How to Clean a Mattress: 9 Steps

August 23, 2021 | Casper Editorial Team

Given we spend about one-third of our lives in bed, you should know how to keep your mattress healthy and clean. Over time, mattresses can accumulate a variety of unwanted guests including dead skin, dust, dirt, and more. Whether your little ones had an accident in bed or it’s just time to give your mattress a refresh, it’s important to know how to clean a mattress. 

Below are the steps we recommend for cleaning your mattress thoroughly. We also include tips on how to get stains out and keep things smelling fresh. Your mattress will most likely need to dry overnight, so plan accordingly.

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

items needed to clean a mattress

First and foremost, you’ll need to gather the supplies needed to clean your mattress. Most of the supplies are items you can find in your home.

What you’ll need:

  • Spray bottle
  • Baking soda
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Rags
  • Laundry detergent
  • Vacuum (preferably handheld)

Once you’ve collected your materials, you can get started cleaning your mattresses.

Step 2: Strip the Bed

Remove your mattress of all bedding, pillows, mattress topper, and stuffed animals (no judgment) so that your mattress is completely bare. Since you’re cleaning your mattress, use this time to wash your sheets as well.

Whether you prefer the breathability of Hyperlite™ or the softness of Sateen, you should be aiming to wash your sheets at least once a week (but hey, like we said — no judgment).

Once you’ve stripped the bed and loaded your laundry, you can start removing any lingering odors from your mattress.

Step 3: Deodorize Your Mattress

Adding an initial layer of baking soda can help cancel out any odors before moving on to cleaning your mattress. To deodorize your mattress, grab that all-too-handy baking soda and sprinkle a generous amount over your mattress. 

Rub the baking soda in gently to help it bond with your mattress. You’ll want to leave the baking soda on for several hours or overnight to give it time to eliminate the odors.

Step 4: Vacuum the Mattress

Over time, mattresses can accumulate allergens like dead skin, dirt, dust, and more. To mitigate this, grab your vacuum (a handheld one works best) and attach the upholstery attachment. Go over the entire surface of your mattress, making sure to get all the crevices, sides, and seams. 

Vacuuming your mattress won’t remove any stains, but it will remove any external dust and debris. It can also remove any leftover baking soda from the mattress.

Step 5: Spot Clean Mattress Stains

Mattresses can be a big investment, so it’s understandably frustrating when you notice stains. In order to spot clean mattress stains, you will need a stain remover. 

The type of stain remover you use will depend on the type of stain. However, for sweat, vomit, blood, urine, and other bodily fluid stains, reach for an enzyme-based cleaner.

How to make a DIY enzyme-based cleaner

If you don’t have an enzyme-based cleaner, go the DIY route and make your own at home. To make that solution, use:

  • 16 ounces of 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • 4 tablespoons of baking soda
  • 2-4 generous drops of liquid detergent

You can also add a few drops of essential oil — like lavender and eucalyptus — to help combat any stains that have an odor and leave your mattress feeling fresh. Place your DIY cleaner in a heavy-duty spray bottle and spray all stains generously.

For spills or bedtime accidents, it’s best to spot clean the affected area as quickly as possible. A gentle detergent or stain remover (without bleach) will break down brand-new blemishes, but won’t affect the performance of the mattress. To power through deep-set mystery blotches, a laundry brush paired with the cleaner will work wonders. If you encounter more stubborn stains, you might consider hiring an upholstery cleaner. They may recommend you deep clean your mattress.

Step 6: Sprinkle Baking Soda (Again)

After you’ve used a cleaning solution, you’ll want to “rinse and repeat.” To make sure your dirty mattress is squeaky clean, sprinkle another layer of baking soda over your entire mattress and leave for a couple of hours. The longer you can leave it on, the better.

The baking soda helps to break down acid and absorb any leftover liquids and odors. If you have any essential oils leftover from your DIY cleaner, add them to the baking soda before you layer it on. This will add a fresh, clean scent.

Step 7: Vacuum (Again)

Now that you’ve added another layer of baking soda, it’s time to vacuum a second time. Once the baking soda has done its job, thoroughly vacuum up the excess. Since this is the final vacuum, take care to clean the seams and edges since allergens can collect there.

A cordless hand vacuum cleaner works best for this, but you can also use a broom. (The cleanup will just be a little messier.)

Step 8: Air Out Your Mattress

Now that your mattress is freshened up, you’ll want to give it some time to sit. Ideally, you should let the mattress dry for about 8-10 hours. However, if you need it that night you can point a fan on it or put it outside to speed up the drying process.

If the weather permits, try airing your mattress out in the sun. Sunlight has naturally bacteria-destroying properties, meaning those rays may help eliminate remaining bacteria.

Step 9: Flip the Mattress and Repeat

Now that you’ve cleaned one side, it’s time to do the other. Flip your mattress and repeat steps 1-8 and you’ll have a perfectly clean mattress.

A good rule of thumb is to flip your mattress every three months to prevent sagging. However, if you have a Casper mattress, you don’t need to flip it. If you sleep on one side of the bed or sleep with a partner that is significantly heavier than you, then you should rotate the bed 180 degrees every three to six months.

How To Clean Mattress Stains

Freshening up your mattress is pretty straightforward, but things may get more complicated if you’re wondering how to clean mattress stains off your bed. Check out our tips for how to clean common types of mattress stains.

