How To Clean A Mattress

lauren hall 1
written by sleep expert Lauren Hall

How To Clean A Mattress 101:

In the case of the inevitable happening, it’s always good to know how to clean your mattress, whether that is a general clean every few months or to clean of the mattress stains from the tipsy night before– let me tell you, red wine is not your best friend.

So knowing so hacks of how to clean your mattress may come in handy.

Buying a mattress is a serious investment; we all want it to last as long as possible as no one wants to buy a new mattress every couple of years. Mattresses harbor dust mites, dead skin, dirt; you name it, so it regularly needs cleaning– especially if you suffer from allergies, sleep with pets or just get hot and sweaty as you rest.

But it’s not all doom and gloom.

Cleaning your mattress is surprisingly easier than you may think, with just a few simple steps for regular spot cleaning and a few extra steps for getting rid of stains and other kinds of muck which has built up on your mattress.

No matter what stain has appeared on your mattress, I’m here to help with some pro tips to get rid of it so you can get back to doing what you love comfortably, sleeping… No, I’m just kidding, but these tips will save your ass when you need it.

So stay tuned, my friends, you won’t want to miss this.

clean mattress

How To Spot Clean A Mattress:

So every month or two, you should really clean spot clean your mattress to keep it feeling fresh and to help remove any mattress stains that may have appeared from sweat or other bodily fluids– or even any fluids for that matter.

Spot cleaning is crucial for any mattress cleaning process, whether it’s just a quick touchup or a deep clean.

Step One: Strip Your Bed:

First things first, skip ahead to wash day and strip your sheets, pillowcases, mattress covers the full shebang and pop them in the washing machine on your regular wash with your favorite smelling laundry detergent. Try to wash your sheets at a hotter temperature as this will get rid of dust mites.

If you have a mattress pad, too, then this may well be your best friend; mattress pads are brilliant at protecting your mattress from stains and prolonging the life of the mattress too. Most of them can also be cleaned in the washer, making cleaning your bed super quick and easy.

I would recommend getting yourself a waterproof mattress protector; they really do come in handy– especially if you have a kid or are just clumsy with their wine like me.

Plus, if you have used a mattress protector, the mattress itself will be less likely to be stained, and it will be easier to clean; all you’ll probably need to do is a vacuum, pop some baking soda on and vacuum again.

Step Two: Vacuum:

The next step is to vacuum all the dust, dirt, dead skin cells using an upholstery attachment on your vacuum cleaner. Make sure to pay attention to seams and crevices as this is where dirt, dust, dead skin, and all the grotty stuff will collect.

Using an upholstery attachment is brilliant as you can really get in deep into all the nooks and crannies of your mattress where this dirt builds up.

Step Three: Spot Clean:

Next up is the spot clean (what you’re here for, really). The key tip here is to never soak your mattress or apply water or cleaning solution directly to it, especially with mattresses like memory foam. Memory foam mattresses shouldn’t get wet at all, really.

So use this key principle to remove mattress stains; less is more.

You can use whatever stain remover/mattress cleaner you’d like to use to clean mattress stains, as the stain remover you use will depend on the stain you’re tackling. For biological stains, you might want to reach for an enzyme cleaner.

Biological stains would include sweat, vomit, urine stains, blood stains, and other related body fluid stains.

Spray the cleaner onto a clean white cloth and continue blotting the area with the clean cloth until the stain lifts; use as little product or moisture as possible when cleaning any stain; as I said earlier, less is more! Then apply water to another clean cloth and continue to blot until it lifts.

If you don’t have an enzyme cleaner and don’t have time to run to the store, then you can make your own DIY alternative mixing dish soap and water and applying the foam to the stain. Or you can use hydrogen peroxide and cold water 50/50 solution for tougher stains.

Step Four: Vacuum & Leave To Dry:

If it’s just a regular clean, you can just spot clean the stains and then give your mattress a quick vacuum again and leave to dry. Or, if your mattress needs deodorizing, then you can sprinkle baking soda on your mattress, let the baking soda sit for 20 minutes, and then vacuum again.

Or even better if you have a couple of hours to spare or going away on an overnight trip then you can leave the baking soda on your mattress and then hoover when you get back, your mattress will never feel so fresh!

