How Clean A Mattress

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How to clean a mattress

Don’t let your bed become a haven for dust and bacteria. Find out how to keep your mattress looking and smelling clean with our expert guide.

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Our Test Labs compare features and prices on a range of products. Try Which? to unlock our reviews. You’ll instantly be able to compare our test scores, so you can make sure you don’t get stuck with a Don’t Buy.

Cleaning your mattress probably isn’t that high up on your list of chores. But there are many reasons why you should spend a few minutes every few months making it cleaner. For one, the average person spends roughly a third of their life in bed, so it pays to keep it as hygienic as possible.

After all, your mattress may well be among the most expensive and long-lasting items in your home, so it makes sense to look after it.

Whether there’s a particular stain or smell you want to remove, or you just want to give your mattress a regular refresh, our expert tips below will help you keep it in top condition.

Or, if yours is already past its best, head to ourBest Buy mattressesto find your next one.

In this article:

Why you need to clean a mattress

No matter how often you change your bed linen, you still need to go the extra mile every so often and give your mattress a thorough clean.

While you may think that your mattress isn’t dirty, especially if you normally shower before going to bed and if the mattress is stain-free, that’s unlikely to be the case. According to The Sleep Council, the average adult loses 285ml of fluid each night. We also shed around 454g of dead skin over the course of a year, much of which ends up nestled in your bed.

That’s not all. The average bed contains 10,000 dust mites, produce more than two million droppings, which can aggravate allergies. It’s no wonder The Sleep Council say that a dirty mattress can contain worrying levels of staphylococcus, enterococcus, norovirus and even MRSA.

How often should you clean a mattress?

There’s no hard and fast rule for how often a mattress needs to be cleaned. It all depends on the mattress and the person sleeping on it.

If you suffer from allergies, you should clean your mattress whenever the tell-tale symptoms of a runny nose, an itchy throat and dry eyes start to worsen.

It also depends on how breathable the mattress is. Every mattress we review is tested for how well moisture passes through it, and the more breathable a mattress is, the less likely it is to stockpile sweat. Head to our mattress reviews to buy a breathable mattress.

While there’s no right or wrong answer to the question of how often a mattress needs cleaning, every six months is advisable. If you’re in the habit of flipping or rotating your mattress every three to six months (as you should be), its worth taking a little extra time to clean your mattress while you do it.

How to clean a mattress

If your mattress is stain-free, cleaning it should be a quick process. Simply follow the six steps below:

  1. Strip the bed and wash your bed linen. Follow the instructions on the labels and remember that stains on your sheets are more likely to be removed with a Best Buy washing machine.
  2. Check for new stains on the mattress. If you find any, scroll down for tips on how to tackle them.
  3. Gently vacuum the surface of the mattress. For this, you should use the upholstery attachment on your vacuum cleaner, making sure the attachment is clean before you begin. Once you’ve given the mattress the once over, go back and focus on any nooks and crannies in the surface to make sure you pick up every last bit of dust and dead skin. It’s a good idea to vacuum under the bed to remove dust at the same time, especially if you suffer from allergies.
  4. Rotate your mattress from head to toe if it’s one-sided, or flip it if it’s two-sided. If it’s the latter, make sure you vacuum both sides of the mattress.
  5. Air your mattress for a few hours to let the fabric breathe. Unless you need to get rid of an unpleasant smell (see below), opening the bedroom window to let fresh air circulate around the room and pass through the fabric in your mattress should be sufficient.
  6. Remake the bed. We recommend using a mattress protector beneath your sheet to protect your mattress from dust and sweat, as this means you won’t have to clean the mattress so often.

How to remove mattress stains

Scrubbing stains out of a mattress is no one’s idea of fun, but it’s essential if you want to keep your mattresses clean and odour free for years to come. Before you get going, there are three golden rules to follow:

  1. Try to attack stains as soon as possible after they occur.
  2. Check the mattress label before you apply any cleaning products.
  3. Test any cleaning solution on a small part of the stain first to ensure it won’t damage the mattress.

