How To Clean A Used Mattress


January 9, 2024

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Wondering how to clean a used mattress to make it feel almost new again? If you've snagged a second-hand mattress or just want to freshen up the one you've got, you're in the right place. In this guide, we'll walk you through the steps to disinfect a used mattress, making it as good as new. You'll also learn how to clean a second-hand mattress effectively, deep clean it, and even how to deodorise it, so it smells fresh.

First things first, to disinfect a used mattress, consider using a mattress disinfectant spray or an antibacterial spray. These products are specifically designed to kill germs and leave your mattress hygienic. For a more DIY approach, everyday items like foam shaving cream or baking soda can be surprisingly effective. They're great for tackling stains and odours without being too harsh on the mattress material.

Remember, giving a used mattress a thorough clean isn't just about aesthetics; it's about hygiene and your health too.

So, let's dive into these simple yet effective cleaning tips and get that mattress feeling fresh and cosy!

How to clean a second hand mattress

How to clean a second-hand mattress, especially those common yellow stains? It turns out, those yellow marks are usually from our bodies. Sweat and oils from our skin can seep through the sheets and onto the mattress. Spills or accidents involving urine or vomit can also contribute to these stains.

If you've got a used mattress, whether it's an old one of yours or a second-hand bargain, sterilising it is essential. First, inspect the mattress. Look for any dirt or stains and gauge how deep of a clean it needs.

You'll need supplies like a vacuum cleaner, baking soda, vinegar, citric acid, or dish soap for the cleaning process.

Start by vacuuming the mattress, paying special attention to cracks, crevices, sides, and corners using the appropriate attachments. If you find any stains, spot-clean them. You can use an upholstery cleaner or a pet-odour remover with an old toothbrush to gently scrub the affected areas.

This method works well for stains caused by bodily fluids, dirt, food, and drinks. Use a vacuum with an upholstery attachment to remove dust, dead skin, and hair.

Next, disinfect the mattress. Sprinkle baking soda over each side and leave it on for at least 24 hours. This helps to eliminate any funky smells.

After the baking soda treatment, vacuum the mattress again to remove any leftover allergens and harmful organisms, ensuring you cover every inch of it.

Finally, let the mattress air out. Turning on a fan and opening windows can help, but natural sunlight is best. Sunlight not only speeds up the drying process but also has sanitising power, helping with odour removal.

Remember, even after cleaning, it's best to let the mattress dry and air out for at least 24 hours before using it, as sleeping on it immediately can be a health risk.

Using these steps, you can effectively clean and disinfect a used mattress, addressing both the visible dirt and those underlying issues like bacteria and odours.

How To Sanitise A Used Mattress

The average Australian adult sleeps for about seven hours each night. In order to rest your body while you sleep, it is only fitting that you find a clean and comfortable mattress. A hygienic lifestyle is key to staying healthy and fit. Here are some simple steps for sanitising a used mattress.

Stain removal and disinfection

For stains, a solution of hydrogen peroxide is useful. It works well for removing urine, sweat, and bloodstains, and also acts as an effective germ killer. Mix 1 tablespoon table salt, 1 tablespoon warm water, 1 tablespoon liquid dish soap, and ¼ cup hydrogen peroxide, and apply this solution to the stained areas​​.

Steam clean your mattress

An old mattress can be disinfected by steam cleaning. A hand held steamer can be used to steam clean or dry clean a used mattress to eliminate germs, dirt, debris, and dust mites. Use one with a steam wand to reach all edges and crevices. Doing this on a sunny day helps, as sunlight can aid in drying the mattress quickly. You can place the mattress outside in the sun or near an open window. Running a fan in the room also helps minimise any musty odours​​. You should use short bursts of water to avoid soaking the mattress.

Vinegar and baking soda

This step is getting rid of any odours, including those from urine, sweat, blood, or cleaning products. Sprinkle baking soda over the affected areas and let it sit, possibly even for a day or two, before vacuuming it off. Baking soda is excellent for absorbing odours and is a simple yet effective way to freshen up the mattress​​.

Both of these ingredients are excellent cleaning products, and they can be used on used mattresses as well. Apply vinegar to the mattress with a spray bottle and blot it with a piece of cloth. Then, pour baking soda on the mattress and let it sit for a few hours before vacuuming.


Vodka isn't just for drinking. It can be used as a disinfectant to get rid of germs and bed bugs in used mattresses. Spray some vodka lightly over the mattress with a spray bottle and you're done. Blot the mattress with a piece of cloth.

Antibacterial spray

Antibacterial sprays can be used to spray on your mattress. We recommend that you purchase an antibacterial spray that is bleach-free to avoid damaging and discolouring your mattress. Spray lightly over the mattress to remove germs and contaminants. After several hours, you can wipe off the spray with a piece of cloth. Double check what the spray bottle says incase it requires a different function  

Shaving Foam

Shaving creams often contain alcohol, making them an excellent alternative to stain removers. Spray it on the mattress and let it sit for 20 minutes before removing the excess foam and wiping it down. Rinse it off with a solution of 50% vinegar and 50% water and let it air dry.


Cornstarch is another kitchen item that is useful for disinfecting and deodorising a used mattress if you aren't aware. Spread cornstarch and baking soda 50-50 over the mattress and let it sit for 30 minutes. Let the mattress dry completely after vacuuming. 

How to clean foam mattress

Cleaning a foam mattress, especially a memory foam mattress like a Tempurpedic, requires a bit of care to maintain its integrity while ensuring it's clean and hygienic. Memory foam mattresses are known for their comfort and support, but an added bonus is their resistance to bed bugs. Unlike traditional mattresses with interstitial spaces that can harbour pests, memory foam's dense structure makes it less hospitable for bed bugs.

For foam mattress cleaning, start by removing all bedding and covers. Vacuum the mattress using an upholstery attachment to get rid of dust and allergens. For spot cleaning, it's best to use a mild detergent diluted in water. Gently apply the solution to stains and dab with a clean cloth, being careful not to soak the mattress. For overall freshness, sprinkle baking soda over the surface, leave it for a few hours, and then vacuum it off.

This helps in absorbing odours and leaving the mattress smelling fresh. It’s important not to use harsh chemicals or too much water, as this can damage the memory foam structure. Finally, let the mattress air dry completely before remaking your bed.

This method is effective for all types of foam mattresses, including Tempurpedic, ensuring they remain clean and comfortable.

How to deodorise a used mattress

You should deodorise a used mattress in order to get rid of the old, musty smell that builds up after many years. To deodorise your mattress, you'll need baking soda and an essential oil that has a fresh scent. Add a few drops of the scented oil to the baking soda box before pouring it over the mattress. Let it sit for 12 to 24 hours. Vacuum the mattress one last time, and you're done! 

As good as new, the mattress looks. If you wish, repeat the same steps on the other side. It can make your mattress smell fresh and clean, but it does not necessarily remove dirt and stains. The deep cleaning of a used mattress usually ends here.

How to disinfect a mattress and why

Mattresses are quite absorbent, so you should keep that in mind. Over time, mattresses collect a lot of unhygienic components such as bed bugs, dead skin, stains, urine, and sweat. Sleeping on a dirty mattress won't guarantee your good health. A used mattress should always be cleaned and disinfected once every six months to remove all these gross things from it.

After the deep cleaning, sanitising, and deodorising have been completed, all that remains is to let the mattress fully dry before making the bed with fresh sheets and covers.