How to Clean a Mattress?

Last Updated January 5, 2024

You spend about a third of your life sleeping, and this means that you spend that many hours on your mattress! Dust will inevitably settle, and the mattress will be subject to spillage from time to time. So, it’s natural you will want to know how to clean a mattress.

how to clean a mattress the right way

This blog tells you how to clean a mattress of dust, dirt, spills, and stubborn stains so that you can protect your investment for years to come.

latex mattress

Why cleaning a mattress is necessary?

When we spend so much time of our lives in bed, it’s unavoidable that the bed will become dirty. Moreover, you cannot stop dirt and dust from entering your room. So, you have to clean the mattress of these common pollutants:

1. Allergens

The dust accumulating in your living room rouses when you walk around. In most cases, it may not be visible to your eyes as your room might be relatively clean.

Pollens and fine dust particles are the major components of the allergens. These invisible components layer your bedsheet as well. So, when you sleep, you are potentially exposing yourself to an allergic attack.

Allergens can accumulate in huge volumes over the course of a day, so it’s good practice to vacuum or dust your sheets and pillows everyday.

2. Dust mites

We shed dead skin every day. It happens on a larger scale when we are sleeping - the friction between the bed and our skin results in the dead skin cells flaking all over the bed. The debris are food for minute insects called dust mites. So, unknown to the naked eye, thousands of house dust mites live on the same bed you sleep on.

3. Sweat smell

Some amount of sweat will seep into your mattress and pillow, and you cannot control it. Sweat introduces moisture into mattresses and pillows, which makes them a breeding ground for bacteria and germs. Moreover, when these smells accumulate, the odor intensifies over time.

dirty sheet and mattress

Items you need to clean the mattress

These materials are commonly preferred for cleaning a mattress:

  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Baking soda
  • Clear, uncolored liquid Soap
  • Spray bottle
  • Clean cloth
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Cold water

You can also add these to the list:

  • Essential oil (to enhance the smell of your mattress)
  • Sifter (to sift baking powder)

Cleaning a mattress - Brief step by step guide

Step 1:

Strip the bed of all bedding including pillows, and other decorative items.

Take away the duvet, strip the cover off and send it to the laundry. Strip the pillowcases off the pillows and send them to laundry as well. When you clean a mattress, it’s also a good practice to toss the bedding and linen layers for washing.

Step 2:

Next move is to remove the fitted sheets from the surface of the mattress. Do the same if you have flat sheets, mattress cover, or any top layers.

Dust the cover(s) before sending them off to the washer. When you separate the bedding and dust the covers, check to make sure that any clean laundry is not present in the room, and close all open cupboards.

Step 3:

This is where you put the stripped linens into the washer. You will want to use hot water and a disinfectant liquid to kill off any breeding bacteria or minute dust mites that might have been housed in your bedding. But, if you have sensitive items in your laundry basket, check their washing instructions to ensure that you don’t destroy them during laundry.

Step 4:

Now that the mattress is bare, here comes the time to vacuum, clean stains, and deodorize the mattress.


Start cleaning your mattress by vacuuming it to remove loose hair strands, allergens, dander, dust mites, food particles, dust, dead skin, and other debris. To clean the entire surface of the mattress, use the wide brush attachment; to reach the nook and crannies, use the nozzle of upholstery attachment.

Occasionally flip the mattress to vacuum the entire surface of the opposite side as well, and let the stripped mattress soak in the sun.

vacuuming mattress


Soak a damp cloth and hold it over the fresh spill; wait till the entire spill soaks up all the liquid, blots up, and cleans itself.


Stains, particularly, the older ones, need spot cleaning with a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and liquid soap in a ratio of 2:1 tablespoons. Dip a toothbrush into the mixture and rub it gently over the stained area. Then wipe the cleaned area with a damp cloth to clean off the remaining mixture.

To clean biological stains like blood, vomit, or urine, you’ll need enzyme cleaners.

Step 5:


Deodorize by sprinkling baking soda generously over the cleaned area. Any foul odor emanating from the mattress will be whisked away, and your mattress will not have any additional smell.

After keeping the baking soda dust for at least 30 minutes, vacuum the mattress again. The powder will have done its job during this time by absorbing odors and breaking down any bacteria or acidic remnants in the mattress. However, if you are on a mission to eliminate old stains and odors, keep the baking soda layer for a much longer time. The longer the baking soda stays, the better your mattress will look and smell.

Post vacuuming, allow the mattress to soak in fresh air before wrapping it in a mattress protector or a mattress bag.

natural and organic latex mattress topper

What are the commonly inflicted mattress stains, and how to clean them?

Almost all stains can be cleaned with a non-toxic enzyme cleaner. There are so many varieties of them in any supermarket or online. However, it is a chemical cleaner, after all. Even though it gets your mattress clean, it's worth considering some DIY cleaning solutions to complete the cleaning process for your entire mattress.

stained mattress

  • Food and drink stains

Make a cleaning solution of equal parts of hydrogen peroxide and water, then add two large drops of liquid dish soap. Apply the mixture to the mattress or the stained area with the help of a damped white cotton cloth and let it rest for about half an hour. Now add baking soda liberally and let it dry on the mattress for about 8 hours. Then, rinse the mixture off with a brush and vacuum the remains.

  • Vomit stains

First, clean the vomit off the mattress by using a clean cloth. Then apply a cleaning solution made of warm water and liquid dish soap over the surface of the vomit to break down the vomit elements. Apply a mixture of water and vinegar to clean the stain. And finally, add baking soda to remove odor.

  • Sweat stains

Sprinkling baking soda over the mattress helps in yellowed sweat stain removal. You have to let the baking soda sit for at least 6 - 8 hours and then vacuum-clean it.