Read on for advice on how to target specific stains, or scroll down to find out how to get rid of unpleasant mattress smells.

How to get blood stains out of a mattress

To get blood stains out of your mattress, first dab at the stain with a little cold water. Be careful not to soak the mattress and don’t rub the stain as this could spread the blood further.

You may find this technique to be surprisingly effective, especially if the stain is recent, but if not, try adding a little baking soda to the water. Apply to the stain, leave it for 30 minutes, and then dab with clean water and leave to dry.

If the stain is still there after the mattress has dried, try following the steps below for removing urine.

How to get urine out of a mattress

To remove bodily fluids such as urine from your mattress, try diluting washing-up liquid in water and then gently dabbing at the stain with a cloth or sponge. Remember that mattresses aren’t waterproof, so it’s best to clean slowly and steadily. If the stain still isn’t lifting, use an upholstery cleaner, but always read the label. We recommend erring on the side of caution, so it’s safest to dilute it and avoid spraying it directly onto the mattress.

Removing other mattress stains

For food and drink stains, such as tea and coffee, your best bet is to try the baking soda and cold water mix mentioned above. For bodily fluids and sweat stains, try using diluted washing-up liquid. If in any doubt, though, contact the manufacturer to find out if they have any specific advice.

How to stop your mattress from smelling

Regardless of how comfortable your mattress is, you’re unlikely to get a good night’s sleep if you’re unable to escape an unpleasant smell when you put your head down.

There are two reasons your mattress might smell. The first is because it’s new. It’s not uncommon for mattresses made with synthetic materials such as memory foam to have a strong chemical smell when you first unpack them. But even if your mattress isn’t synthetic, you may find that it smells a bit when new as a result of the flame-retardant chemicals that manufacturers are required to apply by law.

The smell should disperse gradually, but you can speed up the process by leaving it near an open window to air. Or, if the smell is especially strong, you can try air the mattress outside if you have a patio and the weather is good.

The second reason a mattress might smell is if something has soaked into the material. Bodily fluids are obvious examples, but drinks such as tea and coffee can easily be spilt if you’re enjoying breakfast in bed. Even spilt water can give the mattress a musty smell if the fabric hasn’t been properly dried out.

After you have removed any stains (see above), air the mattress for as long as possible to allow the smell to fade. If the smell is especially strong or unpleasant, though, you will need to resort to stronger measures. Sprinkle baking soda over the entire mattress surface and leave it for as long as possible – ideally overnight. Next, vacuum up the baking soda and leave the mattress to air by an open window – you should find that the smell has gone.

Cleaning memory foam mattresses

Memory foam mattresses often come with a removable mattress cover that’s machine washable. This can make cleaning a lot easier, but there are a couple of things to be aware of.

Always check the manufacturer’s instructions and the details of your mattress warranty before cleaning. Some mattresses have removable covers but the manufacturer actually advises against taking the cover off and washing it, while others allow this but say to avoid cleaning the foam after the cover has been removed.

If you are putting your cover in the washing machine, follow the washing instructions carefully to be sure you don’t inadvertently invalidate your warranty or shrink the cover so much that it then doesn’t fit back over the mattress.

If you’re tempted by memory foam, take a look at our top memory foam mattresses.

Is it time you bought a new bed?

There are a few things you can do to maximise the lifespan of your mattress. Cleaning it regularly is certainly one of them, but flipping or rotating your mattress according to the manufacturer’s instructions, using a mattress protector and not sitting on the edge of your bed will help, too. A good mattress topper can also give an ailing mattress a new lease of life.

Even so, mattresses don’t last for ever. When you’re sleeping on it every night, it’s all too easy to convince yourself that your mattress is as good as it was when new. But just because a mattress is comfortable doesn’t guarantee that it’s providing good support for your back.

