How to Clean a Mattress

Updated: Jun. 06, 2023

Get rid of nasty mattress stains and smells with this guide on how to clean a mattress (and how often you should do it).

There are a few rules to follow when washing bedding. Your sheets should be washed once a week, the mattress pad once a month and pillows every six months. But what about how to clean a mattress? Even though it doesn’t come in direct contact with your skin; the mattress, over time, can still collect a buildup of dead skin cells, dust, dried sweat and other allergens.

To keep your mattress looking and smelling fresh, deep clean it about every six months (same as your pillows). Proper cleaning and care will not only ensure a more comfortable bed, but also lengthen the lifespan of your mattress. Here’s how to clean a mattress with a few easy steps.

How to Clean Your Mattress


  • Vacuum with upholstery attachment
  • Enzyme cleaner or hydrogen peroxide
  • Baking soda
  • Microfiber cloth


Step 1: Strip the bed

Strip off all the bedding including the mattress pad. This is a good time to wash your pillows.

Step 2: Vacuum

cleaning mattress by vacuum cleaner. dust mites on bed, texture. concept : allergy in bed room.Ratchat/Getty Images

Using the upholstery attachment, vacuum the entire mattress thoroughly. The vacuum will get rid of dust, crumbs, hair and dander.

Step 3: Spot clean

For visible stains on your mattress, spot clean with an enzyme cleaner or a homemade cleaner using hydrogen peroxide (mix 1 cup hydrogen peroxide, 3 tablespoons baking soda and a few drops of dish soap in a spray bottle). Both options are effective on biological stains. Spray the cleaner onto a microfiber cloth, then scrub the stain. Blot away moisture with a clean cloth.

Step 4: Sprinkle baking soda

After the mattress is dry from spot cleaning, sprinkle the entire surface with baking soda. Baking soda is a natural deodorizer and will neutralize any lingering odors. Allow the baking soda to sit for at least 15 minutes, but preferably a few hours. Then vacuum up the baking soda using the upholstery attachment.

How to Clean a Mattress FAQs

a girl cleans a mattress, the concept of a clean houseJulia Isaeva/Getty Images

How to remove stains from a mattress

As mentioned above, an enzyme cleaner or hydrogen peroxide are the most effective options for biological stains like urine, sweat or blood. For general dirt and grime stains, use a regular stain remover or even dish soap and water. Apply the stain remover to a cloth or brush, instead of directly on the mattress. You want to avoid getting the mattress too wet, especially if you have a memory foam mattress.

How to deodorize and sanitize a mattress

You can deodorize the mattress with baking soda. To sanitize your mattress, a steamer works well (but check manufacturer instructions first). Steam that reaches 250°F will kill bacteria and dust mites. Steam the mattress after vacuuming and spot cleaning. Use short, quick strokes so as not to get the mattress too wet. Allow the mattress to air dry completely before replacing the bedding.

How to deep-clean a mattress

To deep clean, follow all the steps above. For an even deeper clean, allow the baking soda to sit overnight to work its magic. It’s also a good idea to open the window after cleaning your mattress—this will air out the mattress and let in some sunlight; UV rays will kill bacteria, dust mites and more.

How to know when it’s time to replace your mattress

As a general rule, replace your mattress after about 7 to 10 years. You’ll know it’s time to replace it if you notice sagging, extra noise from coils or springs or a bad smell that you can’t get rid of. If your allergies are acting up, that might be another sign that irritants have built up in your mattress, and it’s time for a new one. Also pay attention to interrupted sleep patterns or frequently waking up with pain without any other known causes. These could be signs that your mattress is no longer offering adequate support.