When it comes to cleaning a mattress baking soda and vinegar are one of the best solutions for both deep cleaning or a simple freshen up. We’re going to explain everything you need to know about this age old solution and provide a step-by-step walkthough.
People clean bed sheets and covers all the time but the mattress could also benefit from occasional cleaning. Often times, when things spill in bed we clean the bedding giving little thought to the mattress. Cleaning the mattress can go a long way in helping eliminate odors, stains, or even pests like bed bugs and dust mites.
Does Using Vinegar and Baking Soda Actually Work?
Technically, cleaning with baking soda and vinegar does and doesn’t work. To clarify, you need to understand the specific reaction that takes place when you mix vinegar and baking soda.
Baking soda acts as a base, and all bases are compatible with a missing proton. Vinegar, on the other hand, is an acid, and all acids possess a proton that a base can neutralize. Thus, when you mix vinegar and baking soda, you’ll see a fizzy reaction that results from the base removing the proton from the vinegar, which generates carbon dioxide bubbles and, in turn, leaves water in their place.
In short, the chemical reaction that occurs will help dissolve various messes and substances, which makes those substances easier to remove from your mattress. This solution doesn’t work in the sense that once the reaction ceases, the only resulting substance left behind is water; it doesn’t magically clean your messes without some scrubbing.
This means that while you might want to use other solvents to clean, using vinegar and baking soda together can help you clean a mattress in most cases via the reaction they produce. In many cases, you can also use baking soda and vinegar separately in addition to other cleaning methods.
Types of Accidents That Stain Mattresses
We all like to sleep on a clean mattress and take comfort in knowing that we’re not lying on any type of mess. So, chances are that if you spill something or an accident occurs on the mattress resulting in a deep-reaching mess, you’ll want to clean the mattress the mess soaked into along with the sheets and covers.
The following are some common types of accidents that can dirty your mattresses, which will entail cleaning mattress stains using the appropriate method.
Pee & Sweat
Both urine and sweat could soil your mattress in bedwetting and other incidents.
If you have any children or if anyone staying in the home is incontinent, bedwetting is a risk. In some cases, others may experience cold sweats or hot flashes at night, which would produce sweating that can soak into the mattress as easily as urine.
Both substances produce yellowish splotches in bedding and the underlying mattress, along with odors if they’re given enough time to develop.
Menstruation is a common cause of bloodstains on bedding and mattresses, which isn’t always controllable. Preparing before sleep with dark-colored padding or blankets can help keep blood from soaking into the bed, but menstrual periods and bleeding aren’t entirely predictable.
If your children are sick, the pet cat leaves a hairball, or another incident leaves vomit in the bed, this is another substance that can soak into your mattress or leave odors behind even after cleaning.
6 Steps to Clean a Mattress with Vinegar and Baking Soda
Vinegar and baking soda are cleaning powerhouses, not only for mattresses but for any problem area around the house (shower head, toilet, carpet stains, add it to your laundry, etc). I will help to eliminate stains or odors that are otherwise difficult to remove. The fact that you likely already have these two ingredients on-hand makes this solution all the better.
- 2 teaspoons of vinegar
- 16 ounces of baking soda
- Essential oils including caraway, clove, tea tree, rosemary, lavender, or eucalyptus, all of which are natural and inexpensive deodorizers
- A fan or dryer
- A medium-sized vacuum cleaner that can provide sufficient suction without causing damage to the mattress or bedding
- Keep the mattress from sagging by rotating the mattress.
- Mix 20 drops of essential oil with baking soda in a container such as a spray bottle, and shake the bottle.
- Mix in vinegar by dropping into the container.
- Spread the solvent around the cleaning surface, spreading it to make sure the bed absorbs it, which may take as long as an hour.
- While waiting for the solution to work, you can vacuum any other dust or debris around the mattress and the rest of the bed.
- Once the solution has had time to soak into the mattress, use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of any remaining vinegar or baking soda.
How to Clean Various Types of Stains
Over time, your bed will likely accumulate a large amount of dust and other debris, spots, and other stains or odors that unexpectedly develop. This is why occasionally cleaning your mattress is one of the most important steps to take to maintain a fresh, clean bed. Cleaning your bed sheets and covers will only go so far, when you may find that the mattress requires some attention.
If you want to keep your bed consistently clean, you should consider removing all of your bedding and the mattress cover to clean the mattress once every 12 months. Cleaning this frequently is particularly recommended if a family member is suffering from asthma.
In addition to dust and other debris, you’ll also be able to get rid of dust mites and maintain your family’s overall health in the process.
Cleaning Mattress Debris
The following are the steps to take for cleaning bedding debris.
- Make sure there is plenty of ventilation in the room by keeping doors and windows open when possible.
