Clean Mattress: Helpful Tips Against Stench, Dirt And Co

A romantic breakfast in bed with freshly brewed coffee is wonderful, but at the same time an imminent disaster for the mattress. If you are not careful, a black coffee stain will suck into the white fabric – panic is pre-programmed.

Often one then rubs and scrubs wildly with all means. Often with the result that the stain becomes even bigger. But how do I even clean a mattress?

In this article we would like to help you to free your mattress from stains of all kinds or annoying vermin in just a few steps. We have lots of tips and tricks to help you clean your mattress and save your wallet.

The most important facts in brief

  • Sweat, urine, blood or even vomit – all this can end up on a mattress over time and should be cleaned as soon as possible for reasons of hygiene.
  • A professional cleaning often costs a lot of money, but there are plenty of household remedies as well as tips and tricks to get your mattress clean again without much effort.
  • Especially against vermin and mildew in your mattress you should act quickly, otherwise you can also be threatened with health problems.

Why should I clean my mattress?

Over time, some dirt and bacteria can accumulate on your mattress, after all, we spend about a third of our life in bed. The humid and warm climate there is unfortunately also the perfect place for vermin such as mites or bedbugs.

Therefore, it is important that you air your mattress from time to time and remove stains as quickly as possible.

Because if you don’t treat leftover food, sweat stains or urine, not only will your mattress look ugly, but it can also start to stink and in the worst case attract vermin.

But even harmless house dust mites can become a problem, especially for allergy sufferers. Because when it comes to hygiene in bed, the mattress is often left out. Usually only pillowcase, bed linen and fitted sheet are cleaned regularly.

People who are allergic to the excrements of house dust mites often have difficulty breathing, a dripping nose or persistent sneezing when sleeping on a contaminated mattress.

Last but not least, your mattress can also start to get mouldy if it is not cleaned. This happens if you do not remove stains caused by food leftovers in time or if the mattress is not sufficiently ventilated.

At the latest then the lack of hygiene also has an effect on your health. For example, severe mould can trigger allergies or lead to respiratory problems and coughing.

The reasons for cleaning a mattress are therefore manifold. In the end, however, regular mattress care will ensure that you feel comfortable in your bed and that you do not have to worry about possible bacteria or illnesses caused by mould. And a snow-white mattress looks better anyway!

Backgrounds: What you should know about cleaning mattresses

Nowadays a mattress with good sleeping comfort is used for about 10 to 20 years. Because it is large, heavy and unwieldy, your own mattress stays in place almost continuously during this time, is permanently covered and is hardly ventilated.

It is therefore important to clean your mattress from time to time. But what is the best way to do this?

Because a mattress is very bulky, it cannot simply be washed in a normal washing machine. Instead, professional appliances, cleaners or well-tried household remedies are needed.

How can I clean my mattress?

There are basically two ways to clean your mattress. You can either have it professionally cleaned by a cleaning company or you can clean it yourself.
A cleaning company offers you the advantage of having an expert do all the work, because a mattress cleaning usually takes the form of a house call. The expert knows the best way to remove stains and brings professional equipment for cleaning.
Professional cleaning of the mattress is particularly worthwhile for allergy sufferers who suffer greatly from the excrement of the house dust mite. This is because the companies’ devices are specially designed to remove such remains with as little residue as possible.
Of course, you can also clean your mattress at home without help from others. There are various household remedies and cleaners available to help you remove stains, stench and vermin. Especially for small stains, this option is much cheaper.
Cleaning your mattress in a normal washing machine is not possible. Firstly, it would be much too bulky and secondly, a mattress in a soaked state would be much too heavy for the washing machine and would not be able to turn in the drum. The only exceptions are mattresses for babies and toddlers.

How much does it cost to have your mattress professionally cleaned?

A professional mattress cleaning costs about 30 to 70 € for a normal width and takes between 30 and 45 minutes. The prices are set either per square meter or for a certain width and length of the mattress.

It should be noted that most companies charge a travel flat rate in addition to the cost of cleaning. This can vary depending on the company and of course depends on the distance from the company’s headquarters to you.

You should therefore find out in advance exactly how much it will cost to get here and choose a company that is located near you.

