How To Clean A Mattress

how to clean a mattress

If you keep your mattress clean you’ll get a better nights sleep. Knowing how to clean a mattress properly with items you already have in your home will remove dust mites, sweat, stains and nasty odours. A hoover, stain remover like Vanish and baking soda is all you need.

Sweating at night is normal and something that happens to many people and over time that can lead to stains on our mattresses.

Don’t be surprised when you change your sheets if you see yellow patches on the mattress after a while.

Life is so busy that there are certain things that need to be done around the home but you just keep pushing them to the back of your mind but eventually you have to deal with it and cleaning the mattress is one of those things.

This is the best way to clean your mattress, remove all the stains, bring the freshness back into it and then keep it that way one its done:


Although you may see some stain patches on your mattress, at first glance it will probably look not too bad from a dust perspective because most of the time its covered by a sheet but don’t be fooled by this.

There will be lots of invisible to the eye dust mites living in the mattress and because they are only a quarter of a millimetre in size you can’t see them but this is what they look like under a microscope:

house dust mite

The first thing you need to do is give the mattress a really good hoover. Spend at least 10 minutes going over it two or three times with the most powerful suction that your vacuum cleaner has.

If you have a pet tool then use that as a lot of them have a motorised brush and that will dig into the fibres of the mattress to give it a good deep clean before you start with cleaning the stains.

You are only going to be doing this twice a year or even less if you use the maintain tips discussed later on so spend a good amount of time giving it a good hoover even when you think it’s done keep going for another few minutes to ensure you suck up as many of those invisible dust mites as possible.

Stain Remover

Many people have their own concoction that they create to make their own stain remover that contains things like soap and vinegar and hydrogen peroxide (who has that in their house??) but the reality is that you don’t need any of that.

I’ve tried it and it does work but it’s a hassle to make and most people will have a tub of vanish stain remover that we use for clothes or a spray bottle of stain remover.

It doesn’t have to be a brand like Vanish it can be any supermarket own brand stain remover. They all work well and as good if not better than any homemade solution so save yourself some time and buy a bottle of cheap stain remover spray or use what you already have in the kitchen cupboard.

Use a damp cloth to wet the stain first and give it multiple blasts with the spray or if you have a tub rub some of the granules onto a cloth and then apply to the stain.

Take a clean damp cloth and then gently rub the stain, don’t scrub it or you’ll just end up spreading the stain.

Leave it for 30 minutes and then get some kitchen roll and pat it onto the stained area to soak up any remaining wet areas.

Then get a hairdryer and spend a few minutes completely drying the area that had the stain.

Depending on how bad the stain is you may need to repeat the above steps again but after the second go even the most stubborn stains will be gone from your mattress.

The final and really important step is to bring back the freshness to your mattress so it looks and smells like new.

Baking Soda

Baking soda won’t clean your mattress but it is a very good deodoriser and it will draw out any unwanted odours that are lingering in your mattress once it has been cleaned.

Once you have given the mattress a good hoovering and used your stain remover to take out any patches, marks and stains then get a sieve and sprinkle a packet of baking soda over the mattress.

Don’t pour it directly over the mattress straight from the packet because you won’t get an even spread. Put it in the sieve and tap the side so you have a thin layer all over the mattress. Don’t rub it in just let it settle.

The longer you leave it the more the odour will be sucked out of the mattress. Ideally, leave or 24 hours but if that’s not realistic because you need to sleep in the bed then 6-10 hours is fine.

After it’s been left to do its thing, give it another good hoover and you’ll be left with a super fresh mattress that is good for another 6 months.

Baking soda IS bicarbonate of soda so don’t bother spending more on an expensive branded baking soda just get the cheapest bicarbonate of soda that you can find in the supermarket and it will probably set you back about £1.50.

This short video shows how to apply the baking soda:

Keep your mattress cleaner for longer

Once you have gone through the pain of cleaning and deodorising your mattress there are several things that you can do to keep it clean and prevent the stains and odours coming back.

Cleaning your mattress is one of those jobs that you want to do as little as possible but it’s something you really need to do at least twice a year but you can reduce it to once a year if you add a few accessories that will protect your mattress.

Mattress cover

Everyone puts sheets on their mattress and whilst this offers comfort in between you and the duvet it doesn’t really provide much protection from all of the unwanted stains and odours that accumulate over time in your bed.

A mattress cover will go a long way to reducing the amount of time between deep cleans of your mattress and will help to keep it a lot more hygienic.

Mattress covers go over the whole of your mattress and get zipped up effectively encasing the whole mattress creating a seal that a regular sheet does not achieve.

The biggest “infestation” that all mattresses get subjected to over time is dust mites. They are everywhere and are completely unavoidable but can be kept to a minimum on your mattress with the addition of a mattress cover.

Every night we get into bed we shed dry skin and its this that dust mites feed on and their excrement can affect anyone with dust allergies.

These little guys are invisible to the human eye and that makes it much harder to track the impact they are having on your sleep because over time there can be hundreds of thousands of them in your bed at any one time.

Once they get into the mattress and the springs inside the mattress it becomes much harder to get rid of them.

If you have a mattress protector that encases your mattress then any dust mites that are inside will die off because you will starve them of your dry skin that they feed on.

After that, you just need to wash the mattress cover once a month to keep any dust mites to an absolute minimum.

This article explains in detail how to deal with dust mites:

How to get rid of dust mites

Bed bugs are another very nasty infestation that is common and are much more severe than dust mites because they feed on your blood and leave bite like marks on you when they are done.

Once they get to the mattress and inside it then it can be almost impossible to eliminate them completely even with treatment and often you have to throw the mattress away and get a new one.

With a simple mattress cover, they get restricted to the surface and can be dealt with much more easily.

A cover over the mattress also helps to prevent other stains such as urine or sweat stains going through to the mattress as you have another layer of protection in place in addition to your sheets and is a very low-cost way of keeping your mattress cleaner for longer.

Mattress topper

Although a mattress cover is definitely a good start and offers some protection against stains and odours it is quite thin and it’s not going to stop everything getting through but a mattress protector will.

You cant put your mattress in the washing machine but most mattress toppers will go straight into the machine ready to go back onto the mattress fresh as a daisy and stain and odour free.

They don’t just protect your mattress either, you get the extra benefit of a more comfortable sleep as they tend to be between 5cm and 7cm high and offer a cushioning effect.

They are a fraction of the cost of a mattress so if you combine a mattress cover with a mattress topper between them they will capture everything that your body has to throw at them and then once a month you can stick them both in the washing machine and your mattress will literally stay as good as new and you’ll only need to clean the mattress itself once a year if that.

Cleaning your mattress on a regular basis will prolong its life but nothing lasts forever and if its been more than about 10 years since you last changed your mattress then it may be time for a new one.

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