How to Clean a Soiled Mattress So You Can Rest Easy

Annie Sisk
Written by Annie Sisk
Updated September 23, 2021
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Safeguard your sleep by removing stains from your mattress and keeping it free of dust mites

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Keeping your home clean is usually a goal that’s always front of mind, thanks to the highly visible nature of most messes (it’s hard to miss a pile of dirty dishes!). But when it comes to your mattresses, it’s often a matter of “out of sight, out of mind.” 

And yet a mattress gets a lot of wear and tear, so take the time to regularly clean it. When stains do occur, treat them promptly with the right method and ingredients so you can prolong your mattress’ life—and sleep soundly. 

Difficulty: 2/5

Time: Between 15 minutes and 13 hours total, depending on the level of cleaning needed

Tools and Materials Needed: 

  • Vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment

  • Clean, dry tea towels or bath towels

  • White vinegar

  • Baking soda

  • Spray bottle

  • Hydrogen peroxide and household gloves (for blood stains)

1. Vacuum Your Mattress Regularly

in black vacuum on mattress
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Often, all a tired mattress really needs is a good, thorough vacuuming. First, remove all the bed linens and put those in the washing machine. If you’re working with a fresh stain, use a clean, dry towel to blot up any excess liquid. If the stain is blood, urine, or some other body fluid, make sure you wash those towels in hot water to deodorize and disinfect them. 

Next, using the upholstery attachment, vacuum your mattress. Flip the mattress and repeat the process. Visually inspect each side for visible stains as you go. 

Vacuuming your mattress thoroughly every six months will help keep it free of dead skin cells and minimize dust mites, too. If you didn’t spot any stains as you vacuum, this might be all you need to do. Keep the mattress in its new, flipped position to prevent excess wear. 

2. Clean Up Non-Blood Spills Promptly

vinegar baking soda cleaning products
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Fill a spray bottle with white vinegar and lightly spray it onto the stain. Cover the stain completely, though you don’t need to spray heavily or soak the mattress. Let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. 

Next, sprinkle baking soda over the stain, ensuring it covers the entire spot and its edges. Let this solution rest on the mattress to disinfect the fabric and eliminate any odors. After 12 hours, use a vacuum to remove the baking soda.

3. Remove Bloodstains With Hydrogen Peroxide

If your mattress has a bloodstain, put on a pair of plastic or rubber cleaning gloves. Using clean, dry towels (or strong multi-ply paper towels), apply hydrogen peroxide to the stain. The hydrogen peroxide will bubble up and help lift the stain out. 

Dab or blot to soak up the blood—it’s important not to rub or scrub into the stain, which can make it worse. This process might not remove the stain entirely, but it will help break down the blood and disinfect the area while removing as much of it as possible. 

4. Dry Out the Mattress

Once it’s dry, you can bring it back inside and vacuum the surface one more time to remove any leaves, pine needles, or other outdoor debris that might have fallen onto it. 

If you can’t pull the mattress outdoors, try positioning it under a sunny window and opening up the curtains to let as much sunlight through as possible. Open the window a bit to help speed that process along. 

When you reposition the mattress on the bed frame or box spring, make sure to place the stained side down to help avoid multiple stains accumulating in one area.

5. Replace Your Mattress Every 6 to 8 Years

hand on new mattress
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Over time, your mattress will begin to lose its support and firmness. Most experts suggest you should replace your mattress every six to eight years, although that’s not a hard-and-fast rule. 

Look for the following signs that it might be time to buy a new mattress

  • It sags (especially if it’s sagging with nobody on it)

  • It has visible damage or tears

  • You don’t get a good night’s sleep, or you wake up with aches and pains

  • You’re noticing more severe symptoms of allergies or asthma

6. Hire a Professional Cleaning Service

professional cleaning mattress
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Sometimes a mattress stain is beyond even your best efforts. If that’s the case, or if you’d simply rather leave the job to the experts, hire a local mattress cleaning service to take care of the problem. 

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