Thursday, July 26, 2012

How To Clean and Freshen Your Mattress

Freshen Your Mattress

This past weekend my niece Jennifer was freaking me out!

It was a perfect evening and we were eating a lovely dinner in my sister’s beautiful backyard (I mean there were literally birds singing and the sound of a babbling fountain too!) and my niece decides to start talking about dust mites and bed bugs and all sorts of disgusting stuff that relates to our mattresses! It was gross I tell you!

I am not going to subject you to the disgusting stuff I learned that night…..(ok…maybe just ONE thing I learned…An average mattress contains 10,000 to 10,000,000 dust mites! ewwwww)….but I will tell you that cleaning your mattress regularly is a very good idea! And if you’re like me….you haven’t done it lately. Or ever. :-/

cleaning your mattressDust mites live in pillows, bed covers, mattresses, upholstered furniture, carpeting, even clothing. One of their favorite places is a mattress. Vacuuming your mattresses every few weeks will help to control the dust mite population. It also helps to put plastic coverings on your mattress that essential SEAL it…but who really wants to do that?? I don’t.

But I can vacuum!

I decided to take a cue from Calli at and mix up my own mattress-cleaning concoction.  Baking soda with a little Lavender essential oil mixed in.


Freshen Your Mattress



Put approximately 1 cup of baking soda into a small mason jar and add 4 to 5 drops of Lavender essential oil (you can, of course, use your favorite scent) and give it a good shake! This was enough to do half my king-sized bed. I just quickly shook up another batch for the other side.


cleaning your mattress        
cleaning your mattress

Before you start it’s a good idea to strip off all your bedding and wash it in HOT water (at least 130 degrees)! This will kill the dust mites in your sheets and blankets. While your bedding is in the washing machine, pour enough baking soda through a sifter or strainer to lightly dust your mattress with it. Leave on for an hour or more, allowing it time to draw out dirt, moisture, and odor.


cleaning your mattress cleaning your mattress

Using the hose end of your vacuum and an upholstery attachment, thoroughly vacuum the mattress. Vacuum slowly so that you’re using the vacuum suction efficiently to pull out as much debris from within the mattress as possible.


cleaning your mattress

The baking soda not only draws out moisture and dirt, but it also deodorizes and leaves the mattress smelling fresh and clean. The Lavender oil helps calm stress and anxiety and promotes sleep….plus it just SMELLS wonderful!

I think I’m going to sleep very good tonight! :-)



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100 thoughts on “How To Clean and Freshen Your Mattress

    1. Melanie

      Michele, with a temper-pedic you should wash your mattress cover. The directions are inside the zipper. You can also vacuum and deodorize the cover just like shown. I wash mine twice a year, vacuum it fairly regularly, but now I’ll be doing some eucalyptus spritzing!

  1. Vanessa

    Your tips are always so timely! That’s my project for tomorrow! Thanks so much for all the useful ideas, they really inspire me to give them a try for myself.

  2. Julie

    Jillee, I have read that eucalyptus works too. I spray my mattress down with it in a bottle diluted with water while the sheets and blanket are washing in hot water with a few drops added there too. I haven’t vaccummed my mattress in a while so thanks for reminding me. My sister puts the oil on without diluting but still uses a spray bottle. Bet her husband has no trouble breathing for a few nights, huh? Tne company beeyoutiful has great essential oil tips in their catalog.

  3. Karina

    Thanks for this tip. I’ve been vacuuming the mattress, but like the idea of deodorizing and pleasantly scenting it too. Without using the baking soda, you’ll vacuum up nearly a cup of dust mites and skin cells if you haven’t done it in a while. It’s eye opening and will keep you from neglecting this task!

  4. Rho

    Thank you so much for all of your helpful tips! I’ve been making small steps to having a more natural home, and all of your simple tutorials have shown me I can do more & have fun at it! I love it! Just about to move, so this is PERFECT timing!!! Clean mattress, YAY!

  5. lynn

    Just asking…. does the lavender repel the mites or is it just a favorite scent?

    And… I love your site. I shared it with my daughter in law and she also loves it and is sharing it.

        1. Sunny

          sage, lavender, peppermint are said to have disinfecting properties. I often use a fairly pure alcohol (vodka) as a medium, as it also kills mites and bacteria, add the oils, and spray. A few hours in the sun is also good, if you can manage it.

  6. Becki

    Thank you so much for posting this, and as an email this morning! My fiance was sick last week and I have been wondering how to clean the mattress, what perfect timing! I just put some on my mattress now, and used Wild Berry oil, smells so fresh! Thanks again, Jillee!

