Your mattress may be dirtier than you think. While you sleep, your bed may absorb sweat and other liquids, and stains can happen to even the most conscientious mattress owner. Keeping your mattress cleaned regularly can help it last longer while protecting you from microbes, allergens and a host of other unwelcome bed partners.
Why Should You Clean Your Mattress?
Your mattress may have the longest lifespan of any item in your home. Most mattresses can provide comfort and support for seven to 10 years or longer. However, you will want to take good care of it to get that kind of long-lasting support from your bed.
Mattress longevity isn’t the only reason to keep it clean. Health and hygiene can also necessitate regular mattress cleaning. After all, you spend an average of one-third of your life sleeping in your bed! While you sleep, your mattress absorbs sweat and other bodily fluids and can even collect an unsavory collection of bacteria, pet dander, skin flakes, food crumbs, fungal spores, microbes and allergy-causing dust and dust mites.
How Often Should You Clean Your Mattress?
A regular mattress-cleaning routine can help keep your mattress free from bacteria, allergens, and more. But don’t worry; you typically won’t need to clean your mattress as often as you wash your sheets and bedding.
You can keep you mattress healthy and hygienic by following this cleaning routine:
- Spot treat spills and stains immediately
- Vacuum your mattress monthly
- Clean your mattress twice per year
Before you clean your mattress, you should check the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning and be sure you understand the terms outlined in your mattress warranty. Many mattress warranties do not cover damages incurred by the mattress owners, such as discolorations, stains or damages from liquid spills or cleaning products.
Top Natural Mattress Cleaning Supplies
After reviewing the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning your mattress, you’ll likely want to stock up on mattress cleaning supplies so you are prepared to treat stains promptly and clean your mattress regularly.
Since you spend so much time sleeping on your mattress, you may want to avoid harsh chemical cleaners that can contribute to chronic respiratory problems, allergic reactions and headaches.
You can keep your mattress clean with a vacuum and some natural cleaning supplies, including:
- Baking soda
- Essential oils
- White vinegar
- Liquid dish soap
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Clean cloths
How to Deep Clean a Mattress
Before you begin deep cleaning your mattress, remember that you’ll want to plan ahead so your mattress has time to fully dry before you put your sheets and bedding back on. Bacteria love a damp, dark environment, and fungi thrive in moisture, so pick a day when you can clean your mattress and provide plenty of time to dry.
Bonus if you can do it on a bright, sunny day: research has shown that four hours of daylight sun exposure can kill bacteria as effectively as UV light. So pick a bright sunny day, open up those blinds to let in the sunshine, and get started early so your mattress has plenty of time to dry.
Remove and Wash Bedding
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when washing your sheets, bedding and pillows. Some of your bedding may be able to withstand a trip through the washing machine and dryer, but you may have bedding materials that need to be spot-treated or hand-washed only.
Even if your bedding can be machine washed, washing with a gentle detergent on a cool, gentle cycle is always a good idea to help protect your sheets, pillows and bedding.
Should you vacuum your mattress? Yes! Vacuuming your mattress is an easy way to remove allergy-causing dust and dust mites. A vacuum with a HEPA filter is most effective for eliminating and preventing dust mites.
When it comes to removing other insects, such as lice and bed bugs, vacuuming is only the beginning of your mattress cleaning process. If you suspect your bedding and mattress have been infected by lice, vacuum and then treat your mattress for lice.
Bed bugs typically also won’t be 100% removed by vacuuming alone, so if you’ve noticed signs of bed bugs, you may also want to follow up with a bed bug treatment. Vacuuming your mattress once a month is an easy way to keep it clean and to watch for the emergence of new stains from sweat, body oils, urine or other fluids.
Deodorize and Disinfect
The next step in your mattress deep clean process is deodorizing and disinfecting to remove bacteria, fungi and odor-causing microbes.
You can deodorize and disinfect your mattress by filling a spray bottle with a 50:50 mixture of water and white vinegar. Vinegar contains about 5% acetic acid, which kills bacteria and viruses by chemically changing and destroying their cell structures. Its high acid content can also break down body oils, dirt and soap build-up, as well.
