How to clean a mattress

Knowing how to clean a mattress depends a little on why the mattress is dirty, in this post we give you a few ideas of how to go about cleaning a mattress, removing stains and maintaining a general level of cleanliness for your mattress.

General Cleanliness

To keep your mattress clean we first of all recommend investing in a mattress protector. Its natural that you would sweat in the night, and along with sweat, the body secretes all sorts of fluids and smells that will be readily absorbed by your mattress. A mattress protector is the first line of defense in keeping your mattress clean, hygienic and smelling good. Most mattresses will simply need a cotton or cotton-blend mattress protector which you will buy in the size of your mattress and put straight over the top, and underneath your sheets. If you are concerned about bed wetting – for instance when toilet training a child, it is also possible to invest in a waterproof mattress protector.

Second of all you should change and wash your sheets regularly, and wash the mattress protector each time you wash the sheets. Regularly might be weekly or fortnightly. Wash more often in warmer weather or when you have been ill to keep everything fresh and clean.

Finally you should flip your mattress regularly. At least every other change of sheets should result in a mattress flipping. Read our full article on how to flip a mattress here.

Cleaning A Wet Mattress

Wet stains might include urine (animal or human), vomit, or simply an annoying spill. Wet stains and smells set in fast so you should get cleaning your mattress as soon as you can.

First of all, soak up any excess liquid with towels or paper as soon as possible. Then cover with baking soda to soak up any excess moisture.

Then you need a biological cleaner – something like a biological washing powder is fine. Create a paste by mixing the powder with water. Some also swear by adding white vinegar to this solution but this is optional. Cover the stained area in the solution, then repeat the previous steps – blotting up the moisture, covering with baking soda and spreading on the solution again.

Once you have done this two or three times the mattress should be clean – allow it to dry after a baking soda step. Depending on how warm it is where you are you should allow for up to 18 hours drying time. Once fully dry, vacuum the mattress and place back on the bed.

Cleaning a Mouldy or Mildewy Mattress

Mould or mildew is a sign of too much moisture in the air, or a wet mattress stain that hasn’t been cleaned and dried properly may suffer from mould afterwards. You first need to get this mattress DRY. If you can, get it outside into the sunshine on a warm day (see next section) or try to place next to a radiator.

Then thoroughly vacuum the area. You want to suck up all the mould spores so that you don’t breathe them in during the night.

Finally you need to kill any lingering spores – with a part alcohol / part water solution or spray on a disinfectant that will kill germs from mould. Leave again to thoroughly dry.

For All Stains – Don’t Under Estimate Sunshine.

Ultraviolet rays break down chemical bonds and thus fade colours in an object – kind of like a bleaching effect. That’s why you notice that colours things – like wood outside will sometimes fade in the sun. This is the perfect solution for stained mattresses.

You might think that this is an impossible feat, that sunshine is an elusive beast found only in the peak of summer, but perhaps you shouldn’t give up too easily! Its true that UV intensity can vary widely with time of day, year, and depending on what season you are in. Cloud can even block UV rays, – on really overcast days 70% or more of rays will not reach the surface.

However, if its only partly cloudy, you may be surprised to find that UV rays are even higher than a clear sky! Scientists are not sure why but the rays may bounce off other clouds and magnify. So, don’t dismiss the power of the sun ‘or simple UV rays’ as a cost effective and natural mattress stain remover, at any window near you.