How to Clean and Care For Your Mattress

Posted by Pam Johnson - Head of Buying on 6th Jan 2021

How to Clean and Care For Your Mattress

How to clean a mattress

Stains, odours and general wear and tear to your mattress are inevitable over time. However, with regular care and cleaning, you can help to keep your mattress feeling fresh. A clean and comfortable mattress will help you get the quality sleep you need, night after night.

Keep this easy Bensons for Beds mattress care guide handy for your next spring clean and you’ll be drifting off to the land of nod, safe in the knowledge that your mattress is oh-so-fresh and clean.

Are the people of Britain cleaning their mattresses enough?

A latex gloved hand wipes a stain on a mattress with a microfibre cloth. The other latex gloved hand holds a spray bottle.

According to our latest survey*, 24% (23.9%) - almost a quarter of Brits - are only cleaning their mattress when they get a stain on them or aren’t cleaning them at all!

Men’s mattresses are cleaner than women’s

The data from our survey reveals that men are more likely than women to clean their mattresses when they should (every 6 months) (men 66% vs women 44.6%). In fact, data also shows that men are cleaner when it comes to their mattresses with nearly 1 in 5 women never cleaning theirs compared to one in seven men (Women 18.3% vs Men 13.2%).

Are Baby Boomers the dirtiest generation?

Millennials are leading the way when it comes to the cleanest mattresses with 73% (Almost three-quarters) cleaning theirs every 6 months or more often. Whilst 22% (Over 1 in 5) of Baby boomers aren’t cleaning their mattresses AT ALL compared to only 9% of millennials.

So how often should you be cleaning your mattress?

Why do I need to clean my mattress?

We sleep on our mattresses for several hours every night, so they are bound to get a little bit grotty after a while!

While you’re in bed, dead skin cells fall off your body, which leads to a build-up of dust and debris on your mattress. Sounds gross right?

And like it or not, there are also dust mites living in your bed – in fact, it’s estimated that on average, beds contain around 10,000 dust mites, which produce over 2 million droppings. That’s a lot of droppings! If you have allergies, these dust mites can really cause them to flare up.

In addition to this, when you sleep, you tend to sweat, which can soak through your sheet into your mattress. Because of this, your mattress can become a breeding ground for bacteria – and not the good kind! Which is why mattress cleaning and care is so important.

Regularly cleaning your mattress can help minimise the risk of bed bugs

Now, discussing this topic results in a similar effect to discussing nits – cue everyone instantaneously begins scratching. But bed bugs have the potential to cause havoc in our homes. And while bed bugs will happily create their homes in sofas, soft furnishings, carpets, and bed frames; mattresses tend to be their preferred residence as it keeps them close to their food source – us (1).

Regularly cleaning your mattress can help keep the likelihood of bed bugs invading your sleep space to a minimum (2). So, if you want to keep your bedroom bed bug-free, be sure to follow the tips outlined in this mattress cleaning guide. But it’s important to also clean your bed frame and any other furniture and/or furnishings in your bedroom just as regularly. 

How often should I clean my mattress?

You should aim to use a soft brush to remove any accumulated dust or fluff from the surface of your mattress every week, as you’re changing the bed covers.

You should give your mattress a deeper, more thorough, clean once every six months.

We do not recommend using a vacuum cleaner on your mattress as doing so has the potential to disturb your mattress fillings.

Man and woman raise a sheet above a bed as a toddler jumps beneath.

The best way to clean your mattress

From a quick dust with a soft brush to a deep clean, we’ve got some helpful top tips for keeping your mattress spick and span:

How do you deep clean a mattress?

Before you get started, check the care guide of your mattress to see what the manufacturer recommends when it comes to cleaning. You’ll also need to check whether your mattress is single or double-sided. This will determine whether you need to clean both sides or just the top (keep your fingers crossed for just the top!).

  1. Remove and wash your bedding.
  2. Air your mattress. Open bedroom windows and doors to help ventilate your bedroom and get some fresh air circulating.
  3. Brush the surface of your mattress using small, circular motions with a soft handheld brush. This will help to make sure that all the dust, dirt, dead skin and hair is lifted.
  4. If your mattress has some stains, scroll down for our step-by-step guide to mattress stain removal. If there are no stains, then sprinkle a small amount of baking soda onto your mattress at this point to help get rid of any odours.
  5. Once the surface of your mattress is free from stains and completely dry, sprinkle some more baking soda over it. If possible, leave for a couple of hours to get the freshest results before brushing it off.
  6. If your mattress is double sided, flip it over and repeat these steps.
  7. Remake your bed with your fresh bedding. You could also use a mattress protector ( on top of your mattress, to help protect it from sweat, dust and debris. We love clean sheets day!

A weekly brush down

Adding a weekly task to your mattress maintenance list will help you to keep it clean and fresh. You can do this when you change your bedding so don’t worry, it won’t add too much time on to your chores list. Doing this regularly is a quick and easy way to keep your mattress looking and feeling fresh and hygienic.

Once you’ve taken the bedding off your mattress, just spend five minutes gently brushing the mattress and bed frame using a soft handheld brush. You’ll be surprised at how much dust and dead skin this will remove. But be gentle, the fabric on your mattress can be delicate. 

Woman and young girl smile to the camera as they lie beath a sheet.

What is the best way to remove mattress stains?

If you can, you should remove stains as soon as they happen. It may still be possible to remove older stains but the process is a whole lot easier when they’re new.

