Tips + Tricks: How To Spot Clean Mattresses & Bedding

updated Nov 19, 2019
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(Image credit: Alyssa Remington)

For all the excitement and messes and life that happens in them, our beds are notoriously difficult to clean. Here are some pro tips for effectively cleaning up spills and stains without having to hose the whole thing down in the yard…



  • To remove lotion/oil/moisturizer stains from sheets, Ask A Clean Person recommends focusing on the stains with Shout, or throwing a cup of ammonia in the washing machine when you launder all of your linens.
  • You could also treat such spots with oxygenated bleach, according to Martha Stewart — as long as your sheets are pale or white.
  • To spot-clean a bulky comforter, Martha Stewart prescribes a bit of Dawn detergent.
  • If somehow you manage to spill red wine on your down comforter, SF Gate has the solution: a generous sprinkling of salt. Fun fact: I saw this trick used on the one and only episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm that I ever saw.
  • For priceless heirloom quilts, Good Housekeeping’s Heloise is staunchly in favor of spot-cleaning over full-on washing. She advises a trip to your local fabric store to find the appropriate soap.
  • Similarly, foam pillows should only ever be spot-washed, according to Good Housekeeping. Wipe them with a gentle solution — perhaps some Dawn, as recommended above by Martha.
  • If dramatic circumstances lead to blood stains all over your wool blanket, Pendleton Mills recommends having your dry cleaner use a “digester” on the spots.