How to Clean a Mattress: Deodorize, Remove Stains, and Treat Bed Bugs

Keeping Your Mattress Clean is Easier Than You Think

Our bed is where we want to feel most comfortable, so knowing how to clean a mattress is one of those skills that can be quite invaluable. After all, you can’t put it in the washing machine, or take it to the dry cleaners. Cleaning your mattress means you can get rid of dust mites, stains, and odors, and get rid of critters like bed bugs.

If you have kids or pets then who knows what can creep into the fabric. So, what's the best way to clean a mattress? Let's take a look.

How to Clean a Mattress

Before you clean your mattress, strip the bedding and air your mattress out by leaning it against the wall. Mattresses should also have manufacturers instructions on the label, so check these before you use any cleaning products.

Step One

The first thing to do when cleaning your mattress is to vacuum it. Pop the upholstery attachment on and cover the full face of the mattress, and don’t forget the sides, too. Focus on the first side and then flip the mattress over after you’ve done the top thoroughly.

Step Two

Using baking soda is a great (and allergen-free) way to get rid of any funky smells coming from your mattress. Put a generous covering of baking soda on the top of mattress and work it into the fabric with a soft brush. Leave it for roughly ten minutes, and let it do its thing. Once you’ve given the baking soda time to eliminate odors you can then re-vacuum the mattress to get the powder out.

Step Three

Removing stains from your mattress will require the use of a gentle fabric cleaning detergent. You can make a cleaning foam using three tablespoons of washing powder, and adding one tablespoon of water. Mix it up until you get a semi dry foam/powder. Lightly apply this mixture to the stains and leave it on for roughly 30 minutes.

Remove the powder with a blunt instrument such as a spoon, and then use a damp cloth to remove any residue and work on the stain. If the stain persists you can repeat this step.

Once you’ve removed the mixture and cleaned the mattress, vacuum the area, then flip the mattress and do the same on the other side.

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs

If you find that your mattress is infested with bed bugs, the steps above will help you prepare for further treatment. Be sure to vacuum the mattress and give it a wipe down with a damp cloth, and leave it to dry. Identify the areas where the bed bugs are, which is normally in the folds of the mattress or in rips and tears in the fabric.

You may also need to clean the bed frame and remove any items around the bed that might be harboring bed bugs. You’ll also need to thoroughly vacuum the area around your bed and identify areas where they could be hiding. Although bed bugs like to be close to food, they can travel a few feet to get there, so they might not necessarily be in the mattress.

Once you’ve cleaned the mattress and surrounding area thoroughly, you will need to use an insecticide for best results. Some of the most reliable and effective brands include: Cimexa insecticide dust, Crossfire insecticide spray, Bedlam insecticide spray, and Harris diatomaceous earth powder. These are all effective insecticide solutions for any bed bug problem, although experts recommend powder over aerosols as a long-lasting solution.

You’ll need to treat the mattress and the surrounding area with insecticide, so a combination of dust and aerosol might be wise. Follow the manufacturer's instructions as stated on the packaging. To ensure the best results, do treatments every few days until you’re sure the infestation has cleared up.

Once you’ve cleaned your mattress and finished your bedbug treatment you can also buy Active Guard bed liners, which can prevent the return of any bugs.

Simple Tips

Simple steps to keep your mattress clean include using a mattress protector, changing your bedding regularly, and cleaning it every few months. A quick vacuum when you change the bedding and a spot fix on any stains are easy ways to maintain and keep your mattress clean.

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