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Why you should deep clean your mattress

Sleep troubles? It might be your mattress. Here's how and why you should clean it ASAP.

Chris Monroe/CNET

How often do you clean your mattress? If you're like most people, probably not often...or ever. But, you may 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.

Read more: Finding the best mattress online: 11 top brands compared

Don't chunk your mattress out the door in disgust. Give it a good, deep clean. Here's how.

Start with a clean sweep

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 it 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 hand vac designed to clean mattresses, such as the Dyson V6 Mattress Handheld Vacuum or the Euleven UV Bed Vacuum Cleaner

Mattress vacuums have more suction power and pull more ick out. I tried the Dyson 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.

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Get fresh

Now that you have the particles of grossness sucked up, 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 efforts

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.

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Dyson V6
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