While baking soda sits on your mattress, it will get rid of any odors by drawing out dirt and moisture, leaving your mattress smelling fresh. Just be sure to let in some fresh air while your mattress is drying or while the baking soda is sitting on the mattress.

Once your mattress is dry, grab your pillows, sheet, mattress cover, and mattress protector (if you don’t have one, then seriously get one, it will be a lifesaver for your mattress) and pop them all back on your bed, you’ll go to bed in a fresh bed– ahh so relaxing!

You’ll feel like you’re sleeping on a brand new mattress


How To Deep Clean A Mattress:

So every now and then, you’re going to want to do more than a just spot clean your mattress; you’ll want to do a proper deep clean to kill dust mites, get rid of any dust and grime. Basically, when your mattress needs a little more than a freshen up.

Step One: Strip & Wash Bedding:

So just like with your spot cleaning, you’ll want to strip the bed of your pillows, sheet, and mattress cover (and mattress protector if you have one). Cleaning your mattress at the same time as you clean your sheets is a brilliant idea.

Again pop the sheets in the washing machine on the hottest setting possible from the recommendation on the manufacturer’s label on your sheets, pillows, mattress cover, etc. This is key to killing dust mites. You can even wash your fabric mattress toppers and extra pillows while you’re there too.

Step Two: Deodorize Your Mattress:

When doing a deep clean, it’s always best to deodorize your mattress first using baking soda. This should help draw out the dirt and the grime from the mattress, making it easier to clean the stains. It will also absorb odors, so if you have a smelly mattress, you should do this first.

Baking soda is a brilliant natural deodorizer over carpet refreshers or fabric sprays as it doesn’t contain any fragrances that could irritate allergies or leave an overpowering smell. Instead, it leaves your mattress smelling fresh.

So sprinkle baking soda onto the mattress and gently rub it into the mattress to help absorb it into the fabric (don’t scrub too hard, though). Then leave it on your mattress for as long as possible, do it in the morning before work, and not vacuum until that evening; the longer, the better.

You can even let it sit overnight on the entire surface.

Step Three: Vacuum The Mattress:

After leaving the baking soda to sit on your mattress for a couple of hours, you’ll want to vacuum it all up. You’ll want to do a deep vacuum as you didn’t vacuum beforehand, so pay attention to vacuuming up all the nooks and crannies of the mattress.

Remember not to push too hard into the mattress as this will reduce the suction, but make sure to use an upholstery cleaner for the edges and seams as a lot of dead skin cells and dust mites will collect there.

For an extra deep clean, you can also use a steam cleaner over your mattress. A steam cleaner will remove dust mites that you may not be able to see. It will also help when removing stains. Steam cleaning is an ideal method to use every couple of months.

Step Four: Remove Mattress Stains:

So the next step is to remove all the mattress stains from your mattress; you might want to go further than just spot cleaning a few bad stains and try to clean the whole mattress (without soaking it, of course). Less is more, so don’t apply detergent or water directly to the mattress.

I will run through how to remove all of the stains that you really need to worry about shortly, plus with some of my favorite homemade stain remover recipes, too, but here are some tips before you get started.

It is key that you follow the stain remove recipe as strictly as you can, measuring out the cleaning liquid and the water; this will prevent discoloration on your mattress– leading to another mattress stain.

Also, never pour anything directly onto your mattress or use a carpet cleaner on it. A mattress is not meant to get wet, and this will cause it to grow mold inside– which is not good for your health. You have to be most careful with memory foam mattresses as they are like a sponge.

Treat all stains of one type, such as biological stains, first before moving on to another kind. For example, tackle all yellowed areas like pee stains before moving onto blood stains or rusty brown areas.

Step Five: Leave To Dry, Then Flip & Repeat:

If you still feel like your mattress needs a little more deodorizing, then you can sprinkle some more baking soda on the surface and leave it for a further hour, keeping the room ventilated. Then once again, vacuum the mattress and leave it to dry.

It is best to let in some fresh air when leaving your mattress to dry as this can help speed up the process, and it will give your mattress a super fresh feel when you climb back into it that night.

Then once it’s dry, you’ll want to flip over the mattress and repeat (it is a deep clean after all). You probably won’t need to do another stain treatment, but definitely deodorize and vacuum, especially if you have allergies or sleep with pets.

As I said earlier, I would also recommend protecting your mattress as prevention is always better than a cure. Protecting your mattress goes so much further than just popping on a fitted sheet. You should really invest in a mattress topper, mattress pad, or mattress protector.

