How to Clean a Dusty Mattress

By Geoff McKinnen Certified Sleep Coach

Last Updated On April 9th, 2024
How to Clean a Dusty Mattress

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding the Impact of Dust: Dust, dust mites, and household dust can accumulate on mattresses, impacting air quality and overall cleanliness. These microscopic particles can come from various sources such as dead skin cells, pet dander, and pollen, leading to allergies and affecting sleep quality.
  • Effective Cleaning Techniques: Proper cleaning techniques are crucial for maintaining a dust-free mattress. Preparing the mattress by removing excess dust and treating stains and odors is essential. Using a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment, spot-cleaning stains with mild dish soap and water, and applying baking soda to absorb odors are effective methods.
  • Preventive Measures and Long-Term Storage: Preventive measures such as using mattress protectors, bed skirts, and regular grooming of pets can help minimize dust accumulation on mattresses. Additionally, proper storage techniques, including cleaning the mattress before storage, using breathable covers, and storing the mattress in a dry, elevated area, are essential for preventing dust buildup during long-term storage.

Have you ever wondered what lurks beneath the surface of your mattress? We spend a third of our lives in bed, yet we often overlook the dust particles, dust mites, and household dust that can accumulate over time. Not only can this impact the cleanliness of your mattress, but it can also affect the air quality of your sleep environment.

We will guide you through the process of effectively cleaning a dusty mattress, from understanding the science behind dust buildup to specific techniques for different types of mattresses.

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Let’s dive in and discover how to clean a dusty mattress to enhance your overall well-being and ensure a restful night’s sleep.

Understanding Dust and Its Impact on Mattresses

Before diving into the cleaning process, it’s important to understand the impact of dust on your mattress. Dust particles, dust mites, and house dust Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source can contribute to poor air quality, the accumulation of more dust, and the buildup of debris on your mattress.

Dust particles, which can come from various sources Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source such as tracked-in soil, the remains of dead bugs, pollen and other allergens, pet dander, human hair, and skin cells, are microscopic. These tiny particles of household dust are easily airborne and can settle on your mattress over time, leading to a noticeable dust buildup.

Dust mites, Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source on the other hand, are microorganisms that thrive in warm and humid environments. They feed on dust particles and can cause allergic reactions in some individuals. Their presence in mattresses can contribute to poor air quality and potentially exacerbate allergies.

Household dust, consisting of a combination of dead skin cells, pet dander, fabric fibers, and other debris, can easily find its way onto your mattress. As you sleep, this accumulation of household dust can affect the overall cleanliness and hygiene of your sleep environment.

It’s important to regularly clean and maintain your mattress to minimize the impact of dust. In the following sections, we will provide you with effective techniques and tips to clean a dusty mattress and create a healthier sleep environment.

Preparing Your Mattress for Cleaning

Before you start cleaning, it’s crucial to prepare your mattress properly. Dust, dead skin, and debris can accumulate on the surface, so it’s important to remove as much as possible for a thorough clean. Here are some steps to help you get your mattress ready:

Remove Excess Dust and Debris

To begin, use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to gently remove any loose dust and debris from the surface of your mattress. Pay special attention to the seams and corners where dust tends to accumulate. This will ensure that you have a clean base to work with.

Treat Stains and Odors

If your mattress has any stains or odors, it’s a good idea to address them before proceeding with the cleaning process. For general stains, a mixture of dish soap and cold water can be applied to the affected area using a clean cloth. Gently blot the stain to lift it without saturating the mattress.

In the case of odors, sprinkle baking soda over the entire surface of the mattress and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. Baking soda is excellent for absorbing odors and can help freshen up your mattress.

Protect Your Mattress

Before applying any cleaning solutions, it’s wise to protect your mattress with a mattress protector. This waterproof cover will act as a barrier against liquids, stains, and spills during the cleaning process. It will also help maintain the cleanliness of your mattress in the long run, protecting it from dust, dead skin, and other allergens.

Using mattress protectors can reduce the friction exerted on the cover fabric, thus preventing the formation of lint balls on the mattress.

Use a Bed Skirt

A bed skirt can help prevent a dusty mattress by acting as a barrier between the mattress and the floor, reducing the amount of dust that settles on the underside of the bed. It’s a decorative fabric panel that hangs between the mattress and the box spring or bed frame, concealing the space underneath the bed.

While it may not completely eliminate dust, a bed skirt can significantly reduce the amount that accumulates on the mattress by blocking airflow and preventing dust from settling directly onto the mattress surface.

Cleaning Techniques for Mattresses

When it comes to cleaning your mattress, we recommend specific techniques to keep the bed fresh and free from dust and allergens. Drawing upon our own experience, we will provide you with detailed instructions on how to effectively clean memory foam mattresses and ensure a comfortable sleep environment.

Cleaning Memory Foam Mattresses

Memory foam mattresses offer excellent support and comfort, but they require special care when it comes to cleaning. Here’s how to keep your memory foam mattress clean and dust-free:

  1. Start by vacuuming the mattress to remove any loose dust and debris, dust, or pet hair. Use an upholstery attachment to cover the entire surface evenly.
  2. If there are any stains or spills on the mattress, gently spot-clean them using a mixture of mild dish soap and warm water. Dab the stained area with a clean cloth, being careful not to saturate the memory foam.
  3. To tackle odors and kill any bacteria, mix equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water in a spray bottle. Lightly mist the entire mattress surface and let it air dry completely.
  4. For regular maintenance, sprinkle baking soda all over the mattress and let it sit for at least an hour. Then, vacuum the baking soda to remove any odors and refresh the memory foam.
  5. To prevent dust buildup and protect your mattress, consider using a mattress protector designed specifically for memory foam mattresses. These covers are breathable and hypoallergenic, keeping your mattress clean and free from pet dander, skin cells, and other allergens.

