Microbiologist quick mattress cleaning tips
“There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to cleaning your mattress as it depends on the type of mattress, the user, and the user’s susceptibility to dust mite allergens,” says Joanne. “A general rule of thumb is to clean them twice a year: once when you’re doing spring cleaning and once at the end of dust mite season in October. This ensures you’re reducing the number of skin flakes present in your mattress before dust mite season begins, minimizing dust mites’ food source, and removing any excess allergenic material at the end of prime breeding season.”
Follow Joanne’s’s four easy steps below to cleaning your mattress:
Remove and wash bedding. Washing sheets and blankets on a 60°C or 90°C wash will help to break down and reduce allergens. While you may vacuum your mattress only a few times a year, its recommended that you launder and change your bedding once a week to remove microscopic skin flakes and keep dust and allergens at bay.
Vacuum gently – but with power. Dust mites might be small, but they’re tenacious. Their claws help them cling on to the fibres deep in your mattress, which can make them difficult to remove. Using a vacuum with a high-power or Boost mode will deliver the suction you need to remove as many mites, skin flakes and allergens as possible. Use a Mini-Motorised tool in handheld mode which won’t damage the surface of your mattress but has stiff nylon bristles that can agitate the fibres in your mattress and loosen dust mites and other debris. Make sure that the vacuum you’re using has a fully sealed filtration system to avoid allergens being expelled back into your face as you clean!
Focus on hard-to-reach areas. Once you’ve deep cleaned the surface of your mattress, pay attention to any crevices or folds where dust and allergens can gather. For cleaning around the edge of your mattress where there may be a seam, use a Crevice tool in handheld mode to remove any hidden dust. Don’t forget under your bed as well, as dust mites thrive in dark, warm and humid areas with plenty of skin flakes that often remain undisturbed.
Flip, repeat, remake. Flip your mattress over and vacuum the other side too to keep concentrations of invisible allergens low. If you’ve cleaned any stains (find out more below), ensure that these have dried out fully before remaking the bed – humidity will encourage mould, bacteria and potentially dust mite proliferation in your mattress. You may want to consider using a mattress protector which will absorb excess sweat and dust flakes and can be more easily washed.
How to tackle stains
Occasionally, mattresses demand more than a surface clean. While it can be tempting to ignore stains on a mattress, or resign yourself to defeat, there are a few things you can try to keep your mattress looking fresh, even after years of use.
“Like with any stain, reading the label of the product you’re using to remove it is essential,” says Dr Calum Robertson, Chemical Research Scientist at Dyson. “Stains can be made up of a number of complex chemical components but understanding the type of stain you’re trying to remove can help point to the right treatment, without being too abrasive or harsh on your mattress.”
Enzymatic stains. These include substances like blood, sweat and urine and are stains that are made up of proteins. Enzymes work by breaking down large molecules into smaller, more soluble ones. Use warm water and biological laundry detergent as soon as possible to gently blot the stain until it has dissolved.
Oxidisable stains. Stains caused by tea, coffee, or red wine often fall into the oxidisable stain category. Using oxidising agents, commonly found in bleach-based products, is a good way of removing these kinds of stains, as they will break down the coloured substances into colourless ones. Use bleach-based products sparingly and patiently, as they can cause irreversible discoloration to both the stain and the dyes in your mattress.