Chances are good that you have never thought much about your mattress or box springs, and perhaps you haven't considered performing periodic cleanings, either. However, the reality is that all mattresses need maintenance cleaning on a regular basis to prevent them from possibly making you sick. Below is more information on the materials needed to perform the job as well as information on how to perform a thorough cleaning:
What you will need to perform a maintenance cleaning
Vacuum cleaner with upholstery attachment - Choose an attachment that is in good condition with erect, clean bristles.
91% isopropyl rubbing alcohol - This high concentration can be purchased at pharmacies and many other retailers; don't use lower concentrations as the higher water content may ruin the mattresses.
Spray bottle - Any kind is acceptable as long as it is completely clean.
Baking soda - Avoid buying any special formulas, such as those designed for use in cat litter boxes, and use ordinary baking soda for best results.
Why and how to perform a maintenance cleaning
You may think of your mattress as being perpetually clean, but after a period of time, mattresses can accumulate a fair amount of grime. This includes not only dust, but also dead skin cells and other tiny particles that find their way to the surface of the mattress. Much of the "debris" on your mattress is nearly invisible, but its presence can attract bed bugs and aggravate allergy problems.
That's why it is important to periodically clean your mattress even though it may seem to be perfectly fine to the naked eye. A good rule of thumb to follow is to clean your mattress when it is also time to rotate it and the box springs; though the interval can vary, depending on the age and quality of the mattress, performing a rotation and maintenance cleaning every 3 months is ideal.
Here is how you do it:
1. Sprinkle baking soda on the mattress - Fill a clean cheese or red pepper shaker with baking soda and sprinkle it widely across the surface of the mattress. Break up any clumps of baking soda with your fingers and brush the soda loosely across the mattress with your hands. This action will help neutralize odors and dry any residual moisture. Allow the baking soda to sit undisturbed for at least one hour.
2. Vacuum the surface of the mattress - After you have allowed the baking soda time to work, use a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment to thoroughly suction the surface of the mattress. Moving the attachment in a circular motion helps provide a more-thorough cleaning, and also be careful not to press too deeply to avoid pushing debris into the mattress; instead, allow the bristles on the attachment to do the work for you. After vacuuming, remove the bag or canister from the vacuum cleaner, then throw the contents in an outdoor trash receptacle to prevent possibly spreading bed bugs in your home.
3. Lightly mist the surface of the mattress - Once you removed all the baking soda and other debris, the last step is to lightly mist the mattress with rubbing alcohol. This will kill residual germs and also help eliminate possible odor sources. Never spray water on the mattress, as mattresses are vulnerable to water damage and may develop mold and mildew as a result.
4. Flip the mattress over and repeat steps 1 through 3 - Be sure to clean the other side of the mattress in order to prevent possible bed bug infestation and remove other pests or substances. Also, keep in mind that even mattresses not designed to be flipped over should be cleaned on both sides to remove all problem-causing particles.
Click here for more information about caring for your mattress, including how to know when to buy a new one altogether.