Upholstery cleaning 101: How to Disinfect a Mattress

Tuesday 4 May 2021, 7:34PM
By Premium Cleaning Services

Most people are looking forward to going home and getting a good night's sleep after a long day at work. Mattresses are essential to keeping you mentally and physically healthy.

Despite this, they don't show their mattresses much love and don't take the time to properly clean them. Upholstery cleaning can be a tough chore, especially when it comes to your mattresses. 

Mattresses can house bed bugs, dust mites, and other critters. If you didn't wash it for a year, it would be a kilo heavier from dead skin. Mold and mildew can also form from blood, sweat, and urine. According to Philip Tierno, a microbiologist at the New York University School of Medicine and pathologist, the average 1,500 square foot home accumulates about 40 pounds of dust per year. Even a 2014 study found that simply rolling from your stomach onto your back was enough to resuspend particles to detectable levels in the air.

Pets that like snuggling with you in bed probably have fur and hair somewhere on your mattress as well. Isn't it amazing how you have been able to sleep in your bed for so long? 

Whenever one washes their sheets, it's also important to wash the mattress as well. Fortunately, it's not nearly as often. Below is a step-by-step guide to know how to properly disinfect your mattress.

Prep the mattress

Remove everything from the bed, from the sheets, pillows, even your plushies. It’s important to avoid any more of the dust mites getting into everything. The easiest way to ditch the dust is to use the upholstery tool on the vacuum cleaner. If someone in the family has dust allergies, it'll be a good idea to do this every couple of months or more often. 

Upholstery cleaning: 7 DIY Solutions

Steam Cleaning

Steam cleaning is the most natural way to disinfect your mattress. It's almost the same as mattress dry cleaning. All one needs is a handheld steamer such as those used to steam clothing, and you'll be able to remove stains and get rid of those pesky dust mites. It’s essential not to have the mattress soak up too much water, so use quick bursts of steam.   

Antibacterial Spray 

This can apply to almost all furniture, so having one handy will make upholstery cleaning easier. A disinfectant spray for mattresses kills germs, bugs, and sweat stains in much the same way as steam cleaning. Ensure the spray is bleach-free. Cleaning the mattress with bleach might damage its fibers. Mist gently, but don't soak, the mattress surface with a damp cloth. Before dressing the bed, open the window and allow it to air dry completely. 


Vodka is a great disinfectant and helps to keep your mattress clean and sanitized. 

Pour some vodka into an empty spray bottle and gently mist over the entire mattress. 

Take care not to soak the mattress and blot with a clean dry rag. 

Open a window and allow it to air dry before dressing the bed.  

Baking Soda and Vinegar 

Baking soda and vinegar have been staple cleaning agents for decades. In upholstery cleaning, it is usually used for fabric sofas as well.

Fill a spray bottle with vinegar and lightly mist the mattress. 

After 10 minutes, blot with a dry rag or paper towels. 

For as long as possible, place the baking soda on the mattress in a ventilated room and allow it to sit. 

Vacuum the mattress and make the bed.

Enzyme Cleaner 

Make a homemade enzyme cleaner with 8 ounces of hydrogen peroxide and 3 tablespoons of baking soda to disinfect your mattress. This method is commonly used for stubborn stains. For best results, allow it to sit for as long as possible. Blot the stain gently with a damp cloth, let dry, then vacuum the entire bed and base. 

Foaming Shaving Cream 

Most shaving foams contain alcohol and therefore can tackle stubborn mattress stains. The consistency is similar to that of a stain remover. 

Spray the stain with the solution, let it sit for 20 minutes, and then remove the extra foam and wipe with a damp cloth. 

Rinse the bed with a 50/50 solution of water and vinegar, which should be allowed to air dry completely before dressing the mattress. 


Additionally, cornstarch can be used to deodorize mattresses. Baking soda and cornstarch are both powerful cleaning agents. 

Sprinkle the mattress with a mixture of 50/50 cornstarch and baking soda, let it sit for 30 minutes.

Before putting the sheets back on, vacuum the entire mattress, bed base, and under the bed.  

Note: Dry sheets in direct sunlight or hot dryer as the heat will act as a natural disinfectant. 

Conclusion + More tips for keeping your mattress clean longer

Upholstery cleaning, particularly mattress sanitizing might sound challenging, but with patience and a little time, you can get back to sleeping on a clean, soft mattress. 

Mattress cleaners and mattress deodorizers can be made with many household items. Different stains can also be treated with several, and often different, DIY solutions to ensure your mattress’s longer lifespan. 

Below are a few tips for keeping your mattress clean longer:

  • Vacuum the mattress to prevent dust mite growth, particularly in tight spots.
  • Flip the mattress once every three months.
  • Changing the sheets at least once a week will prevent dead skin from building up on the bed.
  • Invest in a mattress cover to prevent moisture from getting into the mattress and prevent mold and mildew from growing.
  • It is best to clean your mattress regularly, no less than every six months. To avoid any discoloration, treat the stain immediately if noticed.
  • Hire a professional upholstery cleaning service. If you’re in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington or Christchurch consider Premium Clean Services.

About Premium Clean

At Premium Clean, we’ll take people’s minds off house cleaning dilemmas like handwashing vs. dishwashing. We provide them ample time to spend with their families while living their best lives. Premium Clean originated in New Zealand in 2015. Premium Clean is a cleaning company that has completed more than 30,000 cleaning jobs and has continuously operated in more than nine cities.