Whether you're a change-your-sheets weekly or monthly kind of household (no judgements here!), it's likely you never consider how clean the mattress underneath them is. However, your sheets aren't protecting the mattress as much as you might expect. Dust mites love how soft and porous mattresses are, and they don't hang about without about 1,000 of their friends at any one time. Their waste contains allergens which can contribute to eczema, respiratory issues, and even sinus issues. And dust mites are the least of your worries - a dirty mattress houses huge accumulations of impurities you don't even want to think about.
Keeping the dust mites at bay is easier than you think. 5 steps kind of easy, in fact. Read on to find out how to give your mattress a thorough cleaning, and how often you should be doing it.
1. Wash your bedsheets
Okay, we know we said no judgements, but experts do advise you wash your sheets once a week. Even if they're not quite due a wash yet, it's counterproductive to clean the mattress if you're going to put dirty bedding on it, so you may as well toss them in the wash. Wash them on the highest heat setting to eliminate dirt and kill off any dust mites that may still be knocking around.
A handheld hoover won't do you any good on this job - you need a high-powered machine for this one. Use an upholstery attachment and go over every square inch of the mattress, including the corners, edges and piping.
3. Spot treat
Take a look at the mattress and spot treat any visible stains. Conventional upholstery cleaners will work, or a dish soap/warm water mix. For more stubborn stains, you may need to introduce some hydrogen peroxide. Use a toothbrush to apply the cleaner and scrub hard to loosen the stain. Use a damp cloth then to wipe away any remaining solution.
4. Use baking soda
Baking soda is a bit of a wonder cleaning product for this kind of job. Break out the baking soda here to deodorise the mattress, to leave it smelling fresh. There's no hard and fast rule for how long you should leave the baking soda on the mattress, with experts suggesting hoovering it off after an hour, and others suggesting leaving it a full 24 hours. It all depends on how manky your mattress is, and how much deodorising it needs.
5. Hoover (again)
Get the hoover out one last time to make sure all traces of the baking soda, etc, are removed. Make up the bed once this is finished, and get ready for the cleanest night's sleep since you first got the bed!
How Often Should Mattresses Be Cleaned?
Cleaning a mattress is a big undertaking, and one that can take up a lot of time, so most people won't be doing it every time they change the sheets. Most experts reccommend a thorough cleaning at least twice a year, or if possible, once each season. Given you spend about a third of your life on your mattress, spending a little bit of time keeping it spick and span will stand to you - and your sleep!