Once Upon a Mattress
HOW TO CLEAN A MATTRESS
When we think of cleaning our bedrooms, few of us actually consider cleaning our mattress or how we would even attempt it. It’s big. It’s bulky. It’s not like you can dip it in a tub and soak. Also here is your warning label: do not soak your mattress. EVER. Soaking foam destroys it and will create a perfect environment to grow and foster mold.
Mattresses, however, can harbor dust mites, bacteria and other allergens and, on top of that, can sometimes be the unwelcome recipients of human biology including sweat, blood, vomit, urine, and trekked in dirt and mud. So how do you address these issues?
Before thinking about the mattress, it really should go without saying that first strip the bed of all sheets, pillowcases, mattress covers, and bedskirts. Wash the bedding in hot water to get rid of any bed mites. Don’t confuse bed bugs with bed mites. Bed bugs are insects and bed mites are arachnids. We will address bed bugs in a later post, but for now, we are focusing on mites.
You will need the following equipment to get started: a vacuum with an upholstery attachment, some kind of stain remover or enzyme cleaner, baking soda, and cleaning cloths. Also, you need access to cold water.
Start by vacuuming the surface on the mattress, both top and bottom and all four sides. If you find any biological stains, use an enzyme cleaner or a 1:1 solution of hydrogen peroxide and water. Spray the cleaner on and blot it off with a clean, cold water-soaked cloth. Do not use hot water. Use as little product and water as possible as too much can take too long to dry, and we are trying to avoid soaking the foam which will destroy it or creating conditions for mildew or mold.
To dry the mattress and air it out, leave it to soak in the sun and fresh air if that’s an option and you have another set of arms (or the strength of The Rock). This is not advisable if you live in a humid environment or if you have to leave the mattress outside overnight when moisture from condensation and morning dew can soak through the pad.
An alternative is to sprinkle baking soda over it and leave the powder on it for several hours to break down any acid, moisture or odor. Use the vacuum cleaner with the upholstery attachment to clean up the baking soda. Really get into the grooves and corners to make sure all the dust, dust mites, and cleaning products are removed. Flip your mattress before protecting it with a mattress cover. Flipping your mattress regularly extends its shelf life by preventing overused areas of the mattress to become saggy and damaged. Most mattresses should be replaced every eight to ten years, but maintaining its cleanliness not only can influence its durability, but having a good quality clean mattress is critical for improved sleep, reduced stiffness and pain, and reduced allergies and asthma. Added bonus: keeping the mattress out of landfills longer, helping to increase sustainability and protect our environment.