Here’s How to Clean a Mattress (Because Yes, You Need To)

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It’s probably the last thing in your house you’d think of cleaning, but it needs to be refreshed too.

You sleep in it every night. You make it up with freshly laundered sheets every week. You treat it like your headquarters for Hallmark movie marathons. But have you thought about cleaning your mattress lately? We know there are a lot of things around the house that you’re constantly cleaning (follow our handy guides on how to clean a garbage disposal, washing machine, and oven), but did you know that cleaning your mattress is just as important?

I don’t want to scare anyone, but let’s face it. Mattresses are full of gross stuff we’d rather not think about, like dander, dust mites and allergens. And if you add kids and pets to the equation, there can be deep stains that we aren’t even aware of. We apologize for making your hair stand on end, but maybe that’s the motivation you needed to finally start cleaning your mattress. Here’s how to clean a mattress two ways and how to remove stains.

How do I deep clean a mattress?

You’re now likely wondering, “How in the heck do I clean my mattress?” Let us show you how to do it. We think that one mattress cleaning per season is ideal, but twice a year should suffice. Before you begin, get good ventilation going by opening your bedroom windows and any other windows in the proximity.

The first step is to vacuum your mattress. You can use your regular vacuum and utilize the upholstery attachment, or you can purchase a special vacuum made specifically to clean mattresses. Vacuum the whole top of the mattress, being careful to include little crevices along the edges. Flip it over and vacuum the other side.

how to clean a mattress

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Next, you’ll need to deodorize the mattress, one side at a time. We recommend sprinkling a box of baking soda on one side, allowing it to sit for up to 24 hours, and then flipping the mattress over to apply baking soda to other side. Just be sure to vacuum up the excess baking powder before flipping.

If you love essential oils, you can add a few drops (no more than 10) of lavender, cedarwood, or another favorite scent to your box of baking soda so the aroma will permeate your mattress fabric. While waiting for the baking soda to sit, feel free to clean your bed frame too.

Plant Therapy Lavender Essential Oil

We also advise disinfecting your mattress. After the baking soda step is completed, apply Lysol or another spray disinfectant to both sides of the mattress. Let dry. After deodorizing and disinfecting, vacuum the mattress once more. You’ll remove any leftover bits of baking soda and ensure that it’s extra-clean.

If I don’t have time to deep clean my mattress, is there a way just to freshen it up?

Unfortunately, there’s not really a quick-and-easy way to deep-clean a mattress. It’s possible that you could simply vacuum it occasionally or sprinkle baking soda on it from time to time, but that’s not really a deep clean. If you’d prefer to clean your mattress less often, you can always protect it with a waterproof mattress cover.

How do I get stains out of my mattress?

Before beginning the deep cleaning process, inspect your mattress for any stains. Address the stains before vacuuming, applying baking soda, or disinfecting. There are some cleaning products available that can clean mattress stains as soon as they happen, or at least improve stains that have been set-in for a while. Enzymatic cleaner is a smart choice since it uses enzymes to break down stains, or you could always make your own cleaner by mixing a mild dish detergent and a cup of warm water. Other options include distilled white vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. Just be careful with the latter—hydrogen peroxide has bleaching capabilities, which is good for stains, but might affect the fabric on your mattress. Be sure to test it on a small spot before wiping down your mattress with it.