When is the last time you cleaned your mattress? Never, right? You’re not alone! Spring is a good time to start making this an annual tradition. Cleaning a mattress is actually simple, says Kristi Kellogg and Miranda Silva, whose tips appeared in a recent issue of Architectural Digest. You won’t need special products or equipment — just a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment; some cleaning cloths; an enzyme stain remover you can make yourself or buy at most grocery, home improvement or hardware stores; laundry soap; baking soda; and cold water. Here is a breakdown of the steps:
- Strip the bed. Wash all bedding, pillows and mattress covers (provided the label says they are removable and washable) in warm water.
- Do not remove the mattress covering. Even if the mattress cover material has a zipper, this is typically not meant to be removed and can create serious problems if the covering uses fiberglass to meet national mattress flammability standards.
- Vacuum the entire surface of the mattress. The upholstery attachment will help you get into the seams.
- Spot-clean any stains. You can use store-bought enzyme stain remover or make your own using a little dish soap mixed with water (use just the resulting foam); a solution of equal parts cold water and hydrogen peroxide; or a paste of baking soda, salt and water. Apply the stain remover to a clean white cloth. (If using the baking soda paste, let it sit for 30 minutes.) Carefully blot the stain. Using a second clean cloth dampened with water, blot again to rinse. Try to use as little product as possible and be careful not to soak your mattress or apply any water or cleaning solution directly. Memory foam, for example, should never get wet.
- Sprinkle baking soda over the entire mattress. If possible, leave it on for several hours, leaving windows open to let in sunlight. The ultraviolet rays will help kill any mold or bacteria on the mattress.
- Vacuum again.
- To flip or not. Many mattresses today are not designed to be flipped and flipping it may do more harm than good. Check with the mattress manufacturer or information that came with the mattress originally.
- Do a mattress check. Are there any signs of impressions or sagging? Do you wake up with pains or sleep poorly? Is your mattress eight or more years old? Then it’s a good time to consider investing in a new one. Choose a mattress that contains CertiPUR-US® certified foam, which meets strict standards for content and emissions.
- Put on a clean mattress protector and bedding. If someone in your house suffers from allergies, use a mattress encasement on your mattress and box spring to keep out dust mites. If not, a regular mattress cover should do. Fitted sheets that are washed regularly can further help keep your mattress clean.
Ideally, your mattress should be spring-cleaned, well, every spring, so mark your calendar to repeat this process at least annually. If your mattress suffers a spill or becomes stained in the meantime, be sure to deal with it immediately before it sets in.