Dear Home-Ec 101,
What is the best way to clean a mattress? Dec 2008 I splurged and upgraded from a queen bed to a fabulously huge king size bedset. I’m wondering what is the best way to clean the mattress? I have a small “spot” cleaner by Hoover (I think) – and I use that to get stains/spills – thank goodness there have only been a few. But I’ve been thinking how does everyone clean their mattresses? I’ve heard of putting it outside and letting it “air out” but that’s not feasible where I live. Recently in a yoga catalog I saw a sanitizing wand sort of thing (uses UV I think) and have thought about getting that. Just curious as to what other people do.
We humans are fairly nasty creatures and we spend a lot of time in bed. We shed skin cells, which the dust mites adore and then there’s hair oil, sweat, drool, and potentially other bodily fluids. Even if you don’t have allergies, it’s something to think about. Mattresses can get pretty funky without attention.
Let’s give a thought to prevention. Let your bed air out daily and no, I don’t mean drag the whole thing outside. Just fold the sheets back toward the foot of your bed. Take a shower, eat breakfast, then make your bed. Dust mites love moisture and if you create a favorable environment, they’ll hang out eating, breeding, excreting. . .
Change your sheets frequently, they are your mattress’s first line of protection.
Invest in a good mattress pad. These are absorbent and made to soak up sweat and other people funk. Wash the mattress pad every other week or once a month. In our house, it’s every other week in the summer and monthly in the winter, unless someone has been ill.
If you have allergies, consider encasing your mattress in an allergen barrier, these can make a huge difference if your mattress is several years old.
Speaking of allergies, your bed is a haven for dust mites.
Vacuuming is the only recommended cleaning technique by Sealy. Simmons, Serta, and Sealy all recommend using a mattress pad since stains are not covered by their warranties. If your mattress is dirtier than a vacuum can clean and still under warranty, contact the manufacturer for advice.
Never use dry cleaning chemicals on a mattress, not only can they damage the fibers, most are toxic.
Never soak a mattress, they take a long time to fully dry and this could encourage the growth of mildew.
As a last resort, for a mattress that is no longer under warranty, consider steam cleaning, but approach the job with care, try not to get the mattress too wet, and remove as much moisture as possible with the unit. Allow the mattress to dry fully before replacing the mattress pad.
Some carpet cleaning companies offer mattress cleaning services.
Good luck and take care of your investment.
Send your household questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
18 thoughts on “Mattress Cleaning and Other Indoor Sports”
Very helpful and informative, as usual. But, Heather….did you have to bring up dust mites breeding in my mattress? *shudder*
Home Ec isn't for the faint of heart, my dear.
Can't get enough Barry White (or Home-Ec 101), baby.
I think my neighbors think mattresses are disposable. I need a Home-Ec101.com sign for my yard. 🙂
Norwex has a wonderful Mattress cleaner product. It's all natural and it eats all those nasty dust mites and our people bits too. You spray about 12 sprays on the mattress, then a week later do it again, a month later do it again and then every 3-4 months after that (depends on the allergen levels of the user). It works great!
Of course, I'm not sure how widespread Norwex has gotten. It was started in Canada (where I'm from), I know it's available in the states, but it's through consultants, so I'm not sure exactly where you'd get it if you don't know someone who sells it. Perhaps they have a website….
It doesn't get rid of stains and other spills, but it sure kills the dust mite problem.
This sounds interesting, but I wonder if it would void a warranty.
Thanks for the heads up, I may investigate the product in the future (calling the manufacturers, etc)
from what I can see on my bottle there isn't anything that should void warranties. Their website is http://www.norwex.com if you want to check it out.
I definitely need a mattress pad – thanks for reminding me! 🙂
great replies-and thanks for making my question a bigger focus! LOL I do vacuum it probably not as much as I should-and will take all these tips into consideration….thanks again-very informative—I'll have to look into getting an allergine mattress pad-
Recently I got snowed in at a friends house and got to sleep over in her guest room. We are older people and the mattress on the bed literally made me roll to the middle and I sank in . The thing must have been 30-40 years old. It was the worst nights sleep I have ever had. I ask this lady to really consider if she "needs" this old mattress.
I never buy a mattress unless the furniture store will pick up and dispose of the old one. I write on the side of my new mattress with a big bold magic marker the date that I bought it. Sometimes it is best to just "let it go".
Oh my! I don’t like to think about stuff lurking in our mattresses. I vacuum them every so often but now I see I need to wash the pads more often. Sometimes it’s hard enough just getting clean sheets on all the beds!
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i am a stay at home dad and after vacuuming the mattresses i always spray a small bit of lysol disinfectant over the bed and let the mist fall on to it. i dont see anything in your article about it so im wondering if its a bad idea. your thoughts would be appreciated. thanks