Go for one that’s hypoallergenic and waterproof as this will work wonders to protecting your mattress.

wine spilled

How To Clean A Mattress Stain:

Right, so let’s get into the nitty-gritty details of how to remove a mattress stain; the method of how to clean a stain depends on what the stain is and where it came from. The earlier you clean the stain, the better, so don’t put it off.

Here are the key techniques to remove stubborn stains from your mattress.

How To Clean Pee From Out Of A Mattress:

If you have a child or sleep with a pet one day, you’re bound to have to clean a urine stain from your mattress. Potty training accidents are bound to happen with a little one, so here’s how to get a urine stain out of a mattress, old or fresh, plus the smell too.

Combine three tablespoons of baking soda with 8 ounces of hydrogen peroxide and a tiny amount of liquid dish soap in a bowl. Using a clean rag, dip and strain the rag in the mixture and dab it into the stain– make sure not to drench the mattress.

Then switch to a clean, dry cloth and blot the moisture, turning the rag as you blot until the stain has lifted. Then sprinkle baking soda over the entire mattress, leave for several hours or overnight, and then hoover.

Using baking soda will help get rid of the remaining odor and leave it smelling fresh and new.

How To Clean Blood Off A Mattress:

Blood stains are inevitable; whether it’s an unexpected period or a nose bleed in the night, you’re bound to get a blood stain on your mattress. Knowing how to remove a blood stain from your mattress is a super handy life hack to know.

You can easily remove blood stains from your mattress and other fabrics as long as you haven’t used any treatments which involve heat. Using heat on a blood stain can set them permanently– which is the last thing you want!

So first thing you’ll want to do is make your own DIY blood stain remover.

Combine two ounces of hydrogen peroxide with one tablespoon of liquid dish soap and salt. Spread this formula on the blood stain and leave it to sit for 10 minutes, then scrape it away with a spoon to remove as much of the stain as possible.

Use a clean damp cloth that’s been dipped in hydrogen peroxide to blot any residue, and then leave it to dry for a couple of hours in a ventilated room. If the brown discoloration is still there, then spray lightly with hydrogen peroxide, and it should lift once it’s dry.

If it’s fresh, you can use a damp rag with hydrogen peroxide or rub a bar of soap into the stain and scrub by hand using cold water. You can also apply laundry pre-treater or rub in laundry detergent and wash the stain with warm water and a fabric-safe bleach until the stain has gone.

Just be sure not to soak the mattress and try to remove any excess moisture with a dry rag, and leave the mattress to air dry.

How To Clean Vomit, Wine & Stubborn Stains From A Mattress:

When it comes to knowing how to clean stubborn stains from a mattress like vomit or wine, you’re going to need something a little stronger than the homemade stain cleaners above. It is quite intense but works wonders for removing tough stains.

So first thing you’ll want to do is whisk two tablespoons of powdered white laundry detergent (no blue crystals or oxygenated bleach) with one tablespoon of water to create a dry foam paste. Spread the foam on the area and leave it for 10 minutes.

If the stain is quite big, then you might want to double up the ingredients to cover the entire stain.

After 10 minutes, scrape away the paste and use a damp rag to remove any excess residue. You can then leave it to air dry.

How To Get A Coffee Stain Out Of A Mattress:

Oh no! You spilled your morning coffee on your mattress! Don’t threat; just clean as soon as possible, and your mattress can be saved. Firstly pop a clean towel or cloth on top of the spilled coffee. This should help soak up the coffee and prevent it from sinking into the mattress.

Then dampen a dry cloth with warm water and blot the stain in a circular motion starting from the edges and working your way inwards to prevent the stain from spreading. Remove as much of the stain as possible.

Then dip another clean, dry cloth in vinegar and liquid dish soap or using a spray bottle, spray the cloth and then repeat the previous blotting step. This should help lift the coffee stain, and then you can leave it to air dry.

This should also help if you have an old coffee stain; just keep blotting and repeating.

How To Remove Sweat Stains From A Mattress:

Cleaning sweat stains from your mattress is as easy as knowing how to clean a mattress with baking soda. All you really need is a little baking soda, water, and a vacuum cleaner.

