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How to Clean a Mattress in a Few Easy Steps

Mattresses are just like any other piece of furniture - they have to be cleaned every once in a while. Given that it is an item that you use daily (rather, nightly), it is probably going to require more cleaning than any other major bedroom appliance. If you want to find out how to clean a mattress, you’ve come to the right place - read on!

We’ll talk about the mattress cleaning intricacies first, and then move on to the actual cleaning process itself. There are a few ways you could do this, and there are a few different types of cleaning out there - don’t worry, we’ll talk all about it!

Finally, there are a few of the most well-known mattress providers that you could take a look at in order to find yourself a mattress that would require as minimal cleaning as possible. Do check them out!

The Different Ways of How to Clean a Mattress

Initially, the mattress cleaning process might seem pretty straightforward. However, once you get into the gist of things, you might notice that there are a lot of “whats” associated with it. So, to eliminate any possible confusion, let’s quickly go through it.

When people ask “how to clean a mattress?”, they are usually referring to the entire bed, not only the mattress itself. Meaning, someone who’s wondering how to get stains out of mattress might actually be looking for advice related to the sheets, the pillows, mattress covers, as well as (of course) the mattress itself.

Also, mattress cleaning can be segmented into a few different categories.

First of all, some people question how to clean a mattress as a short-term task. This “cleaning process” is usually performed every single day - making the bed, throwing freshly-stained sheets into the washing machine, etc.

How to clean a mattress: woman making a bed.

An important note here is that these short-term cleaning processes usually have nothing to do with the mattress itself, and are instead related to everything that goes on it. However, when you get into the topic of cleaning the actual mattress itself, usually you would take care of all of the addons, too.

If you need to know how to clean mattress, the very first thing to keep in mind is that it’s not a weekly process. People usually clean their beds between longer periods of time.

Why?

Well, simply because it’s a longer process, yet when you’re finished, the mattress should stay clean for quite some time (seeing that you don’t accidentally spill a whole entire bottle of coke on it, of course. Yes, I’m talking from personal experience).

In this “How to Clean a Mattress” article, we’ll be concentrating mostly on the mattresses themselves. If you need a deep dive into the topic of changing the pillow covers, well… This tutorial might be lackluster.

The Best Time to Clean a Mattress

Now, the very first thing that you’ll want to do before you put on your gloves and grab that vacuum cleaner is decide on the best time to learn how to clean a mattress (or, rather, actually clean it).

In general, it’s usually pretty obvious - most people look for visual cues. If your bed is decked down in stains and has a sea of breadcrumbs on it, it’s probably a good idea to start thinking about how to clean mattress stains.

Smell is another big one. If you walk into your bedroom and are immediately greeted with some foul odors coming from the bed, that’s a pretty good sign that something should probably be done. That being said, most people don’t really wait until the “smell” phase to figure out how to clean a mattress.

How to clean a mattress: bed sheets.

Finally, even if there are no specific visual or smelly cues to reveal it’s time to clean your bed, you would still do good to clean it every two or three months. Even if you can’t find a single stain on your bed, there are things that are more difficult to notice - sweat, bed bugs, etc. You probably wouldn’t want these things piling up, right?

This is why it’s a really good idea to learn how to clean a mattress as soon as possible, and then apply this knowledge every couple or few months onto your mattress.

Now, with all of that said, we can finally move on to talking about how to clean mattress stains and the whole mattress, in general.

Mattress Cleaning In a Few Easy Steps

While there are a few different ways of how you could approach this topic, we’ll start off from the sheets.

Step 1: Change the Sheets

The very first thing that you’ll want to do is change the sheets. While many people to this day search for ways of how to get stains out of mattress, in actuality, most of the stains are going to reside on your old sheets.

There isn’t really all that much to it - undress your pillows, sheet covers and throw them all together into the laundry bin. Wash on hot water settings - this should be done every 2-3 weeks. That said, it’s also going to depend on the 2 or 3 weeks themselves - did you have the flu or a fever? Did you sleep particularly hot during this time?

If so, the process of sheet changing should be done even more frequently.

Step 2: Vaccum Clean Your Mattress

You would be surprised how many people who are looking at how to clean a mattress never think about this.

Yup, it’s a thing - washing out the stains and airing your bed isn’t going to be enough, most of the time. Before even learning how to clean mattress stains or how to air your mattress, you should fire up your vacuum cleaner and give your bed a few good rounds of that suction action.

How to clean a mattress: vacuuming the mattress.

Now, most vacuum cleaners out there are going to have both special functions and special tops (heads) for mattress cleaning. The tops will allow you to not only get the surface of your bad all nice and vacuumed up, but to also enter the less-accessible parts of the mattress (i.e. the sides, behind the frame, etc.).

One thing to remember when learning how to clean a mattress with a vacuum device, though, is that you should really out in some muscle into the process. A few pushes and pulls on top of the mattress aren’t going to suffice - while it may vacuum the surface of the bed, you won’t get to some of the more deeper-rooted dirt that lies below the surface.

Step 3: Stain Cleaning

Depending on the number of stains on your mattress, this will either be the least-tedious and time-consuming part of the entire mattress cleaning process… Or the most obnoxious one.

Even if there are quite a few stains on your bed, though, it doesn’t have to be all that tedious. If you learn the proper ways of how to get stains out of mattress, you can both quicken and ease this process.

First of all, know that baking soda is going to be one of your best friends throughout this entire process. It’s the very first thing you should try, since using baking soda to clean mattress stains is very quick - all you have to do is pour some of it on the stain, wait for a few moments and then vacuum that spot.

How to clean a mattress: laundry detergent and a brush.