We’ve tested mattresses that will remain supportive without sagging or softening for up to 10 years. But if you’ve had you mattress longer than that, you may want to consider buying a new one.

Take a look at our Best Buy mattresses if you’re due an upgrade.

How To Clean A Mattress and Get Rid of Stains

Knowinghow to clean a mattresscan help you sleep better at night. This guide explains how to clean your mattress and get rid of stains, odors, and allergens. It also covers how to protect your mattress, so it stays clean and fresh.

Why You Should Clean Your Mattress

Dead Skin Cells and Dust Mites

Of the estimated 1.6trillionskin cells on our bodies, roughly 30,000 to 40,000 of them fall off every hour. Multiply that by the eight hours we’re supposed to get, and we’re shedding around a quarter-million dead skin cells in our sleep.

Sure, your sheets catch most of the skin cells. What they don’t protect your mattress from are the dust mites that feed on those dead skin cells. And, there arehundreds of thousandsof those dust mites in your bed.

Or, Glen Needham, a retired professor of entomology at Ohio State University, says, “Every mattress is a crime scene in terms of how it gets inoculated with mites.”

Moisture, Mold, and Mildew

When we sleep, our bodies lose moisture. Some of that is simply the result of us breathing. Some of it is also sweat.

If you’re a person who “sleeps hot” or who suffers from hot flashes or night sweats, you know how damp your bedding and mattress can get. Combine the two, and our bodies produce over a pound of moisture each night!

While much of that evaporates in the air, plenty soaks into your mattress. There, the dense materials and warm, dark environment provide the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew spores.

Pets, Kids, and Other Messes

If you have young children, the chances are that at least one mattress in your home bears the results of a nighttime accident. Even house-trained pets can leave your mattress damp if they spend much time licking their paws or hop on your bed right after a bath. And, of course, full-grown adults can soil a mattress several ways, too.

So, you can put up with a stained mattress that stinks of sweat and body oils, or you can set aside an afternoon to deep clean your mattress and get it looking — and smelling — new again.

How to Clean Your Mattress

You need to strip the bed before you begin cleaning your mattress, so this is a good time to launder your bed linens, too.

  • Using the hottest setting allowed on the manufacturer’s label will kill dust mites on your sheets and blankets.
  • Go ahead and wash your pillows and fabric mattress toppers.
  • You can even wash an electric blanket if you use one.

While the washer and dryer are doing their thing, follow the steps below to clean your mattress.

1. Vacuum the Top and Sides

Your vacuum cleaner’s upholstery attachment is the best tool for mattress cleaning. Start at the top and work your way down in overlapping, narrow paths.

Vacuum the sides the same way. Don’t worry about the other side of the mattress just yet — we’ll get there in step 5. For now, we’re clearing away dead skin cells, pet hair, and surface dirt to make the next step more effective.

2. Remove Odors with Baking Soda

S prinkle your mattress well with plain baking soda (bicarb for UK readers) andgentlyrub it in, so it bonds with surface moisture. Let it sit for 10 minutes to continue neutralizing odors.

What about adding essential oils?

Several readers have asked about mixing essential oils with the baking powder before sprinkling it on their mattresses. I don’t recommend it for a couple of reasons.

  • Essential oils are stilloils.Rubbing any oil into a fabric is never a good idea — it attracts dirt and can make the bond between the material and soil permanent. That’s pretty much the exactoppositeof what we’re trying to achieve when we clean a mattress.
  • It’s a waste of time.By the time you’ve cleaned the mattress, removed stains, and protected it from future problems, you won’t be able to smell the essential oil. So why bother?

3. Vacuum Again

After giving the baking soda time to bond with surface moisture and odors, it’s time to vacuum it out of the mattress.

Using the upholstery attachment, vacuum the top and sides of the mattress with slow, overlapping strokes. Donotpress too hard — it interferes with your vacuum’s suction and may snag your bed’s fabric.

