We spend roughly one third of our lives in bed so it is a well used piece of furniture in your home. Many of us spend the night tossing and turning getting hot and bothered, especially in the Summer months. Despite having a bottom sheet in place, your mattress will absorb your sweat and loose skin cells.
If you’ve got the stomach for it, have a read of our blog “Beds, Bugs and Bacteria: how hygienic is my mattress”.
With those slightly cringe-worthy bits of information in mind, here’s our simple guide on how to clean a mattress and to maintain it to maximise its lifespan.
Remove all bedding and furnishings
Remove all bedding, bed linen, pillows, mattress protector and the linen and sheets and put them into the washing machine. Check the care instructions on each and wash them on the highest possible temperature. The hotter the water is, the more likely you are to kill off any bacteria and remove any stubborn stains. If your sheets are a few years old then it may be worth considering replacing them.
Some duvets are machine washable but their size and thickness means that they won’t fit into many domestic washing machines. A laundromat will have large enough machines to wash your entire duvet which is worth doing once a year, particularly after a hot Summer when your duvet is most likely to have been exposed to sweat.
Vacuum your mattress
The first step to cleaning a mattress is to lift any dust and dirt from the surface of the mattress. Use the narrow nozzle on your vacuum and apply firm pressure to the mattress as you move the nozzle across the fabric. Using this narrow nozzle allows you to get into the creases of the mattress and vacuum up every bit of dust and dirt which gathers there.
Make sure to vacuum the top and side of the mattress and then flip it to clean the reverse side. Even if you haven’t slept on that side of the mattress, chances are that dust will gather between your mattress and bed frame. While you’re there, give your bed frame or divan a vacuum using the same narrow nozzle to dig down between any gaps or joins.
Blotting recent spills
If you’ve just had a spill on your mattress then use a damp cloth to blot the stain and soak up the excess fluid before it soaks into the inner layers of the mattress. Make sure not to scrub the stain as you’ll likely push the liquid further into the mattress.
Spot cleaning for dirt, food and drinks
The next step for cleaning a mattress is to handle older stains on your mattress. WikiHow recommends combining 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of hydrogen peroxide and 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of liquid dish soap and dipping an old toothbrush in the liquid and using it to scrub the stain. Use circular motions to scrub the stain and work the formula into the fabric. Use a cloth to wipe away any excess liquid from the mattress as you go.
Avoid using too much liquid on a memory foam mattress as they are not supposed to get wet. It’s worth speaking to the mattress supplier to check the cleaning suggestions to make sure this is suitable for cleaning your mattress.
Spot cleaning for biological stains
For removing biological stains like urine, blood, vomit or sweat then an enzyme cleaner is your best bet as it breaks down the proteins in those stains. Spray onto a cloth, blot the stain and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. Use the same cloth to blot away the stain and then use a different damp cloth afterwards.
Deodorising your mattress
Once your mattress is clean of stains the next step is to give it a fresh smell by deodorising your mattress. With the mattress flat on the ground, evenly sprinkle baking soda across the surface, allowing the granules to sink into the crevices in your mattress. The baking soda will absorb odours so leave it on there for at least 30 minutes but ideally a couple of hours to get the maximum effect.
After allowing the baking soda to do its thing for a couple of hours, vacuum it off the surface making sure to get the fabric nozzle into every nook. The baking soda will have absorbed the odours which you will then vacuum away.
The last step of deodorising your mattress is to air it out to ensure it is completely dry, doesn’t get mouldy and to get rid of any lingering odours that might be left. Open all of the windows to allow maximum air flow and any sunshine enter the room and hit the mattress.
How often should I clean my mattress?
This is somewhat of a grey area and many people might say that they never clean their mattress! If you regularly turn your mattress every 3 – 6 months (recommended unless you have a mattress which doesn’t need turning) then it’s worth following at least some of these cleaning steps at the same time. The more you take care of your mattress, the more life you will get from it.
How to protect your mattress
Prevention is always best so here are a few steps to help keep your mattress clean and increase its lifespan:
· Use a mattress topper: help prevent sweat and dead skin cells making their way through the bed sheet and into the mattress. Look for a mattress protector with a waterproof lining for maximum protection.
· Turn your mattress: (unless you have a mattress with a designated top and bottom side) turn your mattress every 3 – 6 months.
· You don’t have to follow all of the above mattress cleaning steps regularly but doing just one or two a couple of times per year will assist in keeping your mattress clean and fresh. Turn your mattress and vacuum it and then in 6 months turn it and follow the deodorising steps.
· Clean stains as and when you notice them.
· Change your bedding regularly, at least once per week. This will prevent any collection of dirt and sweat underneath your bed sheet and give you the opportunity to air out the mattress and bedding for an hour or so each week.
Is it time for a new mattress?
If you’ve followed the steps above and your mattress is: still a bit discoloured, has a slight whiff about it and isn’t giving you enough support when you’re asleep…then it might be time for a new one. Lots of bed marketing campaigns will tell you to replace your mattress every 8 years but that can vary for different types of mattresses and also depends on how well it’s looked after. Personal preference also plays a part as some people don’t mind their mattress moulding to their shape whereas others find that uncomfortable. We’ve written a guide on how to know when you need to buy a new mattress so have a read here.
Where to buy a new mattress?
We have bed showrooms in Bristol and Cirencester, both with an experienced sales teams to help show you our products and choose the right mattress and bed for you. Get directions to our showrooms here.