1. Preparing to Clean a Mattress
Like any deep cleaning task you perform with a steam cleaner, proper preparation is essential for getting the best results. Before starting, read the care guide from the mattress manufacturer to learn if there are any cleaning substances you should avoid when cleaning it. Knowing whether you have a single-sided or double-sided also makes a difference in how you clean it, as you'll have to flip over a double-sided mattress and allow additional time for the job. Follow these steps first before using steam for deep cleaning.
1.1 Start Early in the Day to finish mattress cleaning before bed time
Allow yourself sufficient time not only to thoroughly clean the mattress but also to let it dry sufficiently. This step is crucial if you have a heavily stained mattress that may need extra work. Allowing the mattress to dry adequately before you sleep on it is essential for preventing mold and mildew.
1.2 Strip the Bed
Remove all blankets, sheets, and pillows, along with the mattress topper, if you have one before you begin. Wash all of your bedding in hot water to kill germs and bacteria. Check the care instructions on bedding tags to determine if you can also dry everything on high heat to sanitize these items thoroughly. After all, if you're sanitizing your mattress, don't you want the bedding the goes on top of it to be clean as well? Don't forget to wash the pillows, as these tend to absorb a lot of sweat and dead skin cells. When you place the bedding on your mattress, it will also be cleaner and healthier, which is the goal of deep cleaning.
If the outdoor temperature is warm enough, open the windows to get fresh air into the room. Sprinkle a generous portion of baking soda across the mattress surface and rub it in with your hands. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes to allow the baking soda to bind with surface moisture and start the odor-elimination process. For a sour-smelling mattress, let the baking soda sit for one hour. If the mattress smells of urine or has another strong odor, you may want to leave the baking soda on the surface for 24 hours.
Be generous with the amount of baking soda you use. Twin mattresses need at least one cup of baking soda. If the mattress is bigger or smaller, adjust the baking soda accordingly.
1.4 Thoroughly Vacuum the Mattress
After the baking soda has had sufficient time to soak up odors, run a vacuum cleaner hand attachment over the entire surface. Take special care to hold the attachment in areas that have more frequent contact with skin so you will siphon off as many microscopic dead skin cells and dust mites as possible. Pay special attention to where your head and feet usually are. If you have a wide-mouth hose attachment with a rating brush, use this type and use small, circular motions across the entire surface. Make sure the attachment gets a close suction to the mattress. Vacuuming is vital as it removes as much dirt and loose fibers as possible so the steam can penetrate further into the mattress.
2. Removing Stains from your mattress or Deep clean
If your mattress doesn't have any visible stains, you can most likely skip this next step, but even if you only have one stain on the mattress surface, you should pre-treat it to ensure that you can remove it. Yellow stains are the most common, but they can come from different sources, requiring different types of pre-treatment. Identify what caused the stain and then base your treatment on the source. Note that stubborn stains may require several passes before the stain disappears. Never use any harsh chemicals on your mattress, as these can damage its integrity.
2.1 Sweat Mattress Stains
These are the most common yellow stains you'll find on a mattress and are the easiest to remove. Oils from your skin, along with salt and moisture, cause these yellow stains. You can remove most sweat stains with a combination of dish soap or laundry detergent mixed with luke warm water. Mix the detergent vigorously with water until thick suds form. Dab the mixture onto the stain with a sponge or a cloth and rub in a circular motion over the stain until it fades. For stubborn sweat stains, fill a spray bottle with stain remover like hydrogen peroxide or white vinegar and spray it on the spot. Let it sit for five minutes and then blot. Repeat as necessary.
2.2 Urine Mattress Stains
If you have young children, urine stains are common. Removing pee stains will take longer as these yellow stains are more stubborn. You can try using the same mixture of laundry or dish detergent to remove the stains but use a paper towel to blot into the stain every few minutes for hygiene purposes. Adding baking soda to the detergent and water solution can speed the process. For old stains, make a paste of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda and dab it on the urine stain. Let it sit for a few moments, and then remove it with a rag. Neutralize the odor by blotting vinegar on the area after you have removed the stain.
If you have pet urine stains, you'll need a stronger solution. Fill a container with a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and dish soap. Gently shake it to create a bubbling mixture that you can place on a rag and dab on the yellowed urine area. Use paper towels to drain the excess liquid and follow with white vinegar to neutralize the odor.
2.3 Blood stains
Anyone who has ever dealt with bloodstains on clothing knows you have to work hard to get them out. Removing blood can take as long as 30 minutes. Mix dish soap or laundry detergent with cold water and press it into the area until the stain lifts. Alternately, make a paste with baking soda and cold water. Apply it to the stain and let it sit for 30 minutes before removing the mixture with a damp cloth. If that doesn't work, try a mix of baking soda and professional stain remover or hydrogen peroxide on the stain, leaving it for the same amount of time.
3. Special Considerations for Memory Foam Mattresses
Memory foam mattresses can harbor smells because of their structure, so you may want to do the extra work. When using baking soda, make sure you rub it in before vacuuming it. Wiping a water and vinegar solution over the surface can also help. Remember to wipe off excess liquid.
Another magic solution is a paste made of salt, hydrogen peroxide and cornstarch. Apply the paste to any stained area on a memory foam mattress, let it sit, and then scrape out the dried paste. Saturate the area with cold water and then blot it dry. Remove any lingering salt with a scraper.
