How to Clean Your Mattress {Spring Cleaning}

So this month I am working on organizing and cleaning the master bedroom for my Household Organization Diet. Since the majority of our time in our bedrooms is spent sleeping, I thought that cleaning the mattress would be a good place to start.  Here’s the rundown on how to clean your mattress…

Tutorial on how to clean your mattress.
Cleaning your mattress on a regular basis is important to prevent dust mites and dead skin cells from building up and also helps to promote a good night’s sleep {and who doesn’t need that?}.  Although we can all benefit from a clean mattress, it is particularly important if you are prone to sensitivities, asthma, or allergies.  Mattresses generally contain the highest number of allergens in our homes, including molds, bacteria, viruses, and dust mites.  I won’t get in to all of the nasty information out there about dust mites {and their feces!} in our mattresses because, quite honestly, I prefer not to think about it too much.  Let’s just say we want to reduce those guys as much as possible. :)

Great tutorial on how to clean your mattress.
Okay, so are you ready to get cleaning?
  • Strip all of the bedding and mattress covers off of the bed and wash them in hot water (over 130 F).  This will kill any dust mites.  Add 1/2 -1 cup of vinegar to your wash to remove any extra odors and soften your sheets.
  • Cleaning Option No.1. If  the weather permits and you can get your mattress outside, take it out in the morning on a sunny day to allow it to air out.  The sun has a natural cleaning ability and can kill off bacteria hiding in the mattress.  Now the fun part… Grab a bat, golf club, 2×4, etc. and give your mattress a good beating for 10-20 minutes.  This will get rid of dead human skin cells, dust mites and their feces, and dander and will also give you a good workout!  Let your mattress sit in the sun for the day remembering to turn it around to the other side half way through the day.  You might want to give it another quick beating before bringing it back in at the end of the day.
  • Cleaning Option No. 2. If you can’t get your mattress outside, sprinkle baking soda over the mattress and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes {longer is better} to absorb any odors.  Using the upholstery attachment on your vacuum, vacuum the mattress.
  • If you have any particular stained areas that you are needing to treat, do this prior to the above cleaning options but do vacuum the mattress to remove any loose dirt or dust before working on the stained area.  Remember that the quicker you can treat a stain, the easier it will be to remove!  See below for specific stain treatments.
  • After you have cleaned your mattress, ensure that the mattress is COMPLETELY dry before putting the covers and sheets back on.  Any moisture will encourage the growth of molds, mildew, and bacteria.  Let your mattress dry out in the sun or run a fan over it for at least several hours until dry.  If you can’t get your mattress outside, you can pull it off your bed and prop it up by an open window to get more air circulating.
Stain Removal
  • When you are treating mattress stains, keep your cleaning fluid use to a minimum to avoid over-saturating the mattress.  You do not want the interior padding of the mattress to become wet as it can develop mold and mildew or damage the wood inside of the mattress.
  • It is important to get to mattress stains as quickly as you can .  To avoid spreading the stain, blot {do not rub or scrub!} up any excess liquids or moisture moving from the outside of the stain inwards.  Use pressure to remove as much of the liquid as possible.
  • For general stains, you can use an upholstery cleaner and follow the directions as indicated on the bottle.  Again, ensure that you do not saturate the mattress too much.
  • For a greener clean, you can try spraying the mattress with vinegar and then sprinkling the baking soda over top.  Let it bubble and place a towel over it for 1-2 hours.  Vacuum up any residual baking soda.
  • BLOOD - Apply hydrogen peroxide {3%} to the blood stain.  {NOTE: The hydrogen peroxide may bleach fabrics so check for color fastness if this is a concern} You can spray it on with a spray bottle if you are treating a larger area or put it on with a Q-tip for small spots.  Blot while it is bubbling with a clean, white cloth. Once it has stopped bubbling, leave it on for an additional 5-10 minutes.  Spray lightly with COLD water {the stains can set more if you use hot water due to the proteins in the blood} and blot until dry.  Repeat if necessary.  A salt water spray or dish soap mixed with water {1 tbsp. dish soap and 2 cups cold water} can also be used if treating a fresh blood stain.
