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How to Deep Clean Your Mattress

Sep 1, 2021

A woman sleeping in bed

Here’s a “Did You Know?” question that you, like the rest of America, probably don’t think about often … and if you did, it may keep you awake at night: Did you know that, ideally, you should deep clean your mattress every six months?

It’s ironic that your mattress is the furniture item you probably use most in your life — yet when it comes time to give your home a good deep cleaning, your mattress probably gets overlooked the most. Actually, we know this because it’s a question we see come up repeatedly. So you’re in good company, but now you know!

It’s important to remember that even if you use a mattress pad or cover that provides a lot of protection, the mattress itself should still be cleaned periodically. After all, those bacteria, skin cells, pet dander, dust mites, fungus and any other lingering stains or smells won’t remove themselves. No worries, though — a fresh mattress awaits you. We’ll walk you through a simple, standard process that will help you become an expert mattress cleaner in no time!

Remove and Wash Bedding, Linens and Toppers

Before you take any steps to clean the mattress, make sure you strip the sheets, bedding, mattress covers, protectors and any other fabrics that might be attached to or on top of your mattress. While you’re at it, this is the perfect time to throw those items into the washing machine (or spray clean any plastic protectors). Although we don’t like to think about it, we do need to remember that while these items protect your mattress and make you more comfortable, they are also housing sweat, spills and dust. Besides, who doesn’t love slipping inside a set of clean, fresh sheets — and how much better will you feel knowing that the mattress and protector underneath those sheets is clean and fresh as well?

Vacuum — Yes, Vacuum

Mattresses have lots of crevices (and you know how hard it is to clean crevices). Make it easy on yourself: Use your vacuum cleaner’s smaller upholstery and brush attachments to remove small particles caught in your mattress. Move in small, slow circles to pick up as much as possible. And don’t forget the sides!

Spot Clean with Stain Remover

Take note: We suggest spot cleaning your mattress — don’t soak it! Many mattresses (especially those with memory foam) should not get wet1. So, refrain from spraying cleaner or applying water directly onto your mattress. Instead, apply spray cleaner or spot remover onto a clean hand towel and simply blot the stained spot.

Also resist the temptation to scrub the stain. While you’ll want to do what’s necessary to remove it, blot gently and use as little stain remover and water as possible to get the job done. To help lift the stain even more after treating it, you’ll want to take another hand towel, wet it with cold water and continue blotting.

In addition, keep in mind that the stain remover or spray cleaner you choose may not be a “one size fits all” solution. For biological stains (e.g., stains caused by your body like blood, urine, sweat, etc.), you’ll need an enzyme cleaner to do the job, using the same application tactics as mentioned above.

Use Baking Soda to Deodorize

Mom always told you to have baking soda on hand, and for good reason. From your refrigerator to your carpet to even your teeth, baking soda is so multifunctional for so many cleaning and deodorizing needs2. Using it to naturally deodorize your mattress is no different — and you don’t even have to wait until a deep cleaning; it’s great to use as an easy refresher anytime.

After spot-treating, you’ll want to sprinkle the top of the mattress with a layer of baking soda and let it sit for several hours (the longer the better). This will allow it to break down acid and absorb any extra moisture or foul odors. To help the baking soda do its thing even more effectively, open those blinds and let the sunshine in. The sun’s rays are beneficial in helping kill any mold or bacteria.

Vacuum a Second Time

After several hours of having the baking soda sit on top of your mattress, it’s time to get that vacuum out again to clean it all off. If you have a bedframe and/or headboard made of fabric, now’s probably a great time to go over those with your vacuum, too.

Flip and Rotate Your Mattress

Regardless of how often you deep clean your mattress, it’s good to get into the habit of flipping (and, if you can, rotating) your mattress periodically. With time, your mattress can develop divots and uneven spots or can start to sag — and the longer you leave it on one side, the worse it will get. Flipping it on a regular basis (i.e., every three to six months) will extend the life of your mattress and even out the inevitable wear and tear on each side2.

But, as long as you’re in the cleaning zone, this is the perfect time to flip the mattress and repeat these same steps on the new side!

When to Refresh vs. When to Replace Your Mattress

Now that you can add “Deep-Cleaning Mattress Master” to your list of DIY skills, it might be a good time to refresh your memory on just how long a mattress should last. Spoiler alert: They don’t last forever. At the very least (as you might have heard), ideally you should replace your mattress every eight years. When you’re ready to replace, find a name-brand retailer near you and use a lease-to-own* alternative, like Acima, to get the mattress that’s right for you via smaller, spread out lease renewal payments.

So while regular deep cleaning is important to extend the life of your mattress, it shouldn’t replace the notion that some mattresses are just … well … old and need replacing instead of rescuing. If you’re unsure, relax — we’ve got you covered here! Follow all of our tips and you’ll sleep better knowing you’re doing everything you can to keep yourself and your mattress healthy.

Sources:

1.      “How to Clean a Mattress in 9 Simple Steps” — Architectural Digest, March 20, 2020

2.      “22 Problems You Can Solve with Baking Soda” — Good Housekeeping, February 13, 2018