How to spring clean your mattress: Best tips and products to get rid of stains, bed bugs and dust mites

Woman cleaning a mattress topper
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

With spring just around the corner, now is the best time to freshen things up at home. And there’s one household item that you shouldn’t leave off your spring clean list — your mattress. 

Over time mattresses can fall victim to stains and odors that come from sweat, oil, and other bodily fluids seeping through your bedding. Of course, the best mattress protectors will keep your mattress in tip top condition - but if you don’t, then spring cleaning your mattress should be a number one priority. 

It’s not just stains that can be caused by not having a good quality mattress protector to create a barrier between your body and mattress. Dust mites and bed bugs can also become a problem, and even the best mattresses aren’t immune to these bed-dwelling pests. 

We'll now guide you through the best tips to get rid of stains, bed bugs, and dust mites, leaving your mattress feeling as good as new. But if you want to skip the hard work and treat yourself to a new mattress instead, this month's mattress sales are an excellent time to buy a new bed. Ready? Let's begin...

Today's top mattress sales

How to spring clean your mattress 

Cleaning your mattress is more than just making it look and smell nice. Regular cleaning can help to reduce allergies, improve air quality, and leave you sleeping better and your mattress lasting longer. 

You should aim to clean your mattress every six months. This will keep dirt, dust and dead skin from accumulating, encouraging dust mites and potentially bed bugs. If you don’t already own one, it’s worth investing in a mattress protector that will keep your mattress clean and fresh and be easier to remove and wash regularly. 

Person steam cleaning a white mattress to get rid of bed bug residue

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Before you start cleaning your mattress, it’s worth noting the care instructions. You can usually find these on the label or the mattress manufacturer’s website. This is because different styles of mattresses have different care instructions. For example, if you have a memory foam mattress and you need to clean a memory foam mattress then it’s important not to get it too wet because that can encourage mold to grow. 

Also, be mindful of the chemicals you use on your mattress. Avoid using products that have bleach, which may harm the fibers of your mattress, and instead, go for mild detergents such as liquid soap. 

How to get rid of stains

Over time, mattresses get stained, whether that's from your body's natural oils, sweat, or any little accidents that may happen. Ensuring you regularly clean your mattress means that you can keep any unsightly stains at bay, as well as leaving it smelling fresh. 

To get rid of stains on your mattress, follow these steps: 

Step 1. Strip your bedding

Remove all bedding, including your mattress protector and wash on a high heat. Check your bedding care labels before you do this but around 60 degrees is the perfet tempertature to wash your bedding to remove any germs or bacteria that may be around. 

Some mattresses come with removable covers, if you are able to, wash this too. If not, our tips can be used on the top cover of your mattress. 

Step 2. Vacuum your mattress 

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

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Run the vaccum cleaner over the surface of your mattress. If your mattress is completely dry then sprinkle baking soda over the surface and leave for a couple of hours to help remove the odors. When you're vacuuming this power up, make sure that you go over the area several times to ensure you don't leave any behind. This is very important because if baking soda gets wet, it can clump and go gooey, you don't want that on your mattress. So vaccum and then vacuum again for good measure.

3. Spray the stains with water and soap

Using a spray bottle mix equal parts of water and liquid soap. If you're tackling some seriously stubborn stains, then you may want to add an enzyme cleaner to your mix so you can make a solution of equal parts water, hydrogen peroxide, and liquid soap. 

Lightly spray the mixture onto the stains being careful not to soak the area and leave to sit for around 30 minutes. 

Step 4. Blot away moisture

Press and blot the stain with a dry cloth or paper towel. Microfiber clothes are really good for this as it really soaks up the excess moisture. Make sure you keep blotting until your cloth or paper towel is showing up dry. 

Step 5. Leave to air dry and repeat if needed

Before you put your bedding back on, make sure that your mattress is dry. If possible open the windows.  Your stains should be removed but if not, repeat the above steps. 

How to get rid of dust mites

Dust mites can be found in any home, but they love areas like mattresses, curtains, and carpets because those fibers trap dust and give them plenty to feast on. 

