How To Clean A Mattress

Every time we take our bedding off to wash it, we are confronted with the often unsightly image of our bare mattress.

It can feel somewhat pointless cleaning our sheets and comforters regularly when our mattress never gets cleaned, but that doesn’t have to be the case.

Whether your mattress has acquired some unidentified stains, or you just wish you could freshen it up and oust hidden dirt and bacteria, we have the methods you need.

This article will explore various methods of cleaning your mattress depending on your needs and chemical preferences.

How Do Mattresses Get Dirty?

How mattresses get dirty is a subject that doesn’t really bear thinking about.

However, it is important to acknowledge that mattresses can and do get dirty over time and that they need cleaning from time to time.  But how do our mattresses get dirty? 

The average adult spends 318 months in bed during their lifetime, that’s over 200,000 hours.  During that time we sweat, drool, bleed, and shed hair and skin.

All of these things can permeate through our bedding into our mattresses.  Without regular cleaning, these things can build up in our mattresses making them unsanitary and unhealthy for us.

However, before you rush to throw out your mattress, there are things you can do to clean and freshen your mattress.


Vacuuming is the first and easiest way to clean your mattress. 

If you have a new mattress or regularly clean your mattress, a quick vacuum each time you change your bedding is the best way to keep your mattress looking fresh and keep nasty bugs and bacteria at bay.

Vacuuming with each bedding change is a great habit to develop even if you have never cleaned a mattress before.

Similarly, if you are looking to deep clean your mattress, the first step is to vacuum the surface.

This removes mites, dust, dead skin, bugs, hair, and other debris from the surface of your mattress.

Use the wide brush attachment for the majority of the mattress, then swap to the nozzle attachment for any creases, piping, or corners.

Fresh Spills

If there are any fresh spills on your mattress it is important to address these first.  Take a clean, damp cloth and gently dab the spillage.

Keep dabbing until all the excess liquid has been absorbed from the mattress.

Avoid rubbing or scrubbing at the spillage, this will only push the spill deeper into the mattress and increase the chances of staining.

Spot Treatment

If there are noticeable, individual stains on your mattress, the best method to tackle them is a spot treatment.

Mix 30ml of hydrogen peroxide with 15ml of dish soap in a small dish.  Stir the mixture until it produces suds.

Take an old toothbrush and dip it into the solution.  Scrub the stain gently with small, circular motions, working the solution into the entire stain.

Once the stain has been treated, take a small clean cloth and remove any excess cleaner. This method is most effective for food and drinks stains as well as general dirt stains. 

If you have a memory foam mattress, make sure to use the smallest amount of solution possible to spot-treat stains. It is important that memory foam does not get wet.

Biological Stains

The solution mentioned above will not be effective in dealing with biological stains on your mattress.

For biological stains, the most effective method is using an enzymatic cleaning solution. Enzymatic cleaners can be purchased easily online.

The enzymes in the solution break down the proteins in blood, sweat, vomit, urine, oil, grease, and other biological stains.

To clean biological stains from your mattress, spray your chosen cleaning solution onto a clean cloth.

Blot the stain until it is saturated with the solution and let it sit for 15 minutes.  Using the same cloth, blot the area to remove the stain.

Take a clean, damp cloth and blot the cleaned area with cold water to remove any excess cleaner.

Again, do not spray the solution directly onto the mattress as they are not designed to get wet, particularly memory foam mattresses or toppers. 

Baking Soda

How To Clean A Mattress

A great method to generally clean and freshen your mattress is to use baking soda.

This method can be used by itself or as a finishing touch after removing stains from your mattress. 

Sprinkle the baking soda generously over the entire surface of the mattress, a sieve can help create a more even dusting over your mattress. 

Let the baking soda sit on the mattress for at least 30-minutes.

This gives the baking soda time to absorb all the odors from your mattress, break down acids, and absorb any residual moisture from spot cleaning. 

After the baking soda has sat for at least half an hour, vacuum the surface of the mattress again.

All the acids, odors, and liquid absorbed will be removed with the baking soda.

To make your mattress as fresh as possible, leave it uncovered with the windows open to let it air out. 

Antibacterial Sprays

On days when you are short on time or as an additional step after the cleaning methods above, you can use an antibacterial spray to ensure a fresh, clean mattress.

Ensure that your antibacterial spray is designed to be used on fabric and will not soak your mattress.

Follow the instructions on your spray to add that extra peace of mind. 

How To Protect Your Mattress

Once you have thoroughly cleaned and removed stains from your mattress you’ll want to protect it from further dirt and odors.

The easiest way to do this is to rotate your mattress, either by flipping, or turning it 180 degrees, and invest in a good-quality mattress protector.

Final Thoughts

There are many different methods of cleaning your mattress, from deep cleaning and stain removal to regular maintenance cleaning.

Whichever method you choose, however often you choose to do it, it is important to ensure that your mattress is maintained and cleaned regularly to promote a healthy sleep environment.