Your mattress is something that gets used for hours on end, every single day. It can sustain a build-up of sweat, dirt, and grease; however, it isn’t an item that most people think about cleaning regularly.
Using a mattress protector is a good way to prevent dirt from getting embedded in your mattress, but even this cannot stop bacteria from settling into the mattress fibers, and this can cause bad odors and make for an unpleasant place to sleep.
If you want to freshen up your mattress, you might be wondering what the best way to go about this is, and many people consider using a carpet cleaner. Here we look at whether carpet cleaners are suitable to use on mattresses and what other cleaning strategies you could use.
Carpet Cleaners for Mattresses
If you have a traditional spring mattress, then you can use a carpet cleaner machine to freshen it up. Since mattresses are large items that cannot be put into a washing machine, using a carpet cleaner on a mattress is actually one of the easiest and most effective ways to clean it.
If you have a memory foam mattress, then you should not use a carpet cleaner on it. This is because the foam will soak up moisture and hold onto it, making for an extended drying time and potentially causing a buildup of mold within the mattress. Foam mattresses require different cleaning techniques because of this.
Carpet Cleaner Machines
A carpet cleaner machine looks similar to a vacuum cleaner, and it can also be known as a carpet washer. It plugs into a mains electrical socket and uses a reservoir of water and cleaning fluid which is applied onto the carpet before rotating brushes agitate the carpet to loosen dirt.
A vacuum suction then sucks up all of the fluid, bringing the dirt with it, and leaving the carpet clean. You can use this type of machine on a spring mattress, following a specific method.
Cleaning a mattress with a carpet cleaner doesn’t take a long time; however, the drying process can. If you want to clean your mattress with a carpet cleaner, you should always do it in the morning so that the mattress has plenty of time to dry before you will need to put sheets back on it and use it at night.
Remove all bedding and sheets from the mattress, then lift the mattress off the bed frame and flip it on its side, ideally leaning it against a wall.
Use a vacuum cleaner hand attachment to clean all of the loose dirt, dust, and hair from the surface of the mattress. This should be done to both the top and bottom of the mattress, as well as the sides.
Fill your carpet cleaner with cleaning fluid as directed in the manufacturer’s instructions, and make sure the cleaner itself is clean and free from grime. If the carpet cleaner has a hand attachment, then this will be best to use on the mattress, cleaning the top side of the mattress and the sides, flipping it over, and repeating on the back.
If your carpet cleaner does not have a hand attachment, lay the mattress flat on the floor and use the carpet cleaner on it as if you were cleaning the carpet. Empty the water reservoir on the carpet cleaner machine, then run the cleaner over the surface of the mattress again to suck up any excess moisture.
This is known as a ‘dry run’ and can help the mattress to dry more quickly and prevent it from absorbing too much liquid, which could cause mold. Wait for the mattress to become dry to the touch before flipping it over and repeating the process on the back.
If possible, prop your mattress on a clean deck in your backyard so that it can air dry. A bright, warm day will be best for this, and the sun is also great for bleaching any stains still visible on the mattress. If this isn’t an option, stand the mattress against a wall in a room with a window open or a fan directed at it.
Once the mattress is completely dry, you can move it back onto the bed frame and apply fresh sheets.
Carpet Cleaner Sprays
If you want to target a specific stain or odor rather than give the mattress a general freshening up, then a carpet cleaner spray is a good option.
Most carpet cleaners are actually also suitable for use on upholstery and mattresses, and they can be really handy to clean up a spill or stain if you don’t have a carpet cleaner machine available.
Unfortunately, accidents can happen on mattresses, such as bedwetting or a vomiting bug, which can seep through sheets and leave a bad stain and odor on the mattress.
In this instance, remove the sheets and use an old towel or paper towels to blot the affected area on the mattress, absorbing as much moisture as possible. Do not rub the stain, as this can make it spread and push the moisture further into the fabric of the mattress.
After blotting, spray a generous amount of carpet cleaner solution onto the mattress and allow it to work its way into the material. Follow the user instructions on the product; some will suggest using the nozzle on the carpet cleaner to work the solution further into the fabric before blotting it up, while some can be left to air dry, and others recommend vacuuming when dry.
Some carpet cleaner sprays contain harsh chemicals, so if you want to be kinder to your skin and avoid an allergic reaction, then opt for natural-based carpet cleaner sprays or cleaning solutions intended for use with sensitive skin.
Always ensure the mattress is completely dry before putting clean sheets onto it; otherwise, this can trap moisture and encourage the growth of mold.
If you have a memory foam mattress, then carpet cleaning machines and sprays are not the best solution for freshening up the mattress. Foam is much more absorbent than the material used in spring mattresses, so it will hold onto any liquid you apply to it.
This makes the drying time frustratingly long, but it also means the moisture can seep deep into the cavity of the mattress and cause a mold problem. Instead, a steam cleaner is a much better type of cleaner for foam mattresses.
Steam will dry more quickly than water or cleaning liquid, and it won’t seep into the layers of the foam. Steam is great for killing any bacteria and eliminating odors and stains. Use a handheld steam cleaner to run over your mattress in the same way you would a handheld carpet cleaner, then allow it to thoroughly dry before fitting sheets back onto it.
If you don’t have a steam cleaner, you can rent one at an hourly or daily rate from a local hardware store or appliance rental shop. If you plan to steam clean your mattresses regularly, it may be worth investing in your own steam cleaner, which you can pick up for anywhere between $100 and $500.