By Benjamin St. Jacques
Mattresses aren’t something we think about cleaning on a regular basis—but we definitely should. Over time, mattresses can become magnets for stains, spills, allergens, crumbs, and odors. This is especially true if we like to enjoy a snack in bed (and who doesn’t) or can’t resist letting one of our furry friends join us for a snooze.
Photos by Benjamin St. Jacques
The good news is that with regular cleaning, you can help keep your mattress fresh and comfortable for years to come. But how does someone clean a mattress? After all, it’s not like you can stuff it in your washing machine or hose it off in the backyard.
Here’s your six-step guide to cleaning a mattress.
1. Strip Down
The first step in cleaning your mattress is to remove all of the linens from the bed. This includes sheets, pillow cases, and any protective mattress coverings. Toss those items into your washing machine and wash them in the hottest temperature possible with your usual laundry detergent. Be sure to dry them on the highest heat setting as well. That will help eliminate dust mites and bacteria.
2. Vacuum Every Crevice
Now that your linens are washing and your mattress is completely exposed, you can begin the cleaning process. Start by vacuuming the mattress to remove crumbs, dead skin cells, pet fur, dust, and other debris. Use the various attachments to get into corners, along the mattress piping, and other hard-to-reach places.
3. Seek and Destroy Stains
Next, you want to go after any stains. To make a mattress-safe stain remover, combine two tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide and one tablespoon of liquid dish soap in a small bowl. Gently mix the solution until suds are formed. Then, dip an old toothbrush into the suds and gently scrub any stained areas of the mattress in a circular motion. Once the stain is gone, use a cool, damp cloth to wipe away excess cleaner. This cleaning solution is ideal for cleaning dirt, as well as stains from food or drink.
4. Enlist an Enzyme Cleaner
You’re going to want something a bit stronger to tackle any pet stains. Your best bet is to use a commercial-grade enzyme cleaner. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t spray enzyme cleaner directly onto your mattress (or any surface). Instead, spray the cleaner onto a rag or cloth and then gently blot the stain until it’s well saturated. Wait 15 minutes, then blot the stain again with a clean, damp cloth to wipe it away. Repeat the process if necessary.
5. Bet on Baking Soda
Once you’re done spot cleaning the stains, sprinkle baking soda on your mattress and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. If you can let it sit for a couple of hours, even better. The baking soda will absorb lingering odors and help dry-up any residual wetness from your spot cleaning. Next, vacuum up the baking soda along with the smells, stains, and moisture it’s absorbed. For an extra bit of freshness, add five drops of your favorite essential oil before applying it to the mattress.
6. Give it Some Air
Once the mattress is completely vacuumed, you should allow it to air dry for at least an hour to ensure it’s completely dry. If it’s a sunny day, then open the drapes or blinds to let the sunlight hit your mattress. The ultraviolet rays will zap any leftover bacteria, odors, and mold.
One your mattress is completely dry and the linens are done, you can make the bed. Repeat these steps every four months and you’ll rest easy knowing that your mattress will remain clean and cozy for years to come.