  • URINE – Blot excess fluid with a clean, white towel.  Make a cleaning solution of 2 tbsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. dish soap, and 1 cup 3% hydrogen peroxide {hydrogen peroxide breaks down quickly so use this immediately and discard what is not used}.  You can either use a spray bottle or a cloth soaked in the solution to apply the solution to the mattress. Let this set for up to 24 hours and then vacuum or wipe up any baking soda residue.  Repeat this process if any odors remain especially for pet stains.  You can also try blotting the spot with a cloth soaked in vinegar.
  • ODOR- If the odor from your mattress is not removed by the general cleaning instructions above, you can purchase a plastic mattress bag {that is used by movers} from a moving or box company. Sprinkle the entire mattress with baking soda, and place in the sealed bag for 1-2 days.  Remove the bag and vacuum.
Mattress Maintenance Tips
  • Vacuum your mattress when you change the sheets {or at least every 3 months} to reduce dust {this is much more effective if you have a HEPA rated vacuum}
  • Use a mattress cover.  These can help to protect against dust mites and other allergens and are easily removable and washable.  It will also reduce the need to vacuum the mattress as often.
  • Invest in a mattress pad.  These are placed over the mattress cover and under the sheet of the bed.  In addition to improving comfort, they also provide an additional barrier between you and the mattress and can be easily removed and laundered.  If you have young children, using a water resistent mattress pad is always a good idea for all of those night time “accidents” that can happen.
  • Wash bedding and mattress covers frequently in hot water (above 130F) to kill dust mites.  Add 1/2 cup white vinegar to remove any odors and soften the sheets.
  • Flip your mattress about every 1-3 months – this includes both rotating it {so the head of the bed is at the end of the bed} and flipping it over.  This allows for more even wear and tear of your mattress and can help prolong the life of your mattress.  {NOTE: Some of the newer mattresses are not designed to be flipped over so check your manual!  I do believe that you can still rotate them though.}  I like this idea from Martha Stewart to remind you when it is time to flip/rotate.
How to Clean your mattress.
  • Strip your beds if you are going on a vacation.  This provides a great opportunity to really air your mattress out.
  • Since dust mites prefer warm, moist, dark environments, try keeping your bedroom humidity levels below 50% and the room temperature below 70 degrees when possible.
  • Be careful of using deodorizing sprays or those that claim to reduce odors.  These products often do not actually remove the odor and just cover it up with stronger chemical smells.  Many of them contain chemical that are not checked for safety and contain carcinogens.  Instead, look for options that are simple, natural, and biodegradable.
  • Vacuum and dust your bedroom regularly to reduce dust.  Lightly misting surfaces with water prior to dusting can remove up to 90% of airborne dust and HEPA rated vacuums do the best job at vacuuming without blowing dust back up into the air.
  • Late winter/early spring is generally the best time to clean your mattress for dust mites as it will kill the dust mites that survived the winter and reduce their numbers in the summer months.  If you use and launder a mattress cover regularly, cleaning your mattress once per year should be sufficient {you may want to clean it more frequently if you have allergies}.  Otherwise, you should be cleaning your mattress monthly.
So hopefully that is everything that you could want to know about your mattress!  A little time cleaning = a healthier, good night’s sleep!

{This post is part of my Household Organization Diet series.  You can join in anytime – just start with these two posts here and here.  If you are looking for past projects, you can find them all on my Pinterest board}


  1. says

    Great topic we often neglect to think about. Since we have a cat that sleeps with us and I have allergies and asthma I do clean our mattress and mattress pad often. Our cat just loves to go out and roll in the dirt. He doesn’t, however,love it when we give him almost a bath before he gets on our bed again. He loves to sleep over my head on pillows and kneads in my hair at night.
    I put mattress pad in the dryer every week when I wash sheets. I also sprinkle baking soda on mattress every week and vacuum. It’s very dusty where we live so I try to do what I can to avoid any worse allergies than I have to. It’s also very windy where we live so we have dust constantly. Oh Drat. We have a king mattress and it’s all us two old farts can do to turn that thing anymore.

