How to Clean Your Mattress to Improve Its Lifespan and Your Air Quality

Trust us, you’ll sleep better knowing your mattress is sparkling clean.


Brizmaker/Getty Images

Mattresses arguably get more use than any other object in our house, but they also tend to get neglected when it comes to the chore cycle. In fact, many people go years without cleaning their mattress and some admit to never cleaning it at all.

“A dirty mattress can be a hub of bacteria, as mattresses can accumulate dust mites, bacteria, mold, dead skin, dirt, and different allergens over time,” notes Kathy Cohoon, a cleaning professional at Two Maids and a Mop.

Michael Rubino, a cleaning expert and founder of HomeCleanse, adds that keeping your mattress clean not only improves your well-being and sleep quality, but it can even improve the lifespan of the mattress and promote better indoor air quality. Here's how to clean a mattress, step-by-step.

How Often to Clean a Mattress

Aim to clean your mattress once every six months to avoid major damage or dirt, dust, and dead skin cell buildup, says Cohoon. The process is easier than you think and doesn’t take too long. Plus, if you incorporate the task into a day of deep-cleaning your home, you can work on other projects in between mattress cleaning steps.

“Homeowners should clean their mattresses more often if they notice an uptick in allergy or asthma symptoms or if they find their mattress is losing consistency," Rubino adds.

Pro Tip: Swap out your mattress every six to 10 years, depending on how much use it gets.

How to Clean a Mattress

Perhaps part of the reason why people forego cleaning their bed is because they simply don’t know how to clean a mattress. Here’s the step-by-step rundown. 

What You'll Need

  • Laundry detergent
  • Laundry additive (optional)
  • Vacuum 
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Baking soda 


  1. Remove and wash your bedding. Toss everything into the washing machine, including your fitted sheet, top sheet, and duvet cover. For extra cleaning power, Rubino recommends using a laundry additive, such as Micro Balance EC3 Laundry Additive, that helps remove small particles like mold spores, mycotoxins, organic matter, and bacteria. 
  2. Vacuum. Use a handheld vacuum or hose attachment to vacuum any dry debris, dust, and loose dirt from the mattress. (Our cleaning pros recommend HEPA vacuums, which have robust filtration systems that help get the cleanest clean.) 
  3. Spot treat. Treat any stains before your general cleaning. Cohoon recommends mixing together equal parts cool water and hydrogen peroxide, then dabbing on with a soft cloth. Wipe away with water and allow the area to dry. If you need a stronger cleaning agent, try a spot treatment approved for fabrics/mattresses. 
  4. Sprinkle baking soda on the mattress. A light dusting is plenty. Allow the baking soda to sit for about one hour so it can neutralize odor and bacteria. While waiting, “circulate the air in the room with fans and open windows, if possible, to break down odors and eliminate bacteria,” Cohoon advises.
  5. Vacuum again. Vacuum up all the baking soda, making sure to remove any powder that migrated into the creases and folds. 
  6. Flip your mattress and repeat the process. (Do this step only if your mattress is two-sided and flippable.)

How to Clean a Memory Foam Mattress

This process is similar to cleaning a regular mattress. However, one key distinction for memory foam mattresses is that the materials are more delicate. Avoid applying any harsh chemicals, which can break down the memory foam inside. Gentle cleaners are a better option. Also avoid over-saturating the material, since memory foam tends to hold onto moisture.

How to Clean Pee Out of a Mattress

Accidents happen, but rest assured that pee can be cleaned from a mattress. You just need to catch the stain and clean it as soon as possible. “First, strip and wash all the bedding. Then use an enzyme cleaner to spot-treat the affected area and allow it to dry well,” Cohoon says. “Sprinkle the mattress with baking soda and allow it to sit for an hour to absorb any bacteria and odor, then vacuum well.”

How to Clean Mold From a Mattress

Unfortunately, the best way to handle mold on a mattress is to replace it with a new one. “That’s the only way to ensure all of the contamination is removed,” Rubino warns. “If it’s a small spot, you can attempt to clean it, but you just never know how deep the contamination issues go.”

More Mattress Cleaning and Maintenance Tips  

Wash your bedding often. “Your bedding makes a difference in the cleanliness of your mattress,” says Cohoon. Wash your bedding weekly so bacteria and dirt don’t build up between the bedding and mattress. Your comforter should be washed at least once every two to three months.

Treat stains immediately.“Treat any stains and damage as soon as you see it to avoid it becoming a bigger issue,” Cohoon says. Mattresses are porous and absorbent, so the quicker you get to a stain, the better.

Flip or rotate the mattress. When possible, flip your mattress once every three to six months, or any time you notice sagging or dents, Cohoon advises. Do check with the manufacturer regarding whether your bed can be flipped, though. Most memory foam, pillow-top, and hybrid mattresses can only be rotated since they’re one-sided.

Use an air purifier. Adding an air purifier to your home is a good move in general. In the bedroom, it helps “remove small particles like mold spores and other organic matter from the air so they don’t settle on the mattress,” Rubino says.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles