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How To Clean A Mattress: A Comprehensive Guide

By: Sheryl Cannes
Updated on: April 05, 2024

Discover the secrets to keeping your mattress in top-notch condition with our comprehensive cleaning guide. Often underestimated, your mattress plays a crucial role in your overall well-being, influencing the quality of your sleep and, consequently, every aspect of your life. Moreover, a high-quality mattress is a valuable investment that deserves proper care and maintenance to ensure longevity.

Over time, mattresses accumulate an array of unwanted elements like dead skin, dust mites, dirt, and more. Regular mattress cleaning not only prolongs its lifespan but also helps alleviate allergies. The good news is that cleaning a mattress doesn’t have to be a daunting task. This article will explore effective techniques to maintain your mattress, protect your investment, and promote a healthier sleep environment. Say goodbye to a restless nights mattress and hello to a revitalized mattress and enhanced well-being. Let’s dive in and learn how to clean a mattress properly.

Why Is It Important To Clean My Mattress?

Maintaining the cleanliness of the stained area of your mattress is crucial, even if it appears spotless, as it can accumulate dust mites, bacteria, and unpleasant odors over time.

To be more specific, regular mattress cleaning provides several benefits:

  • Dust Mites: These tiny pests thrive on the skin cells we shed during sleep. Given that we naturally shed millions of skin cells each week, an average mattress may house tens of thousands of dust mites eagerly seeking their food source.
  • Allergens: Movement in bed can disturb dust particles in the mattress, releasing them into the bedroom air. Even for non-allergic individuals, breathing in dust throughout the night can lead to nasal congestion, itchy/watery eyes, and throat irritation.
  • Night Sweats: Regardless of your body temperature, sweating during sleep is common. The moisture from perspiration seeps into the mattress, creating a damp environment ideal for bacterial growth.
  • Sleep Quality: Sleeping on a clean mattress with tidy sheets can significantly improve your sleep experience. Knowing that your bed is free from dust mites and allergens can help you fall asleep faster and enjoy uninterrupted rest.

To effectively maintain your mattress, it’s recommended to clean it deep at least twice a year to minimize bacterial buildup and reduce allergens. Additionally, accidents may occur, necessitating immediate spot cleaning. Now, before discussing how to restore the cleanliness of a memory foam mattress in your sleep space, let’s explore the essential supplies needed for the task.

DIY Mattress Cleaning Supplies

Cleaning your own mattress stains doesn’t have to involve expensive name-brand products. In fact, an effective, non-toxic solution can be crafted using basic household items you likely already have. Let’s take a look at everything you’ll need to get started with this simple yet efficient DIY method for stain removal:

  • Hydrogen Peroxide: One of the key ingredients for stain removal is hydrogen peroxide. Its powerful yet gentle action helps break down stains without damaging your mattress. Remember to use 3% hydrogen peroxide, readily available in most households.
  • Baking Soda: This baking soda is a versatile and natural cleaning agent that can help eliminate odors and refresh your mattress. Depending on your mattress size, having at least three boxes of baking soda on hand is advisable.
  • Clear Dish Soap: To complement the stain-fighting power of hydrogen peroxide, use clear dish soap. Avoid using green or blue varieties, as they may leave unwanted stains on your mattress.
  • Spray Bottle: You’ll need a spray bottle to create the cleaning solution. This will make it easier to apply the mixture evenly onto the mattress.
  • Toothbrush: A toothbrush works wonders in targeting specific stains. Its gentle bristles help work the cleaning solution into the affected areas for better results.
  • White Rags: White rags are essential for blotting and removing stains without transferring any color onto the mattress.
  • Vacuum Cleaner: After treating your mattress, a vacuum cleaner will help remove any residue and leave your mattress looking fresh and clean.

Optional Supplies

  • Sifter: Although optional, a sifter can be useful when applying baking soda to ensure an even distribution across the mattress surface.
  • Essential Oil: Adding a few drops of this essential oil to the baking soda can help impart a pleasant fragrance to your mattress. This step is optional but can enhance the overall cleaning experience.

For Blood and Urine Stains

In addition to the above supplies, you’ll need white distilled vinegar and another spray bottle to tackle blood and urine stains effectively.

Now that you have gathered all the necessary supplies and spot clean up, it’s time to head to the bedroom and strip your own mattress clean of all bedding. While you do that, let’s set some expectations for the cleaning process.

Setting Expectations

Remember that rejuvenating your mattress won’t magically make it look brand new. It’s essential to have realistic expectations before starting the cleaning process. Remember that every stain and mattress is unique, and certain factors will influence the outcome of your efforts.