  2. says

    Great tips! We are moving at the end of the month, so I’m thinking that I’ll wait to clean the mattress so it can be left outside for the day.

  3. says

    Holy Cats! I wish there wasn’t snow on the ground outside right now.. I want to drag that thing out and CLEAN IT UP! Lol. TFS.
    I’m visiting you today from Sunday Scoop. I hope you get a chance to stop by my blog and leave a comment and Link Up, too!
    ~ Megin of VMG206
    Medicine Cabinet Makeover

    • Jenn says

      Your welcome to use a photo and a sentence or two with a link back! I just ask that you don’t reproduce the post. Thanks!

  4. says

    I love these tips on getting rid of dust mites on your mattress. I didn’t know much of what you posted when it comes to those buggers, but I feel assured that I’ve sent them packing. I did also feature this post and your blog on a recent post about must have cleaning tips. Thanks!

  5. Angila says

    I have a question, i used this on my 4 year old’s bed and i have vacuumed it multiple times and replaced the sheets but both of my children that have slept in the bed have gotten a crazy rashes so is there a chance it can give a chemical burn? its only when the sleep in this bed since i did this.

    • says

      That’s weird. I definitely can’t see anything giving a chemical burn and especially with sheets on, even if there was a trace of the baking soda left on the mattress that they happened to be allergic too, I’d be surprised if it would be enough to give them a rash. Was it completely dry before you put the sheets back on? Did you use anything different when washing the sheets themselves? Other than that, I’m stumped.

  6. mama2 says

    I want to take my mattress outside in my backyard. I live in chicago and we are already having a cool September. Plus my neighbors have a small garden in our backyardBut i desperately want to get rid o the urine smell , Do you know of a way to either keep the bugs off the matress while it’s outside or just make sure i don’t bring any back in on the mattress? PLEASE HELP I’M SO DISCOURAGED!

    • says

      You could either try just keeping it inside but position it by a window so it still gets lots of light or if you do take it outside, make sure to keep it upright {rather than laying flat} and give it a good vacuum as soon as you bring it inside.

  7. says

    I’m trying to get rid of the urine smell from my mattress. I was initially clueless on how to do it. I think the option no 2 that you have is what I’m going to try. I never thought of using baking soda and clearing it up with a vacuum would work. It looks like a logically wise thought. Thanks for the great tips.

    • says

      Hmmm…I don’t have a memory foam so I am not sure. Is there a label on your mattress at all with cleaning recommendations? I would imagine that any of the tips with dry ingredients would be fine.

  8. says

    Jenn I love this post on cleaning your mattress. Just make sure for anyone who has a memory foam mattress to not get it wet unless necessary, the memory foam soaks up water like a sponge and takes a long time to dry which can promote mildew or mold growth. Also you can add essential oils to the baking soda, a nice lavender can help you to relax and smells great!

  9. maksim says

    Never use vinegar on your bed unless you want your bed and room to smell like vinegar for two weeks.
    Even a light layer from a spray bottle is way too much.

    • says

      I’ve never had that problem. I do have mine mixed 50:50 with water though so maybe that makes a difference? If you do have a smell, the baking soda should neutralize it.

  10. says

    Although I already know how to choose the most suitable mattress for me and my family but I have never thought about this aspect. I will pay more attention to protect our sleep. Thank you so much for sharing experience!

  11. says

    Great article. Mattresses generally contain the highest number of allergens in our homes, indeed. I love your advices. I am going to clean my mattresses next weekend. Thank you for sharing this post. Greetings!

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