How to Clean a Mattress in 10 Simple Steps

woman vacuuming mattress

Many people change their sheets at least once a week, but fewer than that think to clean their mattress. Sheets are porous so mattresses pick up oils, bacteria and stains. Cleaning your mattress can extend its life and help improve your health and the quality of your sleep. Here’s how to keep your mattress cleaner in ten easy steps. We recommend going through this process every time you wash your sheets.

1. Strip Your Bed

The first step of cleaning your mattress is removing everything from it: pillows, sheets, and the mattress cover. People sometimes leave on the mattress cover as if it’s part of your mattress but it’s not. It should be treated like your sheets and washed with them.

2. Wash Everything

Take the stripped linens and throw them in the wash. Use the “whites” setting or wash on the highest heat setting. While not necessary, those with sensitivities and allergies should consider switching on the extra rinse to make sure there is no soap residue.

3. Vacuum Your Mattress

Use a brush attachment first to vacuum your mattress. This will remove mites, dust, pet hair and other debris. Use a thin nozzle to get around piping and between the mattress and hardware of your bedding. Very few people do this but it makes a big difference.

4. Spot Treat New Stains

Start by using a clean cloth dampened with cold water to blot any stains. Do not use soap and don’t rub. Just blot and this will pull most of the stain away, removing odors. Make a paste of 2 parts hydrogen peroxide and 1 part liquid dish soap. Stir until fizzy and then use a small bristled brush, like a toothbrush, to scrub the stain away. Wipe with a clean, damp cloth to remove soap residue.

If there are stains from bodily fluids, use an enzyme cleaner to break down the stains. Spray the cleaner onto a clean cloth and blot as explained above. This type of cleaner is also good for grease and oil that may have spilled on the bed.

5. Deodorize

Freshen up your mattress using baking soda. Sprinkle it over the whole mattress and allow it to sit, undisturbed for at least 30 minutes. The longer it sits, the better, so if you have the time, let it hang out there for as long as you can. While there are products labeled as odor-neutralizing, baking soda is a natural way to go without perfumes, accelerants or anything else. This is what we recommend to keep your mattress in its best shape.

6. Vacuum Again

After deodorizing your mattress with baking soda, vacuum up the baking soda but don’t put the sheets back on right away.

7. Let the Sun Shine

Rather than put bedding back on right away, allow the mattress to air out. Mattresses can get mold so allowing sunlight to dry and bake the mattress is a great option. If it’s warm enough, opening the window will keep things even fresher.

8. Flip the Mattress

Once the mattress has had time to air out, flip it to keep things even. Your mattress will be more comfortable for longer if you regularly flip it so that it has weight applied to it evenly.

9. Make the Bed with Clean Linens

After spending the time and energy cleaning your mattress start fresh with a clean mattress cover, sheets and bedding.

10. Practice Cleaner Sleep Habits

In between laundry days keep your mattress cleaner with these habit changes.

Don’t eat or drink in bed. While a glass of water on the nightstand isn’t a bad idea, no other food or drink should be consumed on a mattress.

Wear clean pajamas to bed. Have a nighttime routine that includes changing into fresh pjs before climbing into bed.

Don’t let your mattress get wet. Notice how all of the cleaning steps involve putting liquids on something else before letting them on your mattress? Mattresses are not supposed to get wet. Be sure to keep yours as dry as possible.


Do you have questions about how to keep your mattress clean and lengthen its life? Contact Metropolitan Furniture with questions and we’re happy to answer.