Skip to main content

How to deep clean any mattress

The average person spends about a third of their life sleeping. That’s a lot of time in your bed. Sleep is great for your health and mental well-being, but what about the surface beneath you? Mattresses can retain thousands, even millions of different kinds of bacteria over the course of their use. Yeast, mold — and in unfortunate cases, bed bugs — can also reside in a mattress.

As nice as it would be to simply purchase a new matter every few months, most don’t have the budget for such an expense. If you’d like to sleep soundly on a sanitary surface, you should know how to clean a mattress. Even better, you should know how to deep clean a mattress. But the first thing you must learn is this: what makes up that fluffy square in the first place?

Person using a vacuum to clean a bed

What are mattresses made of?

At their most basic, a mattress is crafted with a fastened case of sorts, usually quilted. The case is coated in heavy, plush materials or cloth. Inside is a labyrinth of springs, typically metal. In between all of this is a type of filler material that gives the mattress its soft cushion.

Many different choices are available. Everything from hair, foam rubber, latex, straw, cotton, down, and dozens of others. There are even water- and air-filled mattresses. How long a mattress lasts greatly depends on the amount of wear and tear. The majority of mattresses are designed to last somewhere between 10 to 18 years at the most. It may be time to replace your mattress when you hear it creaking, you notice lumps, or you frequently wake up feeling sore.

So, how do you clean a really dirty mattress?

To start cleaning your mattress, vacuum it thoroughly across the entire surface area. It may be helpful to use an extension. Next, spot clean surface stains. If you don’t want to purchase a pre-made solution, make your own. Combine dish soap, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda in equal measures. Spray the mixture onto trouble spots and rub the stains out with a rag. Blotting works, too. You can use additional baking soda to deodorize your mattress as well, simply by sprinkling it over the mattress and letting it sit for a couple of hours before vacuuming it off. Some prefer to allow their mattress to air out by taking it outdoors for an hour or two instead.

When you’re done, always make sure you return the mattress cover and sheet to protect the newly cleaned surface. This type of deep clean should be conducted at least every six months or so.

What is the best way to get rid of a mattress?

Before you drag a large mattress to the side of the road to be picked up, keep in mind that there are alternative eco-friendly ways to dispose of mattresses. If you do opt to have a garbage service pick it up, it is always good to wrap it in plastic or break it down into smaller pieces. Use a box cutter or similar blade, and always use caution when working with sharp objects. You can even hire a disposal service to assist you.

If your mattress is still in usable and sanitary condition, you could also try selling it. Donation is a kindly option. Many nonprofit associations will screen and take mattresses that pass sanitation checks. Depending on the retailer you purchased it from, you could even exchange your mattress for an upgrade. Recycling centers will take mattresses and pay you for them. The typical rates are between $50 and $100.

You may be so eager to go to sleep that you forget to consider the very mattress you sleep on. Mattresses, while made and manufactured in many different ways and using countless materials, do get dirty. All the bacteria, dust, and germs in your body get absorbed over time.

Every six months or so, vacuum, spot treat, and deodorize your mattress to keep it lasting a long time. Keep protective covers on it every time you use it. And if it comes to a point where you must replace your mattress, discard your mattress responsibly. Deconstruct it, donate it, or recycle it. Every night’s sleep will feel so much better on a fresh, newly cleaned mattress.

Corner of brand-new mattress
Quality Master/

Editors' Recommendations