How to clean a mattress

Your mattress is probably dirtier than a toilet seat. Here's how to clean it

Imagine laying your head on a surface that’s about 17,000 times dirtier than a toilet seat. How about covering yourself with something that’s about 25,000 times dirtier than a bathroom door knob? Sounds like a nightmare, right?

Well, every night you may just be crawling into bed with a cesspool of germs. Many experts recommend washing your sheets once a week. However, even when you wash your linens as recommended, millions of bacteria accumulate. According to statistics published by Amerisleep, three million colony-forming units per square inch cover your pillow after a week without washing. That’s 17,442 times more than you’d find on the average toilet seat. Do you typically go more than a week without washing your sheets? The average week-old sheet has five million colony forming units per share inch.

If our week-old sheets and pillow cases are that gross, just imagine how foul our mattresses are. With all of the dust, sweat, saliva, and “bodily fluids” that get on mattresses, they are covered in all sorts of yuck.

You should fully clean your mattress at least once every six months. But, if you get the chance to clean it more frequently (say, once every three months), it will only serve to make your sleeping quarters more sanitary. We’ve created a quick guide on how to clean a mattress the right way.

best online mattress companies compared saatva

What you’ll need

  • A vacuum with a hose attachment
  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Spray bottle
  • A cloth or rag
  • Dish soap
  • Vinegar (Optional)
  • Hydrogen Peroxide (Optional)

How to clean a mattress

Step 1: Prepare your mattress. Remove all blankets, sheets, pillows, and mattress covers and pads from your mattress. Wash your bedding items. If you have a washable mattress cover, put it in the washing machine per the care instructions.

Step 2: Vacuum your mattress. Using a vacuum with powerful suction, vacuum your mattress with the hose attachment. Use the upholstery attachment to grab up dust and pet hair. If you have a mattress with stitching, it’s a good idea to use the crevice tool to get all of the particles from the stitched areas.

Step 3: Remove stains. See any brown spots on your mattress? Many mattresses, especially older ones, collect a lot of stains from sweat, food and drink, blood, and other random sources. Even though it’s tempting to use harsh cleaners like chlorine bleach or ammonia, it’s best to avoid those cleaners and stick to cleaners that won’t damage your mattress.

Some stains are more stubborn than others. So, you can try a few different options to get those stains out.

  • Try a mix of dish soap and cold water. According to the mattress showroom Sleepcity, you should use cold water instead of warm water to remove stains from you mattress. Cold water will help lift the stain out instead of cooking it into your mattress.
  • Try an old classic stain remover like club soda and salt or lemon juice and salt.
  • Try a mixture of 1 part hydrogen peroxide and 3 parts cold water.
  • Remember making volcanoes in science class? Well, Sleepcity recommends using that same fizzy baking soda and vinegar mixture to remove mattress stains. First, try spraying vinegar on the stain, then sprinkle baking soda over the vinegar. Let that sit for about 10 minutes, and then clean up the mixture with a sponge or vacuum.
  • Beautryrest Sleep Gallery recommends a “big guns” recipe for some stubborn stains. To make it, mix a dash of hydrogen peroxide, a squirt of liquid dish soap, and a sprinkle of baking soda with water in a spray bottle.
  • If you have a memory foam mattress, do not use any liquids or cleaners on the actual interior foam. We contacted Tempur-Pedic customer service and asked them what cleaners they recommend for cleaning the foam. They said to avoid cleaners and use only a dry cloth.

Step 4: Refresh your mattress by sprinkling baking soda all over the surface of it. To make sure you get the entire surface, it helps to put on a glove and use your hand to spread the baking soda. For a queen mattress, you’ll probably need to use the majority of a 16 oz. box. After you’ve covered the mattress in baking soda, let it sit for at least a few hours. If possible, allow it to sit overnight.

Step 5: Vacuum your mattress again. Using your vacuum’s hose attachment, vacuum up all of the baking soda from your mattress. Use the most powerful setting on you vacuum cleaner, and use the crevice attachment to get in between the stitching.

Step 6: Air out your mattress. Open the curtains or blinds in your room and allow as much sun in as possible. Allow the mattress get some light and air for a few hours. This will help your mattress dry completely. Dark and damp areas can breed more bacteria.