Blood Stains

Since blood can clot, getting blood out of your bedding is no easy task. If you’ve noticed a blood stain, you should try to remedy the situation as quickly as possible.

For blood stains, you’ll want to use a mixture of cold water and hydrogen peroxide and dab the stain. If the stain doesn’t lift, you may need to look into a higher-strength stain fighter.

Urine Stains

Deep cleaning urine out of your mattress can be frustrating, especially if it’s already dried. However, check out these easy tricks for getting pee out of a mattress that may come in handy.

If you’ve caught the accident while it’s still wet, cleaning is a bit easier. You’ll just need to strip your bedding and blot away as much as possible. For dried stains, you’ll want to use vinegar to completely soak the stain, then cover the area in plastic wrap for 24-48 hours. 

For both types of accidents, you’ll want to follow this by spraying a solution of two parts water, one part white vinegar, and a splash of laundry detergent as a cleaning solution. Once you’ve cleaned the stain, sprinkle baking soda onto the area to soak up any lingering smells.

Sweat Stains

Sweat stains can often be more hidden than other types, since they tend to appear gradually rather than after a specific accident. If you’ve noticed yellowish stains appearing on your bed, you may want to clean sweat stains out of your best mattress.

To lighten these stains, use a mixture of equal parts hydrogen peroxide, liquid dish soap, and water and spray the solution on the stain. Let it sit for 20-30 minutes before blotting out any excess. Similar to other types of stains, you’ll want to sprinkle baking soda on top to cancel out any odors.

Tips for Keeping Your Mattress Clean

Experts recommend replacing your mattress every 10 years. To keep your mattress in tip-top shape during that time while getting as much beauty sleep as you can out of it, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite tips for keeping your mattress clean.

1. Use Protection

Using a waterproof mattress protector is a no-brainer to guard against dirt, spills, and normal wear and tear. We developed a waterproof mattress protector that conforms through the sides and keeps it pristine. The best part? It won’t compromise the comfort of your bed.

2. Give It a Bath

While we don’t recommend trying to wash it yourself, there are plenty of professionals out there who can get the job done. We recommend contacting your local mattress cleaning service and scheduling a convenient home visit.

3. Keep It Smelling Fresh

To keep odors in check, air out the mattress by freeing it from the sheets and opening a few windows. For serious smell situations, consider sprinkling baking soda on the cover, then vacuuming it away before putting the sheets back on.

4. Keep Out Dust with Fitted Sheets

Use fitted sheets to protect your mattress from dust, dirt, and dead skin. This will help keep your allergies at bay and ensure that dust mites don’t find a new home in your bed.

5. Rotate Your Mattress

Along with regular cleaning, you can periodically rotate your mattress head-to-foot (180 degrees) every six months to make sure it wears evenly, but don’t ever flip a Casper mattress. Casper mattresses are strategically layered for your comfort so they don’t need to be flipped.

The right setup can also make a huge impact on a bed’s life span. You’ll find that the type of support that sits under your mattress is just as important as the different layers of materials in the mattress itself. We recommend using the Casper Foundation and metal bed frame

Looking for a brand-new mattress upgrade instead? We have five unique mattress options for every sleeping preference and price point. Find your perfect match(ress) today.

Mattress Cleaning FAQs

Wondering how to clean your mattress? Check out the answers to some of these commonly asked questions for all your mattress cleaning woes. 

What Causes Yellow Stains on a Mattress?

The most common causes of yellow stains on a mattress are urine, sweat, food preservatives, and other bodily fluids. Over time, it is natural for mattresses to become a little discolored. To clean sweat and urine from a mattress, you will need to blot the area (don’t scrub!), then spray a vinegar solution on the stain and let it soak for a minimum of 10-15 minutes. Once the area is soaked, cover the stain with baking soda and let sit for 8-10 hours. Finally, vacuum up the dry baking soda.

How Do You Clean a Mattress With Vinegar and Baking Soda?

If you only have vinegar and baking soda at your disposal, it’s still possible to get your mattress looking (and smelling) fresh. Just spray a mixture of two parts water, one part vinegar, and a splash of laundry detergent onto your mattress as a cleaning solution.

Once you’ve blotted away any remaining cleaning solution, you can sprinkle baking soda on top of the mattress to cancel out any odors. 

How Do You Sanitize a Mattress?

While vinegar, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide can help you clean your mattress, sanitizing and disinfecting it may take a bit more work. A few popular methods for sanitizing your mattress include:

  • Specialized steam cleaners
  • Bleach-free disinfectant spray
  • Specialized enzyme cleaner

If you want to deep clean your bedding, try letting your sheets air-dry in the sun. Compared to using a dryer, air drying in sunlight may help kill remaining germs on your sheets due to the natural antibacterial qualities of UV rays. Just remember that hang drying won’t kill off all viruses or bacteria.

A quality mattress is an investment and protecting your mattress is critical to getting the most out of it. Cleaning your mattress regularly will extend its life and ensure it stays comfortable. However, all good things must come to an end. Wondering how often should you replace your mattress? After 8-10 years it’s time to buy a mattress.

Make sure you find a mattress that suits your specific needs. At Casper, we are dedicated to designing mattresses that keep you cool, comfortable, and cradled all night long.