Tips for Removing Pet Dander and Skin Cells

Pets and our own bodies can contribute to dust and debris buildup on mattresses. Here are some additional tips to address pet dander and skin cells:

  1. Regularly brush and groom your pets to reduce shedding and dander. Consider keeping pets off the bed altogether to minimize their impact on the cleanliness of your mattress.
  2. Wash your bedding, including sheets, pillowcases, and mattress protectors, frequently to remove pet hair, skin cells, and other allergens. Use hot water to ensure a thorough cleaning.
  3. For stubborn pet hair in bedding, use a damp cloth or lint roller to wipe it away from the mattress surface.
  4. Consider using enzyme cleaner specifically designed to break down pet stains and odors. Follow the product instructions for application and let it dry completely.

By following these cleaning techniques and tips, you can ensure that your mattress remains dust-free, fresh, and conducive to a good night’s sleep.

Preventing Mattress Dust in Long Term Storage

Dust is hard to avoid if you’ve got a mattress you only bring out for occasional use. To store a mattress and prevent dust accumulation, follow these steps:

  1. Clean: Thoroughly clean the mattress as instructed earlier to remove any existing dust and stains.
  2. Cover: Encase the mattress in a tightly sealed, breathable mattress bag or cover made of fabric or plastic.
  3. Elevate: Store the mattress off the ground, preferably on a raised platform or rack, to minimize contact with dust and pests.
  4. Dry Area: Choose a dry, climate-controlled storage space to prevent growth of mold and mildew.
  5. Avoid Plastic: While plastic covers can provide protection, they may trap moisture, leading to mold. Opt for breathable covers instead.
  6. Regular Check: Periodically check the storage area and the mattress to ensure there’s no moisture buildup or signs of pests.
  7. Rotate: If storing long-term, rotate the mattress every few months to prevent compression and maintain its shape.

This way, when you bring out a mattress for guests you keep in storage or such, your preparation will be minimized!

More Mattress & Bedding Cleaning Guides

For mattresses:

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For sheets:

For blankets and other coverings:

For other bedding items:


How do you store a mattress and keep it clean of dust?

Before storage, thoroughly clean the mattress using a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter. Cover the mattress with a specially designed mattress storage bag or a tightly sealed plastic cover to protect it from dust, pests, and moisture during storage.

Store the mattress in a cool, dry area, preferably elevated off the floor, to minimize the risk of dust settling on it.

Why does my bed get dusty so fast?

Beds can accumulate dust quickly due to a combination of factors. Dust is primarily composed of skin flakes, and when we sleep, we shed thousands of these flakes every night.

Additionally, bedding, pillows, and mattresses provide a hospitable environment for dust mites, contributing to the dust buildup. Regularly washing bedding, using mattress and pillow protectors, and cleaning the bedroom environment can help minimize the rate at which dust accumulates on the bed.

Do air purifiers remove dust in a bedroom?

Yes, air purifiers equipped with HEPA filters are effective in removing dust particles from the air in a bedroom. HEPA filters can capture small particles, including dust mites, pollen, and pet dander, improving overall air quality.

However, it’s important to note that while air purifiers can reduce airborne dust, they may not address dust settled on surfaces. Combining the benefits of air purifiers with regular cleaning practices, such as dusting and vacuuming, can help maintain a dust-free bedroom environment.

How do I know if my bed has dust mites?

Detecting dust mites is challenging without specialized equipment. However, common signs include waking up with allergy symptoms like sneezing, a runny nose, or itchy eyes. Additionally, if you notice tiny white or translucent specks on your bedding, these could be dust mite waste particles.

Regularly washing bedding in hot water, using allergen-proof covers, and maintaining a clean sleeping environment can help reduce dust mite populations.

How do I keep my mattress dust-free?

Start by using a mattress protector or cover to create a barrier against dust. Wash bedding, including sheets and pillowcases, regularly in hot water. Vacuuming the mattress surface and surrounding areas with a HEPA-filtered vacuum can further help remove dust and debris, contributing to a cleaner and healthier sleeping environment.

How do you get dust out of a mattress?

Begin by vacuuming the entire surface using a vacuum cleaner equipped with a clean, fine dust filter or a HEPA filter. Pay attention to seams, crevices, and edges where dust may accumulate. Additionally, consider placing the mattress in direct sunlight for a few hours, as sunlight can help kill dust mites and freshen the mattress.


Remember to pay special attention to areas that may harbor bacteria, moisture, and potential allergens Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source like pet dander. Cleaning surfaces, and windows, and washing bedding regularly will help maintain a clean and comfortable space for restful sleep.

By wiping down surfaces, washing sheets frequently, and giving special attention to curtains and other fabric items, you can effectively reduce the amount of moisture and bacteria present in your room. This not only promotes better air quality but also helps alleviate allergies and create a healthier space for relaxation and rejuvenation.

About the author

Geoff McKinnen is a writer focusing mainly on the healthcare industry and has written articles on everything from foods to help you lose weight to the connection between Alzheimer’s and sleep. Geoff’s passionate about helping readers improve their well-being to lead happier lives. Outside of work, Geoff enjoys cycling and hiking and believes that by leading a healthy lifestyle, he can help others do the same.

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