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How to Clean Your Mattress at Home

Yes, you should clean your mattress regularly. Here's why, and how to do it.

mattress in modern bedroom
There are likely some gross things hiding in your mattress that you're going to want to clean.
Lindsay Boyers/CNET

This story is part of Home Tips, CNET's collection of practical advice for getting the most out of your home, inside and out.

Have you ever cleaned your mattress? If you're like most people, the answer is probably not -- or at least not often. But there are some solid reasons why you might want to start adding it to your cleaning list.

Humans shed around 1.5 grams of skin a day. That amount can feed about 1 million dust mites. Your mattress alone could be home to 10 million dust mites, according to The American Council on Science and Health. Not only are they gross to think about, these bugs are huge contributors to allergy problems.

But you don't have to throw your mattress out the door in disgust. Just give it a good, deep clean. Here's how. (You can also check out our tips for how to kill mold in your washer, and how to declutter your closet.) 

Read more: Best Cooling Mattress for Hot Sleepers in 2022

Do a clean sweep of your mattress

Grab your sheets, pillows and pillow cases and give them a good cleaning, while you're working on your mattress. Now that it's bare, the first step is giving your mattress a thorough vacuuming to suck up bugs, bug feces and skin flakes. Be sure to get in the seams, around labels and in any divots, because that is where the most detritus will accumulate. 

You can use the upholstery attachment on your vacuum, or get a more serious cleaning using a cordless vacuum designed to clean mattresses. 

Mattress vacuums have more suction power and pull more ick out. I tried the Dyson v6 vacuum on my mattress and was disgusted -- and fascinated -- at what it pulled out.

How often should you vacuum? Consumer Reports recommends giving your mattress a good once-over every six months or so.

Freshen up your mattress

Now that you have the particles of grossness sucked up, it's time to work on sweat and other stains. Spray the surface of the mattress lightly with 1 teaspoon liquid dish soap and 1 cup of warm water. Let the solution sit for a few minutes, then scrub the mattress with a damp towel to act as the rinse cycle.

If your mattress has pet urine stains, I recommend using the handheld attachment on a steam cleaner and a pet-stain enzyme cleaner to work out the stain. Then, use three drops of peppermint essential oil and 1 cup of warm water to remove any lingering smells. Just spray it on and let it dry.

When you're done with stain removal, sprinkle a liberal amount of baking soda over the entire mattress and leave it there for at least an hour, or until the mattress is dry. 

Finally, go back over the mattress with your vacuum to remove the baking soda to finish.

Protect your clean mattress

Now that your bed is clean, protect it. Purchase a fabric waterproof mattress cover and put it over the mattress under your regular bed sheet. It will protect your mattress from sweat and skin flakes and you can wash it whenever you wash your sheets.

For more cleaning tips and tricks, check out how to clean your Keurig coffee maker and how to clean your kitchen in under 15 minutes

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.