An average human spends around a third of their day sleeping or lying in bed. Regardless of hygiene, our sheets need to be changed regularly as they come in contact with sweat, body oils, moisture, dead skin cells, and even bodily fluids. And after some time, it also becomes inevitable that mattresses begin smelling differently…
Waterproof mattress protectors and washable mattress covers are a great way to prevent odours from developing, provided they’re regularly washed. Nevertheless, the need will sometimes arise to deodorise – and we have a few handy tricks up our sleeve that you can use.
To keep things simple, most of the cleaning tips included are home solutions with no special tools or cleaning solutions required. They also work for all mattresses, whether your box spring is topped with a latex or memory foam mattress.
Before You Deodorise…
Deodorising your mattress can take some time out of your weekend or holiday break – but trust us, it’s worth it. Before you you get started with deodorising or applying any DIY remedies or cleaning solutions, there’s one important step that you should not skip, and that’s vacuuming.
Using a vacuum cleaner should always be the first step in the mattress cleaning process as it helps you get rid of any dead skin cells, dust, and other debris. Better yet, using more powerful vacuum cleaners or dust mite vacuums can help you deep clean beyond the surface of the mattress to remove dust mites, allergens, and in some cases, even bed bugs.
The Best Ways to Deodorise your Mattress
One of the best mattress deodorisers you can use is typically available in any household. And if you don’t have a bag of it, baking soda can easily be purchased from your local market or grocery store.
Whether used to freshen up a mattress, couch, carpet, or even your armpit, baking soda is widely known as a natural deodoriser. All you need to do is sift, sprinkle, and evenly distribute the baking soda on the surface of the mattress and leave it on for at least 30 minutes. Or, if you have somewhere else to sleep, leave the baking soda for up to 24 hours to let it set better.
While the baking soda sets, it’s best to leave your mattress exposed in the sun to air dry and expedite the absorption and release of any moisture. Finally, use your vacuum cleaner on its upholstery attachment to vacuum the baking soda off the surface of the mattress.
Water and Vinegar
We know, a bed that smells like vinegar sounds nasty, there’s no denying that. But, in case you didn’t know, white vinegar is a great natural cleanser. And just like baking soda, you’re bound to have some lying around your home.
To refresh your bed, mix equal parts of water and white vinegar in a spray bottle, and lightly spray it on the entire mattress. You don’t need to soak your mattress with the vinegar solution – just spray until the surface feels damp. Then ensure the mattress air dries completely before flipping it and deodorising the other side, as this prevents mould growth and mildew.
If necessary, following this technique with the baking soda deodorising solution will help tackle tougher odours.
Yet another product lurking in most kitchen cupboards, cornstarch works as a deodoriser and a stain removal agent at the same time, especially combined with baking soda.
Just as you would with straight baking soda, sift and distribute the mix of cornstarch and baking soda over the entire mattress surface and leave it for up to 24 hours. The baking soda works as the deodoriser, while the cornstarch helps absorb and remove body oils which can lead to a smelly mattress.
Used alone, essential oils may help mask the odours on your mattress, but they won’t remove the underlying cause of the smells. To tackle both, use a few drops of your favourite essential oil added to your baking soda – we find lavender, eucalyptus, and lemon scents help increase the feeling of mattress freshness.
There’s no need to use a lot of oils as this could cause the baking soda to clump. It’s also best to use a sifter to make sure only the finer particles can be spread on the surface of the mattress.
Other Cleaning Methods
Now that you have an idea of how to get rid of mattress smells and odours, we’d love to give you more tips and DIY ideas to clean your mattress and remove stains from under your sheets.
Spot Cleaning and Stain Removal
Let’s start with general cleaning. While a few mattress stains here and there may not always give off a foul smell, they aren’t a pretty sight to see.
With either a microfibre cloth or paper towels, dab on the stained area with cold water (never use hot water for stain removal as hot water can set the stains further). Always remember to dab and not to rub the stains as dabbing helps lift the moisture up and away from the mattress, while rubbing when damp spreads and can potentially worsen the stain.
With a dry towel or a clean cloth, continue to dab on the area until the mattress surface feels dry to the touch.
For hard-to-remove stains, we find a paste made of equal parts water, baking soda, and salt that can help lift stains from the mattress surface. For tougher stains, you may alternatively substitute water with vinegar. Leave the paste on the stained area for at least 30 minutes before removing the paste with a damp cloth.
For extra-tough stains, mix two parts of hydrogen peroxide with one part of dish soap, apply this mixture to the stained area and gently brush it with a toothbrush. Leave for five minutes then clean the area with a cool, damp cloth. The hydrogen peroxide and dish soap mixture are also very useful for getting rid of blood stains on sheets, mattresses, and duvets.
If you live with infants or toddlers, urine stains aren’t uncommon – especially if the kids are still not potty-trained. Having enzyme cleaners at home is very handy in ensuring that their mattresses are stain- and odour-free.
What to Avoid
When seeing stains build up on your mattress, you might be tempted to use bleach as an easy fix to clean and disinfect. While bleach may work in removing stains, its harsh nature can be damaging to mattress fibres, so it’s best avoided. Likewise, avoid ammonia-based solutions as these can also cause damage to your mattress.
Whether bringing new life to an old mattress or preserving a new mattress, there are many ways to ensure that your mattress always feels and smells fresh. Here are some of the top tips we recommend you practise.
Air out your bed – We know making your bed right after waking up is a practice of good discipline, but it’s actually best to air it out first to let any moisture evaporate. You can also open your windows to allow fresh air and sunlight to come in as this is nature’s natural deodoriser.
Regularly change sheets – It can sometimes be tempting to not swap out bed sheets on a regular basis, especially if they still look clean or aren’t stained. But if you want a fresh and fragrant bed, you should regularly change your pillowcases and sheets and wash them at least once a week.
Use a mattress topper – An easy way to ensure your mattress doesn’t build up odours is to not lie down on it directly. A mattress topper can serve as a barrier between your body and your mattress so that all fluids and oils from your body transfer to the topper instead. If you find that mattress toppers are too soft, you may also opt for a waterproof mattress protector instead.
Need a New Mattress?
Check out the Ecosa Memory Foam Mattress, which comes with a removable, washable cover to make stain and odour management a breeze. Click here for a 100-night trial.