Your mattress is subject to a lot more dirt than you are aware of. Apart from the normal dust, grime, dust mites, insects etc., your mattress also is exposed to sweat, blood, urine, body oils, and a lot of other organic material like food residue, fecal matter of insects, spores of various bacteria and fungi, mould, mildew and a lot more depending upon the area and the climate you live in.
Not only can these ‘ingredients’ give you a bad case of rashes and other skin issues, but can potentially lead to several other, far more serious diseases- especially due to the organic nature of these materials and the types of bacteria and fungi they can harbor.
Here, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of steps you can take in order to clean your mattress and get rid of the dust, dirt, and grime on it.
Clean Your Mattress Protectors Regularly:
As they say, prevention is better than cure. This stands true for mattresses as well. Rather than having to deal with the huge issue of cleaning mattresses very often, which is a very tough job, considering that you can’t just pop them into a washer, it makes sense to have a layer of protection between the mattress and the environment.
Having a mattress covered with a good bed sheet, preferably cotton helps since the bed sheet absorbs most of the organic fluids, dust etc. and reduces the amount of dirt your mattress takes on. They are also quite easy to clean since all you have to do is put them in the washing machine and dry them out in the sun to let the dust mites die.
Clean Stains Immediately:
This is an extremely important step. If you handle stains immediately after they happen, you end up having to put in a lot less work and can get away with just cleaning off a small part of your mattress. If you put it off for later, the stain would have had time to dry up and bind to the fibers of the mattress, making it extremely difficult to get rid of. Not just that, spills of food or drinks tend to allow bacteria to grow, which makes it even more important to remove them immediately.
In case of spills, immediately remove it using a dry cloth so that it can soak it up instead of the mattress. Keep in mind that you should only dab at the spill, and not rub it at all, or the spill will spread out and affect an even larger area, plus it will penetrate deeper into the mattress.
After this, use a clean cloth dipped in a mixture of warm water and liquid detergent to clean off the surface of the mattress. This is followed by removing residual detergent using a fresh cloth and plain water, and rubbing it in small circles until the stain is removed. After this, use a dry cloth to dry out the mattress or use a hairdryer to allow the moisture to dry out.
Use Spot Cleaning Techniques:
There are bound to be several spills which go unnoticed and may dry up before you get a chance to clean them up. For these instances, you can use a combination of hydrogen peroxide and water in a 2:1 ratio. Now, use an old toothbrush and dip it in this solution to just about wet the tips of the bristles. Now use the brush to clean the stain using small, circular movements.
Keep in mind that only very small amounts of liquid should be used for cleaning since mattress components like memory foam should never get wet.
Organic Spills Require Special Care:
Compared to normal spills of inorganic chemicals like dyes etc., organic spills like drinks, oil, vomit, blood, urine etc. need to be handled differently since they are chemically different and also have the potential to harbor bacterial growth.
In case of organic spills, spray a small amount of enzyme cleaner available in the market onto a cloth and dab it onto the stain to allow the cleaner to seep into it. Avoid spraying the liquid directly onto the mattress since mattresses are not meant to be wet in this way. After leaving it that way for about 15 minutes, use a dry cloth to wipe away the stain. Enzyme cleaners break down organic substances and also prevent them from forming bonds and sticking to the fibers of the mattress enabling easy cleaning.
Deodorize Your Mattress:
Once you’ve cleaned out stains, another issue remains. The spills tend to leave their own odor on the mattress and this builds up over time, leading to foul-smelling mattresses which are terribly inconvenient to use. However, there is a solution.
Use baking soda to get rid of odors by sprinkling liberal amounts of it on the mattress. It further helps if you add a few drops of your favorite essential oil into the baking soda to infuse the mattress with that smell.
Once you’ve sprinkled it across the mattress, let it rest for at least half an hour, and up to a few hours if you have the time. Baking soda absorbs the oils, breaks down the acids and absorbs any moisture within the mattress, while the essential oils permeate the surface and give you a fresh smelling mattress devoid of any unpleasant odors.
Once this is done, use the brush attachment on your vacuum to suck up the powder along with the broken down organic materials, plus a nozzle to reach the nooks and other hard to reach areas.
Sunlight is Important:
Whatever chemicals you use, you can’t beat sunlight when it comes to disinfecting and eliminating odors from your mattress. Even after using detergents, enzyme cleaners, and baking soda, there is a possibility of moisture and odors still remaining in the mattress, albeit reduced. For this, just lay out your mattress in your balcony to expose it to sunlight.
This has the added advantage of killing dust mites, bacteria, fungi and airing your mattress to eliminate all the odors it might have held on to.
Taking care of your mattress is very important since it is an expensive investment and has the potential to cause diseases if not maintained properly. Use the above tips to keep your mattress clean, odor free and safe from various pathogens. These cheap and easy to use techniques can go a long way in increasing the life of your mattress.