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How to Clean & Care for your Mattress and Bed Base

Author imageThe Mattress Warehouse

The Mattress

Your mattress and bed base form the pillar to good sleep. Sleeping in a dirty bed may be extremely detrimental to your health. Therefore, follow our top tips on how to properly clean and care for your mattress and bed base.

3 Easy ways to increase the lifespan of your mattress

Mattress Protector

Right from the beginning, follow precaution instead of cure. By purchasing a quality mattress protector, you’ll ensure the lifetime of your mattress to be much longer. By adding one more item to your bedding laundry, you’ll be adding years to your precious new mattress.

Even if your current mattress isn’t in it’s new, pristine state, you’ll still benefit from a mattress protector to prevent further staining.


In addition to protection against stains, proper support is also essential. Providing your mattress with a sturdy, supportive base will prevent any premature sagging. This way, you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of a supportive mattress for years to come!

Flip and Rotate

Sleeping on the same spot on your mattress, night in and night out can leave body indentations after a while. These indentations are bad for your back, as your mattress can’t support your spine into straight alignment anymore.

However, solving this is quite simple. Most mattresses can be rotated regularly. This shifts the pressure to different spots on your mattress and prevents indentation.

Flipping a mattress.

Additionally, some mattresses can be flipped to prevent indentation. However, pillow top and some newer mattresses aren’t designed to do this, so check with your manufacturer before you venture out to flip and rotate your bed. Curious to know more? Have a look at our in-depth explanation here.

All you need to know about Mattress Hygiene

Cleaning your mattress can mean a lot of different things. Firstly, it can entail getting rid of accumulated dust. Alternatively, cleaning can be the removal of a stain. Then there are bed-wetting stains to keep in the ‘cleaning your mattress’ category. Lastly, we need to cater for cleaning a mattress from everyday problems such as mould and mildew.

Sorting out Everyday Problems

To rid your bed of everyday dirt like accumulated dust and odours, follow these simple steps.

  • Vacuum your mattress with the upholstery attachment. This will get rid of all dust that has collected on the surface of your mattress.
  • Next, sprinkle some bicarbonate of soda on your mattress. This will remove any lingering odours from your mattress.
  • Let the bicarbonate of soda sit for 30 minutes, and vacuum your mattress once again.

Follow this ritual every two months, or when you notice an odour around your mattress.

Regularly vacuum your mattress with the upholstery attachment.

In addition to vacuuming and adding bicarb of soda to your mattress, make sure you ventilate it daily. Open the windows and let the fresh air flow through your mattress and bed base. This will prevent any mould and mildew growth.

Furthermore, place your mattress out in the sun every now and then. The sun acts as a natural anti-microbial agent that rids your mattress of microorganisms and mould.

Dealing with Stain Removal

For general stain removals, apply a gentle cleanser such as a mixture of laundry detergent and water. Remember to apply this mixture sparingly, as you do not want to soak your mattress. Let it sit for a few minutes and blot with a damp towel.

Remove stains like these with our tips and tricks!

Alternatively, apply a paste of baking soda and laundry detergent to a stubborn stain. Let the paste dry, and brush or vacuum off.

For bed-wetting stains, follow these instructions:

  • Cover a fresh, wet stain with bicarbonate of soda. Vacuum the bed once dry.
  • If the stain persists, use soda water and table salt to clean the bed. Blot the stain with soda water, and cover with salt. The salt will absorb the stain within a few hours. Brush or vacuum the bed once dry.
  • Alternatively, you can use a borax paste for an old urine stain. Mix borax and water into a paste. Cover the stain with this mixture. Vacuum or brush the bed once dry.

Lastly, for a dried blood stain, utilising hydrogen peroxide would be your best bet. Hydrogen peroxide is a weak bleaching agent, so do a patch test on a small inconspicuous area first, to prevent colour change.

A mixture of salt and soda water will absorb a common stain.

