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What is the Best Way to Clean a Mattress?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 16, 2024
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The best way to clean a mattress is to vacuum it. Mattresses should never be saturated with cleaning products or water, as mold may grow in the layers if moisture builds up. Mattress pads are the best way to keep a mattress clean and free from stains and moisture that may come from spills and accidents.

A waterproof mattress pad can save a person from ever having to try to clean up stains and/or odors, as it prevents anything from getting to the mattress. Water-resistant pads have been treated with a fabric protector and resist staining and saturation. They are available in all sizes and thread counts and are machine washable and dryable.

A hand-held vacuum or a vacuum with attachments can be used to remove dirt and debris from a mattress. Manufacturers recommend vacuuming as the only method that should be used to clean a mattress. Both the mattress and box spring should be vacuumed at regular intervals.

Many experts suggest turning and flipping a mattress every three months. It can be done after vacuuming and helps the mattress wear more evenly. A person can flip the mattress over and turn it around so that where his head once rested, his feet will now be. Baking soda can be sprinkled on the mattress and box spring about 30 minutes before vacuuming to help remove any odors.

If it ever becomes necessary to remove a small stain from a mattress, soapy water can be used very sparingly. The person using the cleaning should only use a very small amount of cold water and a mild detergent. The area should be totally dry before putting sheets on, and ideally, a mattress protector should be put on before clean sheets are added to the dried mattress. Dry cleaning solutions should not be used as the harsh chemicals may ruin the materials in the mattress.

If a mattress does become soaked, it may take many towels to absorb all the moisture. Kitty litter can also be used to absorb the liquid, but it may be messy to clean up. Powdered detergent or baking soda mixed with a tiny bit of cold water put onto the mattress with a brush or sponge is a good way to freshen and clean a mattress that has been urine-soaked. The mattress must first be almost nearly dry, however, or the powders will form a messy paste.

If possible, the person should the mattress outdoors in the sunshine or with an electric fan so that it is completely dry before placing it back on the bed. The drying process can take all day, so it is a good idea for the person to start early in the morning so that the mattress will be dry by the evening.

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Discussion Comments
By StreamFinder — On Aug 10, 2010

Another good tip on how to clean a bed mattress is to mix some hydrogen peroxide with some baking soda on top of the mattress. Let it sit for a while, then dab it to wipe it off.

That will remove odor and stains.

By googlefanz — On Aug 10, 2010

@closerfan12 -- These are my best tips on how to clean a mattress with urine:

Remove and wash all the bedding that may have urine on it.

Then sprinkle the mattress with baking soda to soak up any additional moisture. After this, cover the mattress with a plastic sheet, and tie it with a bungee cord or rope.

After about 6 hours, take off the plastic and vacuum up the baking soda. Hopefully by this point all the odor will be absorbed.

Finally, spray the mattress with some Lysol to kill any remaining germs, then put your freshly laundered bed-clothes back on it after it dries.

This should take care of the majority of urine issues.

By closerfan12 — On Aug 10, 2010

Does anybody know how to clean a pillow top mattress that has been urinated on?

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