How to Clean a Mattress

When a mattress is used every night, stains are bound to happen. Fortunately, in most cases, it’s fairly simple to clean a mattress. It’s important to find out how to clean a mattress as soon as the stain occurs, though. Some stains, if left to set, can not only cause odors, but also give bacteria a place to grow. If your mattress could use a cleaning, follow these tips on how to clean a mattress and get your bed back in shape.

How to remove dust and dirt
It’s next to impossible to prevent dust (and dust mites) from building up on a mattress. Fortunately, this kind of dirt is easy to get out. Just vacuum your mattress using your vacuum’s upholstery attachment. The upholstery attachment is the one with the brush at the end.

How to remove mystery stains
There are a variety of techniques for how to clean a mattress that’s been stained, but they all follow the same basic pattern: apply a cleaning product, let it soak into the stain, and remove the cleaner along with the stain.

Some effective products for cleaning a mattress are:

  • Any upholstery shampoo
  • Dawn or other mild dishwashing liquid
  • A citrus-based cleaner like Citra Solv
  • Nature’s Miracle by Pets N People
  • Pro-Klean products

If you’re using an upholstery shampoo or specialized cleaner, follow the directions exactly. To use dishwashing liquid, dilute the soap in warm water and use a sponge to apply just the dry suds to the stain. Let the suds sit for about five minutes, then use a cloth to blot up the stain. Avoid scrubbing as it could just grind the stain into the fabric. To clean a mattress with cleaners that come in their own spray bottles, just spray the cleaner directly on the stain. Again, let it sit for a few minutes then blot it up.

When you apply the cleaner, try to keep the mattress as dry as possible. The goal is to clean off the surface without soaking the padding inside the mattress.

How to remove odors
Even if you don’t smoke in bed, the smell of cigarettes from anywhere in the house can eventually find its way into the bedroom. The problem is that cigarette odors penetrate the mattress padding, so surface cleaning alone may not always work. That said, some products can take out even the strongest odors, so it’s worth a try.

Before you use any cleaning products, first sprinkle the top of the mattress with baking soda. You can also mix a a few teaspoons of baking soda in water and spray the solution on the mattress. Let this sit overnight to absorb the odor, then vacuum the mattress to pick up the baking soda along with any dust. For very mild odors, this may be enough.

For strong odors, though, you’ll most likely need a citrus-based cleaner or, one of the best anti-cigarette smell cleaners, Vamoose 1808T Tobacco Odor Fabric Spray. Use the same method as for spot cleaning, but go over the mattress in sections. Treat once section, let the solution sit to give it time to penetrate the surface, then blot it up.

If all else fails and you don’t want to throw out the mattress, check with a local fire and flood restoration company. These companies know how to clean a mattress by placing it in an ozonated room, which neutralizes odors.

How to remove urine and vomit stains
While it is often possible to clean a mattress with these stains, there are times when the mattress just can’t be saved. If the fluids have soaked into the mattress padding, not only will the smell remain, but the stain could also become a breeding ground for bacteria and mold. Minor stains can often be removed, though.

If you need to clean a human urine stain, try one of the spot cleaning methods mentioned above. Another option is to soak the area with vinegar and use a steam cleaner to remove it. If you don’t own a steam cleaner, you can rent one from a cleaning product company like Rug Doctor. For vomit stains, you’ll almost certainly need to steam clean the mattress.

To remove pet urine stains, look for a cleaning product that specifically mentions urine removal. Some popular products are Simple Solution by Outright, Nature’s Miracle by Pets N People, or either Citrus Concentrate or PAWS (Pet Accident Washup Solution) by Bio-Ox. Spray the cleaner on the stain and let it sit for a few minutes. While the stain is still damp from the cleaner, sprinkle baking soda over it. A vinegar treatment can also work. Let this sit for a few days, then use a steam cleaner to remove it. After the stained area has been thoroughly cleaned, you can eliminate the last of the odor with an odor neutralizing product like FeBreeze.

Drying the mattress
Ideally, a newly cleaned mattress should be taken outdoors in the sun to dry. If you can’t get the mattress outside or the weather is inclement, set an electric fan to blow across the mattress or move the mattress near an open window. For spot treatments, a hair dryer can also help you dry the damp area quickly.

When you’re ready to start using the mattress again, before you put on the sheets, lay a scented dryer sheet over the previously stained area to eliminate any lingering odors.

Once you know how to clean a mattress, you won’t have to put up with that ugly stain from the last time the kids get a little careless with the KoolAid. Covering your mattress with plastic and vacuuming it regularly will help keep away stains and dirt, but if your mattress does get stained, these tips on how to clean a mattress will help you get your bed looking like new again.

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