How to remove mold from a mattress: 3 pro tips from a cleaning expert

Image shows a person vacuuming a white mattress before cleaning mold off of it
(Image credit: Getty Images)

There are many things that can affect the health of your mattress, and mold is definitely one of them. Mold spots don't always appear in obvious places either and they aren't always black – they can be off-white or pink, and they're nearly always fluffy in texture. 

If you've spotted signs of mold on your mattress, your next question will be: how do I get rid of it? To help you, we recently spoke to a leading mattress cleaning expert to get some pro tips on how to remove mold from a mattress. 

Here Stanislav Slavov Ivanov from Fantastic Services share his tried and tested the tips for removing mold from a mattress. And if you do decide after reading this that your mattress is beyond saving and it's time to buy new, take a look at our official best mattress guide. Many of our top picks are on sale right now too thanks to the Black Friday mattress deals and sales.

How to spot mold on a mattress 

Mold thrives in dark, warm environments, and even everyday food spillages can become moldy and spread deep within your mattress if not immediately cleaned. It could also be caused by your bedtime habits, as going to bed with wet hair can damage your mattress. Eight hours of mold exposure can also have an adverse impact on your wellbeing, with symptoms ranging from wheezing and a runny nose to lethargy.

If you're worried that your bedroom conditions may be a breeding ground for mold, it’s a good idea to learn how to spot mattress mold. “If you notice that your mattress has discoloration or has an unusual smell, it is crucial that you inspect it,” advises Stanislav. “Of course, regular inspections are a must, because as we know, mold can grow on many hidden places.”

Image shows black mold on a mattress and the corner of a scrubbing brush used to clean the mold

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If the mold is purple, brown or green, this means that the mold growth is pretty well established and beyond an early warning sign. Therefore it's time to replace your mattress. If you've found light mold spots that are black, off-white or pink, they may be hope yet for your mattress. 

You don’t need to follow a huge amount of steps or buy fancy equipment to remove mold from a mattress, in fact you can follow these 3 easy steps using things you likely already have at home:

How to remove mold from a mattress: 3 pro tips

1. Remove all bedding and vacuum your mattress

Once you’ve spotted mold on your mattress, the first things you need to do is strip any bedding and put it on a hot wash. Obviously read the care instructions for your linens first, but the hotter the wash, the better your chance of killing any mold spores that may have transferred from your mattress to your bedding.

Next, it's time to fire up your vacuum cleaner. “Thorough vacuuming should be done on all sides of the mattress, focusing on the bottom of the mattress too,” says Stanislav. Remember, mold thrives in dark places, so if your vacuum cleaner has a nozzle attachment, use it here to get into the creases of your mattress.

2. Scrub and spot-treat all areas affected by mold

Now it’s time to start cleaning the affected area with a warm, soapy solution. Mattress cleaning expert Stanislav suggests using a circular motion for a deep cleanse, but don't go overboard with the cleaning solution. “The mattress must not be oversaturated,” he says. “Excessive moisture can aggravate the problem.” 

You can either use a rubbing alcohol solution or hydrogen peroxide cleaning solution – whichever is more readily available to you. Or, says Stanislav, you can use both. "There is an effective solution for cleaning with rubbing alcohol that consists of 50% rubbing alcohol and 50% warm water. Normally, in the case of hydrogen peroxide, I would recommend a solution that consists of one part hydrogen peroxide to three parts water."  

Dip a cloth or cleaning brush into the solution and start scrubbing. After you finish rubbing, clean the area again. If you’re using a hydrogen peroxide solution, opt for a brush instead of a cloth. 

Image shows black mold on a white mattress with blue disposable gloves

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Stanislav also recommends wearing disposable gloves to protect your hands when using hydrogen peroxide. “It is important to be a bit cautious, since peroxide can discolour your skin.”

3. Let the mattress dry fully in direct sunlight 

Once you’ve scrubbed the affected parts of your mattress, it’s time to let it dry. “Allow the mattress to dry on its own and ventilate it,” advises Stanislav. “And preferably, let it dry in direct sunlight.” UV light is a powerful way to kill any remaining mold spores, as well as dust mites. 

You will need to exercise caution here though as leaving your mattress to stand in direct sunlight for too long can lead to discolouration of the mattress cover. However, that's a fair trade-off to ensure you get rid of mold from your mattress and ensure it's safe to sleep on again.

Once fully dry, we recommend covering your mattress with the best mattress protector you can afford to safeguard it from any food or drink spills that could lead to future mold growth.

Is mold on a mattress dangerous?

It’s important to take action against mold as soon as you spot signs of it on your mattress, otherwise further complications can arise. “In the presence of excessive mold there are significant risks to your health,” warns Stanislav. The CDC says that mold exposure can lead to a nose and eye irritation and it can worsen existing respiratory issues.

While the step-by-step instructions above can help you remove mold from a mattress when the growth is still in its early stages, sometimes well-established mattress mold is beyond help. When mold reaches its final stages, it’s time to get rid of your mattress and buy a new one. To dispose of a moldy mattress responsibly, check out our guide on how to get rid of your old mattress

But how do you know when mattress mold is dangerous enough to skip the rubbing alcohol and replace the mattress altogether? In the first instance, ask a cleaning professional to evaluate the state of the mattress. "If the level of mold is extensive, it may be necessary to replace the whole mattress as cleaning may not help.”

Frances Daniels
Sleep Staff Writer

Frances Daniels is a Sleep Staff Writer at Tom's Guide and her role includes covering all mattress and sleep news, in addition to mattress reviews and buyer's guides, plus sleep accessories such as pillows and mattress toppers. Frances is a PPA-accredited journalist and is hugely interested in the relationship between good sleep and overall health. When not writing about mattresses and sleep for Tom's Guide, Frances enjoys writing about women's issues, health and wellbeing, the environment, and her native Wales.