How to Clean a Mattress


One of the more expensive things we buy in our lives is a mattress, and because of that. we tend to keep them despite them becoming stained and smelly.

Mattresses can hold a lot of gross things – which we won’t be getting into here – but there is a solution beyond going out and paying hundreds (if not thousands) for a new mattress every time yours gets a stain on it.

how to clean a soiled mattress

Cleaning one may seem daunting, but it is actually quite simple.

By following some easy steps, you’ll have a stain-free and odor-free mattress in no time.

Step 1: Remove All Your Linens From the Bed and Clean Them

This may seem obvious, but time can get away from us and we forget the last time we washed our sheets. You don’t want to clean your mattress only to have the actual problem be old sheets.

Also, if you have a mattress pad or cover, take that off too and wash it. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions just in case there are specifications for the temperature they need to be washed or dried at.

You buy these items to preserve your mattress and keep the stains to a minimum, but you don’t want to ruin them in the wash. (Remember that favorite sweater you shrunk? Don’t send your mattress pad to the same fate.)

Step 2: Vacuum

A pretty easy step, but an important one. No point in cleaning your mattress with cookie crumbs or lint on it. You wouldn’t wash your carpet before vacuuming it; the same principle works here too.

If your vacuum has one, use the upholstery tool, but switch over to the crevice tool to get into the seams where dust and dirt are more likely to fall and hide.

If you’re in a pinch, run a wet rag over the bottom of your vacuum to remove any dust, and then vacuum the bed like you would the floor.

Step 3: Spot Clean

Find your favorite spot cleaner and treat any visible stains on your mattress. An upholstery cleaner or an enzyme-based pet-odor remover are your best bets for getting out those tough stains.

Spray each stain, let it sit for a couple of minutes, and then scrub it into the material with a fresh towel or washcloth until the stain is gone.

how to clean a mattress

If you want a more DIY solution to clean with, you can use 1 teaspoon of a mild detergent mixed into 1 cup of warm water.

For more specific stains, here are a few solutions that should help you out:

Cleaning Dried Blood Off a Mattress

Blood stains can be treated by making a paste of 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide mixed with 1 tablespoon each of liquid dish soap and table salt.

Lightly spread this on the stain and allow it to sit until it’s dry, and then scrape off the residue.

Dab at any of the stain that remains with a cloth that is wet with hydrogen peroxide and rotate the cloth as the stain lifts off so you are not just re-staining your mattress.

How To Clean Urine From a Mattress

These stains can be tough, but there is a solution.

Dissolve 3 tablespoons of baking soda in 8 ounces of hydrogen peroxide, and then add a drop or two of liquid dish soap.

Dab the solution onto the spot but do not drench the mattress. If the stain persists, wait until the area is dry and then mix together 3 tablespoons of dry laundry detergent powder (not OxiClean) and 1 tablespoon of water until it becomes a dry foam.

Lightly spread this on the stain and let it sit for 30 minutes. Scrape away the dried paste and use a cloth dipped in hydrogen peroxide to remove any leftover paste. Vacuum the area and you should be all set!

Step 4: Break Out a New Box of Baking Soda

Do not use the box in your refrigerator! We are trying to make your mattress smell nice, not like the garlic chicken you had last week.

Sprinkle the top of your mattress with fresh baking soda. If this is the first time you are cleaning your mattress (and especially if it’s been years), do not be afraid to use the whole box of baking soda.

Next, use a toothbrush or some form of brush to work the baking soda into the mattress. The smells are not just coming from the top of the mattress, and scrubbing in the baking soda will help eliminate those deep, ingrained odors.

It is best to leave the baking soda on for 24 hours, but if you have no other place to sleep, keep it on for as long as you can. Try for at least 30 minutes.

how to clean a mattress

Step 5: Vacuum Again!

Vacuum all the leftover baking soda on the surface of your mattress using your upholstery tool again.

While it’s great to deodorize your mattress, you don’t want to leave it there for you to sleep on later.

Step 6: Repeat Steps 2-5

Now it’s time for the other side of the mattress. If you need help turning your mattress over, please ask for it. No one needs to hurt themselves cleaning. Once you have your mattress flipped, repeat the process.

Step 7: Take Your Mattress Outside (Optional)

This step is optional purely based on the fact that if you live in an apartment or your bedroom is on the second floor with no balcony, we don’t want you dragging your mattress down a flight (or more) of stairs.

Putting your mattress outside will help air it out and get rid of any strong odors. It’s the same concept as hanging your laundry outside.

It will give your mattress a fresh scent, depending on how much stain remover you needed to use.

The video below goes into more details on cleaning your mattress.

Extra Options

Professional mattress cleaning is also an option, but can cost up to $200 for a king-size mattress and you are not always aware of the chemicals or cleaners that they are using.

If you didn’t have one before, get yourself a mattress pad and/or a mattress cover, and this process will have to be done less often.

See, now wasn’t that easy! It is a fairly simple process if you have all the necessary tools and know what to do.

No more sleeping on a stained, smelly mattress.

Do you have your own tips on how to clean a mattress?



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