Note, though, that baking soda probably isn't going to, well… Remove all of the stains from your bed. Instead, it’s going to neutralize them - no foul odors, no greasiness. To be honest, whatever you do end up using to clean your mattress, you should always follow up and finish off with baking soda.

All of that being said, after you blot up the stains from any and all liquid, you could use any of the many laundry detergents out there. Most of them are going to do the job pretty well, but I don’t advise aiming for the cheaper options - it’s better to invest a little bit of money, but have a completely clean mattress at the end of the day.

Step 4: Airing Your Mattress

Now, you should note that when it comes to the process of how to clean a mattress, this step is almost completely optional. This is especially so true since not everyone is going to be able to drag their bed outside.

Leaving a mattress in the sun for a few hours is one of the better and more simple alternatives of how you can keep your bed fresh and odor-free. Note that this should only be done after you’ve thoroughly cleaned it - vacuuming, odor and stain removal and all of the other mattress cleaning processes come first.

As I’ve mentioned above, I do acknowledge that not everyone (actually, perhaps even the minority of people reading this article) is going to have the means of getting their bed outside. You’d need a private back yard (preferably), be able to get the bed outside and then back in, and so on.

Also, given that most people live in flats, well… This might result in a lot of effort with little return.

If you do manage to drag your mattress outside, however, and leave it there for a few hours, I would advise vacuuming it lightly once you take it back in. No need to overdo it, but a quick rundown will remove any and all particles that might have set on the bed while it was outside.

Clean… Or Buy a New One?

While cleaning your mattress will solve all of the odor and stain problems most of the time, there’s going to be a point where learning how to clean a mattress just isn’t going to cut it anymore. There are a few telltale signs that might hint to you that this is the case.

First of all, the obvious - if your mattress is starting to crumble and fall into pieces, that’s likely a sign that learning how to clean a mattress isn’t going to help all that much. Honestly, though, most people wouldn’t probably wait until that point to figure this out.

How to clean a mattress: laundry detergent.

If your bed is becoming mossy, and you just can’t get rid of that huge fizzy drink stain that has eaten its way through the top of the mattress, chances are that you’re better off with a new bed, too.

Also, bed bugs and dust mites. This is a problem that’s common with almost all mattresses out there, and it’s one of the main reasons why people learn how to clean a mattress. That being said, if you see that this problem is getting out of hand real fast, you should also start thinking about an alternative option to cleaning - that being a new bed.

Now, if you’re in a situation where you’re trying to decide whether or not it’s worth trying to resuscitate your old bed for a month or two, or if you’re better off with a new product, altogether, you should definitely check out our list of the best mattresses of the current year.

Conclusions

Learning how to clean a mattress can get rather tedious, but once you get into the beat of things, the process is actually pretty straightforward. That being said, you should always follow the instructions, and figure out what’s best for your specific bed.

Needless to say, different mattresses are going to require different cleaning procedures. A spring-and-coil bed is going to be much easier to clean than a latex one, for example - that’s just the way it is. Even so, however, after doing it a few times, you’ll be able to learn what your specific mattress needs, and what are the best ways of taking care of it.

How to clean a mattress: water-vacuuming the mattress.

That being said, I hope that this tutorial on how to clean a mattress was helpful to you, and you now know the different intricacies of the process. Also, don’t forget - if you’re in need of a new bed, check out our list of the best mattresses on the current market. Chances are, you’ll be able to find your dream bed.

Cheers, and good luck!

FAQ

How to know when it's time to buy a new mattress?

Usually, you should be able to tell when your bed is beyond-cleaning. If you have a bed bug infestation, there are holes and stains that refuse to be cleaned, it's likely that you should start looking at some of the best mattresses out there.

Is it difficult to clean a mattress?

Mattress cleaning can be a really easy process - or a very tedious one. It's all going to depend on the current state of your mattress, and just how thoroughly you want it to be cleaned. If you notice that the bed is beyond being cleaned, you can always take a look at some of the better, new mattresses out there.

What is a memory foam mattress?

Memory foam mattresses are created mostly from polyurethane and have additional chemicals added that increase its viscosity and density. It’s also often called “viscoelastic polyurethane foam”. In order to create the air movement and let your body “breath” while you sleep, it has open foam bubbles. Memory foam mattresses are created in a way to adapt to your body curves and to also recover their original shape after you get up. Therefore, this kind of top mattresses offer you the feeling as if is created specifically for you.

Do top rated mattresses offer a money-back guarantee? Is there a catch?

All of the top mattress brands offer a money-back guarantee. The free trial usually starts from 90 to 100 nights, and if you don’t like the mattress, you can simply give it back. The majority of best mattress providers will not only give your money back but will also come to get it for free. If the mattress provider is reputable, there won’t be any catch - everyone understands that you have to try the mattress before knowing if it fits you.

What is off-gassing? Is it poisonous?

Off-gassing refers to the odor which comes from a new mattress. It’s the process that happens when volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) leak out of the mattress foam into the air. Those chemicals include both human-made and natural components, including formaldehyde, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), benzene, trichloroethane, and perfluorocarbons. Top rated mattresses will have zero or very minimal off-gassing. Many of them are sent to the customer already after the off-gassing. Is it dangerous, though? Even though the smell can be unpleasant, there’s usually only a very small amount of chemicals that can do no harm to your health.

How long do top rated mattresses serve?

The durability of a mattress depends on the provider and the quality of the materials used. Usually, you get a 10-year warranty, which will be valid in case of any defects. Normally, mattresses will serve you from 7 to 10 years, or even longer. Thus, when you buy the best mattress, you should take it as a long-term investment.