How much does it cost to clean your mattress yourself?

Cleaning at home is considerably cheaper than cleaning by a company. Harmless stains can often be removed with simple household remedies such as baking powder, citric acid or detergent.
For more complex cleaning, you may have to get a special carpet foam or a textile cleaner. However, the prices for these products only range between €2 and €8.
If you are particularly concerned about hygiene, you can also treat the mattress with a steam cleaner or a vacuum cleaner.
This can cost between 50 € and 250 €, but can be used several times and can also be used on other surfaces in the house.

What are the reasons for cleaning the mattress?

In time, the one or other stain will appear on your mattress. You can protect the surface with a fitted sheet or a mattress protector, but some liquids will soak deep into your mattress and form ugly stains.
This is not only disgusting to look at, but also unhygienic. In the following section we have summarized for you in which cases a mattress cleaning is absolutely necessary.
Stains caused by sweat, blood, urine and the like
Body fluids land particularly often on a mattress. There can be various reasons for this, ranging from excessive sweat production to bed-wetting and amorous adventures in bed.
Although this is not often discussed, it is important to remove fluids such as sweat, blood, urine, faeces or sperm from the mattress.

If you do not clean these stains in time, your mattress will start to smell unpleasant. And the faster you intervene, the better you can avoid permanent stains or musty odours.


A smelly mattress can have various causes. Maybe there is a sweat stain on the mattress that cannot dry properly due to lack of ventilation.

This would not be surprising, as we lose at least half a litre of sweat in our bed every night. Without air supply, unpleasant odours are quickly formed.

Other reasons for stink could be a mould infestation, bacteria or mites. In these cases, it is advisable to clean very thoroughly to remove all residues.


Mould generally forms in a permanently damp and warm environment. Unfortunately, this description applies quite well to our beloved bed, as the surfaces of the fabrics are usually slightly moist due to our sweat.

You can recognise a mould infestation on your mattress by the typical musty smell and yellow-brownish, green-brownish or black discoloration.

They are caused by so-called mould spores, which spread through the air and stick to damp surfaces. Once they have found the right breeding ground, they start to grow very quickly.

An excessive concentration of mould on your mattress can not only damage the fabric but also cause health problems.

The most common consequences are irritation of the throat, nausea, respiratory problems, asthma or allergic reactions. The risk of this increases if you have already suffered from hay fever, neurodermatitis or other allergies before.


Your mattress can also hide vermin. Normally, there are a lot of dust mites in your bed, for example. They are not dangerous in principle, but they can be a big problem for allergy sufferers.

Because the excrement of house dust mites leads to reddened eyes, a dripping nose, up to sneezing attacks and respiratory problems. These excrements unfortunately accumulate over time in almost every mattress and cannot be removed so easily.

Apart from the infestation by mites, it can also happen that bedbugs settle in your mattress. This usually only happens when they are brought in from outside.

As a result, they leave small stitches on your skin, which later cause severe itching. If the infestation remains undetected, bedbugs can also spread to clothing and other rooms in the home.


For some diseases, intensive cleaning of the mattress is particularly necessary. This includes scabies, for example.

In this skin disease, the body is attacked by mites, which initially cause itching and later cause pustules of all kinds to appear on the skin.

After this illness the mattress should definitely be thoroughly cleaned. Otherwise the dross mites could stick to your skin again and make you and other people ill.

The infection through scabies usually occurs through close skin contact with an already ill person. But sleeping in the same bed also offers a high risk of infection.

How can I remove stains, stench and vermin from my mattress?

In the next section we explain how to hygienically clean, ventilate and disinfect your mattress.
Most problems can even be solved with simple household remedies or little tricks.
Cleaning stains caused by body fluids
The faster you act, the less damage you do. This principle applies to just about any stain caused by body fluids. If the stain is still wet, you can first absorb the liquids with an absorbent cloth. Do not rub – otherwise you could work the stain into the fabric!
Afterwards, household remedies will help you to remove the last remnants. Simple washing-up liquid, shower gel or detergent are usually sufficient. Mix them with some water and dab the solution onto the stain until it disappears.

