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Find yourself asking how best to clean a mattress? Because of their cumbersome bulk and size, you can’t rely on your trusty washing machine to help you!

Furthermore, mattresses are not something you clean as frequently as your bed sheets or towels. So it’s best to do it right when you do want to clean them!

But let’s say you don’t want to call on a mattress cleaning service, here are some reliable methods on how to clean a mattress that you might find useful!

Table Of Contents:

What You Need To Clean A Mattress

You might not require all of these cleaning supplies, depending on how dirty your mattress is or what sort of stains there are.

The exception is for dust mites and bacteria, which are not visible. But that you should definitely take care of, especially for those sensitive to allergens!

  • Cleaning rags
  • Baking soda
  • Dish-wash soap or an enzyme cleaner
  • Laundry soap
  • Cold water
  • Handheld vacuum with dust mite attachment (or a dust mite vacuum cleaner)
  • Garment steamer
  • Bleach (hydrogen peroxide)
  • Deodorizer/ Antibacterial spray
  • Sunshine

How To Clean A Mattress

While these steps may seem excessive, you can consider this as deep cleaning for your mattress.

Something which advises should be a bi-annual affair (i.e. you should deep clean your mattress every 6 months).

Bed Sheets Should Be Cleaned Every Week Or Bi Weekly To Prevent Built Up Of Dead Skin Cells On Your Mattress
Bed Sheets Should Be Cleaned Every Week Or Bi Weekly To Prevent Built Up Of Dead Skin Cells On Your Mattress – Photo credits to Jaymantri (Pexels)

Step 1 – Remove The Bedding

That goes for stuffed toys, bolsters, pillows, blankets, mattress pads/ toppers, etc – basically whatever you have on your mattress.

Remove them for individual cleaning, away from the mattress and your cleaning supplies.

If your washing machine has a hot cycle, this is the time to use it (after first checking the garment care labels on the individual items).

You should be able to wash a mattress protector with your washing machine if it’s not too thick and heavy.

Remove Everything From The Top Of Your Mattress Before Cleaning
Remove Everything From The Top Of Your Mattress Before Cleaning – Photo credits to Cottonbro (Pexels)

Step 2 – Bust The Vacuum Out

A handheld vacuum cleaner is more convenient. Check if yours comes with an attachment specifically for cleaning upholstery (e.g., curtains, sofas, car seats, etc).

Else, try to use an attachment with a wide brush.

Note: You might want to wipe down the attachment before using it if you previously used it elsewhere like your floor or car

Fit the respective attachment on and proceed to vacuum every inch of the mattress in a systematic fashion so you don’t waste your energy!

Step 3 – Tackle Stains

Before cleaning the mattress as whole, address any prominent stains first with some spot cleaning.

There are all kinds of stains – some more stubborn than others. The general line of attack is cleaning stains as quickly as you spot them. So that they don’t seep further into your mattress!

You don’t want to soak your mattress with cleaning liquids and water either. This is especially important for memory foam mattress!

Here’s what you can do for specific stains:

  • Blood stains – we have a more detailed post for cleaning blood stains off a mattress, just follow the available link.
  • Biological stains – This also covers blood, and you can use an enzyme cleaner (leave on the affected area for ~15 minutes) to help break the stains down;
  • Yellow sweat or pee stains – may need a light spray of bleach; allow to air dry
  • Spills – Dab at and blot them away with a dry cloth, don’t press, scrub at, or rub hard
  • Dirt stains – Use a toothbrush to apply a stain remover or a mixture of bleach and dish-wash liquid, scrub gently and wiping away excess with a damp rag
  • Wine or vomit – Laundry detergent and water in a ratio of 2:1 and let sit on the stain for ~10 minutes before wiping off with a damp cloth; Water and white vinegar (50/50 ratio) works for vomit too
A Solution Of Water And White Vinegar Can Be Effective On Certain Stains
A Solution Of Water And White Vinegar Can Be Effective On Certain Stains – Photo credits to Cottonbro (Pexels)

Step 4 – Clean The General Area (How To Clean A Mattress With Baking Soda)

Apply baking soda in an even layer on top of your mattress. And not a fine dusting, mind you but a generous coat!

Leave the baking soda on the mattress for at least 30 minutes to let it soak up excess liquids and prevailing odors from your mattress.

If you can wait, it’s best to leave the baking soda on for longer (I.e. hours).

To remove the baking soda, vacuum your mattress again.

Step 5 – Sanitize

There are a few ways you can further sanitize your mattress:

  1. Use an antibacterial or deodorizing spray
  2. Place it in the sunshine for UV rays to kill mold and bacteria
  3. Steam the whole mattress with a garment steamer

Step 6 – Turn The Mattress

Most mattress should not be flipped over because they have a plush top and a support system on the bottom. But you might have a mattress that is interchangeable.

In that case, flip it over 180°.

Otherwise, just turn it 90° clockwise/ or anti clockwise to prevent the mattress from sagging in one side faster than the other!

This often overlooked step can prolong the life of your mattress!

Step 7 – Add A Mattress Protector

The final step in cleaning a mattress and just before putting back the bedding:

Is to put a mattress protector on the top of your mattress! This will hopefully save you the trouble of cleaning up stains from your mattress in the future!

You could also used a mattress topper as well! For a more detailed explanation on the difference, simply check out our mattress protector vs mattress topper article.

Let Your Mattress Air Out Before Putting On The Sheets Again
Let Your Mattress Air Out Before Putting On The Sheets Again – Photo credits to Max Vakhtbovych (Pexels)

Mattress Cleaning Tips

Just some pointers on how to keep your mattress clean until the next deep cleaning session:

  • If your room is always humid (I.e. ripe conditions for mold), you may want to improve the ventilation in your room, turn on the air conditioner once in a while, or get a dehumidifier
  • Remove stains immediately
  • Don’t immediately put fresh bed sheets on every time you change the sheets, give your mattress some time to “breathe”; Let some sunshine fall on your naked mattress too
  • Mind what you put on your bed – school bags, wallets, and even your phone carry a lot of germs from the outside!
  • Change sheets every 1-2 weeks


After deep cleaning your mattress, you should be ready for a good night’s sleep!

But if you’re not satisfied with the results:

We do have an article dedicated on the best mattress cleaning services in Malaysia, if you do feel like it’s time to call in professional help!



Janice is the founder & editor for Wanted to be an author as a kid, got a D in English (First Language), but somehow now a content writer with an engineering background. Bakes, does yoga, plays the piano, reads, and most other introverted indoor hobbies.

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