    1. Sandra

      Hi Sara,
      FYI, Citrus cents are associated w/ reviving/making us more awake and alert. So you might find that using citrus scents affects your sleep/keeps you awake at night? Sleep tight! :)

    1. Heather

      Salt will probably work just as well, but I don’t know if the allergy extends to that too.

      Maybe diatomaceous earth? I know it’s supposed to work on fleas and as a carpet cleaner.

      1. Carol D.

        i would think if one used diatamaceous earth it should be food grade……….and i know it is NEVER a good idea to inhale it (food grade too)……so not sure it would be safe here ? Anyone know ??

    2. Monette Bouvier

      What about Arrowroot powder? I’s allergic to baking soda…made some deodorant…which I LOVED! but ironically, I started getting all read and itchy…I substituted arrowroot starch for the BS and it WORKED! I’m so happy…..having said that…wouldnt the Arrowroot work for a mattress instead of the BS?

    1. lynda allen

      Tea Tree oil would work especially on bed bugs but it is very strong. I use it to clean parrot cages. If I where to use it on my beds I would use only one maybe two drops. If it is to strong it smells like roach spray. We used to put it in the kids shampoo for lice (it worked) but my youngest daughter could smell it from the front door when we mixed it.

  7. Julie

    If you are allergic to baking soda I would try Borax. It works as a drying agent and as a refresher . I know it is recommended to sprinkle in carpets. It is supposed to kill fleas by drying them out.

  8. Marla

    Wow, get out of my head!! Wait, no, don’t…. You read my mind. I was just thinking today, “I should post on Jillee’s blog a question about how to clean a mattress.” This has helped. Although, I was wondering the best way to get rid of unsightly stains on a mattress. We’ve tried sleeping with a mattress pad, but the hubby hates them.

    1. Jillee Post author

      haha…OK…I’ll stay in your head Marla. ;-)
      Don’t worry…I’m ON it! Cleaning Stains Off Your Mattress is going to be Part Two of this post! :-) Stay tuned!!!

  9. Tam

    Well I just sprinkled my bed! Wow sure makes my bedroom smell good…now can’t wait to go to bed tonight! wish I would have read comments earlier…didn’t know about the borax…we have a flea problem right now…just bombed the house…hence reason why cleaning blankets and such. I used the lavendar oil. Then I put the combination into an old garlic powder container I had…that worked great to sprinkle it onto mattress. Now to just wait an hour or so to get it all swept up! Thanks again for the tip!

  10. Joy

    Thank you soo much for your wonderful tips and giggles! I found your blog about a week ago as I was searching for homemade cleaning items and am very pleased with what I have tried thus far…including the english muffin bread! I will definitely try this for my mattresses. I normally just vacuum, but it would be nice to add a calming scent. I appreciate all that you do!!

  11. Cathy Seifer

    Is there anything toput in the mix to kill the dustmites? Is that even necessary or does the vacuuming take care of that? I saw the post about borax killing fleas, I wonder if it works on dustmites too.

  12. Cathy Seifer

    By the way, I so enjoy this website. I get so much useful info from you Jillee, and from your readers. Thans for doing such a great job with your site. You are much appreciated. :-)

  13. Shelley

    Just finished doing mine! Have I told you how much I look forward to your new posts and appreciate all your tips? Thank you! You are divine!

  14. Dana

    SO, I did this today with my mattress…I’m very happy to know I’ll be sleeping on a freshly cleaned mattress. BUT do you think you could also use this on a memory foam topper? I’ve just double checked the label and I’m not supposed to wash it (only the cover) I’d love to know your thoughts…

  15. Elisa

    Thank you for all your great tips and testing things out (so I don’t have to! :)), you’re awesome and you make my life easier! I’ve recently been moving to a more natural home in general. Anywho, back to dust mites – if you swap out the lavender oil for tea tree oil, it will repel the buggers. They hate the stuff! And putting a few drops in with your laundry detergent while washing the sheets doesn’t hurt either. It’s like kryptonite for fleas too, so I do the same with my dog bedding. Hope that helps and looking forward to your next great tip!

  16. Karina

    After reading this post I couldn’t wait to clean my mattress but one thing stuck in my mind; you recommended washing bedding in hot water, 130 degrees or so, to kill dust mites.

    I have always gone on the premise that if it goes in the dryer any living organism is killed. But, for this post I did the research and found that household clothes dryers run at a temp around 170 degrees. I think we’re all good if everything goes through a dryer cycle.

