How to Clean a Mattress

Eight Methods:Regular CleaningUnidentified Mattress StainsBlood StainsCigarette Odor RemovalMold and Mildew RemovalUrine Stains and OdorAnother Urine Stain/Odor RemoverRemoving Stains Caused By Colored Drinks

Does your mattress need to be cleaned? There are several techniques which can be used to remove stains and keep your mattress fresh.

Method 1
Regular Cleaning

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    Vacuum the mattress. This helps to keep it clean by the sheer fact that when it does get wet, there is less matter in the dirt to cause it to stain.
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    Try using an upholstery cleaner. Since they are made for surfaces that touch your skin (e.g. your couch), it should work unless you are extremely sensitive to cleaners in general. It also has the advantage of removing dust mites[1] and their refuse.
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    Use enzyme cleaners. Enzyme cleaners are effective in breaking down the 'structure' of the stains which helps to lessen them.

Method 2
Unidentified Mattress Stains

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    Spray it with a citrus type cleaner and let it set for about five minutes. Afterward, blot (don't rub) as much of the cleaner out as you can using a clean, white, absorbent cloth. A mild dish detergent can also be used.

Method 3
Blood Stains

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    Use hydrogen peroxide. Apply to the mattress and blot it while it is bubbling. This may not remove all the stain, but will help to lessen it. Be sure to blot it with a clean, white, dry cloth.
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    Rinse with cold water (hot cooks the proteins). Rub in meat tenderizer from the pantry which removes the proteins. Rinse and follow up as per rust removal to remove the iron found in the blood.
    • You can also add in salt to plain water and pour the solution into a spray bottle. This is particularly effective in removing fresh blood stains.
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    Create a baking soda solution. Mix one part baking soda and two parts cold water in a large bowl to make a solution. Apply it on the area using a clean cloth and let it sit for 30 minutes. Use a cloth damped in cold water to rinse the remaining solution and then apply a dry towel to absorb the moisture.
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    Apply detergent. Mix 1 tablespoon of liquid dish washing detergent with two cups of cold water in a bowl. Soak a white cloth in the solution and apply to the affected area. Gently brush the affected area with a toothbrush and rinse the solution by blotting with a wet cloth. Use a cloth towel to dry the stained area.

Method 4
Cigarette Odor Removal

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    Using the same processes as above, apply it to the entire mattress, one section at a time.
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    Launder[2] your linens frequently. If you smoke, you should do this even more often than you would on an ordinary basis. This will help keep the odor from being so pervasive.
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    Spray the odor out. Use two large cans of Lysol spray (one for each side) and saturate the mattress. Let it dry for a couple of days and then follow up with two large bottles of Febreze. Place a hypoallergenic mattress pad cover on.

Method 5
Mold and Mildew Removal

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    Give your mattresses a 'suntan'. These types of stains are caused by too much moisture. Try taking your mattress outside on a bright, sunny day and let the sun dry it out. Try to remove the excess mold and mildew by wiping or sweeping it off.
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    Vacuum your mattress on both sides. When you've finished, dispose of the vacuum's filter and bag. This will prevent the mold spores from leaking out the next time you use the vacuum.
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    Mix equal parts of isopropyl alcohol and warm water. Sponge it onto the mattress. Rinse the area with warm water.
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    Use a common disinfectant. Products such as Lysol will kill any spores that linger.

Method 6
Urine Stains and Odor

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    Blot the excess fluid as much as possible.
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    Use an enzyme based cleaning product. These digest the uric acid crystals at the source of the stain. Spray the stain and methodically blot it.
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    Once dry, shake baking soda over it. Let it set overnight and vacuum it the next day.
    • You can also create a mixture using 8 ounces of hydrogen peroxide and 3 tablespoons of baking soda. This works best as a spray.
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Method 7
Another Urine Stain/Odor Remover