To clean the stain, spray a little bit of cold water on the stain. Mix hydrogen peroxide, salt and a little bit of laundry detergent into a paste. Apply the paste onto the stain, and let dry. Vacuum once dry. Repeat this process if necessary.

Lastly, after ridding your mattress of a stain, let it air out in the sun for a few hours. Remember to keep an eye out for the rain to prevent your mattress from getting soaked.

The Bed Base

Caring for your Bed Base

Cleaning your base is an essential step in ensuring its longevity. A well cared for bed base will not only ensure a sturdy support for your mattress but also serve as a beautiful bedroom aesthetic.

To clean your bed base, make use of the following two solutions:

Borax Cleanser:

  • 2 tsp borax
  • 4 tbsp white vinegar
  • 3 cups hot water

Mix all ingredients in a spray bottle, shake well before use.

Tea Tree Oil Cleanser:

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 tsp tea tree oil

Mix in a spray bottle. Shake well before each spray to ensure the water and oil mixes.

Tea tree oil mixed with water acts as a gentle cleanser.

Most furniture is covered in some type of finish. This finish can be affected by some cleaning agents, no matter how mild. Therefore, when cleaning any bed base, remember to do a patch test on a small inconspicuous area first.

Wood Bed Bases

Wood is a natural element that needs to be cared for regularly and specifically. Among regular dusting and wiping down you’ll need to provide it with nutrients as well. This will ensure that your bed frame stays new and beautiful throughout the years.

Follow these directions to care for your wooden bed base.

  • Wipe down your wooden base once a week with a mild tea tree oil cleaner or a damp cloth. This will get rid of any dust and dirt particles that might damage the wood over time.
  • After a wipe down, oil your wood with a good quality wood oil.
  • If your wooden frame is painted or varnished, remember to check regularly for any chips or fading in the finish. If this is the case, top up the finish with the same or close to the same colour used.
Cleaning and caring for your wooden bed base properly is essential in bettering its longevity.

Additionally, keep an eye out for chips and scratches in the wood itself. Splinters can scratch and injure a sleeper or mattress. Therefore, sand down any chips and splinters. If necessary, fill any gaps with wood filler and cover with a matching finish. Additionally, to ensure optimal structural longevity, inspect all screws, nuts and bolts regularly.

Steel/ Metal Bed Frames

A steel bed frame has only one major enemy: rust. Luckily, this cause can be prevented easily – avoid water at all costs.

However, any bed frame becomes dirty over time as we touch it with our dirty hands. Therefore, water cannot be avoided all the time.

Steel Bed - Single Bed

Wipe down your steel bed frame once a week with the borax cleaning solution. After cleaning, dry down every nook and cranny of your bed frame with a towel. This will prevent the formation of rust.

Additionally, if you notice any squeaking in your bed frame, apply lubricating oil to the affected part.

Box spring/ Upholstered Bed Bases

These bases need different cleaning aids than simple borax or tea tree solution. Most box spring bases are covered in polyester fabric. Since there is fabric involved, you’ll need a fabric cleanser. However, the fabric on an upholstered bed base is stuck to it as on any standard couch. Therefore, you’ll have to clean the base fabric right there, on the base itself.

To start, mix the following solution in a spray bottle:

  • 1 tsp mild laundry detergent
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1-litre warm water

Shake well before use.

Cleaning the Box Spring

  1. To start, vacuum the base with the upholstery attachment of your vacuum.
  2. Wipe down any wood or metal areas (base feet) with borax or tea tree oil solution.
  3. Spray stains with the laundry detergent solution. Let it sit for a few minutes and blot down with a clean, damp towel.

As prevention and cure, protect your base with a cover. This will hide any unsightly stains, as well as prevent future ones from happening. Additionally, you can marvel in the joy of having a base in the colour of your choice!

Now, enjoy sleeping on a new, fresh bed after following these instructions and guidelines on how to clean and care for your mattress and bed base. Find all the best free tips and tricks for mattress maintenance and bedroom hygiene with our informative blog series.

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