You will need the following:

  • ¼ cup white vinegar per 1 litre warm water solution
  • Cheap bar of soap
  • Microfibre cleaning cloth
  • Old toothbrush
  • Clean, dry towel
  1. If your stain is a fresh spillage (that’s the last time we’re having a cuppa in bed!) then blot up as much of the liquid as possible.
  2. Mix your hot water and white vinegar solution – this is the magic formula for mattress stain removal.
  3. Wet the microfibre cloth and wring it out well so it’s just damp - you don’t want to soak your mattress.
  4. Rub the soap onto the cloth.
  5. Now it’s elbow grease time! Give the stain a good old scrub with the cloth. If it is a particularly stubborn stain, then you can use an old toothbrush to really get into it.
  6. Rinse the cloth in water, wring it out and rub over the stain again to remove any soap suds. You may need to repeat this process a few times, especially for older or darker stains.
  7. Rub the patch dry with a clean, dry towel. This will help to soak up any remaining moisture and surface-dry the patch.
  8. Be sure to leave the mattress to air dry completely before you re-make the bed. Any dampness could cause mould which makes for an unpleasant bed fellow!

Be sure to read your mattress care instructions before you get to work on stain removal. With some mattresses you shouldn’t use any water or water-based cleaning products.

How to stop a mattress from smelling

Fresh air will help to eliminate any odours which are present in your mattress. Whenever you can, open your bedrooms windows and doors to allow fresh air to circulate, especially when you have removed the sheets from your bed.

You can also sprinkle your mattress with a small amount of baking soda. This helps to get rid of smells which have soaked in. Leave the baking soda for as long as possible before brushing off the excess.

A smiling man and woman lie close to one another in bed and look to the ceiling.

How should I clean an iGel mattress?

iGel mattresses are supportive, temperature-regulating mattresses. They help to keep you comfortable while you sleep by drawing heat away from the body if you become too hot and storing it, returning it to you, should you start to feel chilly.

The cover of an iGel mattress is moisture-wicking, which means it wicks away sweat from the body. It is made of antibacterial and hypoallergenic materials. The cover can also be removed and popped in the washing machine, which makes cleaning an iGel mattress an absolute dream.

With an iGel bed, the even better news is that the mattress does not need to be flipped. The layers of the mattress are constructed in a specific way which means it can only be used a certain way up. The mattress has handles on the side, which help you to move it around when cleaning it.

Shop iGel Mattresses

What causes yellow stains on a mattress?

Stains on your mattress can be caused by all sorts of bodily fluids including sweat, urine and the oils that are naturally present in your skin. Sweat stains are the most common cause of yellow mattress stains.

When these liquids get on to your mattress, the excess moisture they create can lead to mould and mildew. These can also look like yellow stains, but they will be smaller spots in a specific area.

Rotating your mattress

Aside from cleaning it regularly, there are a few other things you can do to care for your mattress. First of all, treating it with kindness means no jumping or standing on your mattress.

Your mattress should also be rotated in accordance with the manufacturer’s care guide. This helps to ensure that there isn’t too much wear and tear in one place.

When should I replace my mattress?

There comes a time in every mattress’s life when it’s just not as supportive and effective as it used to be and it’s got to go. Ideally, you should usually look at replacing your mattress every six to eight years.

There are some useful indicators which can let you know when it might be time to buy a new mattress. 

READ MORE: Many of these are detailed in our helpful guide ‘Top five signs your mattress needs replacing’.

If your mattress is noticeably saggy or damaged or you notice an increase in allergies, then it could be time to buy a new mattress. If you think you might be ready for a new one then check out the Bensons for Beds mattresses (

When you buy a new mattress from Bensons for Beds, our partners at the British Heart Foundation will take your old mattress away and re-sell in one of their stores. All of the proceeds then go towards their life-saving research. 

READ MORE: Find out more about our partnership with the British Heart Foundation

How to look after your bedding

It’s not just your mattress that you need to keep clean, it’s your bedding too! This includes your pillows, pillowcases, sheets, duvet cover and duvet.

Ideally, you should aim to wash your sheets, duvet cover and pillowcases at least once a week, or more if you tend to invite your pets into your bed.

It is also suggested that you launder the duvet itself at least every six months and your pillows every four months.

READ MORE: If you want to know more about looking after your bedding, check out our in-depth guide to keeping your bedding clean and cared for.

Protect your mattress with the BedGuard™ care plan from Bensons 

BedGuard logo and beneath it says We've got you covered.

We know that accidents can happen, and sometimes more often than you’d like! We also appreciate that some stains just won’t come out, no matter how hard you try. This is why we offer the BedGuard™ care plan when you purchase mattresses, bedroom furniture, and beds online and in store. This plan provides insurance for all manner of spills stains and mishaps. You will also receive a free BedGuard™ Bed Care kit to help keep your mattress fresh and clean with purchases over £750 that include a mattress. Find out more about BedGuard™ and enjoy peace of mind when you purchase a mattress from Bensons for Beds.

Discover BedGuard


*Surveyed 1000 people across the United Kingdom. Results can be seen here.

authors profile
Pam Johnson
Head of Buying
Pam has worked within Bensons for Beds for 16 years and has a great deal of experience in both developing and sourcing new product ranges. As Head of Buying specialising in mattresses, divans and headboards, Pam is dedicated to providing solutions that help customers to get a great night’s sleep.
Read more from Pam