  • Blood stains

To remove old and new blood stains, soak a piece of cloth in cold water and press it over the mattress to lock the stain in place. If the mattress becomes a little soggy, absorb the excess liquid by pressing another clean cloth on the spot.

Then apply hydrogen peroxide on the target area to remove the stain. Keep applying multiple times till the stain lightens.

As a final step, apply baking soda and water or hydrogen peroxide and water solution to the stain. Keep it there for half an hour and wash it off completely.

  • Urine stains

Be it fresh or old, urine stains, are one of he most stubborn stains you will clean. Here's what you will need:

  • Liquid dish soap
  • Vinegar
  • Water

Apply the cleaning solution made from all these components over the spill using a damped cotton cloth and let it soak for half an hour (more if you are removing dry urine). The soap helps to cleanse the urine of the mattress and vinegar neutralizes the stain. To get rid of the odor, apply baking soda once the previous components have been washed off.

These DIY cleaners are of use when you are cleaning human urine. But when it comes to cleaning cat urine, you'll need enzyme cleaner. Pet urine is too concentrated compared to humans, so an enzyme cleaner helps to break down the proteins and bacteria in the urine while absorbing the stench.

Cleaning styles for specific mattresses

Latex mattress

Generally, a latex mattress repels dust mites, so it seldom needs a deep cleaning.

But, if you have to, latex mattresses can be cleaned as regular mattresses. However, you should never expose latex to sunlight. The mattress will oxidize under the sunlight - this means that sunlight will break the bonds between the fabric, and the mattress will undergo physical distortion.

To air dry the mattress, close your bedroom windows and turn on the fan. If you want your mattress to feel fresh, sprinkle baking soda mixed with your favorite essential oil on the surface of the mattress and let it sit for several hours as it air dries.

Memory foam mattress

You have to exercise caution while cleaning a memory foam mattress. Water or any liquid should not come in contact with the memory foam. Any spot coming in contact with the memory foam mattress will compromise the elasticity and refrain from giving you the support you desire.

Thus, it is imperative that you use a mattress protector for memory foam mattresses and minimize liquid spillage from seeping into the mattress or exposing it to liquid and biological stains.

For best outcomes, go through the washing instructions that come with every memory foam mattress.

You should practice the same caution while cleaning memory foam pillows.

Note: Never steam clean a memory foam mattress, latex mattress or any other mattress. Steaming the mattress increases chances of mildew and mold setting into the deeper layers of the mattress.

How to protect your mattress?

Cleaning the mattress is a time-consuming affair, so it’s best to put up protective layers around your mattress that minimize the impact of accidents while you’re on the bed.

1. Mattress protector

A Waterproof Mattress Protector is perhaps the most important when it comes to keeping your mattress safe from everything that can go wrong.

Dust mites, allergens, dander, liquid or biological spillage -  you name it, the protector aces in minimizing spillage and stain formation and acts as an antibacterial shield that keeps your mattress relatively clean.

They are inexpensive compared to the cost of bedding and the mattress itself. A good waterproof protector will cost you somewhere between $20 - $100. Mattress protectors are also easy to clean - just strip them off the bed, splash soapy water, and let them hang dry.

mattress protector

2. Fitted sheet or flat sheet

The next layer of protection has to be a fitted sheet or flat sheet. They go on top of the mattress protector and are good at catching tiny debris that falls on the mattress.

However, a fitted sheet is not effective enough to protect your mattress from allergens or dust mites. Therefore, you should clean these upper bedding as frequently as you can and wash them once a week.

3. Refrain from eating or drinking in your bed

It is a no-brainer advice, but one that needs to be said.

We casually take our food and drinks to bed. Whether it be a bowl of popcorn while binge watching or drinking coffee in bed while attending a video call, we are all guilty of these habits.

To minimize accidents in bed, we must curb these habits that increase the probability of accidents.


We hope that this blog has made you aware of the importance of cleaning your mattress and taught you how to undertake routine mattress cleaning.

natural and organic pillows


1. How frequently should you clean your mattress?

You can clean a mattress all by yourself, but it will take up a considerable chunk of your time. As a result, you should vacuum, air dry, deep clean, and remove spots from your mattress at least twice a year.

If you are sensitive to allergies or have pets in your home, then try cleaning it every three month. However, make sure to wash the upper bedding layer at least once weekly.

2. Is vacuuming a mattress enough?

Vacuuming a mattress surface is enough to get rid of dust mites, dander, allergens, and minute debris. For regular mattress cleaning, vacuuming is a good practice that keeps your bed allergen-free.

But it’s not enough to get rid of breeding molds, mildew, or bacteria that may have nested inside your mattress. Moreover, vacuuming does not help in spot removal.

To deep clean a mattress, you have to go the long mile and spot clean the mattress as well.

3. What is the best way to clean your mattress?

The best way to clean your mattress is to be diligent about it.

You have to start by vacuuming the mattress after stripping it of all the bedding. Then, identify the spots (if any), assess what cleaner to use, and spot-clean the stains. Then, deodorize the mattress with baking soda and let it air dry for a few hours.

4. How to deep clean a mattress?

For a deeper clean, coat the mattress with a mixture of baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, water, and liquid dish soap . Then you must let the mixture sit for at least 8 hours. This will get your mattress clean and get things fresh.

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5. How To Care For Your Sheets? An In-depth View

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Disclaimer: What is said in this article has been referenced from multiple sources and is intended only for educational and informational purposes. Please note that no content in this article is a substitute for professional advice from a qualified doctor or healthcare provider. Always consult an experienced doctor with any concerns you may have regarding a health condition or treatment, and never disregard any medical suggestions or delay in seeking treatment because of something you read here.