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How to Deodorize a Mattress

How to Deodorize a Mattress

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Like any fabric, the upholstered surface of your mattress soaks in odors over time. Mattresses can be exposed to a variety of unpleasant smells, ranging from relatively innocuous things, such as sweat, to more stubborn smells, such as cigarette smoke or urine. Removing these odors from the mattress doesn’t require any special equipment or toxic chemicals, although you might need a helper to assist with flipping or carrying the mattress. Use common household items to freshen your mattress so that it’s pleasant and safe to sleep on every night.

Set your vacuum on a low suction setting. Vacuum the mattress with the vacuum’s upholstery attachment to remove dirt and dust.

Combine equal amounts of water and distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle. Lightly spray the surface of the mattress. Apply enough of the solution to dampen the upholstery but not to saturate it.

Allow the vinegar to air-dry. Flip the mattress over and spray the other side similarly. Allow it to air-dry.

Cover the mattress in a thin coat of baking soda. Let it sit overnight and soak up the odors. Vacuum the baking soda off the mattress in the morning.

Flip the mattress and cover the other side with baking soda. Let it sit overnight. Vacuum it off in the morning.

Spread a large, clean tarp outside in the sun. Lay the mattress on the tarp for the day, letting it absorb the direct sunlight. Bring the mattress indoors overnight, then expose the other side to the sun the following day.

Things You Will Need

Vacuum with upholstery attachment

Distilled white vinegar

Always use a mattress cover between the mattress and your sheets. This protects the mattress, keeps it clean and sanitary, and prevents it from picking up smells. Vacuum the mattress every six months, whether or not you notice odors.


Don’t use toxic cleansers on your mattress. Each night, you breathe in anything you have sprayed on the mattress, so use only nontoxic, environmentally friendly substances.

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About the Author

Stephanie Mitchell is a professional writer who has authored websites and articles for real estate agents, self-help coaches and casting directors. Mitchell also regularly edits websites, business correspondence, resumes and full-length manuscripts. She graduated from Syracuse University in 2007 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in musical theater.

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.)

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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 Freshen Up a Mattress

Even for folks that are cleaning whizzes and try to dust, vacuum, and do laundry once a week, there is one item of furniture that is regularly forgotten. The mattress. Here are a few tips on how to freshen your mattress.

Over time, mattresses can build up dust, allergens and molds. You will not be able to put a blanket over your mattress and make those go away very easily without a little bit of work.

First, you need to do the laundry often. Sheets, blankets and pillows that sit unwashed for long periods of time can easily contribute to a mattresses wear and tear. Keeping them clean, however, removes some of the dust and allergens and does not allow these contaminants to sink fully into the cloth of your mattress.

Once your bed sheets are being washed, freshening your mattress begins. You will need to get a vacuum. Before you vacuum the mattress, pour a small layer of baking soda on top of your mattress and let it sit for about five to ten minutes. Baking soda has long been a very popular natural odor eater, and here is another case where its cleaning powers can shine. It will also absorb any moisture. Then go ahead, using the vacuum, and vacuum all the powder up from the top and sides of your bed. Make sure you get the edges. Edges are easily forgotten about, but do tend to attract the most dust, so make sure they are cleaned as well.

For those whose mattresses need some extra special treatment, there are a few more steps you can take. You should try mixing together a solution of dishwasher detergent and water; you can spray this solution on top of your mattress. This can help with immediate odor. You will need to give your mattress time to dry after it has been lightly sprayed. Another option is the once a month baking soda trick. You can pour a larger amount of baking soda on your mattress and leave it for one day. After that, vacuum it up. Because of the long time it has been left to sink in, the mattress should now be in tip top shape.

Here are some simple mattress freshening tips you can use.

  1. Keeping your mattress clean is easier than fixing it up once it has been damaged. Try not to spill anything on your mattress. If something does spill, treat and clean it up immediately. You can also use mattress protectors or slip covers underneath your sheets to really protect your mattress from unwanted dust or stains.
  2. Whenever it gets too musty, freshen your mattress up using the baking soda trick described above.
  3. Air your mattress out. Bring it outside on a warm and sunny day. The sunlight will be able to easily dry your mattress out and kill any mold spores that have been living inside of it.

Keep freshening your mattress on a weekly or monthly basis, and it will last a long time for you, and serve you well.

A Bowl Full of Lemons

How to Clean and Freshen a Mattress

Spring cleaning and mattress care go hand in hand in my house. Spring is a great time to clean and freshen up your mattresses, so take a little time to check this chore off your list this spring. If you have never cleaned your mattress or are perplexed on how to go about giving it a good cleaning and freshening up, read on.

Mattress Care and Maintenance:Rotate your mattress every six months to keep the distribution of padding and foam consistent throughout the mattress. If you have a pillow top mattress you can only rotate your mattress 180 degrees. If you have a standard mattress, you can rotate as well as flip the mattress over.

Use a Waterproof Mattress Pad:To cut down on the potential for stains, use a waterproof mattress pad and launder it regularly with your sheets. Look for a mattress pad that is waterproof and inhibits dust and dust mites on and in your mattress. Just this little add-on to your bedding repertoire will keep your mattress cleaner longer and make it much easier to maintain.

Vacuum Your Mattress:Remove dust and dust mites from the surface of the mattress when you rotate your mattress by vacuuming the top of your mattress. Make sure that the nozzle of your vacuum cleaner is clean and slowly vacuum all of the crevices and the surface to eliminate any dust mites and dust. Sounds gross but this is a necessary step in cleaning your mattress. If you use a waterproof, sealed mattress pad this is a quick and easy step.

Freshen Your Mattress:If your mattress needs a little freshening up you can sprinkle about a 1/4 cup of baking soda that has been mixed with 2-3 drops of your favorite essential oils (lavender is a great choice) all over the surface of your mattress. Let this sit for about 30 minutes and vacuum it up with a clean hose attachment or nozzle on your vacuum cleaner.

Stain Removal:If you get a stain on your mattress you can carefully blot it up with a clean, dry towel and then use warm water and a little dish soap or laundry detergent to clean the surface stain. Be careful not to get the foam part of the mattress wet as this will not dry quickly. If your stain is large or stubborn you can use an upholstery cleaning attachment on a carpet cleaner to clean the area. Blot up any extra water with a clean towel and place a fan near the mattress to quickly dry it. If it’s convenient and the weather is nice you can also bring your mattress outside if possible to dry it as well.

Knowing how to clean your mattress and protect it with some easy maintenance is easy and you’ll sleep better too.

For more cleaning tips (I’m spring cleaning on the blog!) and free printables, come visit!

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.

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