    I have some extra pillows on my bed that aren’t used regularly and don’t fit in my washer. I put each in the dryer on high for 20 minutes to rid them of any offenders. Then I used a mixture of white vinegar, alcohol & lavender to freshen (I use this same mixture to freshen the sofa and as a room spray). Not to worry, I do take them to the wash house on occasion as well.

    Thank you for all your wonderful posts Jillee!

  17. Bonnie

    I think I love absolutely every single tip you’ve ever given. I want to say thank you for taking the time to share what you learn with the rest of us! My family and I are moving into a new home Monday and I’m going through your posts for cleaning information I can use when I go there tomorrow to clean up :) I can’t wait to put these things into practice!!

  18. ashley

    I too love all of your posts! My mattress came with a dust bag thingie BUT i’m totally going to try this on my carpet and maybe my couches!!! probably with tea tree oil or orange oil because i’ve heard so many good things about them both :)

    p.s. my baking soda looks just like that! That darn bulk container always rips open next to the zipper!! I saw a BPA free air tight container on amazon a while back and have it on my wishlist for baking soda :)

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  20. Heather

    i am so glad i found this!!!!! i purchased a new bed set from a family friend and the mattress REAKS of ciggarettes! i am a non smoker so its definatly a problem so i’m trying this to see of it will help! we are using Japanese Cherry Blossom oil (my fave!) instead of lavender and i can already smell a difference! i really hope it works. thanks so much!

  21. Suz

    I am highly allergic to dust mites, so have to regularly wash beddings and all. Its hard to regulate temperatures while washing clothes. So I add diluted vinegar (1 part vinegar with 3 or 4 parts water) for a wash cycle.
    This kills the dust mites. Thanks! :)

  22. Lucia

    Hi Jill,

    I also love your site. Such awesome tips. I do have one and it’s concerning my daughters mattress. She has a problem with peeing in bed and I don’t know how to clean the top. I’ve tried to use Clorox Clean-Up spray and it doesn’t really help. Is there anything else I can use to get the stain out and the smell as well?


    1. Diana

      Best advice, waterproof mattress covers. 2 recommended so u can put one on and clean the other. I use carpet cleaner. If a smell persists, I spray vinegar to neutralize the ph.

    2. Rebekah Breon

      I’ve never tried it on a mattress, but I do my fair share of cleaning dog urine from our carpets… I spray it down with a 1:2 vinegar and water ratio, then sprinkle with baking soda, let it dry completely, and vacuum up. It may take 2 treatments if the stain/smell is bad but it will always work to get the smell/stain out for me! You will actually see the baking soda absorbing the stain. It’s gross and neat at the same time! :)

      1. Kyra

        Do you shampoo the carpets first? That is what I usually do, but putting the baking soda on there after you spray the Vinegar/Water mixture is new for me? Or, do you do this step without the shampoo machine step ? To clean my carpets first, I use a cleaner that works so well. It’s called “Awesome Cleaner”(yellow liquid in a clear spray bottle, red lettering-only 99 cents). You can purchase it at the Dollar Tree or they now have it at Walmart or the 99 cent store. You wouldn’t think it was great cleaner for anything because of the price, but trust me… It is the best for cleaning anything that you can think of, especially carpets. And the Vinegar is also inexpensive, and the only thing that neutralizes urine or smells.

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  25. Tasha

    I saw one of your posts through Pinterest yesterday & have spent hours going page to page looking at all your posts. You have some wonderful & creative ideas & make it fun with your comical tips & comments. So glad I stumbled upon your site! Thanks again!

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  28. Keshia Carwile

    This may be a dumb question but where can you buy essential oils and what brand do I need to buy? Is it like the ones they sell at Bath & Body Works? I am hoping to clean my mattress today. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Jillee Post author

      I buy the majority of mine from I’ve never seen them at Bath & Body Works but they might have something similar. For the mattress you won’t need super high quality ones like what Doterra sells. You should be able to get some at your local health food store as well.

  29. Sandy Temple

    It’s 12:30am where I live. I’ve been searching and making lists of things I want to try from your website. My 8yr old Granddaughter, Kate, is staying the weekend with me and we are going to mix up a little of everything. We are going to have a ball!
    I’ll let you know how everything works out.
    Thx so much-Sandy

  30. shanna

    i do want to say that all of the recipes I’ve tried on this site have been absolutely wonderful. thanks for posting such helpful things.. i do have a question though, can i use washing soda or do i need to use the baking soda for this…


    One other issue issue is that video games are typically serious in nature with the principal focus on studying rather than fun. Although, we have an entertainment part to keep the kids engaged, just about every game is normally designed to develop a specific skill set or course, such as math concepts or scientific disciplines. Thanks for your posting.

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