Close this search box.

How to clean a mattress

Article navigation

Cleaning your mattress creates a healthy and hygienic environment. This keeps your bed fresh and reduces the risk of allergies, which can help you sleep better.

We spend a third of our lives in bed, yet mattress cleaning is not top of most people’s list when it comes to household chores.

Every night your mattress absorbs body moisture, sweat, dead skin cells and even bodily fluids. On top of that, spillages and stains from food and drink. All of which provide the perfect environment for germs, bacteria and dust mites, which can trigger allergies.

Cleaning your mattress creates a healthy and hygienic environment. This keeps your bed fresh and reduces the risk of allergies, which can help you sleep better. Also, cleaning spillages straight away can help avoid mattress discolouration and staining. It can also prevent liquids from soaking into the mattress fillings.

man cleaning a mattress with vacuum cleaner

How often should you clean your mattress?

It is generally recommended to give your mattress a thorough clean every six months. Asthma and allergy sufferers should consider more frequent mattress cleaning to alleviate symptoms.

Use a mattress protector

If you haven’t done so already, you should always protect your mattress with a good quality, breathable mattress protector. This helps protect your mattress against stains and spillages, keeping it in good condition. Most mattress protectors are machine washable, but you should always check the manufacturer’s instructions beforehand.

Follow the manufacturer’s care advice

Before cleaning your mattress, always refer to the manufacturer’s care advice. This will cover everything you need to know about caring for and getting the best out of your mattress.

There are no hard and fast rules regarding mattress cleaning. Every mattress is constructed differently, and each manufacturer provides specific advice on how best to clean their mattresses. For instance, some manufacturers advise against vacuuming because this can dislodge the fillings. Others advise against soaking with water or other cleaning fluids due to the risks of damaging the fillings.

How to remove dust from your mattress

Remove dust, dirt and fluff from your mattress using a soft brush. Avoid using a vacuum cleaner if your mattress contains loose fillings, as vacuuming can dislodge the fillings.

Otherwise, gently vacuum the topside of the mattress using a clean brush or upholstery attachment. Take care to ensure you do not cause damage to the mattress cover.

How to clean mattress stains

Clean up stains and spillages as soon as possible by lightly dabbing the affected area with an absorbent cloth or clean tissue.

If you need to sponge the mattress:

  1. Use a slightly damp cloth.
  2. Avoid ‘over-wetting’, as water can soak into the mattress, causing mould and bacteria to grow.
  3. Allow the mattress to air dry before you put the bedding back on.
Before using any cleaning product on your mattress, test on a small part of the stain first to ensure compatibility.

How to get blood out of mattress

Whether it’s a bloody nose, a cut or a period, blood stains can appear on your mattress when you least expect them. The best course of action is to treat the blood stain as soon as you spot it, whilst it is still fresh.

Dab the affected area with an absorbent cloth or clean tissue. Avoid rubbing, as this can spread the stain and make it worse.

Apply a small amount of cold water if necessary. But do not oversoak the stain as this can create a breeding environment for mould and mildew. Also, do not wash the blood with warm or hot water, as this can set the stain in further.

For stubborn blood stains, mix baking soda or hydrogen peroxide with cold water and apply directly to the stain. Let dry for around 30 minutes, then dab with an absorbent cloth or clean tissue.

How to remove urine from mattress  

When a child or pet has an accident in your bed, it can be extremely unpleasant. Fortunately, there are a few ways to treat a urine stain on your mattress.

First, dab the affected area with a clean tissue or absorbent cloth to soak up as much liquid as possible. Avoid rubbing the stain as this will cause it to spread further into the mattress.

Next, make a solution of mild detergent and water and pour it into a spray bottle. Spray the solution on a small part of the stain to ensure compatibility. Then, spray the solution on the stain and leave for around 5 minutes.

Finally, dab up any remaining moisture with a clean tissue or absorbent cloth and leave for a few hours until completely dry.

How to clean a memory foam mattress

Cleaning recommendations for memory foam mattresses are often different from other mattresses because you should avoid getting the material wet or damp. 

Memory foam mattresses often come with covers that you can remove for cleaning or airing. Not all covers are washable. Some covers are purely for manufacturing purposes. So it’s important to always check the manufacturer’s care instructions before cleaning.

Memory foam mattresses are highly absorbent, so do not steam-clean, soak with water or cleaning fluids as this can damage the material. It may also invalidate your guarantee.

Using a vacuum cleaner with a clean brush attachment, you can remove dust and debris from a memory foam mattress. When using a vacuum, care needs to be taken to ensure the mattress cover does not get damaged.

How to stop your mattress from smelling

Over time, older mattresses can acquire some unpleasant smells. Baking soda is a cleaning agent that neutralises stubborn odours and can help your mattress smell fresh and clean again.

Sprinkle a thin layer of baking soda across the entire surface of the mattress. Leave for a few hours to allow the baking soda to soak up and absorb any lingering odours. Then brush it off the mattress thoroughly to remove.

If your mattress is new, you may notice a slight odour when you unpack it. This is quite normal and is no cause for concern. The smell is usually caused when the mattress is delivered in airtight packaging. The treatments used in the manufacturing process are unable to escape. Once the packaging is removed, this can set off a ‘chemical-like smell’.

If this happens, open the windows and give the mattress time to air or breathe. The smell will eventually disperse within a few weeks.

Final thoughts

The next time you decide to give your home a spring clean, don’t forget your mattress. You’ll sleep better knowing you have a clean, fresh and odour-free mattress.

Picture of About the author

About the author

Tony Brown is the founder and creator of The Bed Consultant. His career in the bed industry began in 2002. After graduating from university with a degree in Business Administration, Tony joined one of the largest independent furniture retailers in the UK as a bed consultant. Tony has helped thousands of customers find the perfect mattress.

Recent posts

Perfect Sleep Starts Here!

Everything you need to know about beds and mattresses: Tips, advice, guides, deals. and more!

Your information will be used in accordance with our Privacy policy

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more about cookies.