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Mattress Cleaning 101: Remove Stains And Allergens

March 4, 2024

Mattress Cleaning 101: Remove Stains And Allergens


I think mattress cleaning is an important part of home maintenance that is often overlooked. A clean mattress can help provide a more comfortable night’s sleep and a healthier indoor environment. In this article, I’ll provide an in-depth look at mattress cleaning including how to remove common stains, reduce allergens, clean different types of mattresses properly, and maintain a clean mattress.

How Often Should You Clean Your Mattress?

  • Ideally, mattresses should be cleaned every 6 months to 1 year to remove dirt, dust mites, dead skin cells, and other allergens that accumulate over time.
  • More frequent cleaning may be needed for mattresses of kids or pets who may soil the mattress more often.
  • Mattresses should also be cleaned immediately when spills or stains occur to prevent them from setting.

Here are some signs it’s time to clean the mattress:

  • Visible stains or soiling on the mattress surface
  • Noticeable odor coming from the mattress
  • Waking up congested or with allergy symptoms
  • Dander, hair, or dust accumulates even after sheet washing

Supplies Needed

Gather these supplies before beginning the mattress cleaning process:

  • Vacuum cleaner – Use a vacuum with an upholstery attachment.
  • Mild laundry detergent or upholstery shampoo
  • Clean cloths/towels
  • Mattress protector – If your mattress doesn’t have one already.
  • Fan or dehumidifier – To speed drying time.


  • Baking soda – Helps deodorize and brighten.
  • Distilled white vinegar – Disinfects and removes stains.
  • Essential oils – Add a light scent. Lavender is a common option.

Step-By-Step Mattress Cleaning Process

Follow these steps for a thorough mattress cleaning:

1. Strip the Mattress

  • Remove all bedding including sheets, mattress protector, and pillows.
  • If using a mattress topper or pad, remove that as well.

2. Vacuum the Surface

  • Use the vacuum upholstery attachment to vacuum all sides and surface of the mattress.
  • Vacuum slowly and thoroughly to remove as much dust and debris as possible.
  • Lift the mattress and vacuum underside and along sides.
  • Open zippers on mattress covers and vacuum inner surfaces too.

3. Spot Clean Stains

  • Inspect for any visible stains on the mattress surface.
  • Mix mild laundry detergent with warm water in a spray bottle.
  • Lightly spray stained areas, then gently blot with a clean cloth. Avoid rubbing aggressively.
  • For tough stains, use distilled white vinegar before detergent.
  • Allow any wet spots to fully dry before replacing bedding.

4. Deep Clean the Surface

  • For a deeper clean, use an upholstery shampoo in the spray bottle instead of detergent.
  • Shake bottle well then lightly mist over the mattress surface.
  • Gently work the shampoo into mattress with a soft brush or cloth.
  • Allow to dry completely before using mattress again.

5. Deodorize and Freshen

There are a couple options for deodorizing and freshening:

  • Sprinkle baking soda over entire mattress surface. Let sit for a few hours or overnight before vacuuming away.
  • Fill a clean spray bottle with distilled white vinegar to lightly mist as a disinfectant.
  • Use 5-10 drops essential oils like lavender into spray bottle for a fresh scent.

6. Put Bedding Back On

  • Before putting sheets back on, make sure mattress is completely dry.
  • Use a waterproof mattress protector to shield from future stains or accidents.
  • Wash all bedding including mattress protector regularly to keep mattress clean.

Tips for Problem Stain Removal

Here are some tips for treating common mattress stains:

  • For blood stains, use cold water, salt, and dish soap. Avoid hot water which can set blood stains.
  • Urine stains should be treated quickly with an enzyme cleaner to break down odor and prevent setting. Baking soda and vinegar work well too.
  • Oil-based stains like makeup or lotion require a solvent like rubbing alcohol to cut through the oil.
  • Sweat stains can be pre-treated with diluted vinegar or baking soda paste before washing sheets.
  • Mold or mildew stains need a disinfectant like tea tree oil or vinegar along with drying out the mattress fully.

Avoid harsh bleach or hydrogen peroxide cleaners which may damage some mattress materials. Test cleaners on a small hidden area first.

Deep Cleaning Different Mattress Types

It’s important to take mattress material into account when deep cleaning:

  • Innerspring – Vacuum crevices between coils. Spot clean stains with mild detergent. Allow to fully air dry.
  • Latex – Check manufacturer instructions. Most latex mattresses can be spot cleaned with gentle soap and water. Completely dry.
  • Memory foam – Difficult to wet clean. Spot clean gently with soft brush. Deodorize with baking soda.
  • Adjustable air – Check manual for cleaning instructions. Typically just spot treat stains and deodorize mattress chamber with baking soda.
  • Pillowtop – Focus on spot treating the pillowtop layer. Use gentle circular scrubbing. Don’t oversaturate.

Take extra care not to oversaturate mattresses with inner materials that take longer to dry out.

Maintaining a Fresh Mattress Between Cleanings

  • Use a mattress protector to shield from sweat, oils and spills.
  • Wash sheets including mattress protector weekly in hot water.
  • Rotate mattress every 2-3 months to evenly distribute wear.
  • Allow mattress to air out for 30 mins after stripping bedding.
  • Sprinkle baking soda before adding sheets back to absorb moisture and odors.
  • Vacuum mattress surface frequently using upholstery attachment.

When to Consider Replacing a Mattress

Even with regular cleaning, mattresses do reach the end of their lifespan over time. Here are some signs a new mattress may be needed:

  • Visible sagging, sinkholes or misshaping of surface
  • Musty, difficult-to-remove odors
  • Stains that have soaked deep into the mattress padding
  • Consistently waking up with back pain or soreness

On average, mattresses should be replaced every 7-10 years, sometimes sooner for budget mattresses. Shop for quality mattresses made to last longer with proper care.


I hope these mattress cleaning tips help extend the life of your mattress and create a fresher, healthier sleep environment. Just remember to vacuum frequently, spot clean stains promptly, and deep clean every 6-12 months. Proper maintenance will have you sleeping better in no time. Let me know if you have any other mattress cleaning questions!

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