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800.588.5720
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How Dirty is Your Mattress?

How Dirty Is Your Mattress?

Considering the amount of time we spend on our mattresses, it is important to know how to keep them clean. Mattresses can be a breeding ground for bacteria, debris, and dust mites, even if you wash your sheets and pillowcases regularly. Keep reading for tips on how to maintain the cleanliness and quality of your mattress for a clean, healthy sleeping environment.

How Dirty Is Your Mattress?

  • We spend nearly one-third of our lives in bed, our mattresses accumulating sweat, skin particles, drool, and other unwanted materials with each sleep.
  • Attention hot sleepers: Mattresses soak up an average of 26 gallons of sweat each year.
  • Even with washing bed linens regularly, the combination of skin cells and sweat housed in mattresses creates a perfect environment for bacteria, fungus, and dust mites.

The Cleanliness of Memory Foam Compared to Other Mattress Materials

Memory foam mattresses can last up to 12 years, but the lifetime really depends on how well you take care of your mattress. A simple way to minimize mattress buildup is to gently vacuum over the surface of your mattress to remove loose particles. For a deeper clean, you can use a mild cleaning solution made with laundry detergent and water in a spray bottle. Shake the cleaner before spraying, then spray both the top and bottom of your mattress in an upright position to clean. For tougher stains, repeat the aforementioned process but use vinegar instead of laundry detergent, and mix with warm water for your cleaning solution. This process will help spot treat tougher stains without compromising the quality of your mattress materials.

To simplify mattress care, we suggest pairing every mattress in a box with one of our Tencel™ Protectors or Cooling Protectors to create a breathable barrier between your mattress and any unwanted mattress guests. Even with a mattress protector, we suggest routine mattress cleans each year to prevent buildup.

Memory Foam vs. Latex Mattresses

Both memory foam and latex mattresses are fairly easy to clean. Latex mattresses are similar to memory foam mattresses in that they offer pressure relief and contouring while you sleep, but they tend to come at a steeper price. There are two varieties of latex mattresses: natural and synthetic. Natural latex mattresses are hypoallergenic, making them a good mattress for sleepers prone to allergies because they tend to repel allergens such as dust mites, mold and mildew. However, memory foam mattresses are also hypoallergenic because the composition of the memory foam does now allow much room for allergens and bacteria to burrow in the material. Memory foam mattresses are generally more affordable than latex mattresses and offer just as many, if not more, benefits for your sleep.

Memory Foam vs. Spring Mattresses

Memory foam mattresses and spring mattresses are very different in composition. Traditional innerspring mattresses pair steel coils with various foams, fibers or padding, which makes them much more susceptible to buildup of skin cells and other allergens. While the mattress constructions are very different, the methods used to clean both mattresses are very much the same. First, you will want to strip the bed and wash all bedding, then vacuum the mattress to get rid of any large, loose particles, then spot-clean the surface of your mattress with a gentle stain remover. You can also sprinkle baking soda over the entire surface of the mattress and vacuum any residual baking soda to help remove dirt and stains.

Which Mattress Cleaning Solutions Work Best?

If a simple vacuum and spray detergent are not quite the thorough mattress cleaning you have in mind, here are some other popular cleaning agents:

  • Cleaning equipment, such as the Bissel portable mattress cleaner, is often used for a deeper clean for dirt and stains in your mattress. We always suggest checking your mattress warranty to make sure your cleaning method of choice will not void your warranty.
  • Cleaning products and solutions are also vast. Some products, such as the Revolve Upholstery Cleaner and Stain Remover, are designed for other surfaces but can be used on mattresses (in moderation). Other brands, such as Kleen Logik, make products specifically for mattresses. The Kleen Logik Mattress Stain Spot Remover Cleaning Spray is generally a safe option for spot treating mattress stains. The Rocco & Roxie Supply Professional Mattress Cleaner is another great product to try when cleaning your mattress.

Homemade Mattress Cleaning Formulas

Homemade formulas can be just as effective, and more affordable, for cleaning and spot-treating mattresses. Below are two of our favorite homemade cleaning solutions to use on your mattresses:

  • Formula #1 - A cleaning solution made of equal parts laundry detergent and water. Mix this solution in a spray bottle until it is completely blended together and then spray onto your mattress.
  • Formula #2 - Combine baking soda and an essential oil and mist onto your mattress. (Use an essential oil of your preference; Lavender is great for relaxation and sleep and is the recommended essential oil for mattress cleaning).

Larger mattress sizes such as queen and king size mattresses may require more solution. Keep your mattress size in mind when creating your homemade mattress cleaning formulas. Read our mattress size guide for more details on mattress dimensions.

Common Mattress Cleanups

How do I clean urine out of a mattress?

Whatever you do, don't scrub the stain. Blot the soiled area to soak up as much liquid as possible, then use an at home solution of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and dishwashing soap. Spray the spot (the entire mattress if you'd like), let the cleaning solution sit for at least 10 minutes, then blot up excess liquid and let it air dry.

How do I clean sweat out of a mattress?

Removing sweat from a mattress is very similar to removing urine. Blot any excess sweat. Spray your mattress with a vinegar solution or a solution of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and dishwashing soap. Apply the spray liberally to the sweat spots, let the spray sit, then blot up any excess and let air dry.

How do I clean food or drink out of a mattress?

The easiest way to remove dry food particles from a mattress is to vacuum. To remove drink stains, use a combination of hydrogen peroxide, liquid dish soap, and salt. This can be used to spot treat any beverage stains from your mattress. Apply the solution liberally, but do not saturate the mattress.

Should I Replace my Mattress?

If your mattress is looking a little rough and a simple clean won't not bring it back to life, it may be time to consider replacing it with a new mattress. You definitely need to replace your mattress if you experience the following:

  • Body Aches: You wake up feeling sore, which could be a sign that your mattress is no longer supporting you as it should.
  • Lack of Sleep: You are sleeping, but you no longer wake up feeling rested or refreshed.
  • Sagging: Your mattress is wearing unevenly and is no longer supporting your body like it once was.
  • Wear & Tear: There are rips or holes in your mattress.
  • Noise: If you sleep on an innerspring or hybrid mattress and the springs in your mattress make a loud noise when you move, it's a sign that they are starting to break down.

If your mattress still offers you proper comfort and support, it may just be time to clean it. BedInABox® mattresses are built to last when treated with the proper care. It is important to use a mattress protector and to perform routine cleaning in order to preserve its longevity.

Cleaning your mattress regularly will not only prolong its lifespan, but it will help protect your mattress from common germs and organisms. Contact a BedInABox® specialist today with any questions regarding how to protect and care for your mattress.