If you have dust mites in your mattress, you may find that you're experiencing allergy-like symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing, coughing, or sore throats. Follow these steps to get rid of dust mites and prevent them from coming back...

Step 1. Strip and wash your bedding

Putting mesh bag in washing machine

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Remove all bedding, including any mattress protectors, and wash at 60 degrees to kill any dust mites that may be living on your sheets. It's not just your sheets that should be washed, your duvet and pillows should be washed too if possible. 

If you can, tumble dry your bedding, this additional heat will make sure for sure that all the dust mites present are killed. 

Step 2. Vacuum thoroughly

Vacuum your mattress, making sure you use the hose attachment to get into any of the nooks and crannies. Make sure that you go right around the edge and deep within the crevices. 

Step 3. Steam clean

Vacuuming alone doesn't always get rid of dust mites, so if you can, steam clean your mattress as dust mites can't thrive in hot temperatures. Most steam cleaners operate at 200 to 250 degrees and this will also kill any bacteria and mold that could be growing. 

Step 4. Wipe down surfaces

Although this step isn't to do with your mattress, making sure you wipe all surfaces with a damp cloth on a regular basis to remove any dirt and dust can be a good way to keep dust mites at bay. 

How to get rid of bed bugs

Bed bugs have experienced a recent global resurgence, so it's important to stay vigilant to signs that they're dwelling in your mattress. Bed bugs tend to hide away and come out at night to feed on your blood which may leave you with small, red sores that become inflamed and itchy. Whilst you won't catch any nasty disease from bed bugs, they can lead to serious skin irritations which may turn in to infections, so it's important, if you think you have bed bugs to tackle the issue head on.

Image shows bed bugs nestled inside folds on a mattress

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Whilst we can offer some general guidance on making sure your mattress is bed bug free, it's important that if you have a bed bug infestation you reach out for professional help. These pests are notoriously difficult to eradicate due to their ability to hide in small crevices and reproduce quickly.

Here are some steps you can take in conjunction with professional pest control. 

Step 1. Wash all bedding in hot water

Remove all bedding, including toppers, duvets, pillows, and mattress covers. These need to be washed in hot water and dried on a high heat in order to effectively kill any lingering critters. 

If your mattress cover is removable, take this off and also wash it. If you're unable to washing any of your bedding on a hot wash, you might be better off replacing any bedding such as duvets and pillows. 

Step 2. Vacuum the mattress

Vacuum your mattress thoroughly, paying extra attention to seams and tufts. Also vacuum the surrounding areas including around skirting boards and electrical outlets. 

Repeat this step several times, ensuring that you've got every area. You may want to add baking soda to the mattress so that you can see any areas that haven't been vacuumed. 

Once you're done, empty the vacuum cleaner outside immediately.

Step 3. Steam clean

Use a steam cleaner to clean the surface of your mattress. Steam cleaners can reach 200-250 degrees, which will kill any bacteria or bed bugs still loitering around. 

Just check that this is suitable for cleaning your mattress. Soaking and high heat isn't suitable for memory foam mattresses as it will cause damage and ultimately lead to the breakdown of the mattress. You can read more about how you're damaging your memory foam mattress here

How to tell it’s time to replace your mattress this Presidents’ Day

After following the above mattress spring clean guidelines, you may decide that your mattress is beyond saving. It’s recommended that you change your mattress every 5-7 years but there are telltale signs it's time to buy a new mattress that you can look out for. Aside from unsightly stains, waking up with new aches and pains is a strong indication that it's time to buy a new mattress. 

Presidents’ Day is the perfect time to upgrade your mattress, some of the best mattress deals can be found this weekend from top mattress companies, including Emma, DreamCloud, Helix and Nectar. Check out our best Presidents' Day mattress sales quick links below. 

Best Presidents' Day mattress sales 2024

Below you'll find all the best Presidents' Day mattress sales live today:

Rachael Penn

Rachael is a freelance journalist based in South Wales who writes about lifestyle, travel, home and technology. She also reviews a variety of products for various publications including Tom’s Guide, CreativeBloq, IdealHome and Woman&Home. When she’s not writing and reviewing products she can be found walking her Sealyham and West Highland terrier dogs or catching up on some cringe-worthy reality tv.