The Smart Guide To Cleaning Your Mattress

The Smart Guide To Cleaning Your Mattress

We sleep on our mattress every night but rarely think about cleaning it. If you're guilty of neglecting yours, check out our ultimate guide to cleaning your mattress. It covers everything from the basics to tough stain removal.

Essential mattress cleaning tips

Don't forget to clean the sheets regularly too.

Your mattress can quickly build up stains, odours and dust mites, and if you don't clean it regularly it can harbour germs and bacteria that could affect your sleep and well-being. Follow these steps for keeping a clean mattress:

1. Keep your mattress dry

This is really important. Spills, sweat and cleaning products all add moisture to your mattress, and you risk growing mould and breeding other nasties. Always dry well after cleaning.

2. Buy a mattress protector

We promise it'll be one of the best investment you've ever made. It'll save your mattress from spills and stains, and keep dust and dirt from reaching your mattress.

3. Vacuum

Vacuums aren't just for carpets! Vacuum your mattress at least once a month and don't forget to do both sides. Vacuuming can remove accumulated dust, dirt, dust mites, hair and dead skin cells which can all irritate allergies and cause poor sleep. It's important to use a clean hand attachment so you can get into the nooks.

4. Air your mattress

Be sure to air your mattress every 2-3 months to prevent mould from forming. Place it outside, ideally when it's sunny and this should help remove any lingering smells from your mattress.

5. Flip your mattress

You need to flip your mattress at least twice a year. Also, rotate it around so that you're not always sleeping on the same end. This helps your mattress stay even and gives you the chance to get rid of trapped dust.

6. Wash the mattress cover

This should be happening as regularly as cleaning your bedding. If you don't have a cover, use an extra fitted sheet to act as a cover until you have a chance to buy one. They're pretty affordable, so there's no excuse! 

Deodorise your mattress

natural cleaning
What would we do without bicarbonate of soda?

Mattresses can get pretty smelly if you share your bed, especially during the summer months when you tend to sweat more. It's said the average person perspires around half a pint of sweat each night. That's a lot...

If only we could put our mattresses in with the laundry! Well, the next best thing is to deodorise and refresh. Use bicarbonate of soda to soak up moisture and get rid of any stubborn smells that form from dirt, sweat and other grim stuff.

  1. Take a cup of bicarbonate of soda and sift it onto your mattress evenly
  2. Leave it to sit for 30 minutes
  3. Vacuum it all up using a hand attachment

For a particularly bad-smelling mattress, you can add a few drops of your favourite essential oil to the bicarbonate of soda before you sift it onto your mattress.

Go one step further and prop your mattress up outside for a few hours (just make sure it's a dry day) or stand it up in your bedroom, open all your windows and turn a fan on.

How to tackle mattress stains

clean mattress
No stains here!

Mattresses can quickly build up a surprising amount of stains. You might occasionally drop a drink or some food, which will cause a tannin or grease stain, but mostly you'll find protein-based stains. These include blood, sweat, vomit, urine and other bodily fluids. We'll focus on how to remove these first...

1. Cleaning fresh stains

As with all stains, it's best to get to them while they're still fresh. In this instance, grab a cool, damp cloth (avoid hot water) and gently blot the stain. Then with a dry cloth gently dab it to pick up any moisture. Be careful not to use a rotating motion as this will push the stain further in and around the mattress. Gently pat the stain instead.

Next, you'll need the following:

  • Salt
  • Bicarbonate of Soda
  • Water

Mix half a cup of water with 2 tablespoons of salt. Add and few drops of water and stir to form a paste. Gently rub it into the area with a dry cloth and leave it to dry for 20 minutes before brushing off. Again use a cool, damp cloth to remove any excess paste and allow to air dry. If there is too much moisture on your mattress, dry it with a hairdryer on a low setting or keep a fan running.

2. Battling old stains

But what do you do when you've found a stain during your mattress clean that looks like it's been there for months? Get out the hydrogen peroxide.

It's an amazing household cleaner and works really well on old or stubborn stains, lifting out any discolouration. Simply mix 2 parts hydrogen peroxide with 1 part washing up liquid and apply to the stain using an old toothbrush. With old stains, you can move around in circular motions to get right into the fabric, then 5 minutes later clean the solution away with a cool, wet cloth.

If you prefer to use household cleaning products then be careful not to use too much. Use sparingly to avoid saturating your mattress with liquid, and always make sure your mattress is dry before you use it again. Enzyme cleaners are very good at removing protein stains, they are usually found in the guise of pet stain and odour removers.

3. Removing tannin and grease stains

Your morning coffee could be ruining your mattress.

Tannin is a naturally occurring vegetable dye and is found in liquids such as coffee, tea, fruit juice and wine. If you get to these stains quickly, they can be easily removed. Leave it for a few days, and it leads to one stubborn stain. Mix other ingredients in with hot tannin liquids, such as sugar and cream in coffee, and it becomes a nightmare.

If you love to enjoy a morning tea then you'll know how perilous it is balancing a mug in bed! If your tea and other liquids have found their way through the duvet, sheets and mattress protector, here's how to get rid of them...

Immediately take off any bedding and your mattress protector and lay a cool, damp towel on the spot and weigh the towel down. This will help keep the spot damp and easier to clean. Chuck any bedsheets into a cold wash with a stain remover (if you don't have one, bicarbonate of soda will also work).

Next, grab some dish detergent and mix with room temperature water before gently washing the stain with a sponge. If you have a pre-wash stain remover then follow the instructions on the bottle and work it into the stain. When you don't have either to hand, the following can act as alternatives:

If possible, put the mattress out in the sun, the chemicals or natural ingredients found in the alternatives will work a lot more effectively if you have the power of the sun beaming down on it.

