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Beds, Bugs and Bacteria: How unclean is my mattress?

author image Kayla Wilson
Beds, Bugs and Bacteria: How unclean is my mattress? image Beds, Bugs and Bacteria: How unclean is my mattress? image
September 30th, 2019

454g of dead skin cells, 10,000 dust mites and 285ml of sweat.

Have you ever wondered how clean (or unclean) your mattress is? Humans spend around one third of our lives in bed so it’s safe to assume that your mattress is not very clean even if on appearance it has no stains and smells fresh. We’ve got some interesting and perhaps stomach-turning facts for you which will have you reaching for the cleaning products.

But before you do that, here’s our guide on how to clean your mattress because after reading this you’ll need it.

Skin Cells

Many of us spend the night tossing and turning in bed for anything between 6 and 9 hours (on average). The Sleep Council reported that the average person sheds around 454g of dead skin over a year. Taking the average of us spending one third of our lives in bed that’s 151g of skin cells we shed into our bedding and mattress each. Yuck!


According to the Sleep Council the average adult produces 285ml of sweat each night. Between two of you over the course of a year that’s a shocking 208,000ml of sweat being produced annually! Whilst your mattress won’t be absorbing all of that, it will absorb a good amount.

Your bottom sheet will absorb some of that but it’s not a lot of protection between you and the mattress if you don’t have a mattress protector.

Dust Mites

To reference the Sleep Council again, the average bed contains 10,000 dust mites. Those dust mites can product more than 2 million droppings which are known to aggravate allergies. Regularly vacuum your mattress using the narrow fabric nozzle to get into the crevices of the stitching where dust mites like to gather.


If you’ve made it through the blog this far without feeling nauseous, closing the tab out of disgust with a “ignorance is bliss” mindset or running to the kitchen for the cleaning products…then we’ve got one final fact for you. With all of these dirty mattress facts in mind, the Sleep Council says that a dirty mattress can contain worryingly high levels of staphylococcus, enterococcus, norovirus and even MRSA.

“But I shower before bed so this doesn’t apply to me, right?”

Wrong. Though showering before bed will certainly help it won’t stop you producing around 285ml of sweat between the time you shower and when you wake up.

Can I clean my mattress?

Yes, cleaning your mattress will help keep all of the above at a minimum and increase the lifespan of your mattress. Earlier we gave you a link to our mattress cleaning guide but here it is again as we think you might need it now.

Time for a new mattress?

Do you think that maybe your mattress is beyond redemption? If these cleaning steps don’t put your mind at ease and you can’t stop your skin crawling thinking about 2 million dust mite droppings then visit our bed showrooms. We have stores in Bristol and Cirencester with bed experts on hand to help you choose a lovely, new and clean mattress. Make sure to get yourself a quality mattress protector to keep your mattress cleaner for longer.

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Gardiner and Sons Co Ltd registered address Gardiner Haskins, 1 Straight Street, Broad Plain, Bristol, BS2 0FQ, registered in England.
Company registration number: 00039402 VAT no. GB302974367

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