How to Clean your Mattress

Jennifer Lifford
by Jennifer Lifford
60 Minutes
Spring is the perfect time to give your mattress a good cleaning. Find out everything you need to know about how {and why!} to clean your mattress as well as some tips for specific stain removal. Find out more detailed information here:
You should be cleaning your mattress at least once per year if you use a good mattress cover and monthly if you do not have a cover. If you have allergies, asthma, or other sensitivities you may want to clean it even more frequently.
Strip all of the bedding and mattress covers off of the bed and wash them in hot water (over 130 F). This will kill any dust mites. Add 1/2 -1 cup of vinegar to your wash to remove any extra odors and soften your sheets.

Cleaning Option No.1. If the weather permits and you can get your mattress outside, take it out in the morning on a sunny day to allow it to air out. The sun has a natural cleaning ability and can kill off bacteria hiding in the mattress. Now the fun part… Grab a bat, golf club, 2×4, etc. and give your mattress a good beating for 10-20 minutes. This will get rid of dead human skin cells, dust mites and their feces, and dander and will also give you a good workout! Let your mattress sit in the sun for the day remembering to turn it around to the other side half way through the day. You might want to give it another quick beating before bringing it back in at the end of the day.
All you need is baking soda and your vacuum with the upholstery attachment for basic cleaning. For more intense stains, there are lots of effective natural cleaners such as vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide {see post for details}.
If you can’t get your mattress outside, sprinkle baking soda over the mattress and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes {longer is better} to absorb any odors. Using the upholstery attachment on your vacuum, vacuum the mattress.

If you have any particular stained areas that you are needing to treat, do this prior to the above cleaning options but do vacuum the mattress to remove any loose dirt or dust before working on the stained area. Remember that the quicker you can treat a stain, the easier it will be to remove! Click on link for specific stain treatments.

After you have cleaned your mattress, ensure that the mattress is COMPLETELY dry before putting the covers and sheets back on. Any moisture will encourage the growth of molds, mildew, and bacteria. Let your mattress dry out in the sun or run a fan over it for at least several hours until dry. If you can’t get your mattress outside, you can pull it off your bed and prop it up by an open window to get more air circulating.
Jennifer Lifford
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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3 of 6 comments
  • Matty watts Matty watts on Jun 21, 2014
    Oops dry my pillows

  • M.L. Friel M.L. Friel on Apr 19, 2017
    When I purchase a new mattress, my next stop is purchasing a soft plastic pliable waterproof cover that encases the new mattress. It'll protect your investment from liquid spills, dust mites, & tiny flakes of skin that filter thru the cover & INTO your mattress over time (as well- need I mention BedBugs) The cover may need replacing in approx. 4-7 years, but the mattress will last y-e-a-r-s longer, & the mattress can be rotated while still protected.

    • Tcb22066291 Tcb22066291 on Apr 19, 2017
      Might want to rethink "plastic". It will make you sweat and it makes noise whenever you move or turn in the bed. You can get a allergen zippered bag to encase your mattress in. On than you can put a good quality waterproof (quiet) mattress pad or a good mattress pad cover with the waterproof-quiet mattress pad cover over that - double protection and if an accident happens you just take off the waterproof one, toss it into the washer. Put fresh sheet on - finish your night of sleep then put the clean waterproof back on after its washed and dried. just a thought.