How to Clean and Protect Your Mattress

Regular mattress cleaning is among the best things you can do for your mattress. You should always take preventative measures to keep dust mites, allergens, and other superficial dirt at bay, such as by vacuuming the surface a few times a year. Knowing how to manage a spill or deep clean your mattress is an extra skill set that helps to extend the life of your bed.

Whether you’re scrubbing out light stains, or trying to eliminate surface-level smells, or urgently trying to prevent a huge spill from damaging the inner layers of your mattress, the mattress care tips outlined below will help you have the best possible outcome.

How can I protect my mattress?

One of the best things you can do to help with mattress cleaning, is use a lightweight mattress protector. A mattress topper is an extra layer purchased separately from the mattress that prevents the build-up of dust, dirt, and allergens into the top most comfort layers. 

Most mattress toppers can be put in the washing machine for easy upkeep. Washing it several times a year will help your bed feel fresh. Many mattress protectors are also water-resistant or waterproofing, which can help prevent urine accidents and spills from setting into the inner layers of the mattress.

How do I clean my mattress at home?

Routine maintenance makes a big difference at extending the life of a mattress, so make it a priority to learn how to clean a mattress. Having a clean mattress helps keep surface layers in good condition, keeps natural smells at bay, and helps to reduce the transmission of illnesses or allergens. You spend ⅓ of your time in bed, so keep it a clean, healthy space.

You can use:

  • Store-bought cleaning solutions, such as enzyme cleaners
  • Homemade (DIY) cleaning solutions such as baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, laundry detergent, and dish soap
  • A combination of methods for deep cleaning action

First and foremost, if you spilled on your mattress, the most urgent step is to blot out excess liquid using an absorbent towel or rag. 

Rather than rub at the spot, apply as much pressure as you can to encourage the moisture to wick away from the inner layers of the mattress. Blotting with a clean cloth helps to pull the moisture up and out and immediately makes a huge difference. If you are curious if you got it all, you can sprinkle the area with dry baking soda which will help continue to collect moisture from lower layers.

If you believe that a professional cleaning is necessary, contact us so we can make a referral to a company in your area. Steam cleaning, or hiring a professional to clean with UV rays can help tackle deep stains, smells, and thoroughly disinfect a mattress.

Most owners only need to focus on vacuuming their mattress or performing spot cleaning treatments a few times a year. 

Follow these cleaning tips, and sleep well at night:

Step 1: Remove bedding

When you’re cleaning your fitted sheets, comforter, or pillows, it’s a good time to also clean your mattress. If you have a mattress protector, remove that at this time, too, and launder according to manufacturer guidelines.

Step 2: Gather your cleaning supplies

  • Store-bought cleaners
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Salt
  • Warm water
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Laundry detergent 
  • Vacuum cleaner with upholstery attachment
  • Sponges
  • Spray bottle
  • Absorbent cloths or paper towels

There are many different do-it-yourself approaches that can save time and prevent long-term mattress damage. 

DIY options that include baking soda, or liquid dish soap in warm water are ideal for surface stains, and mild smells. For deeper DIY cleaning power, we included white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda solutions that can work harder to lift dirt and combat bad smells. You can always start with mild cleansers, and gradually try tougher treatments.

Step 3: Vacuum the mattress

Start by cleaning the entire surface with a vacuum cleaner, and pull the mattress and box spring away from the headboard if possible to thoroughly reach all four sides. A handheld vacuum with an upholstery attachment can be best for getting into crevices, as it is gentle but agitates and collects loose dirt, dead skin cells, allergens, and dust mites.

If you're rotating or flipping your mattress as part of your mattress routine, be sure to flip and vacuum both sides.

Step 4: Address deep stains and smells

A mix of baking soda, salt, and water or baking soda and white vinegar can be used to tackle the deepest of stains. Combine the ingredients, and massage the stain remover into the affected area. The solution can absorb into the mattress, but will need to be reabsorbed back into a dry cloth, and allowed to fully air dry.

For urine stains, sweat stains, or pet smells that have infiltrated the top layer of the mattress or mattress protector, an enzymatic cleaner will offer the cleaning power you need to tackle the scent. This cleaner can be store-bought, but you can also create a powerful, soapy mix using dish detergent and water to tackle surface stains and broad area smells. 

Essential oils can also be used to help combat smells and disinfect the material, but mindfully only add a drop or two to your cleaning solution. 

Step 5: Spot clean mild mattress stains

For mildew, blood stains, and dye-transfers, spraying hydrogen peroxide directly on the stain will help with stain removal. Store-bought cleansers will act similarly, but are not usually any more powerful. Use a clean, dry towel to blot the wet stain, rather than rub it in.

Step 6: Treat for general smells

At this point in the cleaning routine, or if no other deep cleaning steps were necessary, using a damp cloth soaked in warm water and laundry detergent is the easiest way to clean the entire surface of the mattress. You can put this combination in a spray bottle for easy use, and use a clean cloth to wipe across the surface and gather excessive moisture.

Dry baking soda can help deodorize your mattress too, but using a vacuum cleaner to lift it can lead to damage in the vacuum's motor over time, so the application should be limited. When applying, let the dry baking soda sit on the surface of the mattress for 15 minutes before vacuuming it up. 

Step 7: Allow the mattress to air dry

Before you make your bed, be sure to let all moisture and cleaning efforts dry completely. If you performed a deep clean and let moisture set in deeper than the surface, let it air dry overnight.

Avoid putting a mattress topper or cover until it is fully dry to prevent mold or mildew from forming in the mattress. Many mattress covers have waterproofing attributes that would prevent moisture from fully evaporating.

For ongoing mattress care, consider the following:

  • Use a mattress protector to prevent the build-up of dust, dirt, dead skin cells, and allergens into the top most comfort layers. Most mattress toppers can be laundered for easy upkeep.
  • Add waterproof mattress pads to childrens’ mattresses as they are more prone to urine stains
  • Vacuum your mattress every 3 to 6 months as part of your ongoing cleaning routine

Read more about mattress care on our Sleep Tips blog.