Cleaning Stains, Odors, and Infestations
Everyday mattress freshness is important, but you may need to take things a step further if you have spots, stains, odors, or even bugs. You should always clean up these messes quickly and effectively to avoid damaging your mattress. Stay on top of big mattress messes with thorough cleaning to keep your mattress clean and healthy.
Removing Bed Bugs
No one wants to think about bugs in their bed, but the reality is that bed bugs can happen even if you practice good mattress hygiene. All it takes is one trip for a few bed bugs to hitch a ride on your luggage and come home. But the good news is that most infestations can be treated.
- Throw everything in the laundry: Bed bugs don’t just attack your bed. They get into bedding, blankets, stuffed animals, pillows, curtains, even your clothes. Put everything that’s washable into your washing machine and run it on hot to zap all of the bugs.
- Bag everything else: Bug bugs stick to hard surfaces, too. They can hide in your phone, laptop, clock radio, books, and other personal items. Bag these items and place Nuvan strips inside to kill the bugs.
- Search and destroy bugs on your mattress: Find as many bed bugs as you can on your mattress and vacuum them up. You can see what bed bugs and their eggs look like here. Use a flashlight, look in every nook and cranny, and go over every spot at least twice. Never use vacuum attachments with brushes or bristles. Bed bugs may cling to them.
- Find beg bugs in furniture: Bed bugs may have spread to other furniture, including your bed frame and dresser. Vacuum them up as you find them, and be thorough. Look for eggs and search inside and under all furniture and drawers with a flashlight.
- Clean every surface: Scrub infested surfaces. Be sure to wipe down every surface, even if it was not affected. Look in baseboards, cracks, and holes in walls. Scrape the surface of carpets or rugs with a vacuum attachment, then vacuum thoroughly to pull bed bugs out.
- Cover your mattress with an encasement: A mattress encasement places a protective barrier on your mattress. Bed bugs won’t be able to get in or out of your mattress through the encasement. It may be unnerving to think that you could have bed bugs still living and trapped in your mattress, but they will starve and die eventually. The mattress encasement ensures they’ll have nothing new to eat and you won’t have a new infestation in your mattress. Consider vacuuming your mattress one more time before adding the encasement.
- Vacuum dead bugs after a year: Bed bugs will be dead after a year. You can remove your mattress encasement to vacuum up the last of the bed bugs.
- Call for help: Some bed bug infestations are beyond the skills of a DIY bed bug exterminator. Call a professional if you’re having trouble getting bed bugs under control or they keep coming back after you’ve treated them. You don’t want bed bugs to continue to grow their infestation of your mattress and home.
Treating Dust Mites
Dust mites are definitely the lesser evil when it comes to creepy crawlies in your bed, but that’s not to say you want them sticking around. Dust mites make themselves at home in mattresses, feeding on human skin in warm, humid spots. They often aggravate allergies, making your mattress an uncomfortable place to sleep. But you can banish them from your bed with cleaning and preventive maintenance.
- Wash your sheets weekly: Dust mites live on dead human skin and they find it in your sheets. Wash your sheets and pillows every week in hot water so you’re not giving dust mites anything to live on.
- Dry your sheets outside: Direct sunlight kills dust mites, so if you hang sheets and pillows outside to dry, you can kill off any dust mites you may have missed in the washer.
- Get a new pillow: Change to a new pillow every six months to get rid of any dust mites living inside.
- Take a steamer to your mattress: Steam vapors will kill dust mites (and bacteria) on contact, so run a steam cleaner over all mattress surfaces every few months. Be sure to cover everything, as you won’t be able to see dust mites.
- Vacuum your mattress: Remove dead and live dust mites from your mattress by vacuuming them up with your upholstery attachment. Use a crevice tool to get into quilting and other tight spots.
- Use a mattress cover: A mattress cover won’t keep dust mites out of your bedding, but it can keep them from burrowing into your mattress where they’re tougher to get rid of. Using a mattress cover, you’ll just need to stay on top of regularly washing your sheets and pillows.
Washing Spots and Stains
Spots and stains are common on mattresses. Sweat, accidents, even food can end up on your mattress and leave a spot or stick around as a stain. You should take care of these as soon as you can to avoid letting the stains set, or have spots become odors or even mold.
- Blot thoroughly: Be sure to blot up any liquids. Use a towel or other clean cloth to remove as much liquid as you can. You don’t want liquid to soak into your mattress and leave a stain or encourage mold growth or odor.
- Spray areas with a dish detergent mix: Clean spots and stains with a 50/50 mix of water and dish detergent. Let it sit, then scrub thoroughly. Repeat spraying, sitting, and scrubbing a few times for stains that won’t come up easily. Be sure not to let your mattress get too wet by blotting up any excess moisture from the spray mix.
- Sprinkle baking soda: For added freshness, odor fighting, and cleaning power, sprinkle baking soda on your mattress. Let it sit and then vacuum it up.
- Remove bodily fluids with laundry detergent: Laundry detergent is formulated to break up urine, blood, and other bodily fluids, so try some detergent and water to clean these off of your mattress. Hydrogen peroxide will work as well. Do not use hot water, as it will set stains.
Sleeping on a smelly mattress is simply unpleasant. Left unchecked, mattress odors can interfere with your sleep and comfort and lead to bigger problems like bacteria and mold growth. Keep your mattress smelling fresh and healthy with odor removal.
- Vacuum your mattress: Vacuuming won’t remove every odor from your mattress, but it’s a good start for getting things clean and ready to scrub down.
- Use baking soda: Baking soda is a great odor eliminator. Sprinkle it directly onto your mattress, let it sit, then vacuum it up to pick up odors.
- Spray your mattress: Spray the affected area with vinegar or an odor eliminating agent like Febreeze, then blot and scrub the area. Use vinegar sparingly, as the odor from vinegar may also be unpleasant to sleep with.
- Air out your mattress: Air dry your mattress, ideally outside. Often, direct sunlight will zap out odors.