How to Clean Your Mattress Naturally

Making a bed with white sheets

Lelia_milaya/ Twenty20

Your mattress is exposed to the worst of you: sweat, drool, shed skin flakes, hair and skin oil, and various bodily fluids. Add the allergens, dust, mites, indoor pollution, and pet dander found in most homes, and your mattress is ripe for a cleaning.

Not only is your mattress an expensive purchase, but it also plays an important role in keeping you healthy both mentally and physically. Despite that, most people show their mattress little love, never giving it a proper cleaning. But just as you wash your sheets on a regular basis, you need to clean your mattress, although fortunately, not nearly as often.

However, when it’s mattress-cleaning time, why rely on strong chemicals or expensive commercial cleaning products? While it is very important to keep the space where you spend a third of your life clean and fresh, that doesn’t mean it’s necessary to surround yourself with potentially irritating fragrances, cleaners, or other harsh chemicals. Instead, you can use natural methods and simple ingredients you probably already have around the house to freshen and clean your mattress, remove funky stains, and leave your sleeping space pleasantly scented and ready for dream time.

Illustration of ways to clean a mattress
Emilie Dunphy. The Spruce, 2019

How Often to Clean a Mattress

At a minimum, you should clean the mattress every six months. However, if you have the time, clean it thoroughly every three months. If there's a stain, treat it immediately to avoid setting.

What You Need

Supplies

How to Clean a Mattress

  1. Strip the bed: Strip all the bedding from your mattress and toss it into the washing machine while you work.

  2. Vacuum the mattress: Vacuum the top of your mattress, the sides, and underneath the bed. Now lift the mattress (get someone to help if it’s difficult) and vacuum between the mattress and the box springs.

  3. Sprinkle baking soda: Mix one cup of baking soda with a few drops of lavender essential oil in a bowl, then put the mixture in a strainer. Shake the fragranced baking soda evenly over the entire mattress. Leave the baking soda on the bed until your bedding is finished washing and drying. Vacuum the baking soda off the mattress.

  4. Treat stains: Spot-clean any stains on the mattress by mixing a paste of baking soda, salt, and water. Rub the stain with the paste, and let it sit for 30 minutes. Wipe away with a damp clean cloth.

  5. Remake the bed: Remake your bed with the clean linens.

How to Clean Urine and Sweat Stains from a Mattress

Bedwetting happens—it’s hard to raise kids without at least one or two nighttime accidents. Sweat produces similar yellowish stains, and over time, it’s common for mattresses to become discolored and musty smelling from sweat.

  1. Create a cleaning solution: Mix together one cup of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide, 3 tablespoons of baking soda and just a few drops of liquid dishwashing soap. Stir until the baking soda dissolves.

  2. Soak the mattress: Pour the mixture into a spray bottle, and then spray the entire stained area of the mattress, letting the solution soak into the mark.

  3. Let the mattress dry: Leave the solution to air dry for at least an hour. If you want to speed things up, set a blowing fan near the mattress, or use your blow dryer on the cool setting.

How to Clean Blood Stains from a Mattress

It’s an unfortunate fact of life that sometimes mattresses get stained with blood. If this happens to yours, treat the stain as quickly as possible.

  1. Prep the cleaning solution: Fill a spray bottle with 3 percent hydrogen peroxide.

  2. Spray the mattress: Spray the bloodstain, then blot with a clean towel. Repeat spraying and blotting the stain until it is gone.

  3. Let it dry: Let the mattress air dry, or use your blow dryer to speed up the process.

Removing Vomit Stains From a Mattress

If you have kids, you’re probably familiar with this scenario. Whether it’s from a stomach virus or too many cookies before bedtime, kids all seem to vomit in bed at one time or another.

  1. Prep the cleaning solution: Mix a 50/50 solution of water and white vinegar in a spray bottle.

  2. Treat the mattress: Spray the soiled area of the mattress, then blot with a clean towel. Continue spraying and blotting until the mark is gone.

  3. Apply baking soda: Sprinkle a little bit of baking soda over the treated area. After an hour, vacuum away the baking soda, and let the mattress air dry.



Tips for Keeping Your Mattress Clean Longer

  • Change the sheets at least once a week to prevent dead skin—and its ramifications, such as dust mites—from building up on the bed.
  • Invest in a mattress cover. This will protect moisture from getting into the mattress, which will help prevent the growth of mold and mildew.
  • Vacuum the mattress to suck up dust mites once a month, using the crevice tool to get into tight spots. To get rid of odors, sprinkle baking soda on the mattress first and let it sit for 10 minutes.
  • Flip your mattress every three months. If it's a pillowtop mattress, rotate it from top to bottom every six months.