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    Make the stain remover:
    • Mix teaspoon of water in a mixing bowl.
    • Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar, a teaspoon of laundry detergent your choice or dishwasher detergent.
    • Add 2 tablespoons of baking soda and about 1 drop of disinfecting cleaner such as Lysol or Mr Clean.
    • Mix it all together.
    Have a dry cloth handy and one to dip in solution.
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    Sponge or blot the solution into the mattress. Press down hard.
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    When done, wipe the surface with water. Do not pour onto the mattress––just blot dry.
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    Apply a thin layer of baking soda on the mattress for several hours. The more added, the better and if you can leave overnight, that's ideal. Let the stain remover dry.
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    Vacuum up the baking soda when it has dried.
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    Apply a proprietary anti-odor product, such as Febreze. Put laundry drying sheets on the spot and let them stand for 30 minutes or longer.
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    Check if completely dry. When it is dry, it should be clean and smell odor-free. Repeat this process in another week for complete assurance.

Method 8
Removing Stains Caused By Colored Drinks

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    Use a citrus cleaner or vinegar. Apply either of these as a spray or onto a clean white cloth. The acid in them will help remove the stains.
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    Apply rubbing alcohol. Alcohol will help carry the stain further. Blot the stain with a clean absorbent cloth soaked in rubbing alcohol, rather than pouring it on the stain.
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    Talk to your mattress manufacturer or local dry cleaner. They will also have information on removing stains or provide a service for a fee.[[Image:Clean a Mattress Step 21.jpg}}


  • Vinegar also kills mold spores.
  • Vacuum your mattress every month or so. This reduces the dustiness of the mattress. A dust barrier covering the mattress will reduce dust and dust mites as well.
  • Whenever possible, blot out the extra moisture if you can.
  • Washing bedding in hot water every week also kills dust mites.
  • Flip your mattress once a week to allow each side time to air. This can prevent mold growth. At the very least, do this every month or so. Be careful to check if your mattress can be flipped. Some have a designated topside and won't be as comfortable upside down.
  • Get a good mattress cover. Don't let your mattress get dirty in the first place! It's a lot easier to throw a mattress protector or mattress cover in the wash than it is to clean a mattress, so using one of these is a great time saver.
    • If you happen to have a Tempurpedic™ mattress with the Tempurpedic™ liquid-proof mattress cover, be advised that although this mattress cover is of very high quality, it is not highly durable and should not be washed in a machine with the sheets. Such treatment will eventually lead to tiny rips and tears, resulting in leaks and a dramatic loss in effectiveness. Instead, this mattress cover should be spot cleaned by hand or carefully inspected for leaks. It can lose effectiveness in as little as two years if not cared for properly.
    • The two main types of waterproof mattress covers are vinyl and urethane. Both are equally good at protecting your mattress from liquids. Vinyl has the advantage of being cheaper, but it isn't breathable and can get warm at night. Urethane tends to cost more, but it breathes well allowing it to stay cool in the summer. Plus, urethane is more durable.[3]


  • Make sure the mattress is completely dry before remaking the bed. Rushing this step will only result in a lingering smell and possible mold, mildew and fungus. Sometimes drying a mattress can take all day
  • If the mold persists, it might be worth looking into a dehumidifier. This reduces moisture in the air,and inhibits mold growth. Dust mites also prefer damp climates So a dehumidifier is very good if you have dust mite allergies or asthma.
  • Most importantly, do not lay a mattress directly on the floor in a basement room or anywhere for any length of time. If you must use a mattress on the floor, stand it up during the day to air out. Make sure you use a boxspring under the mattress or a breathable support system (similar to IKEA's slat system). Flip kids foam mattresses regular and use a waterproof cover if you have pets on your bed regularly. Note that mold will accumulate under the mattress if it is left on the floor, along with easier bug infestations. Lift all mattresses off the floor (including boxspring) a height that will allow easy vacuuming under the bed, or put it on a rolling frame to allow easy bed moving.
  • Mold spores are bad for your lungs and contribute towards asthma. If you see these, remove with a vacuum or brush, and leave the mattress in the sun for a few hours. This should kill the mold rendering it harmless (if not invisible)
  • Keep in mind that mold can cause health problems[4]. If you think that you have more than a little mold, seriously consider replacing your mattress

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