How to Clean a Mattress
January 04, 2024

We sleep on our mattresses every night, and most of us spend a lot of money on them, so the last thing you want is for it to be unclean and unhygienic. But with our busy lives and the mattress tucked away under the covers, it’s easy to forget about the need to clean it. 


If neglected they can be breeding grounds for bacteria: They can grow mould and accumulate dust, dust mites, and bodily fluids such as sweat, so it’s important to give them a clean – especially if you have allergies. A clean mattress will not only create a healthier sleeping environment, but it will last longer too.


Whether your child has had an accident, you’ve spilt something on it or you’ve simply realised you’ve never cleaned it, don’t panic! In our guide we’ll talk you through how to clean a mattress, how to get urine out of it and how to remove blood and stains, so you can enjoy cleaner, healthier nights. 


How Do You Clean a Mattress? 

To do a general or deep clean of your mattress, follow these simple steps. 

1. Strip Off the Bedding

Take off all the bed sheets and put them in the wash. You should try to wash your bedding every week to prevent dust build-up. 

2. Vacuum the Mattress

Get the vacuum on it and pay special attention to the seams and any crevices where dust and dirt can accumulate.

3. Spot-clean the Mattress

Use some laundry detergent, warm or cold water and a cleaning cloth to spot-clean your mattress. Dip the cloth into the cleaning solution, wring it out and blot any stained areas – or even better, apply just the foam from the solution to the cloth and then blot. Once you’ve done that, apply cold water to a different cloth and blot until the stain disappears. 

Be careful not to soak the mattress or to apply water or cleaning solution directly to it, and make sure it’s thoroughly dry before putting any bedding back on. 

Certain mattresses may require different cleaning products so remember to check the label before you start.

4. Sprinkle Bicarbonate of Soda Over the Whole Mattress

Bicarbonate of soda is a powerful, natural cleaner and deodoriser that can be used on countless things around the home, including mattresses. Sprinkle plenty on the entire mattress and leave it for several hours. Try to do this first thing in the morning because the longer you leave it, the more effective it will be. Even better – do it before you go away for the night! 

5. Vacuum the Bicarb Up

Once the bicarb has worked its magic, vacuum it all up. Your mattress should now be fresh, clean and odour-free.

6. Flip the Mattress

If your mattress can be flipped (most spring mattresses can be but foam can’t), repeat the steps on the other side for a thorough clean. 

7. Put a Mattress Protector On 

A mattress protector will keep it more hygienic as sweat and dead skin won’t build up in the mattress, causing germs to breed and creating an unhealthy sleeping environment. 

Waterproof covers are a must for children’s beds in case of accidents, and don’t forget your bed too if your kids often end up in it! 


How to Get Urine Out of a Mattress

Whether your child has had an accident or your cat has been naughty, don’t worry. You can pee out of a mattress if you follow these easy steps. 


How to Remove Pee If It’s Still Wet

The best thing to do is act fast! This will help avoid staining and smells.


1. Firstly, strip the bed and put the bedding in the wash. 

2. Use a towel to soak up as much of the liquid as you can by blotting and applying as much pressure as possible, not scrubbing. (If you’re worried about getting urine on your towel as well, there’s no need – it will come out fine in the wash and there’ll be no trace of it.) Avoid creating heat by friction caused by scrubbing as heat will cause the stain to set in. 

3. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and cold or tepid water and either apply it to the area with a cloth or, ideally, spray it to avoid soaking the mattress. Leave it for ten minutes.

4. Sprinkle on some bicarbonate of soda. This will react with the vinegar to lift stains, eliminating smells in the process. 

5. Then hoover up the bicarb and use a towel to blot any remaining dampness.

If the stain is still there, simply repeat the process until it lifts. 

Finally, make sure your mattress is dry when you put fresh bedding back on to prevent bacteria growing. 


How to Remove Urine from a Mattress When It’s Dry

If the urine is dry, grab some bicarbonate of soda and white vinegar and follow steps three to five above. When you sprinkle on the bicarb, use an old toothbrush to scrub it gently into the fabric of the mattress and wait for it to darken, as this shows it’s absorbing the urine. Once it’s darkened, vacuum it up and repeat as necessary until the stain fades.


How to Get Blood Out of a Mattress

The first thing to note is that the quicker you start cleaning the blood off – i.e. when it’s fresh – the more effective you’ll be at removing any trace of it. (And remember to use cold, not hot, water as heat will make things worse!) But if it’s dried in, don’t worry – it is possible to remove blood stains from a mattress.

To get the blood out, make a cleaning solution with a biological washing powder and cold or tepid water. It’s a good idea to use biological detergents as they contain enzymes which make it easier to break down dirt and lift stains. If you have very sensitive skin and are worried you might get a reaction, you could use a non-bio detergent – though it won’t be quite as effective – or simply avoid lying too directly on the spot-cleaned area by putting a mattress protector on top once you’ve finished cleaning. Either way, we’d recommend using a protector to keep your mattress clean.

When you’ve made the solution, apply it to the cloth or simply apply some of the foam so as to use as little water as possible. Then blot the area repeatedly until the stain lifts. Once it’s gone, apply cold water to another cloth and blot again so as to remove any detergent residue.


So there you have it – how to clean a mattress, whatever might have happened to it! However, if your mattress is mouldy, a little too dirty to clean or is simply uncomfortable, it may be time to invest in a new one. Find out which mattress is best for you in our guide on all the different types, so you can sleep soundly every night of the week.