  • Age Matters: It’s important to understand that fresh stains are generally easier and faster to remove than older, set-in stains. Don’t be disheartened if an old stain doesn’t completely disappear; it might require extra effort and multiple cleaning sessions.
  • Light vs. Dark Stains: Dark stains from substances like coffee or chocolate may leave a faint trace even after cleaning, especially if your mattress has a light color. However, this doesn’t mean your mattress isn’t clean; dark stains can be stubborn to erase fully.
  • Patience is Key: Deep cleaning your mattress is a time-consuming task that demands patience. It’s not something to tackle when you have only a few minutes to spare. Allocate a day for this process, and plan to sleep on another surface while your mattress dries overnight.

Considering these considerations, the method I’ll be sharing is versatile and capable of treating various stains like grass, wine spills, blood, and accidents. And even if your mattress isn’t perfect after the first treatment, I’ll guide you on doubling down to tackle stubborn stains and odors.

How Do I Clean My Mattress?

Cleaning a mattress may seem daunting, but it can be straightforward and effective with the right approach and techniques. Let’s dive into the step-by-step process of cleaning a mattress.

Start with Washing Bedding

First and foremost, begin the process by completely stripping the bed and laundering the sheets, pillowcases, and blankets. Check the labels on your pillows to determine if they are suitable for machine washing. Ideally, opt for washing the bedding in hot water to eliminate dust mites effectively, but always adhere to the recommended care instructions to avoid any potential shrinkage or color fading. A good practice is to wash your sheets weekly to maintain a clean mattress.

Evaluate the Condition

The most appropriate method for cleaning a mattress depends on its level of dirtiness and the nature of any stains remove odors are present. Regular mattress cleaning techniques will differ from those used to address spills or stains. Inspect the mattress for any stains, discoloration, odors, or other indicators requiring extra attention in specific areas.

Gather Supplies

To effectively clean your mattress, gather the following supplies:

  • Cold water
  • Baking soda
  • Clean rags or towels
  • A gentle, unscented laundry detergent that is bleach-free
  • Dish soap or an enzyme cleaner

When selecting cleaning products for your mattress, exercise caution. Avoid using harsh substances that could potentially damage the delicate fabric. Additionally, remember that completely removing detergent residues from a mattress can be challenging, so opt for mild-scented products, if any.

Thoroughly Vacuum the Mattress

Completely clean the entire mattress surface by using the upholstery attachment on your vacuum cleaner. Be sure to be thorough in your cleaning process. Don’t forget to vacuum the sides of the bed to remove dust, and gently stretch the fabric to eliminate debris from seams.

Spot-Clean Where Needed

Inspect your mattress for any stains or areas of discoloration. To effectively spot-clean, adhere to the following steps:

a) Dampen a clean cloth with a small amount of cleaning solution.

b) Gently blot the stained area with a cloth to clean the blood and lift the stain.

c) Dampen dry cloth, another clean cloth with cold water.

d) Gently blot the previously stained area with the water-soaked cloth to further remove stains and any residue.

e) If necessary, repeat the process until the stain disappears.

Remember, use the cleaning solution sparingly and avoid over-soaking the mattress. Always avoid applying the cleaning solution directly to the mattress. Instead, use a clean cloth to apply and remove the solution.

The ideal cleaning solution depends on the type of stain. A commercial enzyme cleaner works well for biological stains like blood, sweat, or urine. Alternatively, a mixture of dish soap and warm water with foamy suds can be used. For other stains, a common option is a 1:1 solution of cold water and (3%) hydrogen peroxide. Always follow the same method regardless of the solution; if needed, experiment with different solutions to find the most effective one.

Sprinkle with Baking Soda

After removing visible sweat stains and ensuring the mattress cover is completely dry, proceed to apply a thin layer of baking soda evenly over the entire surface of the mattress. Baking soda helps absorb moisture and neutralize odors.

Let the baking soda sit on the bed for several hours. If possible, increase airflow in your bedroom by opening your bedroom windows more.

Thorough Vacuuming

After the baking soda has been on the surface, stain the mattress for a few hours and thoroughly vacuum it using the upholstery attachment. In extreme cases, you may choose to repeat steps 6 and 7, although this is usually unnecessary.

Flip and Repeat

Flip the mattress over and then repeat steps 4 through 7. While the mattress material’s underside might not have visible stains, it can accumulate dust and moisture. If your mattress isn’t designed to be flipped, you can still clean the underside with caution, being careful not to apply too much pressure or moisture.

When dealing with a memory foam mattress, remember that it’s not designed to get wet, so minimize the use of cleaning solutions. The cleaning process of a memory foam mattress is similar to other types, but extra care should be taken to avoid excessive moisture.

Blood, Urine, and Mold

Create a paste by combining a few capfuls of distilled white vinegar with several tablespoons of baking soda. Thoroughly mix the ingredients until a paste forms. Apply this paste over the stains on your mattress and allow it to sit for at least an hour. Once it hardens, you can peel it off along with the stinky stain. Remember to vacuum your mattress further to remove yellow stains and any leftover baking soda debris; you should be all set! You may need to repeat this method for persistent, dark stains that have existed for a long time.

