soda (bicarb for UK readers)
- 8 oz. hydrogen peroxide 3%
- A tiny amount of liquid dish soap
- Combine the ingredients listed above and dab the mixture onto the stain using a white rag. (See explanation above.)
- Do NOT drench the mattress!
Urine Stain Remover
Often, the pre-treatment is enough to get rid of urine stains on mattresses. If the stain persists, use this second step.
- 3 tbsp. dry laundry detergent (it must be powder!)
- 1 tablespoon water
- Whisk the detergent and water together to create a dry foam.
- Lightly spread this onto the stain and let it sit for 30 minutes.
- Scrape away the dried paste with a spoon.
- Use a white cloth dipped into hydrogen peroxide to remove any stubborn bits of paste.
- Let the area dry then vacuum.
Vomit on Mattresses (and other stubborn stains)
⚠️Open the windows before you start this cleaning mattress stains with this method!
- Unscented, plain household ammonia
- Baking soda
- Lightly dampen the corner of a white rag with ammonia.
- Use the damp corner to blot the stain. Do NOT drench the mattress!
- Use a separate cloth dampened with fresh water to lift the stain. If you do not see immediate lifting, wait 5 minutes and try again.
- Once the mattress stain is gone, wipe the entire area with a clean cloth dampened in fresh water.
- Sprinkle the still damp area with baking soda to neutralize the ammonia and pull out any remaining moisture. Let this dry and then thoroughly vacuum the spot using the upholstery attachment.
5. Flip and Repeat
If your mattress has a pillow-top or can’t be flipped over, you can skip this step.
Other mattresses should be flipped side to side and top to bottom, so they wear evenly. Repeat the mattress cleaning steps above after flipping.
6. Prevent Mattress Stains
Since cleaning a mattress is a time-consuming task, I recommend using a washable mattress cover. I’m not talking about the crinkly, plastic kind you might remember from childhood.
These days, mattress covers are made from fabric bonded to a waterproof layer that keeps liquids and allergens from reaching your mattress. Here’s the one I use.
Launder your mattress cover immediately after any spill or illness. Otherwise, wash it at least once a month to keep your bed fresh.
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