Do you know how to clean a mattress?

mattress
Public Domain MaxPixel

We spend a third of our lives in bed, which means you're sleeping on a heap of sweat, hair, and dust. Time to get cleaning!

You're probably used to changing the sheets on your bed every week or two, but how often do you remember to clean the actual mattress? Melissa Maker, the expert at Clean My Space, reports that the average person sweats a half-pint of perspiration every night, which means a whole lot of undesirable liquid entering the sleep surface where you spend one-third of your life.

Ready for some spring-cleaning? Here is a step-by-step process for scouring that mattress and making it as good as new.

1. Vacuum: Strip off the bedding and mattress protector and vacuum thoroughly using a clean upholstery attachment. This removes dead skin cells, hair, dust, and other debris.

2. Deodorize: Sift baking soda over the mattress and let sit for 30 minutes. You can mix in 5 drops of essential oil before sifting if you want a nice scent that will linger for a few nights. Vacuum to remove the baking soda.

3. Remove spots and stains: It's best to tackle stains when they're fresh, but if you haven't, don't despair! Most stains found on mattresses are protein stains, such as blood, urine, vomit, and other bodily fluids. These will set in hot water, so be sure to use cold water when cleaning. Use a stain-removing mixture (Maker recommends a paste of salt, baking soda, and water). Apply and leave for 30 minutes, then blot with a cool wet cloth. Press, don't rub. If the stain is very stubborn, you can try Maker's extra-tough stain remover -- 2 parts hydrogen peroxide, 1 part dish soap. Rub it in with a cleaning toothbrush and leave 5 minutes.

For old urine stains, Housewife How-Tos recommends: "If the stain persists, wait until the area is dry then whisk together 3 tablespoons dry laundry detergent powder (NOT Oxiclean or anything containing oxygenated bleach) and 1 tablespoon water to make a dry foam. Lightly spread this on the stain and let it sit for 30 minutes."

OTHER TIPS FOR KEEPING A MATTRESS CLEAN:

Avoid water. Mattresses and water do not mix well, which is why Maker does not recommend a steamer or deep cleaner, unless done by a professional. Moisture is especially terrible for a memory foam mattress, which can trap the liquid in the cell structure. "Be stingy with water and blot like a madman or woman."

Turn and/or flip your mattress regularly. The usual recommendation is to do it four times a year, with the turn of each season.

Air it out. When you change your sheets, leave them off for the day. If you can get it outside into the backyard, do that. Let some fresh air and sunshine get at that mattress.

Use a protector. This is a no-brainer because it makes your job incredibly easy. Launder when you wash your sheets, or at the very least, whenever you flip your mattress.

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