The Many Ways to Clean a Mattress

The Many Ways to Clean a Mattress
Photo: FotoDuets, Shutterstock

Of all the things that need to be cleaned in your home, your mattress is probably the one you think about the least. As long as you use a mattress cover and change the sheets regularly you should be fine right?

Maybe not. Outside of sweat, skin flakes, and other bodily fluids, the EHSO says states there could be anywhere from one hundred thousand to ten million dust mites in your mattress, an infestation that could exacerbate symptoms of hay fever, asthma, and eczema. To keep the dust mite under control, Today recommends washing your mattress at least twice a year. But how does one wash a mattress? Most the time a linen spray and a set of clean sheets are not gonna cut it. Here is a sampling of some of the best methods to clean your bed.

Spot clean to remove stains

Photo: mdbildes, ShutterstockPhoto: mdbildes, Shutterstock

Spot cleaning is useful for removing unfortunate stains and soils after your pet pees the bed or you spill that glass of orange juice when you’re eating breakfast in bed.

While the spill is still wet, strip the sheets and use a towel to blot the area to remove as much liquid as possible. Mattress maker Nectar recommends using your vacuum’s upholstery attachment to vacuum out liquids. Then apply some cleaning solution to a rag and scrub the stain. Architectural Digest recommends against applying cleaner directly to the mattress. They favour spot cleaning with a little bit of water and dish soap in order to avoid the risk of mildew or mould developing on a soaked mattress.

Get rid of odours with baking soda

Photo: Maderla, ShutterstockPhoto: Maderla, Shutterstock

Baking soda and essential oils can be used to get rid of odours. After stripping the bedding, vacuum your mattress to remove any liquids, debris, and dander. Mix a few drops of an essential oil like lavender or tea tree into some baking soda and sprinkle it over the mattress. Let it sit for several hours (Consumer Reports suggests at least 24 hours — the longer the better.) Finally, vacuum the mattress again to remove the baking soda mixture. You might need to sleep on the couch for a night, but you’ll sleep much better because o it in the long run.

Hydrogen peroxide gets out tough stains

Photo: Jesse Franks, ShutterstockPhoto: Jesse Franks, Shutterstock

Use hydrogen peroxide and salt to remove heavy stains. Unfortunately, our beds are subject to all sorts of spills and accidents that I probably don’t need to list. To remove these tough stains, create a cleaning solution using 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide mixed with 1 tbsp. each of liquid dish soap and table salt. Rub this solution into the stain and let it dry, then scrape the excess mixture away. Then, blot the area with a towel dipped in hydrogen peroxide.

To remove blood stains, mattress manufacturer Ghostbed recommends applying adding some cornstarch to the mix and applying it to the bed using a spoon or spatula to press it into the stained area. Scrae it away “with a clean cloth beginning in the centre of the stain and working outwards to remove the stain along with the peroxide” says Ghostbed.

White vinegar lifts stains and kills bacteria

Photo: FotoHelin, ShutterstockPhoto: FotoHelin, Shutterstock

According to the home improvement site Hunker, to eliminate orders and kill bacteria, you can fill a regular spray bottle with pure white vinegar and spray a light coating all over the mattress and let it air dry. The vinegar will “naturally disinfect the mattress,” they say, suggesting giving a few extra sprays to urine stains.

Steaming cleans in fewer steps

Photo: lapsa03, ShutterstockPhoto: lapsa03, Shutterstock

Steam clean your mattress by renting a steamer or using your own. You can use a clothing steamer if you have one, or rent a professional steamer from your local hardware store. If you don’t want to purchase or rent, your iron’s steam function will also do the trick. Slumber yard advises that your steamer should be “able to heat to at least 100 degrees Celsius to fully benefit from the steam cleaning.” Always be sure to vacuum your bed before steaming. Per Slumber Yard, make sure to keep the steamer a few inches above the mattress according to to avoid saturating the bed, and let it dry for at least 3-4 hours before putting the sheets on.

All of the above

Photo: VectorMine, ShutterstockPhoto: VectorMine, Shutterstock

If you really want to freshen things up, do all of it. Strip the sheets and pillowcases completely before cleaning. Vacuum the bed surface, mix baking soda hydrogen peroxide salt and/or cornstarch to treat heavy stains and scrape off the extra paste. Vacuum again, then spray the bed with white vinegar and let it dry before taking your steamer or iron to the mattress. After a few hours sprinkle the bed with a mixture of baking soda and essential oils let that sit for another few hours, then vacuum once more. Your bed will be stain free, (relatively) bacteria free, and be harbouring fewer dust mites for the next 6 months or so. Just make sure to leave enough drying time between each step.

Log in to comment on this story!