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How To Clean A Mattress - Articles Surfing
You know that phrase 'out of sight, out of mind'? Well, it applies to your mattress. Because your mattress is usually covered by sheets, comforters, pillows, quilts, dogs, clothes, people, etc. it isn't necessarily the first item on your list of things to clean. This article will provide you with some easy tips on both how to keep your mattress clean and how to clean your mattress when it gets dirty.
Keeping your mattress clean
The first thing to be said about cleaning a mattress is do what you can to keep your mattress clean. The more disciplined you are with what happens in or around your bed, the less cleaning you'll end up doing. That means that you'll want to avoid eating and drinking while in your bed. You'll also want to avoid letting pets sleep on your bed. While it may not seem like much, keeping animals, food, and drinks away from your mattress will greatly reduce the chances of spills and accidents. The more spills and accidents you can avoid the less you'll have to worry about cleaning your mattress. In cases where mattresses are at a higher risk for spills or accidents (in a child's room for example) then you may want to consider a mattress bag or mattress liner/cover. Such mattress covers are typically placed below the sheets and help to prevent liquids from seeping into the mattress. Most covers can be purchased for $10 - $40 and are usually durable enough to last a couple years. You may also want to consider a washable mattress pad. Costing $100 - $300, washable pads are considerably more expensive than plastic liners or covers, but are more durable and comfortable, and help protect against both solid and liquid spills.
Given how much time we spend in or on our beds it's inevitable that accidents happen. However, if you're prepared for such accidents, then when they do occur you'll be able to take care of them quickly and reduce the chance that your mattress will be permanently stained or damaged.
If the spill or accident involves liquid (i.e. urine, vomit, drinks, etc.) then the first thing you'll need to do is blot the spill. Using a clean, dry towel or rag, apply as much weight as you can on the spill (you can even try standing on the towel/rag). Do not rub the spill! Rubbing liquid spills doesn't allow the towel or rag to absorb as much of the liquid and can cause the stain to seep deeper into the material. Continue blotting until the spill is slightly damp to the touch. Once you've removed the bulk of the liquid then you're ready to apply a cleaner. The cleaner you apply will depend on the liquid that was involved in the spill or accident. For organic spills (urine, vomit, juices) you'll want an enzymatic cleaner or a 50/50 solution of lemon juice or vinegar and cold water. Enzymatic cleaners work by breaking down the peptide bonds in the proteins of the liquid. They can be found at your local grocery store and usually cost $5 - $20. Most non-organic spills can be taken care of by common spray upholstery cleaners. Once you've decided on which cleaner will work best for your situation, spray, not pour, the cleaner on the mattress. Pouring a cleaner onto your mattress can yield the same results as the initial accident, as the cleaner can seep into the mattress's material. After lightly spraying the spot, blot the cleaner with a new, clean, dry towel. Once the area has been thoroughly blotted again, sprinkle some baking soda over the area. The baking soda will both help to absorb the remaining moisture and will help eliminate odors as the area dries up. While you'll want to leave the baking soda on for longer the larger the stain is, we recommend at least 8 ' 10 hours. Once the baking soda has had time to do its job, vacuum it off of your mattress and continue using it as normal.
In cases where your mattress is submerged in water (i.e. a flood) or is exposed to a moist environment for long periods of time, the steps to get the mattress are going to be quite different. First and foremost, when mattresses get wet they can (and often do) develop mold. This mold is usually not visible and can pose serious health risks. Because you likely spend 8 or more hours in or on your bed a day you are putting yourself at risk to be inhaling mold spores. These spores can make you sick and in some cases can actually kill you. That said, if you have the means to replace a mattress that has been exposed to large amounts of liquid do it! Spending a few hundred dollars to replace a mattress may save you thousands in mold related medical expenses down the road. If your mattress starts to smell a little musty then chances are that it has developed some mold/mildew. When this happens you'll need to kill the mildew. Using a light bleach solution spray and blot the mattress, then let the mattress dry in the sun. While the bleach and sun will help to kill the mold you may want to consider running a humidifier in the room to help prevent new mildew from growing.
For spills that involve solids (chips, cookie crumbs, etc) you'll need to first pick up the large pieces. Once you've gotten those out of the way vacuum up the smaller pieces. If there was any staining from the spill then spray the area with an appropriate cleaner (we talked about finding the right cleaner above) and blot the sprayed area with a clean, dry towel or rag. If there is any lingering odor once the area has been sprayed and blotted then sprinkle it with baking soda, let the baking soda sit for 8 ' 10 hours (or longer for bigger spills) and vaccum the area clean.
There are also a number of good mattress cleaning solutions that are available for purchase in retail locations and online. You may want to take a look at Butler's Secret and ProKlean (although we've heard horror stories about their customer service). You can also always contact the mattress's manufacturer to get additional cleaning and maintenance tips!
Most mattresses are designed to be used for 5, 10, 20 years or more. With that much use there are a few things you can do to keep your mattress smelling fresh. One of the simplest things you can do to keep your mattress fresh is to change the sheets regularly. By changing your sheets regularly you will prevent dust mites, dander, and dead skin cells from making their way through the fabric of the sheet and into your mattress. A second simple maintenance procedure is to vacuum the surface each time you flip your mattress. When vacuuming make sure you use the hose with either no attachment or the hard surface attachment (that doesn't have a brush).
If your mattress starts to smell a little stale there are a couple things you can do. First, you can lightly clean the mattress's surface with a lemon scented upholstery cleaner or with a 50/50 lemon juice and cold water solution. The surface should be lightly sprayed and then blotted dry. A second step you can take is to place a few dryer sheets underneath the sheets and other bedding. Dryer sheets are not a perfect or long term solution, but they can provide some temporary relief. If you or someone you share the room with start to experience headaches, you'll want to try a new scent. If there is a residual smell from cigarette or cigar smoke, sprinkle baking soda over the entire surface of the mattress, let it sit overnight and then vacuum clean.
We hope that this guide has been useful! Best of luck getting your mattress cleaning and keeping it that way!
Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).
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