How to clean your mattress with baking soda — a step-by-step guide

A mattress stripped of bedding on a black bed frame
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If you're looking for an eco-friendly way of deep cleaning your mattress, then baking soda is the answer. But how can you clean your mattress with baking soda, exactly? This kitchen staple is a non-toxic, cost effective method of cleaning your mattress - and we'll walk you through exactly how to use it to get the best results. 

Even the best mattresses require regular maintenance in order to keep your sleep space clean and allergen-free, so knowing how to safely clean a mattress is important for both health and hygiene reasons.

Using baking soda to clean your mattress isn’t a weekly task – this is something that should be done twice a year to get the best results. In this guide, we’ll show you the simple method of cleaning your mattress with baking soda, so that you can be sure your mattress will last for longer. 

Why keeping your mattress clean is important 

Before we begin, let's remind ourselves of why keeping your mattress clean is important for both your sleep and overall health. Firstly, even the tidiest of us occasionally spill things. So if your mattress has any unsightly stains, it’s important to clean these off. Beyond that though, mattresses can be a breeding ground for dust mites, bacteria and allergens. 

A woman with long dark hair blows her nose in bed because she is sick

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When we lie down on a mattress each night we shed dead skin, as well as leaving body oils and sweat behind. Without a decent mattress protector, all these settle on to your bed. Oils and sweat can cause stains and could cause a mattress to smell over time.

And where there are dead skin, there are dust mites. Dust mites feed on the dead skin cells and, as they do, release allergens into the air. These can lead to symptoms such as sneezing, a runny nose or itchy eyes, which can quickly disrupt your sleep.

Your mattress is also a hotbed for bacteria and fungi, attracted by the warm and moist environment. These can multiply over time, contributing to headaches and even respiratory problems. Cleaning your mattress will help to improve your sleep quality and help your mattress to last longer. In addition, it will also improve the inside air quality and help to reduce any allergy symptoms.

How to clean your mattress with baking soda

Baking soda, also known as bicarbonate of soda, is non-toxic and a natural product, meaning there’s no risk of any harm (to you or your mattress) from harsh chemicals. In addition, it will naturally remove odours and help to balance out the pH of many smells, including body odours. Here are the steps to cleaning your mattress with baking soda:

Step 1.  Get your materials and tools together 

Cleaning a mattress with baking soda doesn’t require a lot of materials and tools, but it’s a good idea to have them all to hand before you start. These are the household products you’ll need, most of which you should have already:

  •  Baking soda 
  •  Cleaning sponge or soft brush 
  •  Vacuum cleaner 
  •  A few drops of essential oils (optional)

Step 2. Strip the bed

Washing duvet in machine

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Take all your bedding off the bed and don’t forget to remove any mattress toppers, pads or protectors along with electric blankets or specialist cooling covers. This is a good opportunity to get both linens and bedding washed – should they need to be obviously. 

Step 3. Vacuum the bed 

Mattresses can harbour all sorts of allergens, including dust mites, bacteria and pet dander. So before you start to apply baking soda, make sure to vacuum your whole mattress thoroughly to remove dead skin cells, dust and dust mites. 

Vacuum the entire surface of the mattress, making sure to cover any nooks and crannies. Pay particular attention to the edges and seams of a mattress, as debris can accumulate there. Many vacuum cleaners will have specific attachments to make this easier. 

Step 4. Sprinkle on baking soda 

Sprinkle a decent amount of baking soda over the entire mattress. If there are any areas with a stain, use the brush or cloth to gently work the soda into that area. If you want to add essential oils, this is the time to do so. Lavender, for example, is well known for its naturally calming scent which can help you to relax and fall asleep.

Tea tree oil is also good to add in, as this is naturally antibacterial and anti-fungal, which will help to give your mattress a deeper clean. Add four to five drops of essential oils to your baking soda and shake firmly or stir to mix together. Leave this to settle before sprinkling on the bed. Leave the baking soda on for at least 30 minutes – mattresses with heavier stains could need 60-90 minutes.

 Step 5. Vacuum again to remove the baking soda 

Woman wearing beige shorts vacuuming her white mattress to get rid of bed bugs

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Once the baking soda has been on the mattress for the required time, vacuum all of it off the mattress. You should be left with a fresh and clean mattress. Don't forget, if your mattress is a flippable one, don’t forget to repeat this on the other side.

Other mattress cleaning tips

As well as using baking soda, you can clean your mattress by blotting any fresh spills with water, or by using white vinegar to spray on stubborn stains (remember that you’ll need to wipe over this with a damp cloth to remove the smell of vinegar). For more tips, read our article on how to clean a mattress

How to keep your mattress cleaner for longer

Keeping on top of your mattress cleaning will make lighter work of things in the long run. Keeping your mattress clean helps to keep it allergen and bacteria free, as well as helping it to smell nicer and improve the inside air quality. Follow these tips to keep your mattress cleaner for longer:

  • Remove fresh stains and spillages immediately
  • Wash bed sheets in hot water on a weekly basis
  • Vacuum your mattress every time your strip your bed 
  • Deep clean your mattress with baking soda at least twice a year 
  • Flip or rotate your mattress as instructed 
  •  Always use one of the best mattress protectors to protect your bed against spills and accidents 
Jo Plumridge
Mattress tester and sleep writer

Jo Plumridge is an experienced mattress reviewer with several years' experience covering all things mattresses and sleep, and who tests memory foam, hybrid and organic mattresses. What Jo doesn't know about a boxed mattress isn't worth knowing, so naturally we tasked her with producing a series of features for Tom's Guide looking at all aspects of mattresses, from how to pick between latex and memory foam (it's a tricky one), to the seven mistakes people make when buying a mattress for the first time. When testing the DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid for Tom's Guide, Jo said: "I loved the back support and pressure relief it offered. Plus, it looks far more expensive than it is." When she isn’t writing about sleep, Jo also writes extensively on interior design, home products and photography.