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As spring cleaning season approaches, bringing with it spring allergy season, cleaning your mattress is a smart task to add to your spring cleaning checklist. Cleaning a mattress removes common allergens and helps to extend the life and quality of the mattress. It’s also a surprisingly easy task — and you probably already have all the tools you need right in your home.
In addition to being a critical part of allergy management for those who suffer, cleaning a mattress helps to freshen the bed, and the bedroom by extension. And, best of all, cleaning a mattress is as easy as running a vacuum.
When, and why, to clean a mattress
First, some gross facts about your mattress: According to a global dust study conducted by Dyson, a typical mattress has around 100,000 to more than 1 million dust mites.
Even though they sound gross, dust mites themselves are actually harmless. It’s the droppings that are the problem — dust mite droppings are a common allergen. “Regularly cleaning your mattress removes material which could be contributing to allergies in the spring and fall, which is prime dust mite breeding season,” Monika Stuczen, a senior research manager at Dyson, says.
According to a dust study conducted by Dyson, we spend a third of our lives in bed; over time, a mattress will take on odors from sweat, dead skin and body oils, lending a stale smell to the bedroom. That makes cleaning a mattress a good task to add to your spring cleaning checklist, according to Stuczen. “A general rule of thumb is to clean them twice a year,” she says. ”Once when you’re doing spring cleaning and once at the end of dust mite season in October.”
How to deep clean a mattress
Cleaning a mattress is as easy as running a vacuum — literally! The trick is to make use of vacuum attachments to get the job done right. Follow these steps for deep cleaning a mattress twice a year.
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Vacuum the mattress surface using an upholstery tool to agitate the fibers and loosen dust mites and other debris.
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Vacuum hard-to-reach areas using a crevice tool to clean the edge and seams of the mattress, and any crevices or folds where dust and allergens can gather. Flip the mattress and repeat the process of vacuuming the surface and seams. If needed, address stains, making sure the mattress has dried completely before remaking the bed.
How to get stains out of a mattress
Let’s face it: Accidents happen — and sometimes they happen in bed. Liquid spills on a mattress can be a challenge to clean up because you can’t exactly toss a mattress in the washing machine.
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When a liquid spill occurs, the first step is to blot up as much liquid as possible. A highly absorbent towel is ideal for the job, but paper towels, dishcloths, bath towels, etc. work too. Blot until no more liquid is absorbed, then address any staining or odors.
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The stains we find on mattresses typically fall into two categories: protein stains and oxidizable stains. Protein stains include substances like blood, sweat and urine and are best treated with an enzymatic stain remover like Zout.
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Oxidizable stains are things like coffee, tea, fruit, etc. and can be treated with a stain removal product like Shout.
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If you don’t have a specialty stain treatment product on hand, liquid laundry detergent diluted with water can be used to blot out stains on a mattress.
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When a deeper clean is called for, or to address stubborn, set-in stains, a carpet and upholstery cleaner machine is the right tool for the job. These machines work by forcing cleaning solution into the mattress’ fibers, then extracting it back out, removing foreign matter and eliminating odors and allergens.