How to Disinfect a Mattress the Easy Way

You might be wondering what is the easiest way to disinfect your mattress?

The answer is simple —> Mattress Encasement

I’ve found the easiest way to clean a mattress is to place a mattress encasement over it and not worry about what’s under the encasement.

I know that this might not be the answer you’re looking for, but it works well. But if you must have the mattress disinfected then I do have some tips below and things to avoid too!

What Makes A Mattress Need Disinfecting?

You might find that you need to sanitize a mattress for many reasons. Things like getting a used mattress will make you want to make sure that thing is nice and clean before you sleep on it. Or you might have a bed bug problem or dust mite problem. 

If you have a bed bug problem, then you have an uphill battle. You need to get a bed bug mattress encasement, the ones with the zippers on them, to help fight that battle. Also, get an encasement for your box spring if you have one and throw away the bed frame. Yes, throw the bed frame away as that is the perfect place for them to hide.

But the biggest reason (at least for me) to disinfect a mattress is to get all the sweat, blood, urine, and poop stains out of it. This is a must if the mattress is used. I go into a lot more details about cleaning a mattress here and not so much the details of disinfecting it like I do in this post.

What To Avoid

Since the internet is so full of misinformation, I want to list off the things you should avoid. Most of what is listed below will make things worse or ruin other things you have.

  • Steam cleaners
  • Baking Soda
  • Vinegar
  • Lots of water or lots of liquids

I don’t know why so many people jump to using a steam cleaner for everything, but when it comes to soft materials like a mattress you want to avoid it. The mattress is a giant sponge, and a regular household steam cleaner can oversaturate it. If the mattress becomes too wet then you have a whole new set of problems – it’s hard to dry a wet mattress. The steam cleaner on a mattress is such a big problem that I wrote a whole post on it here.

Good old baking soda and vinegar, it’s the internets go-to-cleaner. BUT IT’S A WASTE OF TIME! Dumping baking soda all over your mattress and letting it sit will not magically clean it. If it did then all you would need to do to clean a t-shirt is sprinkle baking soda on it and we know baking soda alone will not clean anything. Even worse is they say to vacuum it up – that can destroy vacuum cleaners. 

Then you got the “add vinegar and baking soda together to make a cleaner”. I’m sorry but that doesn’t work either. If anything, when the chemical reaction is done all you have left is salty water. But don’t listen to me someone else talks about that here.

The last thing to avoid is too much water or too much of any liquids. You will need to clean the mattress with some type of liquid but don’t over do it. If you think it’s too much liquid, then it’s way too much. You only need a little bit to clean the mattress. Even if the liquid is rubbing alcohol or vodka and it evaporates quickly, you can still put too much on and make the mattress soaking wet which can ruin it. I don’t recommend cleaning with vodka, I just used it as an example.

Do This Instead

If you have any bed sheets or any other bedding, then take them off and wash them in the washing machine. No point of cleaning the mattress if all you’re going to do is place dirty sheets back on it.

  1. What you should do instead is first vacuum the entire mattress. Clean the top, bottom, and the sides of the mattress. Don’t forget to clean the box spring if you have one.
  2. Lightly spray a cleaner like Clorox Urine Remover for Stains and Odors and softly scrub it with a clean rag. Then spray another light coating on the mattress and let it sit for a few. Then wipe dry with a dry rag.
  3. For best results, you need to expose the mattress to UV light. You can do that with a regular old UV light, some mattress vacuums have them built in, or just leave the mattress out in the sun to air out. If you take the mattress outside makes sure to place it in a dry, sunny area and bring it in before it rains. Water is your enemy when it comes to cleaning a mattress.

Or Take The Easy Way Out

If you got this far, you might be reconsidering getting the mattress encasement like this one here since it would be the easy way. 

You can clean a mattress, but it can take time and sometimes it won’t be perfect. If the mattress is 5 to 7 years old, then it’s time for a new one. I know that might not be what you want to hear, but you can get some affordable mattresses online. Avoid the mattress stores as they have more overhead that they pass on to you.

If you plan on getting a used mattress and thinking about how to disinfect it, then check out my post where I answer the question of if it’s safe to get a used mattress.