Sperm and blood both consist of protein, which coagulates from a temperature of 40 degrees and is then very difficult to remove. Therefore you should always clean the blood and sperm with cold water.

We have created another table for you, which shows you the best cleaning methods for certain types of stains.

Getting rid of the stench

If the stench does not come from mould or old stains, thorough airing is usually sufficient. You can leave the mattress on the balcony or terrace for a few days.

If you do not have a rain-protected outer surface, you can alternatively place the mattress vertically in a well-ventilated room.

Eliminate mildew

Special mould sprays are available for the removal of mould. After spraying, you must let them work and place the mattress in the sun, as the UV light helps to kill the mould.

A good alternative to chemical sprays is for example citric acid. You can also spray this on the affected area with a spray bottle and then add some baking powder or salt. The mattress should also be placed in the sun for this treatment.

After both treatment methods you can gently clean the sprayed area with a cloth.

fly away vermin

Mites can be removed to a large extent by mite sprays or commercially available mite suckers. However, allergy sufferers are best advised to have their mattresses professionally cleaned.

Otherwise, the mites are quite harmless and can be kept in check quite well if you wash bedding and fitted sheets regularly.

The situation is different with bedbugs. Once they have infested your mattress, it will be difficult to get rid of them and their annoying bites. The following things you should absolutely follow:

  • Wash all fabrics and clothing that may contain bugs in the washing machine at 40 to 60 degrees Celsius.
  • Either freeze sensitive substances and objects or store them in plastic bags for some time.
  • Vacuum the bed frame and mattress completely, preferably with a steam cleaner.
  • Search the entire room for bugs and bug droppings. If in doubt, cover the mattress with a mattress cover.

Correct cleaning in case of illness

Proper cleaning for diseases like scabies is not easy. If in doubt, ask your doctor!

The Robert Koch Institute recommends that mattresses be thermally disinfected in water at 50 degrees Celsius before and after such treatment or that they be stored in a protected place at a temperature of around 21 degrees for at least seven days.

How can I clean the mattress: The 6 best cleaning methods

To clean your mattress you can use many different home remedies. These are particularly suitable for removing stains caused by food residues, body fluids or similar.

In the following we have put together six methods that will give you the best results when cleaning a mattress.

Allow washing powder and water to soak in

The classic. Almost everyone has detergent and water at home.
This is also excellent for cleaning stains on the mattress, similar to clothes.

For a fist-sized stain, pour about one teaspoon of washing powder or a hazelnut-sized amount of detergent into a container. Then add a little water – the harder the stain is already, the less water you should use.

The next step is to dip a sponge or cloth into the liquid. Then dab it onto the upholstery and scrub lightly over the fabric.

In addition, detergent or washing powder can also help against strong odours if the mattress was used in a smoking household, for example. You can do this by lightly rubbing the entire mattress with the mixture of washing powder and water.

Finally, you should always treat the cleaned area with a little clear water so that no stains remain from the washing powder. It is also important to leave the mattress to dry well to prevent mould growth. It is best to place it in the sun.

sprinkle stains with citric acid

Another household remedy for cleaning a mattress is lemon juice or citric acid.

This is particularly suitable for stains caused by leftover food or drinks, such as cola, ketchup, coffee or tea.

When cleaning, sprinkle the affected area with 3 to 4 drops of citric acid. Depending on how severe the stain is, you can let the citric acid work for up to 20 minutes and then clean with lukewarm water. Then air the mattress well!

Note: In case of protein stains caused by sperm, blood or faeces you should not use citric acid and only cold water – otherwise the protein coagulates and the stain is even more difficult to remove.

Treat mattress with steam cleaner

Another method of cleaning a mattress is to use a steam cleaner. This is a household appliance that uses hot steam from a gland to clean dirty surfaces and fabrics. A steam cleaner is also suitable for a mattress.

In addition, the device is considered an environmentally friendly alternative to chemical cleaning agents and is ideal for people allergic to house dust.

This is because the water vapour binds the dust instead of stirring it up and is said to help in the fight against mites.

But also in the fight against stubborn and encrusted stains on the surface a steam cleaner is the perfect remedy. After the treatment you should clean the area with gentle agents.

