Mattresses are on the receiving end of dead skin cells, sweat, stains, dust mites, and all manner of lovely things. Despite linens and mattress pads, you still need to periodically clean the thing you sleep on every night—at least once every six months if you sleep on it nightly. Follow these steps, and rest easy in the knowledge that your bed isn't crawling with ick.
1. Vacuum the mattress
After removing your sheets and mattress cover, the first thing to do is take a quick pass with a vacuum cleaner across the top and sides of your mattress. You'll get rid of those cracker crumbs from late night munching sessions, along with any other dirt, pet hair, and dust that's accumulated over time.
2. Spot clean to remove sweat and other stains
- Treat stains with a combination of hydrogen peroxide, liquid dish soap, and baking soda. Mix them into a spray bottle and treat the stained area. Blot and/or rub with a clean rag.
- Use non-toxic, natural enzyme cleaners, like Simple Solution, that chemically break down stains and odors.
- Make a paste of lemon juice and salt. Apply the mixture to the stain, and let it stand for 30–60 minutes. Wipe off salt with a clean towel.
3. Deodorize with baking soda
Sprinkle a light layer of baking soda over the entire surface and let it sit for a long time — at least a couple of hours. It will absorb any excess liquid from the stain removal process, and leave your mattress smelling fresh and clean. Vacuum off the baking soda, making sure to get into any crevices to remove the powder.
4. Air your mattress outside
Perhaps the best thing for your mattress is fresh air and UV sunlight. Not everyone will be able to haul their mattress down the stairs and into the backyard (hi city folk!) but if you can, it's a great way to naturally eliminate bacteria. Plus you'll get extra household Brownie points for cleanliness.
5. Cover & protect it
If you don't have a mattress cover, now is a good time to pick one up. They are an important line of defense against future dirt and stains, and can be thrown into the washing machine on a regular basis.
How to Clean a Memory Foam Mattress
You can use our technique here (vacuum, spot treat, deodorize) to clean memory foam mattresses just fine, but you want to avoid using hard products that could damage your memory foam mattress' material. Instead of anything with bleach or ammonia, try spot-treating with a simple solution of half dish soap and half water, or a spray bottle filled with diluted white vinegar. Your memory foam mattress might take a while to dry out; you can speed the process up with lots of sun or a warm hair dryer.
More on caring for your mattress:
Edited from a post published 9.9.2014 — TW