How to clean a mattress (and keep it clean)

Not only does it (hopefully) give you a good night's sleep, your mattress is also an investment and occasionally needs some TLC.

Cleaning your mattress is probably not that high on your to-do list, but there are plenty of reasons why it's a good idea to spend a little bit of time every few months making sure it's in good condition. For a start, we spend around one third of our lives in bed, so keeping it as hygienic as possible is a wise move.

Plus your mattress is probably among the most expensive and longest-lasting items in your home, so it makes sense to look after it from an economic point of view.

Don’t let your mattress become a haven for bacteria, dirt and dust.

Whether you're keen to start giving your mattress a regular refresh or you've already got a weird smell or stain you need to remove.

Before you follow these steps, remember to always check the care label or instruction on your mattress before you clean it.

Or, if yours already looks like it's past its best, browse our mattresses here to find your next one. 

Why you need to clean a mattress

Data from The Sleep Council shows that on average an adult loses 285ml of fluid when they sleep each night. Humans also shed around 450g of dead skin over the course of a year, and much of that will end up embedded in your mattress.

Even if you change your bed linen every few days, you'll still need to give your mattress a really good clean once in a while. Dust mites feed on the skin cells that work their way through your bedsheets to accumulate underneath.

Occasionally mattresses can also start to grow mould and mildew, particularly if you tend to sweat profusely in bed or live in a damp, humid area. If you have asthma or allergies, then an uncleaned mattress can make the symptoms worse. 

How to clean a mattress

Thankfully, if your mattress is free from stains and odours then cleaning is likely to be a swift process. Firstly, strip the bed and wash the bed linen and sheets with a good laundry detergent.

Then, check for any new stains. If it's looking good, then use your vacuum's upholstery attachment to gently clean the surface of the mattress.

Make sure the attachments are clean before you begin to avoid creating new stains on the mattress - and don't use the spinning brush setting as this could cause damage. Once you've given the top of the mattress an initial clean,  really focus on the nooks and crannies using a vacuum crevice attachment to ensure you remove the dead skin, bed bugs and dust that can build up.

It's also probably wise to get your vacuum cleaner under the bed frame to remove dirt at the same time - especially if you or your sleeping partner suffer from allergies.

If your mattress is one-sided, rotate it from head to foot to help keep the comfort fillings evenly distributed. If it's two-sided, flip it over - but make sure to vacuum on both sides.

Let the fabric breathe and air your mattress for a few hours before you remake the bed with clean sheets. Opening your bedroom window to let the fresh air circulate and pass through the fabric of your mattress should help, or you could use a fan.

To protect your mattress from dust, sweat and staining, we recommend using a mattress protector or mattress covers beneath your sheets to prolong its life and stop you from having to clean it so often. 

How to get stains out of a mattress

Scrubbing a mattress stain is no-one's idea of fun, but it's vital if you want to clean your mattress thoroughly, get rid of unsightly marks and keep it odour-free for many more years to come.

There are three key mattress cleaning rules to remember: Try to tackle any stains as soon as possible when they occur; always read the mattress's label before applying any cleaning products or stain remover, and test cleaning solutions on a tiny area of the stain to ensure that it won't discolour or damage the mattress. 

How to get blood stains out of a mattress

To get rid of blood stains, firstly dab the affected area with a cold water-soaked cloth. Take care not to soak the top of the mattress - and do not rub it as you could spread the blood stain further. If the stain is recent this technique will hopefully be effective, but if it remains, then try adding some baking soda to the cold water. Apply it to the stain and leave it for half an hour, then dab the area with clean water and let it dry. If the blood remains on the mattress after it has dried, then follow the steps below for removing urine. 

How to get urine out of a mattress

To clean bodily fluids like urine, firstly, try diluting washing up detergent in water and then delicately dab the stain with a sponge or cloth. Mattresses aren't waterproof, so remember to clean slowly and gently and don't allow water to soak in. If the stain still isn't disappearing and the care label on your mattress says it's okay, use an upholstery cleaner, an enzyme cleaner or hydrogen peroxide - but always read the instructions.

It's best to err on the side of caution, so diluting the cleaning product into a weak solution is best to start with, and don't spray it on to the mattress directly. 

Removing other mattress stains

For tea, coffee or other food and drink stains, initially try the cold water and baking soda mixture that's mentioned above. For sweat stains and other bodily fluids, try highy diluted washing up detergent. 

How often should I clean my mattress?

If you don’t use a mattress protector or mattress pad, you should turn and vacuum your mattress monthly to remove dead skin cells, dust mites and other surface allergens. You should deep clean using baking soda and other cleaning products as necessary at least twice a year. 

How to clean a memory foam mattress

Thankfully memory foam mattresses are often manufactured with removable, machine-washable covers. Some manufacturers actually advise against removing the cover and washing it, others allow it but tell consumers not to attempt to clean the foam after it's been removed. If you need to put the mattress cover in the washing machine, read and follow the instructions closely to make sure you don’t invalidate the warranty or end up shrinking the cover so that it doesn’t fit back on your mattress.


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