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How to clean your mattress—and why you really should

How to clean your mattress—and why you really should
Posted at 9:00 AM, Feb 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-17 07:13:20-05

You already know you need to wash your sheets regularly, but you might not have realized that you also need to wash your mattress. Dead skin, dirt, dust, sweat and more can gather beneath your bedding, making it a lot less sanitary than you may have previously thought.

While you can toss sheets, duvet covers and blankets into the wash fairly easily, no matter how hard you try, you can’t cram a mattress into a washing machine. Transporting it to a professional dry cleaner isn’t likely either. So how do you clean the buildup that’s buried inside your mattress?

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Vacuum Your Mattress

Start by stripping your mattress of all its bedding. Use the handheld attachment on your vacuum and use it go over the surface of the mattress. Some vacuum cleaners even have a special high-frequency vibration that can shake up internal dust and debris, allowing it to be sucked up more easily.

Be Sure to Treat Stains

Next, spot treat any stains using a mattress cleaner. Just be sure not to soak the mattress, especially if yours is made with memory foam, which need to stay dry. The best mattress cleaner will treat sweat, blood and urine stains while eliminating odors.

Different types of stains may require different types of cleaners. For example, for biological stains you can use an enzyme cleaner. For dirt or grass stains, try creating a solution with 1 teaspoon of mild dish detergent and 1 cup of warm water. Regardless of the kind of cleaner you’re using, spray it on a clean rag first and then rub the area in question. Then you can use a second rag that’s been treated with water to help you complete the job.

If you prefer to pick a mattress cleaner up from the store, bear in mind that the best mattress cleaners won’t contain toxic ingredients and will be safe to use around children and pets. If you’re in the market for a new bottle, check out our selection of the best mattress cleaners that have been vetted by a team of experts.

After you’ve applied your mattress cleaner, sprinkle baking soda over the treated spots, and let it sit for several hours. If no one needs to use it that night, let it sit overnight. The powder will absorb any remaining moisture or odor. The longer you leave it on, the better it will work. When you’re ready, vacuum up the baking soda. (Take this time to clean around your bed too. Use your vacuum attachment to clean your headboard and underneath the bed.)

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Nix the Dust

Allergies sufferers do themselves a disservice by sleeping on a dusty mattress and can usually benefit from giving them a deep clean. If possible, open a window so that your mattress can receive fresh air and sunshine that will help eliminate bacteria, mold and odors.

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Protect Your Mattress

Experts recommend cleaning mattresses two times per year. To keep your mattress in tip-top shape, consider purchasing a mattress protector, which can shield dust and dirt from entering the fabric. It can also ward off spills from drinks or food. Pillow protectors work in a similar way, keeping the inside cleaner throughout the year. Just be sure to wash those items too.

Also, don’t forget to check your manufacturer’s tag. Some mattresses are meant to be rotated 180 degrees every few months to help it wear more evenly and others are designed to stay put.

Mattresses are a big investment. Help protect them so they can last for years to come by keeping them clean and fresh.

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