Before embarking on cleaning your mattress we would urge to to consider if it is time for you to invest in a new one.
How Do Mattresses Get So Dirty?
Most of the dirt that accumulates on a mattress (ignoring one of spills) comes in the form of dust particles (formed from the dead skin we shed in our sleep and the dust mites that feed on them.
The average human will shed an entire layer of skin into their beds once every month. This build up of dust attracts millions of minute dust mites that feed on the dust particles and excrete in our beds.
You won’t be able to see dust mites with your naked eye. To give you some sense of scale they are so small that over 5,000 mite would fit onto the head of a pin. Millions of mites can exists in a normal double bed. Their build up, along with the dust can affect and cause asthma.
How to Clean Your Mattress
1. Remove Dust From Mattress
At least once a month you should removes the sheets and vacuum your mattress. This will help to reduce the build up of dust and also reduce the number of bed bugs living in your mattress.
2. Work on specific dirty patches
Use specifically formulated upholstery shampoo on areas that are particularly dirty. This technique should only be used if the mattress has a spill on it or has been soiled.
If you don’t have upholstry shampoo you can mix some detergent with some water and mix to form some suds. Take the suds (not the water) and apply them to the soiled area before scrubbing in. Wipe them off with a damp (not wet) cloth and air the mattress until fully dry.
Caution. Do not under any circumstances allow the inner padding of the mattress to get wet. Doing so will often reduce the softness of the mattress and will often give the mattress a musty smell as it will be incredibly hard to get the inner material fully dried.
3. Steam Clean Your Mattress
Steam cleaning a mattress should be done with extreme care. As mentioned above using any type of water to clean a mattress is a risky business as getting them too wet can cause mold to form which can be dangerous. Be sure to use a good quality steamer and only go over each piece of the mattress once to ensure it doesn’t get too wet.
When steam cleaning your mattress always aim to do so first thing in the morning when a hot day is forecast so you can move your clean mattress outside to dry thoroughly. Ensure it has enough time to dry – this can take several days depending on the weather so don’t rush to sleep on your freshly cleaned mattress until it is fully dry.
4. Dry Clean Your Mattress
Obviously you can’t take your double mattress to be dry cleaned but there is a way you can do this at home. First remove all of the bed sheets and sprinkle Bicarbonate of Soda (also called Baking Soda or Arm and Hammer) over the mattress. You can use a kitchen seive to help spread it evenly over the surface of the mattress. The soda will act like a sponge drawing out dirt, moisture and odors. Leave the soda in place for 24 hours then vacuum the mattress clean. Repeat on the other side.
This method may not get out stubborn stains however it is usually very effective at getting rid of light odors and general dirt.
5. Cleaning Urine From A Mattress
Urine on a mattress can be quite tricky to clean as it can leave a nasty smell in the fabric of the mattress.
- Make a mixture of exactly half water and half clear vinegar
- Spray this lightly onto the affected area of the mattress
- Immediately blot the area with paper towels or a dry cloth
- Repeat the above process 3-4 times
Using vinegar should both clean the stain and help remove the smell from the mattress. Be sure to leave the mattress to fully dry in a well ventilated area (outside if possible) for at least 6 hours, ideally for a couple of days.
How to Keep Your Mattress Clean
Obviously once you have your mattress clean there are several things you can and should do to keep your mattress clean.
- Use a mattress pad. Unlike a mattress topper (that provides support and firmness to your bed) a mattress pad is a thin layer designed to protect your mattress from spills, dust or soiling. They are usually machine washable enabling you to clean them regularly and cut down the time you need to spend cleaning your actual mattress.
- Change bedding at least once per week.
- Avoid keeping to many cushions/soft furnishing on your bed. Bed bugs thrive in dark, moist conditions. The more things are on your bed the better environment it is for them to breed. In this case not making your bed can actually help to keep it cleaner!
- Always shower before bed time. This may seem obvious but the cleaner you are before bed time the less dirt will enter into your bed.