Did you know that your mattress could be home to more than a million mites living in their version of paradise with dust, dead skin, hair, mildew and bug feces? And throw in some human body fluids and moisture – you end up sleeping in a cocktail that can cause some serious issues with your health. The mites – estimated at about 18875 per gram of dust – do not bite but feed on dead skin and release allergens which cause rashes and itching on contact with skin. The allergens can also cause asthma and other respiratory diseases.
So why am I telling you all these yucky things? It is because most of us tend to take the humble mattress for granted. Sheets, duvets, covers are chosen with care with regard to patterns, colors and texture; but who gives a serious thought to the mattress? The very idea of handling the mattress is daunting to say the least. Most of us are also flummoxed about how to go about cleaning the darn thing. So here are 7 ways to clean your mattress:
1. Routine Vacuuming
- Remove the old covers, bed sheets, pillows and other linen
- Keep a fresh set ready away from the mattress
- Vacuum the mattress using the upholstery attachment. This should be done slowly to allow the suction to suck in the dust, mites and debris effectively.
- Turn over the mattress and vacuum as above
- Put the right side up of the mattress ( in some mattresses only one side is recommended for sleeping)
- Put on the fresh bed-linen
- This is a preventative maintenance of the mattress and is recommended at least once a week.
2. Soothing Fragrance
- This method not only puts paid to the creepy crawlies but also leaves a fresh-smelling, stress relieving fragrance for a good nights sleep.
- Vacuum the mattress to remove most of the dust and dirt. This operation can be skipped if required as vacuuming is carried out afterwards also.
- Take one cup of baking soda in a bowl and add 4 to 5 drops of essential oil to it. Lavender, tea, eucalyptus, or other fragrant oils can be added. (This should be good for one side, else mix some more).
- Put this mix in a fine sieve and sprinkle all over the surface of the mattress. Leave it on for at least an hour to take effect.
- Vacuum the mattress.
- Follow the treatment for the other side.
- You now have a clean fragrant mattress
03. Another Home Remedy Cleaning Process
- The process is basically the same as at No. 2 but mixture is different
- The sprinkling mixture : 1 tsp water + 1 tbsp vinegar + 1tsp laundry detergent + 2 tsp baking soda + 1 drop disinfectant (like Lysol).
- Leave the mixture on for a few hours before vacuuming.
- The mixture is a very effective disinfectant, deodoriser and stain remover.
04. Removing Mildew
- Mildew, which is a form of fungal growth, thrives under damp and humid conditions and can completely destroy a mattress very rapidly once formed.
- The best method of taking care of mildew is to prevent it by regular cleaning of the mattress and keeping it dry.
- In case you notice mildew in its early stages, immediately expose it to fresh air (called air-bedding) and sunshine for as long as possible. Vacuum the mattress thereafter, as explained earlier.
- Moderate to severe mildew can be removed by applying a solution of 1 part of isopropyl alcohol in 1 part of warm water. Soak for a while, then wipe dry. Follow up by vacuuming the mattress.
05. Getting Rid of Blood Stains
- Fresh Stain – Use a salt water spray and wipe off
- For a deeper and older stain
- Apply hydrogen peroxide on the stain and dab off with a soft cloth.
- Use a meat tenderizer from the kitchen to break down the blood protein.
- Mix 1 tbsp liquid detergent in 2 cups of cold water and apply it on the stain.
- Scrub gently with a soft toothbrush.
- Rinse off with cold water
- Do not use warm water as proteins coagulate with heat and become tougher to remove.
06. Flush Out Those Urine Stains
- Blot off excess fluid.
- Dab on an enzyme based cleaner- this breaks down the uric acid.
- Apply a mixture of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide.
- Dab off with soft cloth.
- Rinse with water and dry.
07. Other Stains (from Spilled Drinks)
- Blot off excess fluid.
- Spray on or dab on a citrus cleaner, soak and dab dry.
- In case citrus cleaners are not available, enzyme based ones, or even detergent can be used.
Regular cleaning of your mattress not only extends the life of the mattress but also prevents dangerous respiratory and skin diseases. It can also be a fun family affair, especially when the mattresses are put out in the sun for airing!