Cleaning Experts Say You Should Be Cleaning Your Mattress Every Few Months

Lauren Smith McDonough
Cleaning Experts Say You Should Be Cleaning Your Mattress Every Few Months
Photo credit: FotoDuets - Getty Images

From Good Housekeeping

If you haven't thought about cleaning your mattress lately, consider this: You probably spend six or seven hours on it every night. During that time, dust, dead skin cells, sweat, and oil from your body can make their way onto it. That's why Carolyn Forte, director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab, recommends following this advice every few months to keep your bed fresh and dust-, stain-, and odor-free.

1. Ditch the dust.

The easiest way to remove dust is to use the upholstery tool on your vacuum cleaner. It's a good idea to do this every couple of months or more often if someone is the family suffers with allergies. Go over the top and sides of the mattress and as much of the box spring as you can access. Press down firmly on the tool to draw out dust beneath the fabric's surface. Then use the crevice tool to get into the quilting, along the edge welting, and where any pillow top is attached.

You can also steam clean your mattress. If you have a garment steamer, go over the mattress with the steamer holding the nozzle as close to the fabric as you can to help the penetrating steam kill dust mites lurking near the surface. Vacuum the mattress again to remove them.

2. Wipe out stains.

If pets sleep with you or you like to snack in bed, chances are your mattress may have some stains on it. By tackling them as soon as possible after they happen or as soon as you notice them, they'll take less effort to erase. The easiest way to remove them is with a carpet and upholstery cleaner formulated to remove pet stains, like Good Housekeeping Seal-holder Bissell Pet Stain and Odor Remover. "It not only removes pet, food and other stains but also contains enzymes to tackle odors," Forte says.

To use it, lightly spray the stain — or a cloth — and dab the stain working from the outside edge towards the center to keep the stain from spreading. Rotate your cloth to a clean area as it picks up the dissolved stain to keep from depositing it back onto the fabric. Avoid over-wetting the mattress. When the stain is gone, sponge the area with a damp cloth to rinse and remove all traces of the cleaner. Blot the area with a dry cloth and let the mattress dry thoroughly before making the bed.

If you are lucky enough to own a "steam" cleaner that dispenses detergent and sucks up stains from carpet and upholstery, like Good Housekeeping Seal holder, Bissell Little Green Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner, by all means, use it to clean your mattress, too. And the best way to keep your mattress white and stain-free is by covering it with removable mattress pad that you can wash regularly.

If your mattress has yellow cast, it's likely from a build-up of sweat and body oils. While it's difficult to wet clean an entire mattress and you never want to fully saturate it, you can try to whiten it with a 50/50 mix (one cup each) of hydrogen peroxide and warm water plus 1/4 teaspoon mild dish liquid. Pour this solution into a spray bottle and spritz mattress surface. Work it into the fabric with a soft brush or terry towel and let set about 30 minutes. Spritz the mattress again with clear water to rinse, blot well to remove all traces of the cleaner, and let it air dry completely. For tough stains, repeat or add a little more hydrogen peroxide to the solution.


3. Kill odors and freshen.

Whenever you notice any stale smells, spray the mattress and box spring with a disinfecting spray, like Lysol. It's safe to use on fabric and kills bacteria that causes odors. To quickly freshen your mattress between deep cleanings, sprinkle some Arm & Hammer Baking Soda onto the fabric, brush it in lightly, wait 15 minutes, and vacuum.

Now that you know your mattress is clean, check out these tips for making sure your pillows and mattress pad are dust- and odor-free too.

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