Dear Home-Ec 101,
What is the best way to clean a mattress? Dec 2008 I splurged and upgraded from a queen bed to a fabulously huge king size bedset. I’m wondering what is the best way to clean the mattress? I have a small “spot” cleaner by Hoover (I think) – and I use that to get stains/spills – thank goodness there have only been a few. But I’ve been thinking how does everyone clean their mattresses? I’ve heard of putting it outside and letting it “air out” but that’s not feasible where I live. Recently in a yoga catalog I saw a sanitizing wand sort of thing (uses UV I think) and have thought about getting that. Just curious as to what other people do.
We humans are fairly nasty creatures and we spend a lot of time in bed. We shed skin cells, which the dust mites adore and then there’s hair oil, sweat, drool, and potentially other bodily fluids. Even if you don’t have allergies, it’s something to think about. Mattresses can get pretty funky without attention.
Let’s give a thought to prevention. Let your bed air out daily and no, I don’t mean drag the whole thing outside. Just fold the sheets back toward the foot of your bed. Take a shower, eat breakfast, then make your bed. Dust mites love moisture and if you create a favorable environment, they’ll hang out eating, breeding, excreting. . .
Change your sheets frequently, they are your mattress’s first line of protection.
Invest in a good mattress pad. These are absorbent and made to soak up sweat and other people funk. Wash the mattress pad every other week or once a month. In our house, it’s every other week in the summer and monthly in the winter, unless someone has been ill.
If you have allergies, consider encasing your mattress in an allergen barrier, these can make a huge difference if your mattress is several years old.
Vacuuming is the only recommended cleaning technique by Sealy. Simmons, Serta, and Sealy all recommend using a mattress pad since stains are not covered by their warranties. If your mattress is dirtier than a vacuum can clean and still under warranty, contact the manufacturer for advice.
Never use dry cleaning chemicals on a mattress, not only can they damage the fibers, most are toxic.
Never soak a mattress, they take a long time to fully dry and this could encourage the growth of mildew.
As a last resort, for a mattress that is no longer under warranty, consider steam cleaning, but approach the job with care, try not to get the mattress too wet, and remove as much moisture as possible with the unit. Allow the mattress to dry fully before replacing the mattress pad.
Some carpet cleaning companies offer mattress cleaning services.
Good luck and take care of your investment.
Send your household questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.