You should be cleaning your mattress, not just your sheets. Here’s how to do it


You can use common products like baking soda and vacuums to clean a mattress.Kara Birnbaum / NBC News

Knowing how to find the best mattress for you is key to getting a good night’s sleep. What’s almost as important is knowing how to properly clean a mattress. That’s because regularly cleaning your mattress increases its lifespan, ensuring that it (along with good sleep) will last for years to come. You don’t have to be a professional cleaner to thoroughly sanitize and deodorize your mattress — you just have to use the appropriate products and follow appropriate guidance.

We spoke with professionals from popular home care companies who are well-versed in cleaning different types of mattresses, including memory foam, latex and innerspring varieties. Below, we rounded up the best products and ingredients for thorough mattress cleaning as well as tips from our experts.

SKIP AHEAD: How we picked the best products | The best products for deep cleaning a mattress | How to clean a non-memory foam mattress | How to clean a memory foam mattress

We spoke with two experts including the owner of a cleaning business with 15 years of experience and a home improvement specialist with over six years of experience in home services, about how best to go about cleaning a mattress. In doing so, they recommended keeping the following in mind when shopping.

We consulted various cleaning experts to get their advice on how to sanitize and deodorize a stained or dirty mattress. In addition to direct recommendations from these experts, we included products that have at least a four-star average rating or higher from products with at least 500 reviews on Amazon or 100 reviews on a brand’s own website.

This stain and odor remover comes recommended by Dulude for addressing stains on mattresses, particularly ones made from pets or bodily fluids. You can spray the product directly to stains on the surface of the mattress, let it sit for about five minutes and use a damp cloth or sponge to blot and scrub the stain as needed, according to the brand. Additionally the spray not only addresses the stain, but it also neutralizes strong odors, according to the brand.

Both Dulude and Micetich recommended using a small handheld vacuum, like this one, that has an attachment to pick up debris from mattresses. The vacuum cleaner has a UV sanitizing light technology, which kills bacteria and viruses, according to the brand. The vacuum also comes with a pulsating and rotating brush that helps lift and remove hair, pet dander and fur and dust mites, according to the brand. It also has a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter, which can trap up to 99.97% of microscopic particles such as dust and pollen, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

This multipurpose upholstery cleaner from Bissell is an NBC Select Pet Award winner for best pet stain remover. NBC Select updates editor Mili Godio likes it for its versatility and its ability to clean various types of pet stains from carpets and upholstery. “I’ve used Bissell’s Little Green carpet cleaner for years, and I love that I can physically see my furniture getting cleaner and brighter whenever I use it,” she says. “It picks up dirt from my carpet and couch in one smooth motion.” The product has suction capabilities, a self-cleaning hose and a spray tool for crevices and small spaces, which makes it appropriate for cleaning a mattress as well.

If you’re looking to do an especially thorough clean on your mattress, a quality steam cleaner — which blows hot water vapor onto fabric to remove particles and debris — may also be a good option. In fact, Micetich recommends using one to deep clean innerspring, gel or latex mattresses. (Memory foam and memory foam hybrid mattress take longer to dry due to their absorbent properties, so Micetich recommends against using a steamer to clean them). While steam cleaners work curtains and furniture, they also work mattresses, says Micetich. The steam cleaner, which has a 4.5-star average rating on Amazon from more than 20,000 reviews, comes with a 54-ounce tank for water, a hose, various brushes, washable microfiber pads and an extender.

Micetich and Dulude both recommended using hydrogen peroxide to treat mattress stains. At its core, hydrogen peroxide is a clear chemical that acts as a sterilant, which has the ability to kill microorganisms, according to the EPA. While this particular hydrogen peroxide is safe to use on food, laundry and kitchen surfaces, it’s also fine to use on mattresses, according to the brand Our experts recommend either using it on its own as a spray on stains or mixing it with baking soda and dish detergent to make your own homemade cleaner. It has a 4.6-star average rating from more than 8,300 reviews on Amazon and comes in a 16-ounce bottle.

In addition to hydrogen peroxide, Dulude also recommends using liquid detergent to treat stains and clean your mattress. This particular detergent, which has a 4.5-star average rating from more than 16,000 reviews on Amazon, is a clear liquid that’s free of harsh perfumes and dyes and is hypoallergenic, according to the brand. Though technically a laundry detergent, you can use a small amount of it to spot clean stains on mattresses, too.

While a mattress protector isn’t technically a cleaning product, it can go a long way in maintaining the cleanliness of your mattress. Our experts emphasize the importance of not simply having a mattress protector, but also making sure to regularly wash it in the laundry. “Mattress protectors really work and they exist for a reason,” says Micetich. “They’re absolutely going to extend the longevity of [your mattress].” This zippered protector has a 4.6-star average rating from more than 100,000 reviews on Amazon and is machine washable and waterproof and bed bug-proof, according to the brand.

At NBC Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and without undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.

Cory Fernandez is a commerce editor at NBC Select. He covers food, kitchen, home, cleaning and general lifestyle content. He spoke with experts in home cleaning and conducted research on cleaning products and methods to properly clean mattresses.

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