4. How to Remove Mattress Stains

Mattresses typically acquire three types of stains: blood, urine, and what we’ll call “other bodily fluids.”

While it’s best to treat stains immediately, sometimes sleep is more important. Fortunately, you can still clean stains on your mattress even after they’ve been there a while.

Blood Stains

You can often get fresh blood stains out of mattresses with just a rag, some cold water, and a little soap. For fresh blood stains, it’s important to usecoldwater, since heat causes the proteins in blood to bond with the mattress material.

If cold water and a bit of soap didn’t do the trick, use the dried blood remover for mattresses below.

How to Clean a Mattress (and Why)

Tackling this five-step chore a couple times a year can help keep things fresh in the bedroom

You spend about a third of your life on your mattress. When was the last time you gave it a good, deep clean? The seldom-used living room sofa probably feels the bristle of a vacuum brush more often than your trusty mattress. It’s time to change that. Besides promoting a more pleasant and productive night’s sleep, a clean, cared for mattress can last longer—and it might even help prevent nasty, not to mention costly, pest infestations.

Back when most mattresses could be flipped over, the conventional wisdom was that you should turn it twice a year, and take that opportunity to clean it as well. These days, a lot of mattresses, including the pillow-top variety, can’t be turned because they have a proper top and bottom. But cleaning your mattress two times a year remains a good rule of thumb. (Check the mattress label for instructions since the manufacturer might recommend rotating the mattress head to foot to ensure even wear.)

Shop Mattresses on Amazon

Step 1

Start the cleaning process by stripping the mattress of all sheets and bedding and tossing the items in the wash. To remove tough stains, always use a Consumer Reports top-rated laundry detergent and the hottest water setting on your washing machine; dry on high heat as well to zap any surviving critters.

Step 2

Next, vacuum the entire mattress surface with the upholstery attachment on your vacuum cleaner. Pay attention to seams and crevices, where dirt, dust, dead skin, and other icky stuff collect; switching to your vacuum’s crevice attachment can help get in deep.

Our tests have found that a normal vacuum cleaner provides capable cleaning, but if you’re fastidious, consider investing in the Dyson V6 Mattress Handheld Vacuum, a $250 device designed specifically for the job. In a Consumer Reports at-home mattress test, we cleaned half of a foam Tempur-Pedic mattress with a top-rated canister vacuum and half with the Dyson handheld. The Dyson sucked up 3 grams of material, including dead skin cells that dust mites like to nosh on, compared with the 1 gram that our regular vacuum removed.

Step 3

Once you’re finished vacuuming, check for stains and spot treat them with an appropriate cleaner. An upholstery cleaner or enzyme-based pet-odor remover can do the job on many bodily fluids. You can also try a simple solution of 1 teaspoon mild dish detergent and 1 cup of warm water.

Step 4

Next, deodorize the mattress by sprinkling baking soda over the entire surface. Especially if this is your first cleaning, don’t be afraid to empty an entire 1-pound box onto the mattress. For best results, leave the baking soda there for 24 hours. That means you might need to plan the project around an overnight trip—or be willing to sleep elsewhere in your home. If you can place the mattress near a window, the sunlight will add its sanitizing power.

Step 5

After the baking soda has had a chance to tackle odors, go back over the mattress with your vacuum’s upholstery attachment. If you don’t already own a mattress cover, we recommend buying one. And adding a mattress pad between the cover and bottom sheet will help absorb moisture. Along with the periodic deep cleaning described here, these extra layers of protection will help prevent mites, fleas, and other pests from sharing your bed. That should really help you sleep tight.

How to Clean a Mattress

If you’ve never taken the time to clean your mattress, it can collect enough dead skin cells and dust mites to double its weight in ten years. The thought of sleeping on that kind of build-up is disgusting. Knowing how to clean a mattress properly can help you sleep better at night.

Merely running the vacuum over it now and then isn’t enough to thoroughly clean your mattress. While you are probably aware of the dust mites and other critters that like to call your mattress home, did you know that it may also contain sweat, blood, urine, along with mildew and mold?

Quick Mattress Cleaning Summary

Cleaning a Mattress

Mix one cup of hydrogen peroxide with two tablespoons of baking soda and a few drops of lemon and lavender essential oil in a spray bottle. After spraying the cleaning solution on the mattress, let it sit for one hour. Rub with the surface with a towel and allow the mattress to dry.

Vacuuming the mattress will clean all remaining residues. To disinfect an old mattress use our DIY mattress sanitizer recipe.

Unless you shower before getting into bed every night, your mattress could also be home to oils, dirt, and other trace chemicals. If you follow this simple guide, you’ll know how to properly clean a mattress and can start sleeping better at night. Or, if you are tired of cleaning your mattress of stains and deodorizing it, you can learn about the different organizations where to donate a mattress so that it can be used by someone who needs it.

How to Clean a Mattress

Before you can start to clean your mattress, you need to remove your linens from the bed and launder them. First, wash and dry your mattress pad, then move onto your sheets, before finally washing your bedspread or comforter and duvet.

Verify the hottest water and dryer heat setting for your linens, since heat will kill the dust mites in your bedding and get rid of bed bugs that may have infested your mattress. See our how to get rid of bed bugs post for more details. Egypt’s Alexandria University recently released data from a study(..) that suggests that eucalyptus and clove essential oils will help to eliminate dust mites.

Before you place the sheets back on your freshly cleaned mattress, use the following recipe to wash them.

Mattress Cleaning Solution for Eliminating Dust Mites

  • Hot Water
  • 10 drops clove or eucalyptus essential oils

To eliminate dust mites on your sheets, add the essential oil to your wash. You can also add the two oils to one quart of water and pour into a spray bottle and mist the mattress to get rid of dust mites in the fabric.

Vacuum the Mattress

After removing the linens from your bed, the next step is to vacuum it. Using the upholstery attachment of your vacuum, start at the top of the mattress and work your way down.

Use narrow, overlapping paths. Make sure you also vacuum the sides of your bed in the same manner.

Deodorize the Mattress

While you may not notice your own body odors, over time your sweat can build-up in your mattress, leaving an unmistakable scent. To rid your bed of these unfavorable aromas, you can sprinkle the mattress a DIY mattress deodorizer that uses natural ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry.

Cleaning a memory foam mattress is a little different than dealing with a standard mattress. Powdered cleaners and deodorizers are often the best way for how to clean a memory foam mattress, as excess liquid is bad for the memory foam. Water and other substances that seep into the foam sometimes become trapped and can develop mold and mildew that is difficult to remove.

DIY Mattress Deodorizer Recipe

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil

Fill an empty Mason jar or shaker container with the baking soda. Add the ten drops lavender essential oil to the bottle. Replace the lid on the container and shake well to mix the lavender essential oil and baking soda. If you’re using a Mason jar, puncture holes in the top using a nail and hammer.

To rid your mattress of odors, sprinkle the baking soda on the mattress and with a scrub brush, gently rub the baking soda into the mattress. This will help the baking soda penetrate the top layer of fabric and bond with the moisture and body oils that have soaked into the fabric. Let the deodorizer sit for at least ten minutes. Vacuum the mattress again to pull the moisture and odors out of the material.

How to Clean Mattress Stains

Unfortunately, when it comes to your mattress, stains are inevitable. If the mattress stains are visible, it can void the warranty on your mattress, making it especially important to do what you can to protect your investment.

You can do this by making regular cleaning and stain remove a part of your regular house cleaning routine. How you clean the stain on your mattress will ultimately depend on the kind of stain you have. You’ll need to target each stain with the appropriate cleaning method.

Choose the appropriate recipe for how to remove mattress stains, depending on what kind of stain you have. If you cannot tell what the stain is from, pick one method to see if it works for stain removal. If it doesn’t get rid of the stain you can try another strategy. Sometimes you may need to repeat the process a couple of times if the stain is particularly large or if it has deeply penetrated the mattress.