Step 7: Make your bed. Replace your mattress cover (if applicable). Replace your sheets and bedding and enjoy your fresh and clean mattress.

Tips:

  • Consumer Reports recommends purchasing additional layers of protection like covers and pads to help keep your mattress clean and protected.
  • Do not use chemicals on the interior foam of a Tempur-Pedic or memory foam mattress. Wash the exterior mattress cover and contact the manufacturer for additional cleaning instructions.
  • Do not use harsh cleaners like chlorine bleach, as they can damage your mattress.
News

Xfinity indoor/outdoor camera zooms in on Grinch’s faces and license plates

Comcast's Xfinity Home security cameras can help the police catch Grinches who steal delivery packages from your home. The cameras use artificial intelligence to analyze moving objects and zoom in on faces at your door and license plates.
Home Theater

How to make your TV squeaky clean for not much green

Not sure how to clean the LCD, OLED, or plasma display that's the cornerstone of your living room? You don't need to buy expensive cleaning solutions to clean your TV -- we'll teach you how to do it with simple household items.
Cars

Prep your car for the coming snow and sleet with these cold weather tips

Driving in the winter, whether downtown or across the country, is rarely easy. Luckily, we've put together a quick rundown of a few things you should do to winterize your car before the snow officially hits.
Smart Home

Cloud slime, butter slime, scented slime -- we have your next DIY project covered

We researched dozens of different ingredients and tried several slime recipes. While some recipes are generally pretty safe, others are questionable at best. Which recipes should you use, and which should you avoid?
Deals

The best iRobot Roomba deals to make cleaning your home a breeze

Keep your home clean without lifting a finger using a robot vacuum cleaner. These nine iRobot Roomba deals not only help you keep your home tidy, but many also come with advanced features such as automatic scheduling and Wi-Fi connectivity.
Smart Home

Airbnb hosts are offering free rooms to those displaced by California wildfires

Several thousand Airbnb hosts in California are opening their homes to help those displaced by the devastating wildfires in the state. Free accommodation is being offered to those affected through November 29.
Deals

Shop early Black Friday deals on Philips Hue products from Amazon, today only

Avoid the Black Friday hassle and shop great online deals. Amazon is offering huge discounts on refurbished Philips Hue smart lighting products to help light your home. For today only, you can grab a range of smart home tech from Amazon.
Smart Home

Here's our comparison of the Lenovo Smart Display and the JBL Link View

Looking for the right smart display? We're comparing the Lenovo Smart Display vs. JBL Link View, two excellent smart displays that are made for different audiences. Here's what you need to know about both displays and what they do.
Deals

All the Best Target Black Friday deals for 2018

The mega-retailer opens its doors to the most competitive shoppers at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 22, and signs indicate that the retailer means business this year. We've sifted through all of the deals, from consumer electronics to small…
Deals

The Best Black Friday Deals from Best Buy in 2018

We've been hard at work assembling all the best Black Friday deals Best Buy offers in 2018 and putting them in one place to save you time and money this holiday season. From laptops to TVs, game consoles to smart speakers and much more…
Smart Home

New wireless power kit puts a charge into your smart speakers via infrared light

Wireless power technology is coming fast, and Wi-Charge is leading the innovative trend with a new wireless power kit that can transform Amazon and Google smart speakers into fully functional, wire-free devices.
Smart Home

Save Smart: The Best Black Friday Smart Home Deals

The number of Black Friday sales can be overwhelming. Here are some of the best bang-for-your-buck deals you'll find this year on the most popular smart home products on the market.
News

Amazon’s new trade-in and recycling programs gives your gizmos a ‘second chance’

Amazon is generating a new level of sustainability into its platform with Amazon Second Chance, a new portal that encourages consumers to trade in and recycle their old electronic devices.
Smart Home

Amazon rejoins the fight against HIV/AIDS with a (Red) second-gen Echo

Now you can rock out to U2 and give to a good cause by buying Amazon's red Echo, a limited edition of the smart speaker that also donates money to the humanitarian organization Project (Red), founded by Bono.