All Things Bedding: How to Properly Clean & Care for the Things you Sleep On

Cleaning and Caring for BeddingThey say the average person spends about 36 years in bed. With an average lifespan of about 78.5 years, that means that more than one-third of our life is spent in bed. For some of us, that time is spent tossing and turning. Mattress and bedding cleanliness play a big role in our comfort while we're trying to sleep.

Using good bedding care routines can improve your sleep while also lengthening the lifespan of your sheets, blankets and so on. This post will address the importance of good bedding care while providing you with tips to help your bedding last a lifetime.

Importance of Keeping Your Bedding Clean

Your bedding might look clean, but the reality may surprise you. Most bedding is covered in oils, cosmetics, bacteria and germs. Even microscopic dust mites that feed on our dead skin cells can be found in our bedding. Sometimes our bedding even attracts pests like bedbugs. All of those germs and materials that you can't see can cause problems like illnesses, immune system problems and even asthma attacks. Cleaning your bedding on a regular basis, and storing your bedding properly, can prevent these problems.

Hygiene and Health

Your personal hygiene and health is impacted by the cleanliness of your sheets and bedding. Below are some problems you may experience if your sheets are not properly cleaned:

  • Acne. Acne is exacerbated by the presence of oils against the body, including the oils found in the sheets.
  • Asthma. Asthma and breathing problems occur for many reasons, but asthma can be exacerbated by the presence of allergens and dust mites.
  • Allergies. If you experience runny eyes, coughing, sneezing and other problems while you're in bed, then this could be a reaction to the invisible particles in your sheets and blankets.
  • Fungal or bacterial infections. Everyone sweats in bed, and this can cause fungus growth and infections.
  • Skin irritation. Presence of fungus and mites can cause skin problems like eczema and rash.
  • Bug bites. Improperly cared-for bedding can cause itchy, irritating bug bites.

Comfort

Sheets that are not well-cleaned can get stiff, greasy or even smelly. Clean bedding just feels better! Whether you suffer from allergies, have uncomfortable reactions to your sheets, or just don't like the feeling of a dirty blanket against your body, cleaning your bedding can improve your overall sleep experience. That's one less thing to stress you out at night, and one more thing you can do to improve your sleep experience.

Appeal

They say you eat with your eyes first. The same can be said about a good night's sleep.

Clean bedding makes your bed look more appealing and welcoming. Keeping a tidy bed makes the experience of falling into the sheets at night more rewarding. If you have trouble sleeping, this can make the experience of lying in bed more relaxing, which could also help with insomnia. Even if your insomnia persists, at least you'll be spending time in the most comfortable environment possible.

How to Clean Your Bedding

How to Clean Your Bedding

There are several bedding items that make up a typical bed, and each piece needs its own cleaning procedure. Cleaning your bedding properly means learning about those cleaning procedures, knowing what to watch for, staying diligent with your cleaning and care, and taking time to evaluate your cleaning procedures when it's appropriate. Here's what you need to know about maintaining sanitary, comfortable and welcoming bedding.

Sheets

Generally speaking, most sheets (fitted sheets, top sheets and pillow cases) are labeled with proper washing procedures. Read the labels carefully before washing your sheets for the first time. While the directions below will work for most types of sheets, every material has its own care instructions. Failure to wash sheets according to the manufacturer's recommendations could lead to problems like running colors, shrinkage or even the premature deterioration of the fabric.

When to Wash

To a certain degree, how often you wash your sheets should be a matter of personal preference. Washing your sheets too often can lead to early signs of wear and tear, while failure to wash frequently enough could lead to discomfort in bed. Aim for washing your sheets once per week to maintain a balance between not enough and too much.

Water Temperature

Sort sheets by fabric color and by type of fabric, and adjust your washer settings accordingly. Some dark-colored sheets and delicate sheets need cold water only.

Unless otherwise directed by the tag, wash your sheets in warm water. Warm water helps kill germs, but is less likely to cause the sheets to shrink or run like hot water. To further protect the dyes in the pillow cases, turn them inside out before placing them in the washer.

Drying

The best thing you can do for your sheets is hang them to dry in the sun. Sunshine is a natural disinfectant that helps kill germs. In damp weather, the dryer is more appropriate. Place sheets in the dryer without fabric softeners or dryer sheets. Use the "tumble dry" setting on medium heat. Check all sheets thoroughly for dampness before removing them from the dryer.

