You Should Be Cleaning Your Mattress More Often

Sara Rodrigues

From House Beautiful

Did you know you should be cleaning your mattress every season? We know mattress protectors are key and that sheets should be swapped once a week, but there seems to be a set-it-and-forget-it attitude when it comes to taking care of one of our bedroom's most expensive investments. The key to making your mattress last longer: air, sunlight, and ensuring even wear-and-tear. We asked the mattress experts how to clean and maintain your mattress for a better night's sleep all year long.

Materials:

  • Vacuum with brush attachment

  • Baking soda or dry laundry shampoo

  • Mild spot cleaner (optional)

  • Clean dish towel

Strip Your Sheets

If you're going to be cleaning your mattress, you should start fresh. Strip and clean your sheets and mattress protector. We might be past the days of plastic quilted toppers, but mattress protectors still need to be washed regularly. The barrier between your mattress and the world does more than save from spills. Protectors block sweat, tears and fluids from reaching your mattress over time.

Looking for better protection against dust, fluid, and, mites? Mattress encasements wrap fully around the mattress like a zippered pillowcase. This protects both sides of the mattress to prevent damage through the underside of the mattress. This is especially important for flippable mattresses. You don't want debris from the underside of your mattress coming in contact with your body once you've flipped your mattress.

Let There Be Light

All mattresses whether they are latex, foam, or coil based have air pockets that allow for differing levels of air flow. It's these space between layers that can breed mold, dust, and mites. Stripping your bed bare and opening your windows can do wonders for clearing out your mattress. Next laundry day, strip your sheets at the beginning of the day to allow the most time for sunlight and fresh air to penetrate the layers.

Charles P. Rogers' mattress expert, Linda Klein, tells House Beautiful, "Don't put the sheets right back on. If you strip your bed in the morning, wait until you are going to bed to put the sheets back on, so it's had eight to ten hours to air uncovered."

Photo credit: Brad Holland/House Beautiful
Photo credit: Brad Holland/House Beautiful

Dry Clean Only

The same way moisture during regular sleep can cause damage to your mattress, liquid detergents and soaps should be strictly avoided while cleaning your mattress. Instead stick to cleaning powders that can be vacuumed off, like baking soda.

"Avoid bleach, chlorine-based products and harsh stain removers since it can be difficult to fully rinse and clean your mattress of these types of products," explains Ali Bowen, a mattress expert at Stearns and Foster.

Using the brush attachment of your vacuum, clean the dust off the tops, sides and corners of your bare mattress. Then, sprinkle baking soda along the top, leaving for at least an hour.

If you have to spot treat your mattress, a light spray of spot cleaner or a laundry power can be used and then quickly blotted off with a damp cloth. Apply baking soda liberally for the area to soak up any excess. Microfiber towels are best for avoiding lint build-up on mattress tops.

Vacuum and Rotate

Once you've treated your mattress with cleaning powder, vacuum the mattress again, tops, sides and corners. If your mattress is flippable, you'll want to flip and repeat the powder clean steps on the underside. For non-flippable mattresses, you'll want to rotate the mattress so the foot and head of the bed swap.

"You should be rotating your mattress four times a year," says Klein. This will redistribute the weight while you sleep and wear the mattress more evenly over time. "Even though you may sleep in the same position every night, your head is where your legs were and these are different weights that are going to put a different impact on the surface," she continues.

Before bed, replace the protector or encasement and make your bed. The longer you can safety leave your bed uncovered, the more air and light can help to clean and refresh your mattress. Try to repeat this process once every four months to maintain the longevity of your mattress.

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