Read on for Non-Toxic and Eco-Friendly Ways to Clean a Mattress
Considering that we spend about a third of our lives in bed, and how much thought we put into buying the right kind of bed that provides the correct support and is made with natural materials (see our earlier post about choosing a mattress for your child’s bed and our range and recommendations for mattresses and mattress waterproof covers that are made from natural and/or non-toxic materials), a good quality mattress represents an important investment that will have to last a few years, providing you and your family with a safe, clean, and comfortable place to lay down your heads after a busy day.
Having said this, cleaning your mattress is an important part of maintaining your mattress and should be done at least every 6 months. While you change your bedlinen at least once a week, make a bit of an effort to clean your mattress every couple of months as well to get rid of dust, dust mites, flakes of dead skin or any bodily fluids that might land on your mattress, such as urine, sweat, or even vomit.
Here are some tips on every day, non-toxic and inexpensive cleaning materials for use when cleaning your mattress.
The first step to cleaning your mattress is to strip off all the bedlinen and vacuum the mattress thoroughly on both sides and around the edges. If it is possible and you have some good sunny weather, placing a mattress in the sun for a couple of hours and then vacuuming it is also great, as there may be damp spots in the mattress that are unnoticeable, but which can lead to the growth of mold and other irritants and allergens.
When I was growing up, my mother swore by baking soda for a multiplicity of uses. From a solution of baking soda in warm water to clean a wound, a teaspoon of baking soda in a bit of water for heartburn and indigestion, to a powerful cleaning aid on its own or combined with other ingredients to get rid everything from bad odours, tough, oily residue in the kitchen, mixed in with laundry detergent (I still mix 2 parts laundry detergent powder with one part rough salt and one part baking soda—it deodorizes laundry, disinfects and kills germs, and helps to keep the drum of the washing machine clean) or made into a paste to get rid of stains in fabric.
Combinations with Baking Soda for Cleaning a Mattress
Add a few drops of essential oils, like lavender and lemon to some baking soda, and sift the powder all over your mattress. Let it stand for a couple of hours, you can even brush it sort of “into” the mattress with a hand brush, then vacuum it off. The saltiness of the baking soda is effective against dust mites and other organisms that may be lurking in your mattress, as any kind of salt, or sodium is an effective disinfectant. The essential oils, especially lemon oil freshens your mattress up very effectively, and lemon is also a powerful cleaning agent, deodorant, and sanitizer.
How to Clean Urine and Sweat from Your Mattress
Mix 1 cup of 3-percent hydrogen peroxide, 3 tablespoons of baking soda, and just a few drops of liquid dishwashing soap. Stir until the baking soda dissolves. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle, and then spray the entire stained area of the mattress, letting the solution soak into the mark.
Leave the solution to air dry for at least an hour. If you want to speed things up, set a blowing fan near the mattress, or use your blow dryer on the cool setting.
For Blood Stains
Fill a spray bottle with 3-percent hydrogen peroxide. Spray the bloodstain, and then blot with a clean towel. Repeat spraying and blotting the stain until it is gone. Blot the stain and spray again, blotting and spraying until the stain fades. Let the bed dry thoroughly before making it up with clean bedlinen.
For Vomit Stains
Sorry to mention it, but yes it does happen! Mix a 50/50 solution of water and white vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray the soiled area of the mattress, and then blot with a clean towel. Continue spraying and blotting until the mark is gone. Sprinkle a little bit of baking soda over the treated area. After an hour, vacuum away the baking soda, and let the mattress air dry.
(and this works for greasy stains on walls, furniture, tiles, and carpets)
Make a paste out of one part baking soda to one-part white vinegar. Apply a thick layer of the paste to the greasy area and if it’s on fabric such as a carpet, upholstery, or a mattress, rub it in a bit. Leave it for a couple of hours or even overnight for heavily soiled areas. Wash the past off with clean water and perhaps a bit of dish soap until all greasiness is gone. Make sure to rinse all the soap out of the fabric if you used it on upholstery or a mattress.
How to Clean a Memory Foam Mattress Topper
Remove the Foam Topper and vacuum it thoroughly. Sprinkle some baking soda (mixed with an essential oil as suggested above) and let it stand for a couple of hours. For stains, try a baking soda and white vinegar paste—you can even add a bit of borax to that mixture—which you layer on thickly and rub it in a bit. You can completely soak the foam pad in water to rinse it, preferably by laying it flat on a clean surface and spraying water with a hosepipe (don’t try and stuff a foam topper into a washing machine—the mattress topper cannot withstand the spinning action). Allow the topper to air dry—first prize is to put it into full sunlight to dry, allowing it to dry all the moisture while aerating it at the same time.