Using meat tenderizer is another way to spot clean a memory foam mattress, and it's a somewhat surprising one. As with other natural techniques, combine it with water and rub it into your mattress, allowing it to sit for an hour before removing it with a soaked cloth.
4. Thorough Cleaning With Steam
Many how-to articles will simply tell you to continue with drying and deodorizing once you have removed the stains and scrubbed the top part of your mattress, but to get it extra clean and as close to new condition as possible, you need to steam clean it. Here is how to accomplish that.
4.1 Why You Should Finish the Job With Steam Cleaning
The Fortador Volt Mini has more power than most other steamers appropriate for home use. It produces steam at 101.5 psi and can heat water to a maximum of 38 degrees Fahrenheit. Those figures are more than enough to blast away and kill any dust mites, bed bugs, and other harmful organisms that your mattress may harbor, even after surface scrubbing and stain removal. Steam reaches down into mattress fibers where those organisms tend to lurk.
Check our Guide for bed bugs removal
4.2 Steam Cleaning Method for Mattresses
Fill the Volt Mini's water tank and allow the unit to heat sufficiently. Attach the upholstery wand to the hose, as this attachment will help soak up any excess moisture.
Hold the upholstery attachment just above the mattress and apply the steam in long, slow strokes. Start at the top left corner and move to the right and down until you have covered the entire top of the mattress in steam. Note how the mattress feels with your first few strokes. It should be damp but not wet to the touch. If you think that the mattress is too wet, adjust the settings on the Volt Mini or hold the steaming wand farther away from the surface.
Don't forget to steam the sides of the mattress in the same manner. Bed bugs and dust mites tend to congregate on the sides, so you'll want to pay close attention when cleaning this area. Continue to move slowly to ensure that you achieve a deep clean. If you have a flippable mattress, turn it over and steam clean the other side. If you still have some stubborn stains, run the steamer several times over the same spot. You may also want to apply your chosen cleaner to the area again before running the wand over the area a second or third time.
4.3 Let It Air Dry
Most mattresses take about two to four hours to dry completely. You can do several things to speed up the process. Open the windows and run fans in the room. Move the mattress to an area with direct sunlight, if possible. Another option involves taking the mattress outside if you have a clean space to place it in direct sunlight on a warm day. Make sure the top of the mattress is completely dry before starting on the other side if you have a flippable mattress.
Check to see that the mattress is thoroughly dry before putting the sheets and the rest of the bedding back on. Take dry towels and press them hard into the mattress surface, especially on areas that may have received extra moisture from scrubbing. If any moisture appears on the towels, you'll need to wait to make your bed. Waiting until the mattress is fully air dry to make the bed is critical, so mold and mildew don't begin growing. After all, you just got rid of unwanted organisms. Putting bedding on too soon will defeat the purpose.
4.4 Give Your Mattress a Freshness Boost
To make that fresh smell last longer, mix baking soda, water, and a small amount of essential oil in a bottle and lightly spray it on the mattress. Be careful not to spray too much, so the surface doesn't become wet again.
4.5 Don't Forget the Bedframe
Cleaning your bedframe or divan after cleaning your mattress makes sense. Dust and vacuum it to get rid of all dust and dirt, paying particular attention to the slats on which the mattress sits. Depending on what the frame is made of, you may also be able to steam clean it.
5. Tips for Keeping Your Mattress Clean
Follow these easy tips to keep your mattress fresh and in top condition. By doing so, you can lengthen the time between or even eliminate frequent deep cleanings.
1. Spot clean stains as soon as they happen to prevent them from setting in. Flip and rotate your mattress after every cleaning
2. Vacuum entire mattress regularly to get rid of hair, dirt, and microscopic particles.
3. Air out your mattress, removing all bedding along with the mattress protector. If yours is easy to move, take it outside. This action helps moisture to evaporate.
4. Wash your bedding weekly to keep the environment hygienic.
5. Use a mattress protector or mattress pad and wash them once a month. These waterproof covers fit snugly on your mattress and help extend its life.
6. Flip or rotate your mattress every three months. Although you don't need to flip pillow-top mattresses, you should regularly rotate them to make them last longer.
7. Don't eat or drink in bed to prevent spills and crumbs from accumulating stain.
8. Limit pets on the bed. Although it is comforting to snuggle with your furry friend, doing so may harm your mattress. Your pet may have fleas, dirty paws, or have an accident on the bed, resulting in stains and odors. Sharp claws can also scratch and damage the mattress. If you do allow pets on your bed, make sure they don't jump on it after coming in from a muddy romp outside
9. Minimize moisture levels in your bedroom. Keep your bedroom cool and dry. Cooler temperatures are ideal for sleep, but they will also prevent sweating in bed while you dream, further protecting your mattress. The room needs to be dry as well. If you live in a coastal or similar environment with high humidity, consider investing in a dehumidifier. Lower humidity levels will discourage mold and mildew growth as well as keep your interior air healthier.
6. How Often Should I Steam Clean a Mattress?
Deep cleaning your mattress is essential for good hygiene and health as it keeps your sleeping environment clean and healthy. Steam clean your mattress every six months if you have a dirty mattress. If you have kids or pets, you may have to shorten the interval to every few months. By maintaining your mattress, vacuuming it often, and removing stains as they occur, you won't have to steam clean it as often. A clean mattress can improve your home's air quality, your health, and your sleep.
Check our Article about what else you can clean at home with portable steam cleaner