Mattress Cleaning

Mattress Cleaning: A How-To Guide

Mattress cleaning tends to be one of those chores that we put off for as long as possible. Eventually, though, the buildup of dust, dander, and pet odor builds up to the point that a cleaning is necessary. There is also the chance of an accident involving a drink, vomit, urine, or blood occurring that has to be treated right away. If you have never cleaned a mattress before, you may be worried about having to purchase or rent expensive equipment. Fortunately, we are going to take a look at a few different mattress cleaning techniques that you can do with everyday household tools.

General Maintenance

General maintenance includes the basic things you should do between “proper” mattress cleaning sessions. This includes vacuuming the mattress every month or two to get rid of any fresh dust or dander. It is recommended that a mattress be flipped every three months, which is the optimum time to do a proper clean, but we will get to that later. A great form of maintenance would be to invest in a waterproof mattress protector. This can be purchased from many local shops such as Wal-Mart or Target for a relatively cheap price. Bear in mind that this is truly an investment and can add years to the life of your mattress as far as cleanliness goes. It might also be wise to use an upholstery-safe odor neutralizing spray such as Febreze.

Get Rid of Dirt and Bacteria

Dust can be a real concern for some of us who are particularly sensitive to it, however there other things that a mattress can hoard which are much more worrisome. Take for instance the fact that many people sweat while they sleep. This sweat can moisten the mattress and make a perfect breeding ground for airborne bacteria. It is very important to treat your mattress in a way that will kill and remove a majority of the bacteria, dust mites, and other substances. This can be done using four things: 1) a vacuum cleaner, 2) bicarbonate of soda, 3) a fine-toothed sieve, such as what you might use with powdered sugar or flour, and 4) an upholstery-safe disinfectant spray.

Start by pouring a bit of bicarbonate of soda into the sieve and gently shake it over the mattress. Aim for a good dusting all over the mattress and hit particularly odorous areas with an extra bit of powder. After the entire mattress has been treated, it’s time to play the waiting game. Allow a minimum of five hours for the bicarbonate to work into the mattress. It is better if you can leave it all day, though, particularly if the mattress smells quite bad. Use the vacuum to suck up the powder as well as the particles it will have lifted from the mattress fibers. Take your time when you vacuum to ensure that you get up all of the bicarbonate as you don’t want to find yourself in a cloud of powder the first time you plop down on the bed! For an extra burst of clean scent and to kill off any remaining organisms, finish off with a light spraying of Lysol or a similar product that is safe for upholstery. Do not dampen the mattress, but make sure you have a few hours before bed time to allow the moisture to evaporate.

Removing Stains

Mattresses will incur stains, plain and simple! Whether it’s sweat, animal or human urine, or blood, your mattress should be cleaned as soon as possible to lift the stain and prevent any raunchy odors from developing. You can easily purchase an upholstery shampoo and treat your mattress according to the directions on the bottle, but that isn’t your only option. For a fresh stain, blot out as much of the moisture as possible using a light-colored towel (this will let you know you are actually picking up the liquid). If you have a spray-on stain remover for clothing, such as Oxy Clean, you can apply this to the area. Allow it to sit for about 30 minutes but do not allow the product to dry on the mattress. After the stain solution has had enough time to sit, take a damp sponge and blot—don’t rub!—at the area. Fully rinse the sponge with cool water and blot again until you feel the majority of the chemicals have been removed. Allow the mattress to air dry.