The Best Way to Deep Clean Your Mattress

The Best Way to Deep Clean Your Mattress
Image: iStock
At Lifehacker, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW - prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.

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 protector and change the sheets regularly, you should be fine, right?

Wrong. 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. Most of the time a linen spray and a set of clean sheets are not gonna cut it. To keep the dust mites under control, experts recommend cleaning your mattress at least twice a year. But how does one clean a mattress?

Allow us to walk you through it.

How to Clean a Mattress

clean a mattress
Image: Emma Sleep

Strip the bed and wash ALL the bedding

First things first, strip the bed — remove sheets, pillowcases, mattress toppers and protectors and pop them in the washing machine. Washing all the bedding in hot water and good quality washing detergent will help get rid of any crusty buildup or dust mites. 

Depending on the type of pillows you have, you might be able to pop them as well, just be sure to double-check the care label first. 

Vacuum the mattress

Before you start spot cleaning, we recommend you give your mattress a quick vacuum first using the upholstery attachment. Be sure to go over the entire mattress and really get into all the cracks and crevices to get rid of hidden dirt and dust.  

Spot-clean your mattress

Now for those pesky stains. It’s important that you never soak your mattress or apply water or cleaning products directly to it, it’ll just soak it all up and take forever to dry out.

Some mattresses like memory foam aren’t even supposed to get wet at all, so maybe check with your mattress supplier before you go all in on the deep clean. 

The easiest way to spot clean your mattress is to use a little stain remover and water. Spray the stain remover onto a clean white cloth, and then dab the stained area until it’s completely covered. After that, use a damp clean cloth to continue dabbing the area until the stain lifts. 

Always take a less is more approach with spot-removing and use as little product and water as possible. 

Unfortunately, our beds are subject to all sorts of spills and accidents (we don’t need to list them). So you might need something a little stronger. According to TikTok cleaning hacks, a homemade cleaning solution like hydrogen peroxide and salt should do the trick.

To remove heavy stains combine 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide mixed with 1 tbsp. each 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.

The Best Way to Deep Clean Your Mattress
Image: iStock

Sprinkle baking soda all over the entire mattress

Nothing is as good for a must mattress as fresh air and sunlight, but if you can’t lug it outside the old bicarb soda method is the next best thing. Sprinkle a layer of bicarb over the top of the entire mattress and leave for a couple of hours (the longer you leave it, the better. So if you can crash on the couch for a night or in a spare room, we’d recommend it). 

The baking soda will break down and absorb any remaining moisture or odour. You can even mix a few drops of essential oils like lavender or tea tree into the baking soda before you sprinkle it over the mattress.

While the mattress sits with the baking soda, open any windows or doors in the room to let some fresh air and sunlight in. The sun’s UV rays will help kill any mould or bacteria built up on the mattress. Once the baking soda has had time to work its magic, vacuum it up. 

White vinegar is also said to be a good alternative to bicarb soda to eliminate orders and kill bacteria, according to TikTok. You simply fill a spray bottle with pure white vinegar and spray a light coating all over the mattress and let it air dry. 

Flip the mattress (if you’ve got a spring one)

If you’ve got a more traditional style spring mattress, now would be the time to flip it and repeat the above cleaning process. As a general rule of thumb, most spring mattresses should be flipped every three months—or more often if you start to notice any sagging.

However, as mattress design and quality continues to get better, you might not even have to flip your mattress, so check with your mattress manufacturer before putting your back out. 

Pop on a mattress protector

Once you’ve thoroughly cleaned and fully dried your mattress, you should pop a mattress protector like this one from Emma Sleep (from $169). This will make cleaning easier in the future and protect it from any unexpected spills, dirt and buildup. 

Finish with fresh bedsheets

Now all that’s left to do is to pop on your freshly cleaned sheets (and look forward to jumping into bed for the rest of the day). 

If by some chance, you just need to replace your mattress altogether, you can find our guide to the best box mattresses right here.

Log in to comment on this story!