How to Clean a Mattress

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Vacuum again – By scrubbing the baking soda into your mattress you’ve helped it bond with surface moisture. Vacuuming it now will help pull out trace dampness and ensures you won’t wake up coated with powdery residue in the morning.

Get the stains out – Mattresses typically acquire three types of stains: blood, urine, and what we’ll just call “other bodily fluids”. While it’s best to treat stains immediately with cold water and a little dish soap or hydrogen peroxide (hot water sets these type of stains), let’s face it, sometimes sleep is more important. Here’s how to clean stains on your mattress after they’ve set in:

  • Dried blood stains can be treated by making a paste of 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide mixed with 1 tbsp. each liquid dish soap and table salt. Rub this into the stain and allow it to sit until dry before scraping the residue off. Dab at any remaining stain with a white rag dipped into hydrogen peroxide, rotating the rag as the stain lifts off. (Using a white rag prevents dye transfer from the cloth to the mattress.)
    No hydrogen peroxide? Make a paste of meat tenderizer and water instead. The tenderizer’s enzymes will dissolve the blood’s protein bonds.


  • Urine stains are very difficult but not impossible to get out once they’re dry, but this two-step method helped dramatically when my kids were little. First, dissolve 3 tbsp. baking soda in 8 oz. of hydrogen peroxide then add a drop or two of liquid dish soap, and dab that solution on to the spot. (Do NOT drench your mattress!) While that’s working its magic, whisk together 3 parts dry laundry detergent powder or and 1 part water to make a dry foam. Rub that into the stain (which should still be damp from the first step) and let it sit for 30 minutes. Scrape away any residue and vacuum.
  • Other bodily fluids: Open the windows then, using a white rag, blot the stain with undiluted, unscented household ammonia. Do NOT drench your mattress! Wipe the area with a clean, damp cloth and sprinkle the spot with baking soda. Let this dry then vacuum the area thoroughly.
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