Dried Blood Stain Remover Recipe for Mattress and Upholstery

  • ¼ cup hydrogen peroxide
  • 1 tablespoon liquid dish soap
  • 1 tablespoon table salt

To remove blood stains from sheets, mix the ingredients to form a thick paste. Spread the cleaning solution lightly over the stain. Allow the paste to dry completely. Once dry, scrape off the residue. With a white rag dipped in hydrogen peroxide, dab at the remaining stain, rotating the cloth as the stain lifts.

Mattress Stain Remover Recipe for Vomit and Sweat

  • Warm water
  • 1 cup 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • 3 tablespoons baking soda
  • Dishwashing liquid

Pour the warm water into a spray bottle and mist the stained area until it is slightly damp. Mix the hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and dish soap and pour in another spray bottle.

Mist the mattress cleaner over the stain. With an old toothbrush or soft scrub brush, gently brush the stain until it is eliminated. Mist the area again with fresh water and blot dry.

Food and Drink Stain Remover Recipe for Mattress

  • ¼ cup laundry detergent
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 2 ½ cups water

Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle. How to get rid of coffee stains also applies to soft drinks and pizza sauce. Lightly spray the stained area and gently agitate with an old toothbrush.

Allow the solution to sit for approximately 15 minutes. With a wet hand towel, blot the area to remove the stain and the solution. Stubborn stains may require additional time and effort.

Rinse the cloth and continue to blot the area until the stain disappears. Remove any excess liquid by blotting the area with a dry towel.

How to Get Urine Out of Mattress

If you have urine stains on your mattress, cleaning them can be tricky because urine is one of the toughest stains to treat, especially once they’ve dried. With this easy to make DIY stain remover, you can get rid of urine stains out of a mattress, both old and new, and get your mattress looking like new again.

Urine Stain Remover Solution for Mattresses

  • ¾ cup hydrogen peroxide
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 2 drops lavender essential oil
  • 2 drops lemon essential

In a glass spray bottle, mix the hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. Add the essential oil and swirl the bottle gently to combine the ingredients. Spray the mixture on the areas you are treating.

Allow sitting, untouched for an hour. Using a clean towel, soak up any excess liquid. Remove the towel and let the area air dry. Run a vacuum over the area to pick up any residue.

How to Disinfect a Mattress

It is crucial to regularly disinfect your mattress to remove the germs and dirt that tend to collect. If you’re still not convinced, consider that you sweat ½ pint of liquid every night, which ultimately ends up in the fibers of your mattress. Getting rid of the dirt and germs can help to alleviate allergies and can prevent the spread of illness. After you’ve vacuumed the mattress, sanitize it with this useful mattress sanitizing solution.

Homemade Mattress Sanitizer Recipe

  • 2 cups vodka or rubbing alcohol
  • 30 drops of tea tree oil
  • 15 drops lemon essential oil
  • 15 drops lavender essential oil
  • 15 drops of eucalyptus essential oil

Add the ingredients to a glass spray bottle and shake well to combine. Spray a light mist of the solution over the mattress and allow the surface to air dry.

Be sure to follow these steps for both sides of your mattress. Since cleaning a mattress is such a challenging task, you should consider using a washable mattress cover to keep the dirt, dust, and grime from settling into your mattress.

A mattress cover will allow you to quickly pop it into the wash if you spill anything on it and make it a part of your regular washing routine.

We hope you enjoyed learning how to clean a mattress and utilize the all-natural recipes included to keep your mattress clean and fresh. If you found the mattress cleaning information in this article useful, please share it with everyone you know.

How to clean a mattress

Don’t let your bed become a haven for dust and bacteria. Find out how to keep your mattress looking and smelling clean with our expert guide.

