It’s important to know how to clean a mattress considering the type of stuff that builds up on (and on) this smooth surface where we waste so much time.

You probably know about dust mites and other critters in your mattress, but many also include sweat, blood, urine and other bodily fluids along with mold and mildew. Except you shower before bed every night, your mattress might also include dirt, oils and trace chemicals from various toiletries, and even pollen.

Just grasp this guide, and you’ll know how to pick a mattress so the only thing that will keep you up at night are the forgotten to-do’s that pop into your head the instant you switch the light off. (Or is that just me?)


Before cleaning your mattress,  you should strip the bed and launder your linens. You should wash and dry your mattress pad first, then after that the sheets, and eventually your bedspread/comforter/duvet. Make sure to check the manufacturer’s labels first and use the hottest water and dryer heat setting allowed because heat will kill dust mites in your bedding. Since the washer and dryer are doing their thing, pay your attention to the mattress.

Step 1. You Ought to Vacuum it

Your vacuum cleaner’s filling attachment is your Number One ally in mattress cleaning. Begin at the top of the mattress and work your way down in overlapping, linear paths and next vacuum the sides of your mattress the same way.


Step 2. You Should Deodorize it

Although we don’t normally notice our own bodily smells, over time sweat can build up and lead to an obvious unusual aroma. To rid your mattress of rankness, you should sprinkle it well with baking soda and softly rub it in with a scrub brush, so it works into the mattress fabric where the stink lives. Let the soda sit for 10 minutes, and then…


Step 3. Vacuum  It Again

By rubbing the baking soda into your mattress you’ve improved it bond with moisture and body oils in the top layers of material. Cleaning it a second time pulls that moisture out, simultaneously with the cause of the odors.


Step 4. Take the stains out

Mattresses usually acquire three types of stains: blood, urine, and what we’ll just call “other bodily fluids.” While it’s beneficial to treat stains immediately, let’s face it, sometimes rest is more important. Here’s the guide how to clean stains on your mattress:

Dried blood stains can be handled by making a paste of 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide (3%) mixed with 1 tbsp. each liquid dish soap and table salt. Carefully spread this onto the stain and allow it to sit until dry before rubbing the residue off. Dab at any residual stain with a white rag* dipped into hydrogen peroxide, rotating the cloth as the stain lifts off.




Urine stains are tough but not difficult to get out once they’re dry, but this two-step method assists a lot when my kids were little.

Flux 3 tbsp. baking soda in 8 oz. of hydrogen peroxide then join a drop or two of liquid dish soap. Pat this solution onto the spot. (Do NOT drench your mattress!)

If the stain endures, wait until the area is dry then flit together 3 tablespoons dry laundry detergent powder (NOT Oxiclean or anything containing oxygenated bleach) and 1 tablespoon water in order to make a dry foam. Softly spread this on the stain and let it sit for 30 minutes.

Rub the dried paste away with a spoon. Apply a white cloth dipped into hydrogen peroxide to remove any stubborn bits of paste.

Vacuum this area.


Other biological fluids (vomit, etc.): Open the windows then, utilizing a white rag, sponge the stain with undiluted, unscented household ammonia. Do NOT cover your mattress! Clean the area with a clean, damp cloth and sprinkle the spot with baking soda to neutralize the ammonia odor and pull out any lingering moisture. Let this dry then clean the area thoroughly.


Step 5. Flip it and redo steps 1-4

Innerspring or coil mattresses ought to be flipped side-to-side and top-to-bottom per week for the first three months of ownership, then quarterly after that. If yours is a pillow-top mattress you should not flip it over but should still rotate it top to bottom periodically.


While you’ve got the materials handy, redo the cleaning process above after you flip your mattress.


Preventing Mattress Stains

Since cleaning a mattress is such a demanding task, I wholeheartedly support using a washable mattress cover. I’m not talking about the curly, plastic kind you might remember from childhood. These days, mattress covers are made from fabric bonded to an impermeable layer that prevents liquids and dead skin from affecting your mattress. (Here’s the one I use.)

Protrude the mattress cover into the wash if you have a spill, and make laundering it part of your routine, so you’ll never have to clean a mattress

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