How to Freshen Up a Mattress: Step by Step Guide and Tips

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Written by: Alex Savy
Read 12 minLast updated on September 2, 2022

Keeping one’s mattress clean and fresh is vital in terms of both comfort and healthy sleep

But is it that easy to deal with such a large bedroom accessory?

That’s what today’s guide is about. Readers will learn how to freshen up a mattress in a few simple steps, plus a couple of tips on keeping it clean longer.

How to Freshen Up a Mattress Fast

There’s always a time when one’s comfy mattress can start feeling a little weird. Often, it has to do with lingering odors that can make users sleep worse even when their mattress seems perfectly comfortable. 

Here’s the good news: there is a simple way to freshen up a mattress that doesn’t take much time or effort. Here are the steps:

  • Removing the sheets. It is recommended to change and wash the sheets every 1-2 weeks;
  • Vacuuming the mattress. It’s better to use a special upholstery attachment to get into the tougher spots. Users need to vacuum the entire surface of the mattress, plus all of the sides, seams, and folds. It wouldn’t hurt to flip the mattress and vacuum the other side as well. If possible, users can also remove the mattress and vacuum the bed frame (especially in the corners);
  • Deodorizing the mattress. Baking soda is a great mattress refresher that can easily get rid of any odors. Users need to sprinkle baking soda all over the surface (using a fine sieve can make the task a bit easier and the layer of baking soda more even). One cup is usually enough for a Full or a Queen mattress. For a King size, it might be a good idea to get two cups of baking soda. Luckily, this mattress refresher is not expensive. Next, users need to leave the baking soda to sit for at least 30 minutes. For strong odors, it’s better to wait for a whole day;
  • Vacuuming the baking soda. Again, a smaller attachment can help users be more precise and collect all baking soda bits.

Also Read: Best Tempurpedic Alternatives (Beds Like Tempurpedic But Cheaper)

Other Ways to Remove Odors and Freshen Up a Mattress Easily

Baking soda is not the only tool to help users freshen up a mattress and remove odors from it. Cornstarch is another good option. It absorbs body oil, which allows it to get rid of old odors lingering on one’s sleeping surface. Of course, mixing cornstarch with baking soda could offer better results. But if users only have the former, it might suffice as well. 

Now, combining baking soda with essential oils can make a mattress smell fresh and pleasant. Users can choose lavender for a relaxation effect or any other essential oil that they like. However, it’s crucial to be careful here. Essential oils can leave marks on the mattress cover. Therefore, users need to add only a little (one cup of baking soda with 2-3 drops of oil should be enough). It’s also vital to mix baking soda with essential oil well. Users can shake the mixture in a tightly sealed jar for better results.

Water and vinegar can do wonders when it comes to old odors. It’s also a great option for sensitive users, as vinegar and water make a safe, organic deodorizer that’s much better than chemical sprays sold in the stores.

Distilled white vinegar usually works the best in this case. Users can mix it with water (equal parts) to make the solution not too overpowering. Then, it’s better to spray the mattress surface lightly with the mixture. No need to make the cover wet, just slightly damp. Next, users need to let the mattress dry completely. Leaving it in a well-ventilated room is preferred.

It might be a good idea to spray the mattress on all sides. However, users need to make sure that one side is completely dry before flipping the mattress over and working on the other side.

Also Read: Mattresses Made in the USA

How to Disinfect a Mattress

It’s not a secret that mattresses can accumulate a lot of stuff inside. And when time passes, all those dead skin cells, moisture, dust, and other stuff become nastier. That’s why many users look for ways to disinfect their mattresses regularly.

Now, one of the simplest solutions is leaving one’s mattress in the sun. The UV rays can kill bacteria, which makes sunlight a natural and effective disinfectant.

It’s better to disinfect a mattress after cleaning or freshening it up. Then, if possible, users can take the mattress outside and leave it in the sun (preferably above the ground to avoid any insects crawling in or at least on a large sheet of plastic). If moving the mattress outside is not possible, users can place it near the window where the sunlight gets it.

To disinfect the mattress, users can leave it in the sun for around 5-6 hours. It is essential to choose a sunny day when the humidity levels are low. After all, leaving a mattress in a humid environment can cause mold growth, even if the mattress stays in the sun. 

Also read: How to Find the Best Mattress for Overweight People 

How to Remove Stains from a Mattress

Treating the stains is another crucial step when trying to freshen up a mattress. 

Now, the most common home cleaning solution is a combination of baking soda, salt, and water. These ingredients have to be mixed into a thick paste. Next, users need to apply the paste over the stain and let it sit for around half an hour. After that, users may wipe the paste away with a damp cloth and let the mattress dry.

For stains that might be keeping odors locked in, it’s better to use a combination of vinegar and water. Spraying the mix over the stain and leaving it to dry works in most cases.

Naturally, some stains are tougher than others. For instance, blood isn’t always easy to get rid of. In this scenario, hydrogen peroxide performs the best. It can have a bleaching effect, so it might be a good idea to mix it with water to protect the mattress cover. Users can dab the stain with the solution. If the stain does not disappear, one might use hydrogen peroxide without water to make a stronger cleaning solution. After that, the only thing left to do is let the spot dry completely.

