If you’re like most people then you probably have countless tasks on your weekly to-do list. This is especially the case when it comes to household chores. Whether you need to make repairs to the outside of your home, clean the interior, or make new additions, there always seems to be more than enough to keep you busy.
While you may not want to add more items to your list it’s very important that you take the time to do regular mattress maintenance. Not only does routine cleaning ensure that your mattress remains free of odors, stains, and insects but it can also extend its life. Unfortunately, many people aren’t sure how they should go about cleaning their mattresses. And as a result, they neglect their mattress which results in spending extra money and even sicknesses.
Luckily, this guide we’ll cover all of the basics. You’ll discover signs that indicate when your mattress should be cleaned, tips for cleaning it, as well as how you can go about preventing stains and odors. We’ll also discuss how to extend the life of your mattress and when you should replace your mattress altogether.
Your Mattress Needs to Be Cleaned If:
1. You Notice an Unpleasant Odor In Your Bedroom
Have you noticed that your bedroom contains an unpleasant odor? Well, if you’ve done a deep cleaning of your room but still can’t seem to find the source of the smell then it’s very likely that your mattress may be the culprit. Just as is the case with any other fabric your mattress tends to hold on to smells. This means that all of the years of sweat and body odor that it’s come into contact with can become trapped inside which can lead to unwanted odors in your bedroom. If you notice that your mattress is giving off an unclean scent then this is a sign that it’s time to do deep clean your bed.
2. You Notice Bed Bugs
When you inspect your mattress do you notice small blood stains? Have you recently discovered fecal droppings on your bedding? Perhaps you’ve noticed the exoskeletons of tiny insects? Well, if you have then there’s a good chance that you’re dealing with bed bugs. These are tiny nocturnal insects that thrive in bedding as well as other fabric-based items. They may be carried into your bedroom through things such as pets, luggage, and even clothing. Not only do these pests leave their mark on your mattress but they can also affect your body because they feed on human blood. You may notice raised welts on your skin. You may feel itching and burning sensations. There’s also a chance that you may have a line of bug bites on certain parts of your body. A bed bug infestation can be particularly stressful and requires a consistent cleaning effort.
3. Your Mattress Has Stains
One of the most obvious signs that your mattress needs to be cleaned is if it has a lot of stains on it. If you’re someone who enjoys snacking and drinking in bed then it’s easy to spill these items from time to time. Stains may also come from bodily fluids such as urine or blood. Unfortunately, if you leave them over time these stains can become deeply embedded in your mattress and will require a deep cleaning.
4. Your Allergies Are Getting Worse
While most people associate their coughing, sneezing, upper respiratory issues, and scratchy throat with the changes in weather, these symptoms can also come from other sources. Many people overlook the fact that their bedrooms may contain allergens that are making their conditions worse. This is especially the case when it comes to your bedding. If your mattress contains allergens such as dust mites then this may be the cause of your irritated skin and itchy eyes. Sure, you may have a simple cold but if you find that your illnesses are chronic or just won’t go away no matter what you try then it’s a good idea to clean your mattress. This will help to remove any of the excess allergens that may be contributing to your sickness.
Keeping Your Mattress Fresh
It’s no secret, it takes a significant amount of time and care to clean a mattress. The good news is that if you develop a regular routine to keep your mattress fresh, then you can avoid losing the time that a deep cleaning takes. In fact, one of the best ways to ensure that your mattress remains in great condition is to make sure that it doesn’t get dirty in the first place.
For instance, you need to keep your pets away from your bed. There are a lot of pet owners who enjoy cuddling up to their furry friends at night, but it’s a good idea to let them sleep in their own beds. When you allow your pets to sleep in your bed it can create a host of problems. Not only can it be a nuisance to remove their hair from your bed, but pets have a tendency to leave behind dander. You may notice that they drool. There’s also a chance that your pet could have an accident on your mattress and this can be extremely difficult to clean. And each of these factors can accumulate and result in a layer of gunk on your mattress and sheets. No matter how tempting it is to invite them on to your bed if you want to ensure that your mattress remains fresh and allergen-free, keep them away from this area.
Another excellent way to ensure that your mattress remains as clean as possible is to limit the amount of food and drink that you allow on your bed. Snacking can be a great way to relax after a long day, however, be aware that food items are usually the main culprits of stains. In fact, spilled liquids can create the perfect environment for things such as mildew and mold. When they absorbed into your bed they can completely ruin the mattress. So try to avoid snacking as much as possible. If you insist on eating and drinking in bed, then you should take certain precautions. Try using a special tv tray that can help to catch all of the crumbs and liquid whenever you spill.
