Sleep

How to Clean a Mattress

Or how to enjoy a healthy night's sleep.

How to Clean a Mattress
Updated 
Nov 29, 2021

Whoever decided being an adult seemed like fun? Although there are undeniably great things about being an adult (that chilled glass of well-earned wine after a long week, no one telling you to get up in the morning, and going to bed whenever you want), there's also a lot of life admin that goes with being an adult. Like cleaning your mattress.

You might have thought your work is done once you've found the best mattress in Australia for you and then figured out how to buy a mattress. Now you need to protect your investment (and ensure a healthy night's sleep) by learning how to clean a mattress. Sigh.

When you sink into your deliciously smelling fresh bed (and don't need to frantically search how to get rid of a mattress because yours is looking and feeling a bit ick), you'll thank us. Probably.

How to clean your mattress

Heard the phrase 'prevention is better than cure'? It definitely applies to looking after your mattress. To keep your mattress in great shape, regular cleaning is key. But equally important are the basics, including using a mattress protector, airing it often, removing any stains soon after they appear, and turning it in line with the manufacturer's guidelines.

Here's how to deep clean your mattress to help kill dust mites and bed bugs and reduce debris and allergen build up for a healthier night's sleep.

Step 1: get your cleaning materials

Good news: you don't need anything fancy or expensive to clean your mattress. Simply grab:

  • Your vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment.
  • Baking soda.
  • Your favourite essential oils - lavender is great for a bedroom.
  • Upholstery, fabric or enzyme cleaner or stain remover and a damp clean cloth.

Step 2: strip the bed

To deep clean your mattress, you need to get to your mattress. Do this by removing everything on your bed, including the mattress protector, sheets, duvet, pillows and cushions.

Step 3: wash your bedlinen

There's no point having a spotless mattress if your bedlinen isn't equally spotless. Pop all the bedding into the washing machine. Check the care instructions but you want the water temperature to be as hot as possible to help get rid of dust mites. If you can, wash the pillows and duvet too. You might want to take them to the launderette if they won't fit in your washing machine.

Otherwise, you can hang them up outside where the fresh air and UV light will help freshen them up. (Ultraviolet rays are known to help sanitise things.)

Step 4: vacuum your mattress

Use your vacuum cleaner's upholstery attachment to thoroughly get rid of any dust mites and remove dust. Vacuum the mattress, ensuring you get into all the grooves and crevices on the top and sides of your mattress. Although an upholstery attachment works best, a nozzle will be fine too. Avoid using a regular vacuum head as it can damage the mattress.

Step 5: tackle the stains

Blood stains, sweat stains, urine stains, vomit stains, drool stains - basically, bodily fluids wreck havoc on your mattress, producing those yellow stains that don't exactly look great. Grab the upholstery, fabric or enzyme cleaner or stain remover and a damp clean cloth and do some spot cleaning. Check the back of the bottle first to ensure it's safe to use on a mattress. Consider testing a small, hidden area before using it on the entire mattress. Alternatively, use a small amount of mild dishwashing liquid in 1 cup of cold water.

Mattresses aren't designed to get wet, especially a memory foam mattress. So, keep your cleaning quick and not too wet. Spray lightly with the cleaner onto the stain and gently blot away with a damp cloth, quickly - you don't want the cleaner lying on the mattress surface too long. Avoid forcing it into the material too.

Step 6: make it smell sweet

Deodorise the mattress to help banish any bad smells with the help of baking soda. Yep, that kitchen cupboard staple, baking soda is an easy way to clean a mattress: it breaks down acid and absorbs moisture and odours. If you can, move the mattress outside into direct sunlight for a few hours. (Watch out for rain or any passing pets looking for a snug sleeping spot!) If that's not possible, put it next to a large window that lets in lots of light.

Then, put some baking soda into a bowl and add a few drops of your favourite essential oils. Lemongrass is lovely and fresh, while lavender is calming and relaxing. Sprinkle baking soda over the entire surface and let the baking soda sit for a few hours at least. It works best if left overnight.

Step 7: vacuum again

Once the baking soda has done its work, thoroughly vacuum your mattress again to remove the bicarb soda. The upholstery tool will come in handy again. If you've got a fabric bedhead, now's a good time to vacuum that too.

Step 8: make it up

Now all that's left is to add your clean mattress protector, clean sheets and clean linens. A fitted sheet is ideal at helping to keep dust out.

How often to clean your mattress

To help your mattress last, aim to clean your mattress at least twice a year. It won't harm to do a regular deodorise with bicarb soda whenever you're washing your bedding and mattress protector.