You’ll want to make a paste with the baking soda and cold water and apply it directly to the stain; leave it to sit for at least 30 minutes before blotting it with a damp cloth. Then sprinkle some baking soda over the entire mattress, leave it for a few hours, then vacuum.

Baking soda is a brilliant deodorizer and is brilliant for removing smells, dirt, and grime, making it ideal to use to get your dirty mattress clean easily and quickly. Once you’ve vacuumed the mattress, leave it to air dry, so the remaining moisture evaporates.

baking soda

How To Clean A Memory Foam Mattress:

Since memory foam or any foam mattresses are quite delicate, and if they get wet, then it can create the perfect environment for mold to grow, which is the last thing we want. But don’t worry, I’ve run through my top techniques of how to clean a memory foam mattress in a full article.

But the best and simplest way to clean your memory foam mattress is through daily vacuuming or vacuuming a couple of times a week. It can really reduce dust mites, endotoxins, and fungi growth in a mattress by up to 70-85%!

All you need to do is simply remove the bedding and gently the vacuum cleaner over your memory foam. The upholstery attachment is the best option for this job. Make sure to turn over each side of the foam layers in your mattress and clean it thoroughly.

Key places to focus on when vacuuming your memory foam mattress are:

  • Buttons and crevices underneath them will need thorough vacuuming, maybe with a handheld vacuum, as well as all the nooks and crannies, as this is where all the dust, hair, dirt, and dead skin cells are built up.
  • Don’t just do the top; remember to do the sides. Also, I would recommend every six months to do underneath your mattress by flipping it over.
  • If you have a pet that sheds hair, then I would recommend using an animal hair hoover as this will help pick up all dandruff and hair that may get caught within your mattress.
  • If your memory foam mattress is ventilated with holes, then make sure you spend time on these parts, too, as they will start to collect dust, dead skin cells, and much more.
  • To make things easier, I would recommend getting the hoover out every time you go to wash your sheets. When you get into bed after hoovering your memory foam mattress AND washing your sheets, you will feel as fresh as a daisy when you wake up the next morning.

You can also sprinkle some baking powder onto your mattress and leave it for a few hours and then hoover it up again and do this once every couple of weeks to deodorize the mattress and give you a super fresh feel.

How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs Permanently:

For some of us, bed bugs have become quite a big issue. No one wants to think about bugs in their bed, but without proper mattress hygiene, it happens! All it takes is a few bad bugs to ride in your luggage and come home and jump in your bed.

Step One: Wash Everything!

So the first step is to pop everything in the laundry; bed bugs not only attack your bed but your bedding, blankets, stuffed animals, pillows, curtains, clothes, you name it. Put everything that is machine washable into the wash.

Use a hot temperature too!

Then bag everything else as bed bugs also stick to hard surfaces too; they can hide in your phone, laptop, clock radio, even books. So bag these items and pop Nuvan Strips inside; this should help kill the pesky bugs.

Step Two: Search & Destroy:

Vacuum up as many bed bugs as you can find on your mattress and all over your bed, vacuum every nook and cranny, and go over each spot at least twice. Don’t use vacuum attachments with brushes or bristles, as bed bugs can cling onto them.

Also, make sure to repeat this step on all the furniture, including your bed frame, dresser, drawers, wardrobe, every inch of your room, and look for eggs inside and under all furniture to look for eggs.

Step Three: Scrub, Scrub, And Scrub Some More:

The next step is to scrub every surface of your room, even if it was not affected, even scrub the holes in the wall and scrape the carpet to make sure you’re pulling out every last bed bug.

You should then cover your mattress in an encasement to get rid of any strays that are living within your mattress, so they starve and die. Vacuum the mattress even more before adding the encasement and then leave it.

While DIY skills are brilliant, you might need to call for help to help get the bed bugs under control, such as if they come back after you’ve treated them. Don’t be afraid to call for help; this happens more regularly than you may think.

clean bed 1

Final Thoughts

So there you have everything you need to know about how to clean a dirty mattress. The good news? It is all pretty easy techniques that you can do easily and quickly at home. Just remember, the longer you leave the baking powder, the better.

Regularly washing your bedding and giving your mattress a good clean every couple of months will really prolong the life of your mattress, and it will keep your mattress clean for longer. I would definitely recommend buying a protector for your mattress too!

Your fresh night’s sleep awaits.

Related Post: Best Mattress Of 2021 [Review]