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How to Clean a Mattress the Smart Way

You may think you’re taking great care of your mattress as long as you regularly wash your sheets, but there’s actually much more to it. Never fear – we’ve outlined some of the best tips for cleaning your mattress so you can continue to enjoy your mattress and get a great night’s sleep.

person wearing gloves cleaning a mattress with a brush

8 Tips on How to Clean a Mattress

  1. Strip It Down
  2. Vacuum Your Mattress
  3. Use Baking Soda
  4. Clean Spills Right Away
  5. Air Out Your Mattress,
  6. Use a Mattress Protector
  7. Flip the Mattress Regularly
  8. Avoid Excessive Sweating in Bed

Taking care of your mattress can not only help you get the best night’s sleep, but regular mattress cleaning can also help extend your mattress lifespan. Your mattress is a major investment and you spend up to a third of your life on it, so it’s important to take care of it as best you can.

If you never clean your mattress, it can end up being pretty gross. We won’t go into all the gory details, but your mattress can be a breeding ground for everything from dirt and dust mites to dead skin and other more sinister debris. If you have allergies, sleep with a pet, or like to snack in bed, it’s probably time to give your mattress a good cleaning.

There’s no reason to be intimidated by the thought of regularly cleaning your mattress. The good news is that it’s actually a lot easier than you might expect. We’ll guide you through each step of the process to keep your mattress squeaky clean.

How to Clean a Mattress

bucket of mattress cleaning supplies

You can help keep your mattress clean by following these simple steps:

1. Strip It Down

Don’t try to cheat on this one – no matter what kind of mattress you have or how great your bedding is, you need to take it all off in order to really get your mattress clean. So toss the comforter, your sheets —  and, yes, even your favorite Purple pillow — to the side and get ready for cleaning. You should probably wash those bed linens while you’re at it, too.

2. Vacuum Your Mattress

Yes, you read that right – it helps to regularly vacuum your mattress. Once you’ve stripped off all the sheets, pillows and other bed linens, reach for your vacuum cleaner, attach the upholstery attachment and give your mattress a good, thorough once-over. Make sure to get the sides, too – not just the top. Pay close attention to seams and other crevices in the surface of your mattress where dust and debris might like to hide. Use the crevice tool attachment if necessary. Vacuuming regularly can help keep your mattress from harboring dirt, allergens, and more.

3. Use Baking Soda

Baking soda is like a little miracle in a box. It gives you many of the same benefits as airing out your mattress, but it’s much simpler. All you have to do is sprinkle a generous layer of baking soda over the surface of your mattress and then leave it alone for several hours. In fact, if you can do this before an overnight trip, that’s ideal. The longer you can leave it, the better it will work.

Then simply come back and vacuum up all the baking soda, taking away dust, odors, and nastiness with it. The baking soda helps break down and absorb any residual moisture and odor your mattress may be retaining. Like magic!

If you’re a fan of essential oils, you can kick this up a notch by adding 10 to 20 drops of your favorite essential oil – like lavender, lemon, sandalwood or chamomile – to your box of baking soda before sprinkling. The addition will help leave behind a calm, fresh, and soothing scent.

4. Clean Spills Right Away

If you’ve spilled something on your mattress, try to clean it up as soon as possible before it has time to set. One of the best things you can do to keep your mattress fresh and clean is to prevent spills from turning into stains. First, blot up any excess moisture you can with a clean cloth. Spray a little cleaner onto a clean, dry cloth (never spray directly onto a mattress) and dab at the spill for best results. Don’t rub or scrub the spill, or you will simply push it further into your mattress.

5. Air Out Your Mattress

Sunshine is nature’s great disinfectant. If you can leave your mattress outside for a few hours, the UV rays will help kill any bacteria or mold present in your mattress. Plus, it will smell amazing after being outside in the fresh air for a few hours. Some mattress sizes are easier to move than others – if you can’t get your mattress outside, try opening your windows to let some natural light into the room. Airing out your mattress also helps evaporate any residual moisture your mattress might be harboring, which can prevent mold and mildew.

6. Use a Mattress Protector

mattress protector

Once your mattress is fresh and clean again, you want to keep it that way. A water-resistant mattress protector can help insulate your mattress against dirt, dust, spills, and more sinister challenges like bed bugs. Keep in mind that an airtight, 100% waterproof mattress cover may cause you to feel hot since your mattress is no longer breathable.

Mattress protectors have come a long way since the crinkly, stiff version you might remember from childhood. Purple’s water-resistant mattress protector, for example, provides a super-stretchy fit that’s quiet and soft. It offers double the typical mattress protection — yet it’s so breathable and cool, you may not even notice it’s there.

7. Flip the Mattress Regularly

Some mattresses can be flipped, which helps them wear more evenly over time. If you flip your mattress, it’s a great time to give it a good cleaning. Toss your bed linens in the washing machine and go through the process of vacuuming your mattress, sprinkling with baking soda, and vacuuming again – both before and after you flip, so that you’re cleaning both sides of the mattress.

