White vinegar is a helpful tool when cleaning a mattress, but it can't do everything. The vinegar will work as an excellent deodorizer if the mattress smells of urine, sweat, or other unpleasant odors, and it does a good job of removing urine stains. However, it can't remove dust mites, dead skin cells, and other contaminants from the mattress. For this, you'll need a few more tools.
Vinegar is used to deodorize a mattress more than to clean it. To do so, fill a spray bottle with vinegar and spray the mattress generously. Leave it to dry for 24 hours if possible and any odors will dissipate as the vinegar dries.
Deep Cleaning vs. Shortcuts
Experts recommend giving your mattress a thorough cleaning twice a year. Unfortunately, the process of doing so often means letting your mattress air out for at least 24 hours. If you can, try to schedule your mattress cleaning to coincide with an overnight trip or make sure you have another place to sleep for a night. Although this deep cleaning is important, there are some shortcuts you can take in between.
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The first is to deal with any spills or stains right away. If urine, vomit, bleeding, or other unpleasantness occurs in your bed, clean the bedding and your mattress immediately. This allows you to spot treat the problem and hopefully apply minimal moisture and cleaning solutions to your mattress.
Start early as well. Removing the unpleasant odors these accidents leave behind requires time, but you may be able to shorten that time from 24 hours down to eight or so if you act quickly. If you need to saturate a stain but you're short on time, open a window and blow a fan on your mattress to speed the drying time.
Things You'll Need
How to Clean a Mattress With White Vinegar
Step 1: Strip and Clean the Mattress
You need to take all the sheets off your bed in order to access the mattress. You may as well wash them while you clean the mattress so that everything is clean and fresh when you crawl into bed.
- Remove the bedding and wash everything according to the instructions on the care tag. It's best to wash your bedding in hot water if you can, but follow the care instructions if they say something else.
- Sprinkle baking soda liberally on the bed. Rub it in a bit with your hands and then let it sit for a few hours. If you can, allow it to sit overnight.
- Vacuum the mattress using a clean vacuum cleaner furniture attachment. Move slowly and carefully. Your goal is to pick up the baking soda as well as any dust mites and dead skin cells in the mattress.
Step 2: Apply Vinegar and Stain Treatments
Once you've given the mattress a general once-over, it's time to tackle any stains and remaining odors. Doing so may require you to use a few different cleaners depending on what types of stains you encounter. Spot clean each with the appropriate treatment.
- Look over the mattress and find any stains.
- Blot blood stains with a clean cloth and a mixture of cold water and hydrogen peroxide. Tackle sweat stains with a mixture of equal parts water, dish soap, and hydrogen peroxide. Attack urine and vomit stains with white vinegar. Always blot at these stains rather than rubbing them, as rubbing may cause them to spread.
- Soak up as much of the stain as you can with the appropriate stain remover and a clean cloth.
- Make a homemade enzyme cleaner by combining four drops of dishwashing liquid, 4 tablespoons of baking soda, and 16 ounces of hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle.
- Spray the enzyme cleaner liberally on any remaining stains to saturate them.
- Spray the entire mattress generously with white vinegar and sprinkle another coating of baking soda on top. The baking soda will draw out odors and help draw moisture out of the mattress where you needed to dampen it.
- Allow the mattress to sit overnight and then vacuum it again.