This post shows how to deep clean a mattress, including how to eliminate stains and smells, using common ingredients like baking soda. 

front view of a king sized bed

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What you see below might look like a clean, tidy bed. But it's got a secret lurking underneath...

dirty mattress, before cleaning

...a dirty mattress.

Ok, so I never thought I'd be putting pictures of my stained mattress on the internet - but it's got a purpose, I promise. For our next to last Cleaning 101 series post, I thought I'd share how to deep clean a mattress!

As you can see, it's not terribly dirty - but it could also use a good cleaning. Mattresses need to be taken care of every few months. Not only do we all (yes, even you) sweat throughout the night, but you also shed skin and hair in tiny particles. Over time, that builds up in your bed.

As you're about to see, the process of learning how to deep clean a mattress can be really simple and quick!

How to Deep Clean a Mattress

Step 1: Dust and vacuum.

The easiest (and quickest) way to freshen up your mattress is by giving it a quick vacuum.

dyson vacuum against a wall

We've had this vacuum for years now and it is a cleaning must-have for us. It gets used for little spills, dusting, and yes - even mattress cleaning.

vacuuming a mattress

Hop right up on the bed and vacuum it like you would the floor.

Step 2: Sprinkle with baking soda and vacuum again.

baking soda on a mattress

Next, sprinkle baking soda all over your bed. Lightly rub it in with your hands so it's not just sitting on top of the mattress. This will absorb a lot of the things that are making your bed stink.

close-up of mattress

Allow it to set for 10ish minutes, then vacuum up as much as you can. This is a quick way to freshen a mattress if you can't do the next step. I do this (and turn our mattress) every few months!

bare pillows on a floor

And don't forget your pillows! If you have pillows that have removable covers, take those off and wash them when you freshen your mattress. If not, throw the whole thing in the wash (or think about whether it's time to replace them).

Step 3: Deep Clean

This isn't something I do a whole lot (because, honestly, I'm not all that concerned about stains on my mattress - nobody ever sees it). However, it is nice to do this once a year or so to really get your mattress as clean as possible.

carpet cleaner in front of a bed

I talked about this beauty in my upholstery cleaning post a few weeks ago - it's another one of my favorite cleaning supplies. If you have kids or pets, you need this carpet/upholstery cleaner in your life.

half empty bottle of totally awesome cleaner

As a carpet cleaner (and in so many other places in my home), I use this cleaner. It's available at Dollar Tree and it's one of my favorite cleaners of all time! I normally dilute it for everyday cleaning - I use it undiluted in the carpet cleaner.

bottle of odor eliminator

If you have any urine stains, this is a great product to pretreat with. It has saved me from the worst pet accidents and works incredibly well on stains.

spraying odor eliminator on a mattress
foaming carpet cleaner on a mattress

I'll also usually pretreat stains with regular foaming carpet cleaning (nothing special, any kind will do).

carpet cleaner being used on a dirty mattress

After allowing those to set in for a few minutes, let the upholstery cleaner do its magic. If I'm just spot treating, I'll use the smaller attachment (that comes with the carpet cleaner) to knock out little stains.

carpet cleaner on top of a mattress

Usually though, I'll drag the whole thing up on the bed to clean. It honestly takes about as much time as spot cleaning, and with spot cleaning, you'll often find that the area around your spots is dirtier than you think (making for some funky looking reverse stains and dirt rings).

carpet cleaner being used on a dirty mattress

You'd clean it just like you clean carpet - once over with the wash function (using the Totally Awesome cleaner I mentioned above) and once over to rinse. As you clean, make sure you go back over without spraying a couple of times to suck out as much water out as possible (if you'd like to sleep in your bed tonight, that is 😉).

mattress on a bed

It's incredibly effective at knocking out stains, as you can see above. This is only something I do maybe once a year though - it just takes awhile to dry, so it's not something I'd put on even the monthly cleaning schedule. If you do this, I highly recommend doing it in the morning so your mattress has plenty of time to dry throughout the day! Using fans to dry it also helps.

Step 4: Turn your mattress.

surface of a mattress

This is also a step I do every few months. If possible, turn your mattress both horizontally (so the head is now at the foot) and vertically (so the top is now on the bottom). Make sure your mattress is dry before turning top to bottom. Our mattress is only made to turn horizontally, so we do that to make sure weight and wear is distributed evenly.

bed with blue and brown bedding

And just like that, no more dirty hidden secret underneath! Learning how to clean a mattress can make a difference in smell, look, and just general maintenance of your mattress...we all want to get more miles out of our big investments, and this is a sure-fire way to do that.

pillows on a bed

Bedding sources: quilt || duvet || sheets || mattress (I highly recommend each of these - all of these purchases have been worth every penny!)

Catch up on more of the Cleaning 101 series with the links below!

xo, Leslie; signature for end of the blog post.

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  1. Can you clarify what type of mattress you have? Is it a regular one OR temperpedic/memory foam?

    1. We have the one on the site that's called "Cool Gel 2.0 Mattress."

  2. Hi Leslie,
    I do vacuum my mattresses from time to time, but I've never thought of taking the carpet cleaner to them. Thanks for the great idea! I do find that a great mattress cover goes a long ways towards keeping mattresses from getting icky. I love bamboo mattress covers, because they are awesome at protecting from spills and accidents, but they are breathable and quiet, unlike old school plastic covers. 🙂