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How to Clean Your Mattress After You've Been Sick

by Cathy Carr

Nothing is worse than being sick in bed for days or weeks at a time. When you're finally feeling well enough to get up, it feels like a million chores have piled up! Grocery shopping, bills, catching up on emails, changing your toothbrush head ... but do you think to clean your mattress after an illness?

No, we don't just mean swapping out the sheets -- when you're sick, germs can get all over your mattress, especially if you've been spending all day every day in it. Just washing out the sheets won't get all the gross stuff that's built up on your bed while you've been sick, so it's important to take time to clean your mattress once you recover. Here's how to do it the right way.


Change Your Sheets

Okay, yes, we did just tell you that this goes beyond cleaning your sheets, but this should still be the first step of the cleaning process. Remove sheets, blankets, comforters, and pillowcases and toss them all in the washing machine. If your laundry machine has a sanitize cycle, be sure to use it! Not only will you feel like a whole new person with fresh sheets, but you’ll also stop the spread of germs if you wash your blankets right after recovering from your illness.


Open the Windows

Pull back the drapes and open those windows wide, especially if it’s a sunny day! Air flow helps keep bacteria from settling into your mattress and sunlight is a natural disinfectant, so before you get started, make sure your bed has access to both. If you can, you might even want to take the mattress outside to maximize access to warmth, sun, and fresh air.


Vacuum. Everything.

Though you can’t exactly vacuum up germs, the buildup of dust and allergens on your mattress might even be what got you sick in the first place! Plus, it’s a good idea to get rid of any loose hair or debris on your mattress before you get into the serious cleaning. Break out your vacuum’s upholstery attachment and get in all those crevices -- cleaning out any dust mites or pet dander that might be hiding in your mattress will keep you breathing easier in sickness and in health.


Sanitize the Surface

There are a couple of options to make sure any lingering viruses are good and dead. A garment steamer or other small steam cleaner is the perfect first step for getting rid of germs and dust mites. Do a few passes over the surface, and make sure to get in all the corners. If there are any spots from bodily fluids left behind while you were sick, spot clean them with a damp cloth and a mixture of water and some gentle dish soap. Finally, sprinkle some baking soda onto the mattress and leave it to sit for a few hours (again, preferably in the sunshine) before vacuuming it off.

These methods work for any mattress type, but if you’re cleaning a memory foam mattress, you’ll have to be extra careful about drying the mattress thoroughly. A fan or a hair dryer set to cool can help soak up excess water and get your mattress ready to go as quick as possible.


Preventative Action

The best offense against germs is a good defense! Before making your bed back up, protect your mattress with a mattress cover. This will help minimize the microbes and allergens that can actually reach the surface of your bed, and make cleanup easier next time you get sick – which hopefully won’t be for a long time!


Not only will cleaning up your bed keep sickness at bay, removing hidden allergens and dust mites can help with nightly allergies and snoring, giving you a better sleep all around. So say hello to a new, germ-free you, and a better night’s sleep! For more mattress care tips, or advice on the best mattress for your sleep needs, come by our store and talk to our associates. Our sleep expertise will have you snoozing better than ever every night.