Flip or Rotate Your Mattress
After it has dried completely, you may want to flip or rotate your mattress to help prevent uneven wear or sagging. Most mattresses can benefit from rotation: a 180° movement that puts the head of the bed to the foot. However, most modern mattresses are no longer constructed to need flipping, where the top of the mattress gets flipped upside down.
Consult your mattress care instructions or the manufacturer to determine if you should flip or rotate; some mattress brands are not meant for either.
How to Get Urine Stains Out of Your Mattress
Urine stains are some of the most common stains to impact a mattress. You can use natural mattress cleaning supplies to treat fresh and dried urine stains.
Removing Fresh Urine
- Mix 50% water + 50% white vinegar in a spray bottle
- Blot the excess urine away
- Spray the stain generously
- Sprinkle baking soda on top of stain
- Leave eight hours or longer (even overnight)
- Vacuum up the mixture
- Repeat if needed
Removing Dry Urine
- Mix eight ounces of hydrogen peroxide, three tbsp baking soda, and two to three drops of dish soap (add essential oils if desired)
- Swirl (don’t shake) to mix
- Spray generously on stain
- Let sit until dry
- Vacuum baking soda residue
- Repeat as needed
How to Remove Blood Stains from Your Mattress
Blood stains are another common mattress stain. Wear gloves when removing blood from sheets and your mattress.
- Mix 50% cold water + 50% white vinegar in a spray bottle
- Blot stain with a clean dry cloth
- Spray mixture and let dry
- Repeat as needed
How to Get Yellow Stains Out of Your Mattress
There are numerous causes of yellow stains on mattresses, from urine stains to sweat and body oils. Treat yellow stains like urine stains. If they do not come out with repeated treatment, yellow stains may be a result of natural oxidation that occurs as a mattress ages, and can signal that it’s time to get a new mattress.
How to Remove Sweat Stains from Your Mattress
- Mix equal parts liquid dish soap, hydrogen peroxide and water
- Add essential oils if desired
- Shake up in spray bottle
- Blot stain if wet
- Spray and leave for 20 minutes
- Blot again with a clean dry rag
- Sprinkle baking soda and leave overnight
- Vacuum up remaining baking soda
How to Remove Mattress Odor
If your mattress has an odor, add a few drops of essential oils to your water and vinegar mixture to further deodorize your mattress. Oils such as lavender, ylang-ylang, peppermint and chamomile are used to promote sleep, while tea tree, eucalyptus and lemongrass oil contain natural antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.
If you can’t remove stubborn odors, it may be time to replace your mattress.
Mattress Cleaning Mistakes to Avoid
Keep your mattress in tip-top shape by avoiding these mattress-cleaning mistakes:
- Oversaturating your mattress with liquids
- Failing to let the mattress dry completely
- Using harsh chemical cleaners
- Not checking manufacturer’s care instructions
- Not consulting mattress warranty
- Not cleaning your mattress regularly
How to Prevent Mattress Stains
The best way to avoid staining your mattress and help it last longer is to add a mattress protector. Mattress protectors provide an extra protective layer between your sheets and mattress, providing a buffer for body oils, fluids and stains.
How do you clean a mattress topper?
Mattress toppers should be cleaned like a mattress, not like sheets or bedding. Most toppers cannot be machine washed and should be spot treated.
How do you clean a memory foam mattress?
Memory foam mattresses should be kept clean and dry. Consult your manufacturer for the best care and cleaning instructions.
Can you steam clean a mattress?
Most mattresses can be steam cleaned, but it’s a good idea to check with your mattress manufacturer and the machine manufacturers to ensure you are not voiding your warranty.
Can you use UV light to sanitize your mattress?
UV light can sanitize your mattress as effectively as sunlight. UV light can help kill bacteria and microbes on your mattress but will not remove stains.
Can you bleach a mattress?
Bleaching is not recommended for mattress cleaning. Bleach may stain, damage, or void your mattress warranty.
Can you shampoo a mattress?
Shampooing is not recommended for cleaning your mattress. Always consult your manufacturer’s care instructions for the right products to clean and protect your mattress.