5 Common Mistakes to Avoid While Cleaning Your Mattress

cleaning your mattress

5 Common Mistakes to Avoid While Cleaning Your Mattress

You’ve been sneezing and coughing up a storm as of late. It could be the pollen outside getting to you or it may be coming from a source in your own home. We’re talking about your mattress.

Mattresses can become a breeding ground for dust mites and other allergens if they aren’t cleaned on a normal basis. Stripping the bed and throwing the sheets in the wash isn’t enough to solve the problem.

Cleaning your mattress takes more work than that and there is a wrong way to do it. You can’t approach it the same way you do your couch. So, before you gather your cleaning materials, check out these common mattress cleaning mistakes.

Why Cleaning Your Mattress is Important

Before we get into what you should avoid doing when cleaning your mattress, let’s talk about why you should clean it. You spend an average of 8 hours each night sleeping on your mattress. Did you ever take the time to stop and think about what you’re sleeping on?

If your mattress is ten years old or more the answer is dust mites. Older mattresses are especially vulnerable to common allergy-causing contaminants and mold. While dust mites can’t really hurt you, they will make your nose run.

1. Using Water to Clean it

Even if you have a no eating and drinking in the bedroom rule, that doesn’t mean that mattresses are impervious to spills. Kids will be kids after all.

If your child spills sticky juice on the bed or is still in the bedwetting stage of their lives, your first reaction (besides throwing their sheets in the wash) is going to be to take soap and water to it. It’s best to avoid this gut reaction.

Soap and water don’t do the upholstery any favors. In fact, it will damage your mattress. Instead, blot the moisture away and spray down the area with an enzyme-based cleaner.

If you are dealing with urine, sprinkling a bit of baking soda on the mattress will help get rid of the odor.

2. Beating Your Mattress to Remove Dirt

Beating your mattress with a stick might be an effective method for stress relief but it doesn’t do much in terms of getting rid of dust and allergens. At the end of the day, you’ll be left with a sore arm and still be sneezing.

It’s much more effective to use a vacuum with an upholstery attachment to get rid of dust.

3. Using a Multi-Purpose Vacuum

Yes, you should be vacuuming your mattress but most homeowners make the mistake of using their regular old vacuum to do the job. The problem is that these machines aren’t built to tackle mattresses.

They’re fine to use on the floor and sofa but they can’t clean quite deep enough to tackle the allergens resting in your bed. You need a vacuum cleaner with a special attachment that’s made to handle mattresses.

If you don’t have a machine like that or can’t find one, you may want to call in the professionals. They’ll have the vacuum needed to do the job.

4. Thinking that Washing the Liens is Enough

Most people clean their sheets and comforter once a week or so as part of their normal cleaning schedule. Fresh sheets smell good and sleeping on them makes you feel clean but it’s not enough.

Your mattress soaks up dust, skin flakes, and dirt like a sponge. You can’t see it on the surface for the most part but it’s there and you’re still being exposed to it through your layer of clean sheets.

You need to incorporate cleaning your mattress into your normal routine. Don’t wait until something is spilled on it.

5. Steam Cleaning the Mattress

Steam cleaners can do a world of good on many surfaces. They can kill bacteria and restore life to a carpet, for example. They don’t make the best mattress cleaning tools though.

Using steam cleaners on your mattress can and will cause mold to form due to the moisture. Not to mention that sleeping on a damp mattress isn’t that comfortable.

If you have used a steam cleaner on your mattress don’t fret. It will take a little work but you can prevent the growth of mold and mildew. First thing’s first, you’ve got to drag it outside into the warm sun to dry it.

If mildew has formed, wipe down the mattress and vacuum both sides with an appropriate machine. Don’t forget to toss the filter when you’re done.

Create a solution of warm water and isopropyl alcohol and wipe the infected areas with a sponge. Rinse with warm water but don’t use so much that you damage the mattress.

You can kill any remaining mildew and mold spores by spraying the mattress with Lysol. Once the mattress is dry you can take it back inside.

The Right Way to Clean a Mattress

Now that you know what you shouldn’t do to clean a mattress, it’s time to learn what you should do. Here are a few quick cleaning steps.

Wash the Bedding

Take everything off your bed including your sheets, comforter, pillows, and pillowcases, and toss them in the wash. Be sure to use warm water. This is the best way to kill off dust mites.

Keep in mind that not all pillows can go in the wash. Check its label before you toss it in with your other bedding.


Grab your vacuum with an upholstery attachment and go over the entirety of your mattress with it.

Don’t neglect the sides and be sure to go over the seams and little crevices. Allergens and dust mites love to hide in these places.


Again, you should never soak your mattress in soap and water because it can damage it. That means you’ve got to use the spot-cleaning method. An enzyme-based cleaner will do just fine on common biological stains like urine, blood, and sweat.

Spray the cleaner onto a cloth and dab at the spots until the stain begins to lift out of the fabric. Finish the job by going behind yourself with a separate cloth dampened with cold water.

If you don’t have any enzyme-based cleaner on hand, you can make your own cleaner using cold water and hydrogen peroxide.

Whatever you do, the goal is to use as little moisture to clean the mattress as possible. Clean it with this idea in mind.

Apply Baking Soda

If it’s a rainy day or you live in say, an apartment and can’t drag your mattress out onto the lawn to dry it, baking soda is a good alternative. Add a layer of it to the mattress and leave it alone for a few hours or overnight if you can.

The longer it sits on the mattress, the more time it has to absorb the moisture and get rid of lingering odors. To get the full effects of this drying method, open up a few windows to let the UV rays in.

The sunlight will heat things up on the surface of your mattress and get rid of any problem bacteria. It even fights against mold.

Vacuum a Second Time

Once the baking soda has had the time to do its job, it’s time to take your vacuum to the mattress a second time. This will get rid of the baking soda and any leftover nasty allergens.

Flip the Mattress Over

You’ve got one side of your mattress clean but your job isn’t done yet. Flip the mattress over and repeat the process. If you own a spring mattress you should be flipping it on a normal basis anyway.

Don’t wait until you have to do a deep clean. Most mattresses should be flipped every three months or so. You can check with the manufacture to get the rules on your exact model.

Flipping the mattress helps even up the strain that’s put on it when you’re sleeping at night. This will help it last much longer than it normally would.

Protect it

It’s time to seal in your hard work! When your mattress has dried all the way, put a protector on it.

Mattress protectors will help keep spills and other stains out so you don’t have to go through this process quite as often.

Fight Off Dust Mites and Keep Your Mattress Clean

Have you been sneezing more than normal as of late? Does your nose run throughout the day? It may have less to do with pollen and more to do with the fact that you haven’t cleaned your mattress in a while.

Cleaning your mattress not only keeps dust mites away, but it also stops mold from forming if you do it right. So, grab your materials and get to work.

Of course, the best way to avoid cleaning issues is by calling in the professionals. Contact us to ask about our services and get a quote.

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