Sweat stains tend to appear gradually with time. They are usually yellow and can also make the mattress smell not so good. A mixture of hydrogen peroxide, water, and 2-3 drops of dish soap usually works the best for sweat stains. It is possible to experiment with water to hydrogen peroxide ratio, adding a bit more of the latter for enhanced cleaning. However, a 1:1 ratio can usually suffice for sweat stains.

Users need to spray the solution on the stain and let it sit for half an hour. Then, they can blot the excess moisture using paper towels or a dry cloth and leave the stain to dry. Sprinkling some baking soda afterward can help get rid of the odor completely. Then, users need to vacuum the mattress surface. 

People who practice co-sleeping or have pets often have to deal with urine stains on the mattress. In this case, dealing with pee as soon as possible is the best solution. Users need to blot the stain as much as they can. Then, they may spray the stain using a combination of water and white vinegar (2:1). The next step would be letting the mattress dry and, again, sprinkling some baking soda to make sure the odor would be gone.

For dry urine stains, users need to make a stronger cleaning solution. In this case, they can mix hydrogen peroxide (1 cup) with 3 tablespoons of baking soda and 3 drops of dish soap (or mild laundry detergent). Then, they need to spray the urine stain generously, letting it soak for a bit. After the stain is dry, users can add some baking soda to let it absorb the rest of the odor.

The final step (for both fresh and dry stains) would be vacuuming the baking soda. It might also be a good idea to let the mattress air out in a well-ventilated room.

How to Keep a Mattress Fresh

Freshening up a mattress also means that users might want to keep it that way. Here are the simple tips that can help them:

  • Investing in a mattress protector. This bedroom accessory (especially a waterproof one) can easily keep dust, liquids, and allergens away from the mattress. Therefore, a mattress protector can eliminate future stains and thus, would make freshening up the bed much easier for the users.
  • Getting a mattress topper. This option is not ideal but might still work. The thing is, getting a mattress topper can potentially help sleepers feel more comfortable. Additionally, the topper would be the first line of defense. This means it will prevent dust and stains from reaching the mattress. That being said, users need to understand that using a topper without a mattress protector could potentially decrease the lifespan of the former.
  • Airing the mattress out regularly. When removing the sheets to wash them, sleepers can leave the mattress “naked” for a while in a well-ventilated room (with the windows open). This could prevent the odors from settling in. 
  • Cleaning the bed frame and the box spring. A lot of dust and allergens can accumulate on the mattress base. Later, the germs might move to the mattress, causing odors and simply making one’s sleeping environment less safe. Therefore, users shouldn’t forget about cleaning the mattress foundation regularly. 
  • Changing the bed sheets regularly. Bed sheets can collect bacteria, dead skin cells, body oils, and moisture, all of which then transfer onto the mattress. To prevent that, sleepers should change their sheets every week, ideally (or at least once in 2 weeks).

Also read: Ultra-Firm Mattresses and How to Choose One

Is It Necessary to Freshen Up a Mattress Regularly?

Some users might wonder whether it’s necessary to freshen up the mattress. After all, some believe that fresh bed sheets can create a layer of protection and a clean sleeping environment.

But here’s the deal: people shed dead skin cells and lose fluid every single night. And let’s not forget about dust particles, pet fur, pollen, and so on. Especially if it’s an RV mattress that is more exposed to dust, moisture, and environmental allergens. 

All of this stuff keeps building up inside the mattress, giving plenty of food for bacteria and, sometimes, dust mites.

Freshening up a mattress and getting rid of all of that stuff inside can help users remain healthier and sleep better. 

For example, sleeping on a dirty/dusty mattress can aggravate one’s asthma symptoms. If the mattress becomes infested with dust mites, they can cause unpleasant allergic reactions. If the mattress is very old and has never been freshened up, it might hide mold under its cover. And mold often causes respiratory problems in sleepers.

It’s also worth mentioning that constant exposure to allergens can harm one’s sleep quality. And when people don’t get enough sleep, they put their health at risk.

These are just a few examples, but they make one thing clear: it’s always a good idea to freshen up one’s mattress.


How do you freshen up a smelly mattress?

The best way to freshen up a smelly mattress and get rid of odors is by using baking soda. It absorbs smells and can even deal with older odors.

Does vinegar remove the smell from mattresses?

Yes, vinegar can remove odors. However, vinegar has a very strong smell itself, so it’s better to dilute it with water before use.

How do you deodorize a mattress without baking soda?

You can use cornstarch when there’s no baking soda available. White vinegar also works great for unwanted odors.

Can I leave baking soda on my mattress overnight to freshen it up?

Yes, it’s okay to leave baking soda on the mattress for a night. Baking soda won’t damage the cover while doing its job absorbing odors.

Wrapping Up

Luckily, freshening up one’s mattress shouldn’t take too much time or effort. Users can easily keep their sleeping environment fresh, safe, and odor-free. All they need is a vacuum, a bit of baking soda (or vinegar), and a little time.

How often do you try to freshen up your mattress? And what methods do you use to clean it? Let us know in the comments!



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