When buying a steam cleaner, be sure to look for good quality. The device should have a TÜV, LGA or GS seal, as the water pressure and high temperatures are not without danger.

Allow carpet foam to take effect

The well-known carpet foam or upholstery foam also helps against stains on the mattress. The application is quite similar to that on other fabrics:

    Remove loose dirt and dust beforehand with a vacuum cleaner.
    Shake the can of carpet foam well and spray it onto the stain from a distance of about 50 cm.
    Work carpet foam onto the stain with a slightly damp cloth or scrubbing brush. (Sometimes without this step: read the instructions for use!)
    Allow the foam to work in until the fabric is dry. This is usually about two hours.
    Vacuum the dry foam thoroughly with a vacuum cleaner.

After cleaning, you should let your mattress air out thoroughly, for example with the window open or on the balcony. This will remove the intense carpet foam smell.

Clean mattress with baking powder

The ultimate household remedy for removing dried stains on a mattress is baking powder. Especially a dried blood or coffee stain can be cleaned very well with it, because baking powder has a bleaching effect.

To do this, first rub the stain with cold water. Then sprinkle the stain with baking powder so that it is well covered. Now massage the baking powder into the fabric with a soft brush and leave the baking powder to soak in for about 30 minutes.

Now you should be able to easily suck the stain out of the mattress with a damp sponge. Last but not least you have to let the mattress air out well for another 3 to 4 hours.

The video clearly explains how you can use baking powder to clean the mattress:

Remove unpleasant smell with sodium bicarbonate

The household remedy baking soda is a super smell killer for stinking mattresses. Because baking soda has a disinfectant effect when cleaning, can dissolve stains and neutralises strong odours.

The application is super easy: For a fresher mattress smell, sprinkle the sodium bicarbonate powder evenly dry over the entire mattress. Depending on the size, up to 500 grams can be used.

If you also want to remove stains, you should work the powder into the mattress with a slightly damp, soft brush.

But you should take your time with the effect. A good result is only achieved after about twelve hours. Even longer exposure does not harm. If you put your mattress in the sun, the sodium bicarbonate powder will work even faster.

Before vacuuming the powder in the last step, it is essential to wait until the mattress is completely dry. Because even without the treatment with water, the reaction of the natron produces moisture.

Trivia: What else you should know about cleaning mattresses

The topic of mattress cleaning is actually not complicated, but it is quite extensive. Therefore, there are still some important questions to be answered about mattress hygiene.

How often should I clean my mattress?

The good news: if there are no stains, mould or vermin on the mattress, it hardly needs to be cleaned at all. It is sufficient to wash the bedding and mattress cover regularly at around 60 degrees.

But you can take preventive care of your mattress so that mould cannot develop in the first place. You should turn your mattress about every three months so that it is evenly ventilated. A nice side effect is that this also makes wear and tear more even and you can use the mattress for longer.

It is also recommended that the mattress be thoroughly aired about once a year. This is a great way to integrate with the spring cleaning tradition.

How should I clean a mattress for babies and toddlers?

A mattress for babies and toddlers can be cleaned in the same way as a mattress for adults. For regular hygiene, it is sufficient to vacuum the surface regularly and let the mattress aerate from time to time.

Many parents do not want to use chemical products such as upholstery foam or carpet foam when cleaning the mattress for their offspring.

However, with good cleaning and ventilation, these agents do not pose a health risk.

When should I dispose of the mattress?

If you notice that stains, strong odours or vermin cannot be removed despite thorough cleaning, you should consider disposing of your mattress.

Cheap mattresses only last about five to eight years anyway, expensive mattresses about fourteen years. After some time, the mattress will form hollows or depressions, which can be very uncomfortable when sleeping.


As you have surely realized now, a mattress can be cleaned easily and hygienically despite its size. The motto is: act as quickly as possible! Then nothing stands in the way of you and a shiny mattress.

You can also do a lot to protect your mattress from mould or vermin. Regular turning and airing is essential here.

But you don’t have to do without a romantic breakfast in bed with coffee, jam and bread rolls – if something goes wrong, there are plenty of tips and tricks you can use.