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As anyone who has tackled household cleaning duties knows, messes and spills aren’t limited to hard surfaces and carpeting. Some surfaces can be particularly harder to clean than others, including mattresses.
Though cleaning a mattress doesn’t come with the same simplicity of other bedding items, that doesn’t mean the mattress shouldn’t deserve equal attention. Cleaning your mattress can be effective and efficient with the right approach. Follow these steps so that you and your family can sleep on fresher bedding by nightfall.
Vacuum: When cleaning your mattress, use the upholstery attachment on your vacuum cleaner to tackle dust, dander and dust mites that can build on the surface. Repeat this process every six months, or more frequently if the mattress is used by a person with allergies.
Shampoo: After vacuuming, apply an upholstery shampoo to the surface of the mattress to fully remove dirt and soil. If you don’t have upholstery shampoo, apply a solution of water and mild detergent to the entire area of the mattress. Wipe the shampoo or detergent solution clean by using a sponge that has had warm water wrung from it. Turn on the ceiling fan and portable fans to allow the area to dry quickly.
Cleaning spills: When cleaning spills and stains from your mattress, start by soaking up all liquid using dry towels. Once the stain has been completely soaked up, immediately toss the towels into the washing machine on a hot water setting to kill all bacteria. After doing so, lightly spray vinegar on the stain and let it sit for 10 minutes to fully disinfect the mattress and eliminate odor. Afterward, sprinkle baking soda over the stain and let it sit for 12 hours to soak up the rest. After the 12-hour period, vacuum the remaining baking soda.
Drying stains: Place the mattress outside in the sun for a few hours to speed up the drying process and allow the mattress to fully air out, or pull back the blinds or drapes in the bedroom and open the window to expose the mattress to the maximum amount of sunlight and outside heat. When you replace the mattress, make sure to place the stain side down to prevent concentrating multiple stains onto one region.
In addition to cleaning your mattress, you can prolong its life by flipping and turning it every six months to ensure even wear. Use a mattress cover to ensure protection in between cleanings. To prevent dust mites, choose a mattress cover that is specifically designed to protect against the invasion of these tiny critters.
It’s also important to replace your mattress after about seven years of use, according to The Better Sleep Council, a nonprofit agency that represents the mattress industry. With repeated use over time, a mattress can gradually lose its ability to fully support you. This can lead to sleepless nights as well as the feeling of cramps and stiffness upon awakening.
This article originally appeared on Angie’s List.