How often should you flip? It depends. On average, you may want to flip your mattress every three months. Check with your mattress’ manufacturer on the best way to maintain your particular bed. Keep in mind that many mattress types with special comfort layers cannot be flipped.

8. Avoid Excessive Sweating in Bed

Sweat is one of the chief culprits of mattress odor and staining. If you have trouble finding and maintaining your ideal sleeping temperature, you can find yourself waking up to a hot and sweaty mattress. One of the best things you can do to protect your mattress from sweat is to find a way to sleep comfortably during the night. Try adjusting your room temperature, investing in bamboo sheets, or getting a breathable mattress like Purple to help you stay cool. Doing so can help prevent yucky – and potentially smelly – sweat stains on your mattress for the future.

How to Get Stains Out of a Mattress

man in cape kneeling next to a bucket and mattress cleaning supplies

Every now and then, despite your best efforts, you might end up staining your mattress. No cause for alarm – there are actually several pro tips you can try to get rid of the stain. It’s important to remember that you should never spray harsh chemicals like stain removers directly to your mattress.

To remove stains from your mattress, follow this easy guide:

Choose Your Cleaner – The type of cleaning solution to use is directly related to the type of stain you’re treating. For example, if your stain is biological – think blood stains or urine stains – then an enzyme cleaner like OxyClean is your best bet. An enzyme cleaner can break down proteins in biological agents. If you prefer a more natural approach, you can also mix up a DIY cleaner by combining liquid dish soap and water or by mixing equal parts cold water and hydrogen peroxide.

Blot – Spray your cleaner on a clean, dry cloth and then gently blot the stain. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes. Then, take a separate clean cloth or a few paper towels, wet with cold water and continue to blot. Try to apply as little moisture as possible to get the stain to turn loose. Repeat with vinegar if necessary.

Dry – Allow your mattress to air dry before adding your mattress protector and bed linens. You don’t want to trap moisture between your mattress and any bedding, which could lead to mold and mildew – or worse.

If you have trouble completely removing the stain with dish soap, try blotting with distilled white vinegar and then sprinkling with baking soda. Allow the baking soda to sit for as long as you can before vacuuming. Vinegar and baking soda together make a powerful stain remover.

How Often Should You Clean Your Mattress?

Assuming you regularly wash your sheets and can avoid spills, you can likely get away with a deep cleaning of your mattress every three to four months. But of course, feel free to clean it more frequently if it helps you sleep better. Be sure to give your mattress a deep cleaning every six months if you have pets and children.

How to Get Pee Out of a Mattress

If you have kids or pets, your chances of escaping without a nighttime accident are slim to none. Urine can be a powerful staining and odor agent. Fortunately, there are ways to remove pee from your mattress.  The process for getting urine out of a mattress is slightly different, depending on whether it’s a stain or a fresh accident.

If you’re dealing with urine stains on your mattress, use an enzyme cleaner like OxyClean since urine is a biological compound. A simple mix of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and liquid dish soap is also a powerful cleaner. Mix all three in a spray bottle and just spray a bit onto a clean, dry cloth and dab at the urine stain. The combination should take care of both odor and staining.

It may also be a good idea to consider steam cleaning your mattress after this step. However, use caution. Steam cleaners leave behind moisture, which could cause mildew to develop if the material is not allowed to dry.

If the urine is fresh, first take off all of the bedding and throw it in the wash. Grab a dry towel and blot as much of the urine out of the mattress as you can. Don’t rub or scrub the spot, as this will just force the urine into the mattress. Next, use a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water and blot out the excess liquid. Cover the spot in baking soda and let it sit. The baking soda should draw the urine out of the mattress and into the baking soda, changing the color. Let the baking soda sit for 8-10 hours, then vacuum the baking soda out of the mattress. Repeat the process if discoloration is still visible.

What About Pet Urine Stains?

Although dog pee and cat urine may smell worse, the process for cleaning them is the same. If you’re dealing with older pet stains, use a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and dish soap as outlined above.

If it’s a fresh dog urine or cat pee accident, follow the steps to blot out the urine. Use baking soda to draw out the urine and eliminate the urine smell.

How Can I Prevent Urine Stains?

The best way to reduce the impact of urine accidents on your mattress is to invest in a mattress protector. Although most mattress protectors can help, a waterproof mattress protector is the most effective safeguard from urine. For kids being potty trained, another great option is a waterproof mattress pad that you can slip under a fitted sheet.

Tips for Cleaning Your Mattress

You deserve to sleep on the mattress of your dreams, and it’s important to protect it as best as you can. Regular mattress cleaning can provide both short-term and long-term benefits. With a clean bed and mattress, you’ll rest easy knowing that you’re free from mattress stains, allergens, dust, bed bugs, and other critters. With the right mattress care, you can help protect your investment and have sweet dreams well into the future.