Put us to the test

Our Test Labs compare features and prices on a range of products. Try Which? to unlock our reviews. You’ll instantly be able to compare our test scores, so you can make sure you don’t get stuck with a Don’t Buy.

Cleaning your mattress probably isn’t that high up on your list of chores. But there are many reasons why you should spend a few minutes every few months making it cleaner. For one, the average person spends roughly a third of their life in bed, so it pays to keep it as hygienic as possible.

After all, your mattress may well be among the most expensive and long-lasting items in your home, so it makes sense to look after it.

Whether there’s a particular stain or smell you want to remove, or you just want to give your mattress a regular refresh, our expert tips below will help you keep it in top condition.

Or, if yours is already past its best, head to ourBest Buy mattressesto find your next one.

In this article:

Why you need to clean a mattress

No matter how often you change your bed linen, you still need to go the extra mile every so often and give your mattress a thorough clean.

While you may think that your mattress isn’t dirty, especially if you normally shower before going to bed and if the mattress is stain-free, that’s unlikely to be the case. According to The Sleep Council, the average adult loses 285ml of fluid each night. We also shed around 454g of dead skin over the course of a year, much of which ends up nestled in your bed.

That’s not all. The average bed contains 10,000 dust mites, produce more than two million droppings, which can aggravate allergies. It’s no wonder The Sleep Council say that a dirty mattress can contain worrying levels of staphylococcus, enterococcus, norovirus and even MRSA.

How often should you clean a mattress?

There’s no hard and fast rule for how often a mattress needs to be cleaned. It all depends on the mattress and the person sleeping on it.

If you suffer from allergies, you should clean your mattress whenever the tell-tale symptoms of a runny nose, an itchy throat and dry eyes start to worsen.

It also depends on how breathable the mattress is. Every mattress we review is tested for how well moisture passes through it, and the more breathable a mattress is, the less likely it is to stockpile sweat. Head to our mattress reviews to buy a breathable mattress.

While there’s no right or wrong answer to the question of how often a mattress needs cleaning, every six months is advisable. If you’re in the habit of flipping or rotating your mattress every three to six months (as you should be), its worth taking a little extra time to clean your mattress while you do it.

How to clean a mattress

If your mattress is stain-free, cleaning it should be a quick process. Simply follow the six steps below:

  1. Strip the bed and wash your bed linen. Follow the instructions on the labels and remember that stains on your sheets are more likely to be removed with a Best Buy washing machine.
  2. Check for new stains on the mattress. If you find any, scroll down for tips on how to tackle them.
  3. Gently vacuum the surface of the mattress. For this, you should use the upholstery attachment on your vacuum cleaner, making sure the attachment is clean before you begin. Once you’ve given the mattress the once over, go back and focus on any nooks and crannies in the surface to make sure you pick up every last bit of dust and dead skin. It’s a good idea to vacuum under the bed to remove dust at the same time, especially if you suffer from allergies.
  4. Rotate your mattress from head to toe if it’s one-sided, or flip it if it’s two-sided. If it’s the latter, make sure you vacuum both sides of the mattress.
  5. Air your mattress for a few hours to let the fabric breathe. Unless you need to get rid of an unpleasant smell (see below), opening the bedroom window to let fresh air circulate around the room and pass through the fabric in your mattress should be sufficient.
  6. Remake the bed. We recommend using a mattress protector beneath your sheet to protect your mattress from dust and sweat, as this means you won’t have to clean the mattress so often.

How to remove mattress stains

Scrubbing stains out of a mattress is no one’s idea of fun, but it’s essential if you want to keep your mattresses clean and odour free for years to come. Before you get going, there are three golden rules to follow:

  1. Try to attack stains as soon as possible after they occur.
  2. Check the mattress label before you apply any cleaning products.
  3. Test any cleaning solution on a small part of the stain first to ensure it won’t damage the mattress.

Read on for advice on how to target specific stains, or scroll down to find out how to get rid of unpleasant mattress smells.

