How to Clean a Mattress

Janitor cleaning mattress with professional equipment in bedroom, closeup

You wash your sheets on a regular basis, and maybe even your pillows. But how often do you clean a mattress? Did you even know that you should?

The average person spends roughly one-third of their life sleeping, so it’s safe to say you spend a lot of time in bed. Over the months and years, your mattress accumulates sweat, oil, dirt, and dust – especially if you don’t use a mattress protector. These substances can accumulate on the surface and inside your mattress, affecting its quality and triggering allergies in sensitive sleepers.

Here’s what you need to know about cleaning your mattress.

How Often Should You Clean Your Mattress?

You can’t exactly throw your mattress in the washing machine, so how exactly do you clean it and how often should you do it? We’ll get into the details of how to clean your mattress below, but let’s first talk about what situations might necessitate a good cleaning.

The most obvious case for cleaning your mattress is when you spill something on it. If you like to eat or drink in bed, you’ll probably have your fair share of spills to clean up. Accidents from pets or children also need to be addressed quickly to avoid set-in stains and lingering odor. You may even want to freshen up your mattress after a run of hot weather if you tend to sweat a lot at night.

If by some chance you manage to avoid getting stains on your mattress, you may still want to clean it every 6 months or so to keep it fresh. Proper cleaning and maintenance help extend the life of your mattress.

how to clean a mattress

7 Simple Steps to Clean Your Mattress

Cleaning a mattress is much easier than you may think, and you don’t even need to buy any expensive or toxic cleaning products. With a few household items and an open afternoon, you can remove stains, eliminate odor, and generally freshen up your mattress.

Here are 7 simple steps to clean your mattress:

  1. Strip the bed of any pillows, sheets, and mattress covers – give them a good wash in the washing machine on hot water and let them dry thoroughly.
  2. Using the upholstery attachment on your vacuum, give the mattress a thorough once-over with your vacuum cleaner – pay special attention to the seams.
  3. Apply spot remover to any visible stains. Enzyme cleaners are best for urine and blood stains, or you can make your own cleaner using equal parts hydrogen peroxide and cold water.
  4. When applying spot cleaner, spray the area thoroughly but don’t soak the mattress – blot gently with a clean cloth dampened with water or hydrogen peroxide.
  5. Deodorize the mattress by sprinkling a generous layer over the entire surface of the mattress and let it sit for several hours – ideally, overnight.
  6. Vacuum up the baking soda then flip the mattress and repeat these steps on the other side.
  7. If you don’t already have a mattress cover or encasement, get one. Make sure your mattress is fully dry before you cover it then add your fitted sheet and other bedding.

Before cleaning your mattress, take a closer look at the materials from which it is made – especially the cover. Many mattresses come with removable, washable covers so you may be able to cut the cleaning process down to a single step. If not, follow the steps above but avoid soaking the mattress – use liquid cleaning products sparingly and let everything thoroughly air-dry before you make the bed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What household items can you use to clean a mattress?

There are a number of common household items you can use to clean and deodorize a mattress. To make a multi-purpose stain remover, mix dish soap, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide. Spray it into the stain then blot or rub it with a clean rag. A mixture of equal parts distilled white vinegar and water sprayed lightly over the mattress may help with odor.

How do you remove odor from a mattress?

One of the simplest methods for deodorizing a mattress involves one simple thing: baking soda. Remove the bedding from your mattress and sprinkle a thick layer of baking soda over the entire surface. Let the baking soda sit for a day, ideally with the windows open and the sun shining on your mattress, then vacuum it up. Some say mixing baking soda with cornstarch works as well.

How do you get stains out of a mattress?

One option is to use a commercial stain remover like OxiClean or Resolve. For sweat stains, you can lightly spritz the mattress with hydrogen peroxide and let it air dry – repeat as needed to lighten the stain. For urine, mix 8 ounces hydrogen peroxide with 3 tablespoons baking soda and a few drops of dish soap then dab onto the stain and blot with a clean cloth.

How do you remove blood stains from a mattress?

For blood stains, mix 2 ounces of hydrogen peroxide with 1 tablespoon liquid dish soap and 1 tablespoon salt and spread over the stain and let it sit 10 minutes before scraping away and blotting with hydrogen peroxide to lift any residue. If brown discoloration remains, spritz with hydrogen peroxide and let air dry – repeat as needed.


If you’ve tried to clean a mattress and all else fails, consider replacing it. We’ve built a guide on how to dispose of a mattress properly. When you begin shopping for a new mattress, refer to our guide on how to pick a mattress. Not all mattresses or sleepers are the same and you’ll need a personalized approach.

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