Now, let’s talk about mold. Mold is a more serious issue as it can adversely affect your health. If you discover that your mattress is mold-contaminated, I strongly advise you to replace it. Even if it means temporarily sleeping on the couch for a few nights, it’s crucial not to take any risks regarding mold.

To identify mold growth, look for green, yellow stains, grey, or black spots forming on the fabric. Mold accumulates in small dots rather than one large stain and often has a fuzzy texture. Remember to prioritize your health and take appropriate measures to deal with stains and mold on your mattress.

Protecting Your Mattress

Protecting and maintaining the cleanliness of your mattress is essential for a comfortable deep clean, and hygienic sleep space. Here are some valuable tips to follow that will help keep everything from the best mattress to a budget model as you save up for a better one in pristine condition:

  • Invest in a Mattress Protector: The mattress protector is a must-have investment to safeguard your mattress. These protectors are reasonably priced, ranging from $25 to $100, and can be easily found online or in stores. The added benefit of most protectors being waterproof ensures that any accidental spills are no longer a cause for worry.
  • Regularly Wash Your Bedding: It is crucial to wash your bedsheets and pillows at least once a week. Bedding can harbor many bacteria, and keeping them clean reduces the likelihood of dust mites and germs spreading to your mattress. For further guidance on cleaning your sheets, take a look at my comprehensive guide!
  • Mind Your Bedtime Habits: Certain bedtime habits can contribute to the buildup of dust mites and bacteria in your mattress. Refrain from eating in bed, and consider keeping your pets off the mattress while you sleep. This will help minimize the risk of spills and potential allergens, ensuring a cleaner sleeping environment.

By following these practical guidelines, you can significantly extend the life of your mattress while also ensuring a healthier and more enjoyable sleep experience. Now, armed with this knowledge, you’re well on your way to efficiently clean and protect your mattress for years to come.

Tips for Maintaining a Clean Mattress

Beyond regular cleaning, there are several tips you can follow to maintain a clean and fresh mattress over the long term.

  • Use Bed Linen Protection: Invest in high-quality mattress protectors and pillow protectors to shield your mattress from spills, stains, and dust. These protectors are easily removable and machine washable.
  • Wash Bedding Frequently: Wash your sheets, pillowcases, and mattress protector regularly. Aim for at least once a week or more if you have allergies or tend to sweat heavily at night.
  • Rotate or Flip Regularly: Rotate your mattress every three to six months to even out wear and tear. If your mattress is double-sided, consider flipping it to prolong its lifespan.
  • Keep Pets Off the Bed: As much as we love our furry friends, it’s best to keep them off the bed. Pet dander and fur can accumulate on the mattress, leading to allergies and odors.
  • Avoid Eating in Bed: Eating in bed increases the risk of spills and stains. Enjoying your meals in designated areas is best to prevent accidents that could soil the mattress.
  • Use a Mattress Topper: Consider using a mattress topper to add an extra protection layer to your mattress. Toppers can be easily washed and replaced as needed.
  • Vacuum Regularly: Even with a mattress protector, dust and allergens can accumulate over time. Vacuum your mattress daily to keep it clean and allergen-free.
  • Follow Manufacturer’s Instructions: Always refer to the manufacturer’s care instructions for your specific mattress type. Different materials may require different cleaning methods.


How often should I clean my mattress?

It is advisable to clean your mattress every 3 to 6 months to maintain a hygienic sleep environment. However, consider cleaning it more frequently if you have allergies or respiratory issues.

How do I get rid of mattress odors?

Baking soda is an excellent solution for removing odors. Sprinkle baking soda on the mattress. Let it sit about a third, and then vacuum it off. You can also use essential oils for a pleasant scent.

Can I wash my mattress cover in the washing machine?

Yes, if your mattress cover is machine-washable, follow the care instructions and use a gentle cycle with mild detergent. Avoid using hot water and high-speed spin settings that could damage the cover.

What are the different types of mattresses available?

Common mattress types include memory foam, innerspring, latex, hybrid, and airbeds, each offering unique benefits.

How do I protect my mattress from stains?

Using a mattress protector can help prevent stains from spills and accidents. It acts as a barrier, keeping your mattress fresh and clean.

What if my mattress has a warranty?

Always check the warranty guidelines before cleaning your mattress. Some warranties may be voided if you don’t follow specific cleaning instructions.

Can I try out different mattress types before purchasing?

Yes, many mattress stores and online retailers offer trial periods, allowing you to test different types of mattresses to find the best fit for you.


A clean mattress is vital for a good night’s sleep and overall health. Regularly cleaning and maintaining your mattress will extend its lifespan and create a more hygienic and comfortable sleeping environment. With the step-by-step guide provided in this article, you can now confidently tackle any mattress-cleaning task. So, roll up your sleeves, show your mattress some love, and enjoy a fresh, clean, and rejuvenating sleep experience!


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