You are less likely to find grease stains on your mattress, but there are a few oil-based products you might use in your bed - lubricant, hand cream, make-up and butter for example (breakfast in bed!). For stains like these follow the same steps above, but avoid the initial blotting with a damp cloth. Instead, soak up grease by covering it with talcum powder or baking soda, and brush or vacuum off.

Important things to remember

Look after your bed and it'll look after you!

1. Avoid excessive amounts of water

Mattresses, particularly foam ones, don't do well with moisture and will quickly form mould. With memory foam mattresses, liquids get trapped in the cellular structure and have nowhere to escape!

2. Never sleep on a wet mattress

Use a hairdryer (only after stain removal) or fans to help dry your mattress quicker if you need to. When you're using cleaning products and water always use minimal amounts and build up to it - don't just whack a load on.

3. Prevention is better than cure

Urine is the hardest thing to clean. If you have a puppy or a child, avoid messy mishaps by investing in a waterproof mattress topper, or use a thin plastic sheet. When dealing with urine, buy an enzyme spray.

4. Dust mites are more common than you think

Dust mites are pretty common and a major cause of allergic symptoms. Mattresses collect a lot of dust which provides a happy playground for them. They also feed off dead skin cells, which are rife on the surface of any mattress. The best thing you can do to avoid them is:

  • Flip your mattress
  • Rotate it
  • Vacuum regularly
  • Clean well and often
  • Wash your bedding in hot cycles
  • Change your bedding regularly

We hope you have found our mattress cleaning advice to be helpful! If you have any further questions, get in touch through the comments section below. 


Anushka F


A keen money-saver and fan of all things natural, Anushka enjoys making her own beauty products and is partial to a bit of crafting. Never short of a clever tip or two, she's always looking for new ways to make her money go even further.

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  1. Author Jyotsna on June 1, 2016 at 9:09 am

    Excellent cleaning tips! Bicarbonate soda, yes works wonders Thank you

    1. Author Anushka F on June 1, 2016 at 1:31 pm

      Thank you! Happy to hear you enjoyed the article Jyotsna, Anushka

  2. Author Bill on June 1, 2016 at 11:05 am

    All Good Thinks To do.

    1. Author Anushka F on June 1, 2016 at 2:04 pm

      Great stuff Bill!

  3. Author yolla on June 14, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    thanks for the tips, i like it :)

  4. Author Jennifer Mcbride on July 5, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    Great tips! Baking soda really works amazing! been using it too. You might also want to try adding essential oil or using lysol. Works amazing too! have you tried?

    1. Author Anushka F on July 26, 2016 at 11:54 am

      Hi there, thanks! Yes I have tried a few drops of essential oil on the mattress. lavender is lovely!

  5. Author Kevin Brown on November 30, 2017 at 5:56 am

    Excellent info for mattress cleaning. I was only familiar with the this, dragging the mattress outside for sunshine or ultra-violet rays. My mother would leave a mattresses outside all day after a 1/2 day of 4-6 hrs. she would flip it to the other side for the same amount of time. Best freshener yet works with pillows, and upholstery cushions too. Natural Air fresh scent there is and everything is plump like it was new. If you ever did laundry with your Mother as a child I remember the scent of laundry hung out to dry on the clothes line, ultraviolet waves and air gives it a scent that can’t be found no where else not in a can, or bottle. I love the smell of the clothes as we would take them of the clothesline, and when I laid my head on the pillow and the fresh scent of the sheets would put a smile on your face as you drifted off to sweet sleep…

    1. Author Stephanie C on December 4, 2017 at 9:49 am

      Hi Kevin. Most people don't even realise matresses need airing, but it sounds like your Mother was very thorough indeed. You've definitely sold me on the natural method! Thanks for sharing your lovely story :)

  6. Author Joseph Thompson on March 1, 2019 at 9:29 am

    You forgot to mention Bedbugs ( Absolute Nightmare to get rid off ), I was eaten alive with the little blighters, they were everywhere. I tried smoke bombs, harsh chemicals, making myself ill, until someone recommended a good steam cleaner ( I'm mentioning the brand, because it was easily the best, I tried 2 cheaper one's ), the H2O by Thane was amazing, I used it twice a day at times, doing carpets, wardrobes, cupboards, under dado rails, picture frames, suitcases, ( when returning from holiday, breaks etc ) my mattress, my door rug, my driveway, everywhere to kill them and their eggs, I wore my cleaner out, but for peace of mind, and Health benefits, it was amazing

  7. Author Margaret McAlister on September 17, 2020 at 8:51 am

    Hi All These tips are wonderful, but may I ask is there a book with all these tips in, as I would not remember all the ingredients that are printed, and If I print something off it usually gets lost so when I would need it i probably would not know where I had put it. everyone in years gone by used to hang their bedding out on the line, but the new mattresses are a lot bulkier than the old flock ones. I can hardly lift the corner of mine to put the fitted mattress topper or the fitted sheet??on. At least we do not have all those heavy wool blankets now that the Duvet has arrived.

    1. Author Joanne A on September 24, 2020 at 12:15 pm

      Hi Margaret! Thanks for your kind feedback. Unfortunately, we don't have a book, but that's a fabulous idea!

  8. Author nayan on December 22, 2021 at 6:15 pm


    1. Author Joanne A on January 11, 2022 at 5:26 pm

      We're glad you enjoyed it!


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