If you want to keep your mattress fresh then consider using a mattress protector or pad. Protectors and pads are removable bedding items that encase or sit on top of your mattress and protect it. These are great options for people who struggle with allergies as they can shield you from irritants such as mold and dust mites. Mattress pads can be placed over the top of the mattress. Protectors are designed to fully encase the mattress. And the best part is that they’re offered in several varieties such as hypoallergenic and waterproof.
How Do You Deep Clean a Mattress?
If you’ve had your mattress for quite some time, then it’s very likely that you’ll have to perform a deep cleaning. This is especially the case if you’re dealing with things like bed bugs, dust mites, stains, and odors. Let’s take a moment to discuss how you can treat each of these issues.
Getting Rid of Bed Bugs
Step 1: Remove all of your bedding. This includes everything from your sheets to your pillowcases. If you don’t want these items, then gather them together in a garbage bag and throw them away. However, if you’re interested in keeping your bedding, then you should launder these items in extremely high temperatures. It’s recommended that the temperature of your water is at least 104-122 degrees F.
Step 2: Vacuum your mattress. If you have a vacuum that features an upholstery attachment then carefully go over every inch of your bed. You should pay close attention to the crevices and seams as these are the areas that bed bugs usually hide out in. Once you’ve covered every area, make sure that you empty your vacuum cleaner as soon as possible so that the bed bugs don’t find more hideout spots in your device.
Step 3: Encase your box spring and mattress inside of a mattress protector. The best thing about using a protector is that bed bugs aren’t able to bite through this material. And it’s designed so that even the smallest insects aren’t able to slip through the zipper. However, bed bugs can survive for several months without feeding, so it’s ideal to let the cover remain for at least a year so that you can be sure that the eggs have completely died out.
Step 4: Inspect your frame. If you notice any bed bugs on your headboard or frame then you should kill them. Pay close attention to the cracks. Some insecticides can be particularly harmful so make sure that you read the label carefully if you’re killing the bugs with sprays.
Step 5: Move your bed away from the walls. Place interceptor cups underneath each of the feet of the frame. Bed bug inceptor cups contain pesticides that can help to trap and kill bed bugs that attempt to climb the legs of your bed. Make sure that your blankets and bed skirts don’t touch the ground.
Step 6: Regularly inspect your room for bed bugs. Make sure that you’re always mindful of bed bugs in your home by thoroughly vacuuming your floor and searching for eggs. Inspect your mattress for signs of bed bugs. This should be done at regular intervals.
Getting Rid of Dust Mites
Step 1: Lower the humidity. In order for dust mites to survive, they need a high level of humidity–rough 80%. You can reduce the humidity in your bedroom by using a dehumidifier. Ideally, you should aim to lower it to around 35%. Just keep in mind that this could cause you to sweat more at night. Also, the dehumidifier may lead to an increase in your electric bill.
Step 2: Remove all of your bedding. Just as is the case if you’re dealing with bed bugs, you need to make remove your sheets, blankets, and pillowcases from your bed. Bag and throw away the items that you don’t want. And make sure that you launder your bedding in extremely high temperatures– at least 104-122 degrees F.
Step 3: Add baking soda and then vacuum. While lowering the humidity is a great way to keep the dust mites away, you still need to remove those that are living on your mattress as well as their fecal matter as this is what leads to allergies. Mix a cup of baking soda with a couple of drops of essential oil and sprinkle this mixture on to your mattress. Allow it to sit for at least 15 minutes. You can then vacuum the mixture off using your upholstery attachment. This will remove both the baking soda and the dust mites. You may want to invest in a HEPA filter as they don’t spread the dust around as regular vacuums do. This method works best for mattresses that have a fabric surface. You should avoid using it on memory foam or latex.
Getting Rid of Stains
Step 1: Absorb the wetness. If you’re dealing with a wet stain, then you need to use a dry towel to blot it. Make sure that you avoid scrubbing or rubbing the stain. You’ll get the best results if you simply absorb it into the cloth that you’re using–use pressure on the wetness. If the stain is new but has recently dried then dampen a cloth and apply pressure so that it can be absorbed.
Step 2: Add soap or cleaner. Once you’ve finished absorbing the stain then you need to properly clean the area. So add soap to a wet cloth or spray a cleaner on your mattress and dab at the area. There are some stains that may need to sit for 10 to 15 minutes, such as blood. This will give the soap or cleaner time to work.
Step 3: Blot the area. Once the area has been properly cleaned it’s time to absorb the soap or cleaner. Use a paper towel or cloth to blot the area. Keep blotting until the area is relatively dry.
Step 4: Allow the area to air dry. Now that the area is clean, you should open the windows and allow the air to dry your mattress. Ideally, you should make sure that the sun hits it as this will speed up the drying process. If you can’t open the windows then try bringing a fan into your room and opening your doors. The key is to circulate as much air as possible. This part of the process could take several hours.
