Your mattress can be a breeding ground for dust mites, bed bugs and also contain bodily fluids such as sweat, urine and blood. If you have ever gone out in public and then touched your bed when you got home, it might even have traces of dirt, chemicals and pollen from the places you have been. That’s pretty gross.
So, when was the last time you cleaned your mattress?
I’ll give you a second to think about it.
Instead of running out and buying a brand new mattress, follow this guide to effectively clean the one you have so the next time you lie in bed, you can rest easy.
How To Clean Your Mattress
The first step is to strip the linens and wash them. To launder your duvet or comforter, check the manufacturer’s label first then, wash it using the hottest water and dryer heat that’s available. Heat kills dust mites.
1. Vacuum it
Use the upholstery tool on your vacuum cleaner to remove dust and debris. Pay close attention to the seams and crevices as dirt can build up there. Switching to your vacuum’s crevice attachment helps with this process. Ensure your vacuum attachments are clean before you use them on your bed. You don’t want to deposit anything you previously cleaned onto your mattress.
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2. Deodorize it
With all the sweat and other body fluids deposited onto you mattress, it can develop its own personal aroma. To combat this, sprinkle baking soda onto the surface, leave it for fifteen minutes to an hour and then vacuum it up.
If there are no stains to treat, flip your mattress and repeat Steps 1 and 2. Remember to vacuum the sides as well.
3. Stain removal
Typically stains found on mattresses are protein based— blood, urine and vomit etc. Often, we notice stains after they have had some time to dry and set so they are tougher to treat.
Tips To Remember
- Never use hot water to remove stains. Hot water will set the stain and make it more difficult to remove.
- Do not drench your mattress and ensure it is completely dry to avoid growing mould.
To remove blood stains, create a paste using 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide mixed with 1 tbsp. dish soap and 1 tbsp. table salt. Apply this mixture to the stain and allow to dry before scraping it off. Use a white cloth dipped in hydrogen peroxide to remove any remaining stain. The white cloth will not transfer any dye to your mattress.
Mix 3 tbsp. of biological laundry detergent powder e.g. Persil Bio with 1 tbsp. water. Spread this paste onto the mattress and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Scrape away the dried paste and remove any excess with a white cloth dipped in hydrogen peroxide. Dry any moisture by dabbing at the wet spot with a clean white cloth.
Sprinkle the area with baking soda and leave it for several hours until the mattress is completely dry. Vacuum the baking soda.
Other Body Fluids
Use non-toxic natural enzyme cleaners that chemically break down stains and odours. You can always follow this step with baking soda and a good vacuuming, if odours persist.
Mould and Mildew
Mould and mildew are both types of fungi that are present when a mattress gets wet and has not dried thoroughly. They can be hazardous to your health and cause allergic reactions and respiratory problems.
Mildew can be identified by a patch of grey or white fungus lying on the surface. As soon as you notice mildew, treat it by applying a mixture of equal parts warm water and rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol. Use a cloth to gently scrub the area. Spray with disinfectant e.g. Lysol, making sure not to drench the mattress and allow to air-dry, in direct sunlight, if possible.
If you notice your mattress still smells mouldy after cleaning, throw it out.
Mould can be black or green in colour. If you find mould on your mattress, get rid of it as this is often the sign of a much larger infestation that has penetrated the inside and will be impossible to clean.
Bed bugs are small oval insects that feed on the blood of humans and animals. Sounds like something from a horror story, doesn’t it?
If you find you have a bed bug infestation, I would highly recommend calling a reputable pest control company to treat it. There are ways you can treat the problem yourself but you risk infesting other areas in your home. However, in the event that calling a professional is not an option for you, the best way to get rid of bed bugs is steam.
These little critters are very sensitive to heat and exposure to 120°F for twenty minutes kills both the adults, as well as the eggs. If possible, opt for a dry steam to reduce the risk of damage to your mattress. While steam is a good solution, if used incorrectly you will not fix the issue.
Note: Steam cleaning can ruin memory foam mattresses and toppers and is therefore, not recommended.
You can also vacuum the mattress but your vacuum can easily become infested as well. Another option is to use an insecticide designed to treat bed bugs making sure to follow the instructions carefully.
Don’t just stop after cleaning your mattress. You need to treat rugs, carpet, curtains and anything else the bugs can be hiding in.
4. Flip it
Every three months, turn and flip your mattress so it wears evenly. If you have a pillow-top, you won’t be able to flip it over but you can still rotate it.
The best way to avoid stains and dirt is to use a mattress cover. It’s much easier to remove a mattress cover and pop it in the washing machine, than it is to clean a mattress.
We spend one-third of our lives in bed. Now that you know how to protect and care for your mattress, add this to your cleaning routine and you can sleep tight.