Most of us try to get the recommended eight hours of sleep every night, which equals to about one-third of our lives on our mattresses. While your mattress provides support and comfort, the cleanliness of your bed impacts your health and your ability to get a full night’s sleep. Some people opt to use a vacuum to remove dust and other particles from the bed, but if you don’t own one or don’t believe your older model will get the job done right, what can you do?
Fortunately, a vacuum is not necessary to clean your mattress; below, we’ll cover a few alternative cleaning tips you can try to ensure your mattress remains fresh, clean, and safe to sleep on.
5 Tips to Clean a Mattress without a Vacuum
There are plenty of effective cleaning tips that will help you get your mattress clean without the need to plug in a vacuum. Let’s take a look at them below:
Spot Clean Stains First
Spot cleaning the stains goes a long way in making the overall mattress cleaning more effective. If you start with the tough stains, you’ll be way ahead in making your mattress look new again. The longer you can let these stain removers set, the better the results you’ll get. Follow up any of these stain removing techniques with an overall cleaning for a fresh and clean result.
- Combine salt with fresh lemon juice, mix as a paste, apply to stains for 30-60 minutes and wipe residue clean with a clean, lightly colored cloth.
- A mixture of 16 ounces of 3% hydrogen peroxide, four tablespoons of baking soda, and 2–4 drops of liquid detergent in a spray bottle works wonders on dingy-looking areas and stains. Let this sit for 2-4 hours, and wipe clean with a cloth or a hand brush.
- Spray white vinegar directly on stains, and while the area is still wet apply baking soda and let dry. Wipe or brush clean.
- For tough stains, use any of the above tips and a scrub brush to gently agitate the stain and help lift it out of the fabric.
Use Baking Soda and Sunlight for Light Cleaning
For mattresses that need a light cleaning or freshening-up, remove the bedding and brush off the surface of the mattress. Then:
- Sprinkle a light coating of baking soda on the bed. If you have a sifter, sifting the baking soda will help distribute it evenly.
- Let the baking soda sit for a minimum of two hours—longer if possible. For those who can get their mattress out into the sunlight, there is nothing better than a good dose of sunshine and fresh air to help this process along. Exposure to sunlight will help stop bacteria from reproducing on the surface of your bed.
- After your mattress has sat for at least two hours, take a dry, color-free cloth or a hand brush and wipe the surface down, removing all traces of the baking soda.
If you own a single-sided mattress, one with special topping material, you can call it a day and put your clean bedding back on. If you have a double-sided mattress, read the manufacturer’s recommendations for flipping or rotating—or if the other side needs freshening-up, repeat the process.
Use a Baking Soda and Vinegar Mix for General Cleaning
Once you’ve spot-treated your stains, this is an excellent general cleaning procedure to follow for a mattress that needs a bit more attention than a light cleaning:
- Spray your mattress with white vinegar.
- Sprinkle baking soda over the wet vinegar.
- Cover the mattress with towels for 2-4 hours.
- Remove the towels and let air dry.
- Clean the dried baking soda off with a white cloth or brush residue away.
Vinegar is a natural sanitizer, and baking soda dissolves grease and dirt; they make a pack a powerful cleaning punch that is economical and safe to use.
Use Baking Soda, Hydrogen Peroxide, and Soap for a Deep Clean
This is the same combination of ingredients used for spot cleaning; it’s an enzyme-based cleaner good for breaking down body fluids that have stained a mattress and is effective for a mattress that needs a deep cleaning.
- Mix 16 ounces of 3% hydrogen peroxide, four tablespoons of baking soda, and 2–4 drops of liquid detergent in a spray bottle and spray the entire mattress.
- Sprinkle baking soda over the entire mattress- a sifter helps for even distribution. Allow it to sit for 2-4 hours or longer.
- Wipe or brush clean and allow the mattress to dry.
For a heavily stained mattress, you can repeat this process. This YouTube video shows you an alternative application process you can try using the same ingredients.
Use Heat or Steam Cleaning to Remove Bed Bugs
Removing bed bugs from your mattress and home can be difficult. Bedbugs need to be dealt with as soon as you are aware you have an issue. Natural home solutions may seem adequate at first, but getting a bedbug population eradicated may take more serious solutions. Here are a few options to consider:
- Steam cleaning: you can hire a professional or rent a steamer. Note: a commercial steamer will provide the best results; steamers used for clothing or to clean carpet will not effectively eliminate bed bugs. Steps for using a commercial steamer can be found here.
- Heat treatment: this is a specialized treatment that requires a professional service.
You also have the option to use chemical treatments, either administered yourself or by a professional. Whichever course of treatment you use, follow the instructions carefully and complete all the suggested protocols to ensure you deal with bedbugs head-on. Bedbugs are prolific breeders and have survival techniques that make them difficult to eradicate.
Final Tips to Remember When Cleaning a Mattress
There are a few things you should do and consider before starting this cleaning project. You want to ensure that you provide the best care for your mattress and, ultimately, for your health.
- Always read the manufacturer’s instructions before using any cleaning products on your mattress. Using harsh cleaners and chemicals can damage your bed beyond repair and be harmful to your health.
- Use caution with your fabric cleaning materials. Always use clean, white cloths and rags for this project; if they have color, the dye in them may run, and damage your mattress.
- Give this project ample time to complete. It is recommended that you let most of these cleaning procedures set for several hours before wiping clean, and you let the mattress dry for several hours before putting the bedding back on your bed.
- Never mix hydrogen peroxide and vinegar in the same container; combined, they create peracetic acid, which is toxic.
- Create and maintain a mattress cleaning schedule; most manufacturers recommend cleaning twice a year.
Finally, you’ll want to continue protecting your bed between cleanings. Using fitted sheets that fit correctly will protect your mattress from dirt, pet hair, and dander. Additionally, a water-proof, fitted mattress cover will protect your bed from liquids soaking into the mattress material.
In summary, yes—it’s possible to clean a mattress without using a vacuum. Knowing which products to match with the level of cleaning your mattress needs—and what tools to have handy—goes a long way in making this task easy and effective.