Want to know something positively disgusting? The average person sweats out about 1/2 a pint of perspiration each and every night.
Seeing as how we spend almost 1/3 of our entire life lying horizontally on a mattress – one would think it would stand alone atop of our list of regular cleaning duties..but lets face it, we rarely think about cleaning the mattress.
The problem is, once you strip away all the sheets, you’re left with a mattress that has a cover that you can’t remove – it’s not like there’s a zipper and you can simply unzip the cover and throw it into the washing machine – no, the sad truth is – once we pull all the sheets off, we tend to turn a blind eye to whatever nastiness might live atop the mattress itself.
Mattresses can harbor spills, stains, dirt, dust, dust mites and worse – so, maintaining a clean mattress is important for several reasons, not the least of which is the fact that your partially clothed body is lying on top of it with only a sheet separating you.
Vacuum The Mattress
This is an important step because it removes the dust, dead skin cells and other debris that lands on your mattress and which accumulates, en masse, over time. Consider doing this every time you rotate your mattress; once a season. Now, the important part here is to use a clean upholstery attachment, because remember that your vacuum sucks up all kinds of nasties and you don’t want to be depositing those on your mattress. We have a post and video on how to clean your cleaning tools, which teaches you how to do this. Remember to vacuum the mattress as well as the foundation, if you can manage it.
Deodorizing A Mattress
You can fancify your mattress vacuuming by adding another step, and that is deodorizing. I guess with all that sweat, dust and other fun stuff your mattress handles, it can start to develop it’s own unique aroma. To combat this, simply sift baking soda over your mattress, leave for thirty minutes and then vacuum up with that upholstery attachment. Baking soda is a natural deodorizer so it will definitely help neutralize any odours. Note however, that it won’t really clean any stains in this ‘dry’ cleaning method. If you like essential oils, add five drops to the baking soda pre-sift and you’ll get to enjoy that lovely scent for a few nights thereafter.
Spot Cleaning And Stain Removal
Stains come in 3 varieties (protein, tannin and grease), but only one usually ends up on your mattress – and that would be a protein stain – and the reason we’re only going to cover protein stains here is because blood, sweat, vomit, urine and other bodily liquids are what we usually have to contend with on a mattress.
As with any stain, it’s best to tend to it as soon as possible to avoid the stain setting in. Liquid stains need to be blotted up first with a cool, wet cloth and then excess moisture blotted up with a dry cloth. Remember to use a a pressing motion, rather than a circular motion to lift the stain to avoid further rubbing the stain in. Also remember that heat sets protein stains so only use cold water when handling these.
Fresh protein stains can usually be removed with a mixture of salt, baking soda and water. Create a paste, rub it on the area and brush off 30 minutes later. Then, use some cool water on a damp cloth to remove the excess and allow to dry. If that doesn’t work, upgrade your solution and try my favourite homemade stain remover, consisting of 2 parts hydrogen peroxide to one part dish soap. Gently apply the stain remover to the area, gently brush in with a cleaning toothbrush and wipe up five minutes later with a cool, damp cloth. This should also help with any unsightly discolouration.
Some people love using enzyme cleaners to remove protein stains, and you are welcome to try this, they are highly effective.
Just remember to use as little liquid as possible and to ensure your mattress is completely dried before using it again to avoid growing your very own mold spores. Placing fans in the room can speed up the process.
A Note About Steam Cleaning & Deep Cleaning
Some folks swear by deep cleaning or steam cleaning their mattresses. Now, what I know is that mattresses don’t do well with moisture so I don’t use these methods, although I have access to both a deep cleaner and a steam cleaner. I also know that there are professional service providers who do this and those with allergies or very difficult mattress stains can consider using a professional rather than hacking it on their own. These folks are trained and have access to great extraction equipment. I’d trust them over me, particularly when it comes to my most beloved and crucial sleeping tool.
Here Are A Few Other Helpful Mattress Cleaning Pointers
Turn and/or flip your mattress so it will wear evenly, do this at the turn of every season and rotate clockwise. My husband and I have about 100 lbs difference between us, so rotating the mattress means we prolong the life of the mattress and even out the wear. It takes a grand total of 45 seconds to do.
No water on your mattress – mattresses really don’t like water, and memory foam mattresses can’t actually handle liquids at all. With memory foam or Tempurpedic mattresses, liquid gets trapped in the cellular structure and has nowhere to go. On that note, never, ever get your memory foam mattress wet. If you need to spot clean, be super stingy with the liquid and blot like a mad man or woman.
Use fans to dry the mattress so if that mattress gets wet, use fans to assist in dry time and if you have access to a wet dry vac, use that to help extract moisture. Don’t think about sleeping on mattresses until they are completely dry.
We’ve been asked about how to deal with bedbugs. This is a serious issue and should not be a DIY project. Act fast and call a professional. Have them treat your mattress, room and any other affected areas of the house immediately. If you get – them you want them gone, and these guys know how to do it.
Now you may recall at the beginning of this video that I mentioned something about a tip which would save your mattress from spills and stains and the like – well, its not really a huge secret but a mattress protector is one of the best investments for your mattress – there are a few different types, which I have linked below if you are interested in learning more.
But trust me on this one, it’s much easier to take off a mattress protector and throw it in the washing machine then to fiddle around on your mattress trying to remove tough stains or spills.
Also it’s important to note that many mattress manufacturers strongly recommend using a mattress protector – because stains on your mattress will void your warranty. If you gagged at the thought of a gross mattress, you should also check out our pillow cleaning post and video.
So now you can rest easy knowing that your mattress is clean and cared for – just be careful with it and you’ll discover it’s not nearly as daunting as you may have thought.
How do you clean your mattress?