Special Consideration: Urine
Urine can be a very difficult stain to remove as it’s usually accompanied by a strong odor. So you need to take special care when removing it. The best way to remove urine is with an enzyme-based cleaner that is designed specifically for upholstery. These types of detergents can help to break down proteins that cause odors. Once you’ve absorbed the urine, apply the cleaner and allow it to sit for 10 to 15 minutes. You may then dab the spot with a cool wet cloth and allow it to air dry.
Getting Rid of Odors
Just as is the case with your clothes, your mattress can develop odors over time. However, unlike your clothes, you can’t wash your mattress in a machine. This can present a problem if you sweat a lot during sleep, smoke, or have children who aren’t potty trained. The good news is that it’s possible to deodorize your mattress. Below are a few options.
Distilled White Vinegar
You don’t need a special chemical cleaner to get rid of those unwanted odors. You can always use distilled vinegar. Simply mix it with equal parts water and spray the surface of your mattress. Make sure that it’s just enough to dampen the mattress but not so much that it completely saturates it. You may then allow it to air dry over the next 24 hours.
Another great way to remove odors is with baking soda. Simply mix baking soda and a couple of drops of essential oil and sprinkle the mixture on your bed. Make sure that it’s evenly distributed. Open your windows and allow it to sit for the next 24 hours. Afterward, use a vacuum to remove the mixture. As discussed earlier this is also great for getting rid of dust mites.
Enzyme-based cleaners can be a great way to remove powerful odors such as the ones that come from urine, but so can corn starch. Sprinkle cornstarch on smelly areas and add a couple of drops of water. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes and then use a paper towel to clot and remove the cornstarch.
Wash Your Bedding
While this may seem like a simple tip, it’s something that people don’t do enough. It’s a good idea to wash your bedding weekly. However, if you have a busy schedule, you should at least wash it every two weeks. This ensures that your mattress remains as fresh as possible.
Extending the Life of Your Mattress
If you want to make sure that your mattress lasts for a long time then you must make cleaning a regular part of your routine. You may not need to clean your mattress as frequently as you wash dishes or vacuum, but you should still develop a consistent schedule. This ensures that you don’t become overwhelmed by stains and odors. If you have a special mattress then you may use the instructions provided by the manufacturer. However, if you have an average fabric mattress, here are a few tips to keep in mind when it comes to extending its lifespan:
1. Change and wash your sheets regularly. Your bedding acts as a barrier between you and all of the food, dust, and debris. You should never allow these elements to build up as it can take a toll on your mattress. When you’re consistent about washing your sheets, blankets, and pillowcases, it drastically reduces the need for you to perform a deep clean.
2. Vacuum the mattress. Using your attachment to go over the surface will help you to remove mites and even dead skin from your mattress. And this is a great way to ensure that it lasts a long time.
3. When it comes to stains, act quickly. It can be tempting to let stains sit for a while, especially if you’re tired after a long day. However, you should never let a stain soak into your bed. The quicker you remove the stain, the less work you’ll have to do later on.
4. Give your mattress a little air. One of the best ways to make sure that your mattress remains fresh is to allow air to circulate in your home. By opening doors, windows, and turning on fans, you can get rid of odors before they have a chance to set in. The best time to air your mattress out is when you’re washing your bedding.
You Should Replace Your Mattress If:
We’ve just discussed a few ways that you can clean your mattress as well as how you can extend its lifespan. However, there are times in which these methods may be of little use to you. This is particularly true if your mattress is old or has undergone a lot of damage. In these instances, it’s a good idea to throw away your old mattress and purchase a new one. Here are a few ways that you can tell that it’s time to replace your mattress.
1. Spot Cleaning Isn’t Working
Some stains are easier to clean than others, however, if you notice that spot cleaning has little to no effect on the stain then you may have a bigger problem than you initially thought. If it seems to be impossible to get rid of a certain stain or odor then it’s time to search for a new mattress. There may be underlying damage that you’re not able to see.
2. The Bug Infestation Keeps Coming Back
There may be times in which your bug infestation is ongoing or it keeps coming back. If you’ve tried everything but aren’t able to eliminate bed bugs and dust mites then you need to dispose of your current mattress and go shopping for a new one.
3. There’s a Mold Buildup
There’s hardly anything more toxic than mold. This is especially the case if you’re someone who already struggles with allergies. If you notice even a small trace of mold on your bed then it’s a sign that you should throw it out and replace it with a new one.
As you can see, taking care of a mattress can be a time-consuming process. This is especially the case if you’re dealing with issues such as bed bugs, dust mites, stains, and odors. Luckily, mattress maintenance doesn’t have to be difficult. You just need to be willing to develop a weekly routine.