Cleaning your mattress, mattress toppers, and pillows isn’t as complicated as it sounds. Even the worst of disasters can usually be spot-cleaned with common household ingredients.
Natural Mattress and Topper Cleaning Overview
Water is not harmful to organic latex, but strong solvents are not recommended. (If you must opt for commercial cleaners, be sure to test them on a small area first. And never use bleach.) Mild detergents or isopropyl alcohol will work well, accompanied with small amounts of cold water. Always attempt to soak up any residual water with a light-colored sponge or white rag by blotting, rather than rubbing. (Using a white rag prevents dye transfer from the cloth to the mattress.) Rotate your rag as stains or dirt lifts. Allow any residual dampness to completely air dry. You can place the mattress outside, since the natural latex is completely covered and not subjected to direct light exposure. However, a cool blow dryer will also work. Steam cleaners are not recommended due to their excessive heat, which can over-bake the organic latex. Do not attempt to remove the mattress ticking, to access the internal materials or support unit.
For challenging stains, we recommend using natural cleaning options. Here are a few ways to clean your mattress without using harsh commercial cleaners.
Light Cleaning and Deodorizing a Mattress
You can easily clean and deodorize your mattress, or simply freshen it up:
- Strip the bed down and sprinkle a layer of baking soda over the entire mattress. Let it sit for about 30 minutes. The baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) actually draws dirt, moisture, and odors out of the fabric surface and the materials beneath (wool, cotton, and latex).
- Wipe up or come back with a shop vacuum (read the instructions on your vacuum — not all filters are able to suck up small particles) and vacuum all of the baking soda up.
If you like a little fragrance, you can shake a few drops of your favorite essential oils into the baking soda before you sprinkle it on. Lavender and lemon oils work particularly well.
Removing Stains from Mattresses Naturally
If you have stains set in, try this simple concoction to lift lighter urine, dirt, and blood stains out of your mattress.
– 1-2 parts hydrogen peroxide (start lightly)
– 1 part dish soap (Dawn works well)
– 1 part table salt and/or baking soda (optional)
To remove dirt and lighter stains, just work a small amount of the solution gently into the fabric of your mattress and allow it to air dry, blotting the area dry with a dry white rag to scrape off any residue.
Alternatively, vinegar and baking soda may work, as well as borax or a biodegradable all-purpose cleaner, like Ecover’s All Purpose Cleaner.
Of course, be sure to test your DIY stain removal on a small area first. With natural fibers at play, it's possible that your natural stain remover will whiten the affected area more than intended, leaving you with a bleached spot. So start with a mild mix and proceed slowly.
Human and Pet Urine
When young kids are going to be using any mattress, it's a good idea to have a protective barrier. We prefer those made with natural materials, like the Avocado Organic Cotton Mattress Pad Protector or Avocado Organic Waterproof Mattress Protector. If you find yourself without one and with a child who wet the bed, clean it up right away. The longer urine remains on any mattress, the harder the stain and odor will be to get out.
To get urine out of a mattress, you’ll need a good enzymatic cleaner. Most enzymatic cleaners are used for stains and spots that pets or humans make. This is the only thing that will break down the odor-causing uric acid and truly get your mattress clean. You can make your own with a recipe like this from fresh citrus peels.
Here’s what to do if someone pees the bed:
- Strip the bedding off the mattress immediately, and get started by blotting the urine with towels.
- Grab some baking soda and sprinkle it across the wet area to absorb any remaining urine, and let it sit for about 10 minutes.
- Now it’s time to use your enzyme cleaner. Spray enough to coat the surface of the mattress, and let it sit for about five minutes.
- Come back and blot the mattress dry again.
- Sprinkle it with baking soda another time, turn on the fans and open the windows, and let the mattress air dry overnight.
- In the morning, wipe up the baking soda and any residue, and prop the mattress up to let it dry completely.
Sunlight is also a great natural stain remover and sterilizer. If needed, you can put your mattress outdoors, ideally in indirect sunlight.
Blood is another bodily fluid that should be cleaned with enzymatic cleaners. However, peroxide is better suited for your mattress.
- Squirt some hydrogen peroxide onto the affected area, using as little as you can while still getting the bubbling action when it hits the blood. (If you don't have hydrogen peroxide, meat tenderizer works particularly well. The tenderizer's enzymes will dissolve the blood's protein bonds.)
- Blot the peroxide up with a dry towel when the bubbling stops.
- Apply your enzymatic cleaner, and let it sit for a couple of minutes.
- Blot the area first with a cool damp towel, and then a dry towel to pull up the moisture.
If it happens, here's how to clean it:
- Hopefully the mattress had a sheet on it — use that to get any solids out of the way. If not, put on some gloves and grab a trash bag and some paper towels to clear any solids off the mattress.
- Blot any fluids off the mattress as best you can with a dry towel.
- Sprinkle baking soda across the affected area and let sit for 10 minutes.
- Using your enzyme cleaner, spray the area and let it sit for a few minutes.
- Blot the mattress again and sprinkle more baking soda across the top.
- Let the mattress air dry overnight and wipe away the baking soda in the morning.