How to clean a mattress – for a sweeter night’s sleep

It’s not pretty, but mattresses tend to harbour dust, germs and mites (yuck!). Follow these steps to maintain a super-hygienic bed…
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  • When you’ve made the investment of buying a mattress you’ll want to keep it in tip-top condition – after all you’ll be sleeping in it for years to come.

    The best mattresses to buy right now – for a good night’s sleep and a comfortable rest

    When it comes to cleaning your mattress, there is no hard an fast rule about how often you should do it. However, as a general rule of thumb you should aim to clean your mattress every six months to prevent dust mites, dead skin and dirt accumulating. But, if you have an allergy you might want to aim to clean your mattress more frequently.

     To ensure sweet dreams, we’ve come up with a few key cleaning tips to rid your mattress of irritants like bed bugs, and some pre-emptive measures that will ensure that your mattress looks (and smells) good for longer.

    How to clean a mattress

    1. Root out the dust

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    Image credit: Ti-Media


    Mattresses are breeding grounds for dust mites, as they live off dead skin cells and thrive in humid environments. You should use a vacuum cleaner on both sides of the mattress to remove dirt, hair and crumbs from the mattress.

    Vacuuming will remove or kill the majority of mites and their allergens. However, if you are struggling with stubborn stains try getting it steam cleaned. Check with your mattress manufacturer first, as steam could damage the filling and/or springs.

    2. Let your mattress breathe

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    Image credit: David Brittain

    Airing your mattress every day will stop stale sweat smells permeating the surface, saving you the hassle of cleaning it later. Get into the habit of airing your bed every morning by drawing the covers off and letting your mattress (and sheets) breathe for 20 minutes before making it.

    3. Protect your mattress with a cover

    ‘Having a protective layer helps to keep your mattress hygienic and stain free, as our bodies can lose up to 500ml of water each night whilst we sleep. Mattress protectors can provide an extra layer to shield your mattress from bed bugs and dust mites,’ says Natalie Armstrong, sleep expert at Sealy UK. go for a design with quilting and extra padding for comfort, or wicking and waterproof top layers for practicality. Look out for a machine-washable option, so you can clean it with your bed linen.

    4. Use natural cleaners wherever possible

    Image credit: Polly Eltes

    Natural cleaners, such as bicarbonate of soda and even vodka, are less harsh than chemical solutions, so try these before using the harder stuff.  Use vodka neat on stains or mix it with water in a spray bottle and spritz your mattress to remove odours. Ensure you leave you mattress to air-dry completely before you make the bed again.

    If your mattress is starting to smell Bicarb is a handy deodoriser – sprinkle it on your mattress, leave it for at least an hour to soak up the smells, then vacuum it (and those pesky odours) off on a cool setting.

    5. Remove stains

    cleaning chore tackle stains how to clean a mattress

    Image credit: Polly Eltes

    Ideally, you want to tackle new stains on your mattress as soon as they happen. Soak up the spill with a dry absorbent cloth, dab it away with cold water and a sponge. Don’t use hot water as it will only set the stain. Existing spots will be harder to shift – use a stain remover on more stubborn marks.

    6. Know when to replace you mattress

    Angela Moran, Product Strategy Director at Silentnight Group tells us, ‘your mattress should last 8-10 years, so invest wisely. Replacing it every 8 years is sensible, particularly when you think about its heavy daily usage. Even if your old mattress still feels comfortable and supportive, it will have softened over time. It will also be hygienically ready for renewal after 8 years.’

    Related: Expert reveals why you shouldn’t be trying Mrs Hinch’s latest mattress cleaning hack

    Is your mattress due a good clean?

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