- Avoid closing other windows around the home and ensure cross-ventilation with sufficient air conditioning, which will help keep the room from getting too moist or humid
- Remove bed sheets.
- Vacuum the mattress to clear it of any dust, skin flakes, or other debris that might have developed, which you can more easily achieve with an upholstery attachment if your vacuum comes with one.
Sweat and Urine
Cleaning urine and sweat from your mattress will require more thorough cleaning as it seeps into the mattress. You should be able to see sweat and urine stains on the mattress, both of which will appear yellow and may produce a strong odor. Steps for cleaning urine and sweat are as follows.
- Remove all bed sheets and covers
- You’ll need hydrogen peroxide, 3 tablespoons of baking soda, and liquid dishwashing soap.
- Combined, these act as the cleaning solution that you’ll use.
- Use a spray bottle to distribute the solvent, spray in the discolored or damp area, and wait for the solvent to soak in.
- Let the solvent air dry for around an hour, or use a blow dryer or fan to speed up the process.
Vomit can also cause pungent odors and staining, making it necessary to clean vomit up as soon as possible after an incident. Take these steps to keep the mattress free of vomit stains and odors.
- Remove all bedding.
- Use vinegar along with a half-cup of water, which you will then mix into a spray bottle.
- Spray the mixture onto the mattress where stains are present, and wipe the area with a cloth or paper towel.
- If this yields poor results, you can add some baking soda to the area.
- Allow the mattress to air dry or use a dryer or fan.
If you need to remove bloodstains from the mattress, the following steps should help.
- Remove bedding and start washing immediately to avoid permanent stains.
- Use a bottle of hydrogen peroxide and distribute it around the stain.
- Use a clean blanket or large cloth to soak up the liquid.
- Use a fan or dryer to quickly dry the mattress or let it air dry.
- You may find you need to repeat all of the above steps if the stain isn’t completely removed, but adding lemon juice may help.
Eliminating Dust Mites
Dust mites are allergens that can cause rashes and asthma attacks in vulnerable individuals, and you may not even know your bed has dust mites. You can get rid of these pests by taking these steps.
- Use around 16 ounces or 470ml of distilled water as the base for your cleaning solution.
- Mix in some essential oils such as rosemary, clove, eucalyptus, or caraway, which you can use in a spray bottle with the water.
- Spray the solution throughout the mattress surface.
- Dry the mattress naturally or using a dryer or fan.
To further ensure that dust mites are eliminated, regularly wash your mattress covers and pillow covers in hot water, which can also prevent the breeding and spread of bed bugs, if you suspect your bed has them.
Taking the Mattress Outside to Clean
When possible, you’ll be able to more thoroughly clean the mattress by taking it outside in the sunlight, which will help speed up the drying process if it gets particularly damp while cleaning. The sun can not only dry the mattress, but it can also help kill any bacteria hiding throughout.
In addition to baking soda and vinegar, you can use a golf club, baseball bat, or another blunt instrument to beat the mattress for around 10 to 20 minutes. While this may seem a little unconventional, it’s an effective (and potentially fun) way to eliminate any excess dead skin cells, dust mites, and other debris that might still remain on the mattress.
Just remember to flip the mattress halfway through the day when letting it dry and try to clear both sides of debris. Before taking the mattress back inside the home, you may want to consider beating it once more for good measure.
How Often You Should Clean Your Mattress
Many people avoid cleaning the mattress, largely out of laziness and a perceived lack of need, but the mattress can get dirty over time, developing stains, producing odors, or even presenting a health risk to your family if allergens have the chance to build up.
If you want to keep the bed consistently clean, you’re better off cleaning the mattress once every 12 months or even less in some cases, depending on how often accidents happen. The summer and spring months are especially ideal for cleaning the mattress, giving you the opportunity to open windows and doors to properly ventilate the room while cleaning.
Cleaning mattresses using vinegar and baking soda, along with other solutions, can help keep your family happy and healthy in the long run. You’ll also be able to sleep better knowing that you’re resting on a consistently clean mattress every night.
What Type of Vinegar Should I Use?
One of the best options to use for this application is either distilled white vinegar or apple cider vinegar, both of which are universally used for many cleaning tasks and are also the most affordable. Many other vinegar types are intended mainly for cooking tasks, come with a higher price tag, and are generally unfit for cleaning.
Can I Use a Waterproof Mattress Cover to Avoid Cleaning?
Mattress covers can work wonders in many cases, but people have a tendency to forget about them and neglect to put them on the bed when needed. Multiple accidents can also happen even if your mattress cover protects the bed from one, so you might find yourself facing a messy mattress while cleaning your mattress cover, whether it’s from your kids wetting the bed or getting sick, drink spills, or other unanticipated inconveniences. However, you’ve always got backup with vinegar and baking soda by your side.