How to get blood stains out of a mattress

To get blood stains out of your mattress, first dab at the stain with a little cold water. Be careful not to soak the mattress and don’t rub the stain as this could spread the blood further.

You may find this technique to be surprisingly effective, especially if the stain is recent, but if not, try adding a little baking soda to the water. Apply to the stain, leave it for 30 minutes, and then dab with clean water and leave to dry.

If the stain is still there after the mattress has dried, try following the steps below for removing urine.

How to get urine out of a mattress

To remove bodily fluids such as urine from your mattress, try diluting washing-up liquid in water and then gently dabbing at the stain with a cloth or sponge. Remember that mattresses aren’t waterproof, so it’s best to clean slowly and steadily. If the stain still isn’t lifting, use an upholstery cleaner, but always read the label. We recommend erring on the side of caution, so it’s safest to dilute it and avoid spraying it directly onto the mattress.

Removing other mattress stains

For food and drink stains, such as tea and coffee, your best bet is to try the baking soda and cold water mix mentioned above. For bodily fluids and sweat stains, try using diluted washing-up liquid. If in any doubt, though, contact the manufacturer to find out if they have any specific advice.

How to stop your mattress from smelling

Regardless of how comfortable your mattress is, you’re unlikely to get a good night’s sleep if you’re unable to escape an unpleasant smell when you put your head down.

There are two reasons your mattress might smell. The first is because it’s new. It’s not uncommon for mattresses made with synthetic materials such as memory foam to have a strong chemical smell when you first unpack them. But even if your mattress isn’t synthetic, you may find that it smells a bit when new as a result of the flame-retardant chemicals that manufacturers are required to apply by law.

The smell should disperse gradually, but you can speed up the process by leaving it near an open window to air. Or, if the smell is especially strong, you can try air the mattress outside if you have a patio and the weather is good.

The second reason a mattress might smell is if something has soaked into the material. Bodily fluids are obvious examples, but drinks such as tea and coffee can easily be spilt if you’re enjoying breakfast in bed. Even spilt water can give the mattress a musty smell if the fabric hasn’t been properly dried out.

After you have removed any stains (see above), air the mattress for as long as possible to allow the smell to fade. If the smell is especially strong or unpleasant, though, you will need to resort to stronger measures. Sprinkle baking soda over the entire mattress surface and leave it for as long as possible – ideally overnight. Next, vacuum up the baking soda and leave the mattress to air by an open window – you should find that the smell has gone.

Cleaning memory foam mattresses

Memory foam mattresses often come with a removable mattress cover that’s machine washable. This can make cleaning a lot easier, but there are a couple of things to be aware of.

Always check the manufacturer’s instructions and the details of your mattress warranty before cleaning. Some mattresses have removable covers but the manufacturer actually advises against taking the cover off and washing it, while others allow this but say to avoid cleaning the foam after the cover has been removed.

If you are putting your cover in the washing machine, follow the washing instructions carefully to be sure you don’t inadvertently invalidate your warranty or shrink the cover so much that it then doesn’t fit back over the mattress.

If you’re tempted by memory foam, take a look at our top memory foam mattresses.

Is it time you bought a new bed?

There are a few things you can do to maximise the lifespan of your mattress. Cleaning it regularly is certainly one of them, but flipping or rotating your mattress according to the manufacturer’s instructions, using a mattress protector and not sitting on the edge of your bed will help, too. A good mattress topper can also give an ailing mattress a new lease of life.

Even so, mattresses don’t last for ever. When you’re sleeping on it every night, it’s all too easy to convince yourself that your mattress is as good as it was when new. But just because a mattress is comfortable doesn’t guarantee that it’s providing good support for your back.

We’ve tested mattresses that will remain supportive without sagging or softening for up to 10 years. But if you’ve had you mattress longer than that, you may want to consider buying a new one.

Take a look at our Best Buy mattresses if you’re due an upgrade.

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