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The Importance of Mattress Hygiene and What To Look Out For

Author imageThe Mattress Warehouse

According to a study published in the Handbook of Clinical Neurology, approximately one-third of our lives is dedicated to either sleeping or attempting to fall asleep. To put this into perspective, at 25 years old, that is almost eight and a half years; at 50, it is a little over sixteen years, and by the age of 75, it amounts to a staggering 25 years of your life.

Given the substantial time we dedicate to sleep, making sure that we get quality sleep becomes essential. If you search on Google ‘How to get a good night’s sleep’, you will find millions of articles and blog posts with helpful tips. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends:

  • Sticking to a consistent sleep schedule, 
  • Creating a comfortable sleep environment in your bedroom, 
  • Avoiding electronic devices, 
  • Refraining from consuming large meals, caffeine, and alcohol near bedtime, and 
  • incorporating regular physical activity into your routine. 

The above are all essential tips to achieve a good night’s rest and overall well-being – but one often overlooked tip is to make sure to keep your sleep surface clean. 

The cleanliness of your mattress directly impacts your health, comfort, and the lifespan of your mattress. In this blog post, we will explore why mattress hygiene matters, some common issues stemming from neglect, and what signs to look out for when it comes to a dirty sleep surface. 

The Importance of Mattress Hygiene:

Picture this: while you are off in dreamland, various microorganisms are hard at work in your mattress to create a habitat for themselves. 

One of the primary culprits is dust mites. These critters are naturally occurring and can be found in nearly every household according to the American Lung Association. Mattresses, bedding, upholstered furniture, curtains, and carpets are perfect nests. The American Lung Association also warns that you are more likely to encounter dust mite allergens while you are asleep. These tiny pests can trigger allergies and respiratory issues, leading to discomfort and restless nights.

Likewise, WebMD notes that bed bugs also tend to indulge in feeding during your sleep and love taking refuge in mattress seams, bedding, and other bedroom furniture. A poorly maintained mattress can become a breeding ground for bed bugs. These elusive creatures can cause not only physical discomfort with their bites (resulting in itchy, bright red marks on your skin) but also emotional distress due to the stigma attached to infestations.

Common Issues Caused by a Lack of Mattress Hygiene:

Allergies and Asthma: Dust mites are one of the biggest indoor threats to people with asthma as per the American Lung Association. These microorganisms have the potential to evoke asthma attacks and a range of other allergic symptoms. Mild cases may result in bouts of sneezing, a runny nose, and teary eyes. On the other hand, you have the more extreme case that results in continuous sneezing, coughing, congestion, facial discomfort or severe asthma attacks.

Unpleasant Odours: If you do not clean your mattress regularly, chances are that sweat, body oils, and other substances will eventually turn your mattress into a stinky sponge. No one wants old, unpleasant odours to keep them awake. Ultimately, it will affect your sleep and your overall bedroom atmosphere.

Bed Bugs and Infestations: A mattress with bed bugs is a nightmare for any homeowner. They can quickly multiply and infest your sleep surface, causing discomfort, anxiety, and possibly the need to spend money on extensive extermination measures.

Reduced Mattress Lifespan: Lack of proper hygiene can significantly shorten the lifespan of your mattress. When you buy a mattress, you are investing in your health and your happiness. Regular maintenance ensures a healthier sleep environment, protects your investment, and ensures it lasts as long as possible.

Signs Your Mattress Needs Cleaning:

Allergies or Respiratory Issues: If you or your sleep partner experience increased allergies or respiratory problems, don’t be too quick to chuck it up to just seasonal changes. Skin irritation or itching after sleeping can signify the build-up of allergens, dust mites or other contaminants within the mattress.

Visible Stains or Dirt: Stains from spills, sweat or other substances are clear indicators that your mattress requires cleaning. Likewise, the accumulation of dust and debris on the mattress surface is a telltale sign. If you share your bed with pets, their presence introduces a new set of challenges, including the deposit of hair, dander, and muddy paw prints.  One easy way to guard your mattress from any spills, stains or dirt is to use a Waterproof Mattress Protector. Additionally, a waterproof mattress protector will also be able to keep your mattress free from dust mites and allergens by preventing the growth of bacteria inside of your mattress. 

Unpleasant Odours: Lingering smells – whether from sweat, spills, or other sources – suggest a need for thorough cleaning. Especially if you wash your sheets regularly.

Mattress Age: Over time, even with regular cleaning, mattresses accumulate dirt and allergens. An older mattress may require more frequent and thorough cleaning.

Cleaning your mattress at least every 6 months can help address these issues and contribute to a healthier sleep environment. Perhaps now you’re thinking that mattress hygiene sounds like a dirty business. Fear not! Once again, The Mattress Warehouse has got your back. Check out our article on ‘How to Clean a Mattress in 5 Easy Steps‘ for a hassle-free solution.


American Lung Association. (n.d.). Dust Mites. Retrieved from https://www.lung.org/clean-air/indoor-air/indoor-air-pollutants/dust-mites#:~:text=Dust%20mites%20can%20live%20in,absorb%20moisture%20from%20the%20air.

Aminoff MJ, Boller F, Swaab DF. We spend about one-third of our lives either sleeping or attempting to do so. Handbook of Clinical Neurology. 2011;98:vii. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-52006-7.00047-2. PMID: 21056174.

Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, September 13). Tips for Better Sleep. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/sleep_hygiene.html

Wheeler, R. B. (2022, August 16). What’s Lurking in Your Mattress?. WebMD. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/ss/slideshow-dirty-mattress-hazards

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