Ironing

Ironing your sheets might seem like a lot of extra work, but if you're sensitive to dust mites or have allergies, ironing your sheets is one more way to kill bacteria. If you're in a hurry or don't have sensitivities, this step is less necessary.

Prevent Soiling

Wash your face and body before getting into bed. Makeup and oils can cause the sheets to become soiled over time. Pay close attention to your feet as well, washing them carefully before going to sleep at night. If your feet are visibly dirty, your sheets may become visibly dirty as well.

Spot Treating

If your sheets become stained, use oxygenated bleach (not chlorine bleach) on sheets of light colors, and your favorite color-safe detergent on dark-colored sheets. Inspect all sheets before placing them in the dryer. Do not place sheets in the dryer if spots or stains appear on the sheets after washing. Re-treat stains and re-wash until stains have been removed.

Pro Tip

Keep at least two sets of sheets and keep them in regular rotation. This way when one set is removed, the clean set can be immediately placed on the bed.

Mattress Covers

Sheets don't offer a lot of protection for mattresses. Whether you're an adult who tosses and turns, or a child who occasionally wets the bed, you could be doing a lot of damage to your mattress if you're not using extra mattress protection. Mattress covers need regular cleaning to remain effective.

When to Wash

Wash your mattress cover monthly or as often as needed. A child who wets the bed should have their mattress cover washed every time there's an accident. Keep more than one mattress cover on hand if you find yourself washing the cover frequently.

Washing Instructions

Mattress covers often have very special and specific instructions for washing and drying. Waterproof mattress covers are often made from plastic and can be warped or damaged by high temperatures. Read your mattress cover label carefully and follow the instructions exactly as the manufacturer has listed them.

If the label is missing or unreadable, use cold temperatures and never put in the dryer on a heat setting. Use the "air-dry tumble" setting on your dryer (again, no heat), or hang the cover to dry.

Drying Instructions

Ideally, your mattress cover will be hung to dry in your laundry room, utility room or garage. Pin up all sides to prevent them from sticking together. Encourage air flow by pointing a fan on the cover, or by running a vent in the room.

Pro Tip

Some mattress pads need to be washed before they're ever put on a bed for the first time. Read the instructions carefully when removing your mattress cover from the package. Cleaning the cover removes factory chemicals and may also reduce any chemical-related smells.

Mattress Pad

Cleaning Mattress Pads and Fitted Sheets

Some people choose to place a mattress pad between the mattress cover and the sheets. Mattress pads help soften firm beds, creating a sense of snuggly closeness when falling asleep. Mattress covers can get grimy and can also lose their fluffiness if they're not washed regularly.

When to Wash

Wash your mattress pad every 2 to 3 months, or as needed. People who regularly soil the bed (like children who don't always make it to the bathroom on time) may not be good candidates for mattress pads, as these products are not designed to be washed all the time, and may fall apart prematurely if constantly subjected to the trauma of laundering.

If you have allergies or pets, wash your mattress pad more frequently. Keep in mind that the more often you wash your mattress pad, the shorter its service life will be. Buy high-quality products, or you could find yourself replacing your mattress pads on a regular basis.

Washing Instructions

Follow the washing instructions provided by the manufacturer when laundering. If no washing instructions are provided or available, wash the pad in warm water and then hang to dry, or tumble dry with no heat.

Note that some quilted mattress pads may become bunched up when placed in the washer and dryer. Whenever possible, hang the mattress pad to dry.

Duvet Covers and Comforters

The "duvet covers and comforters" category includes any blankets that aren't usually in direct contact with your skin. They can get dusty, crumby, and sometimes soiled, but they need cleaning less frequently because they're protected from your body's natural oils by sheets and other blankets.

When to Wash

Wash duvets and comforters every month or as needed, if there is a stain. Many people wait until their comforter is visibly soiled to wash it, but this could result in permanent damage to the blanket.

Washing Instructions

Read all labels before putting any blankets or duvet covers in your washing machine. Some comforters are too large to reasonably fit in a residential washing machine, so find out your washing machine's capacity before trying to wash your comforter at home.

If your comforter becomes stained, soak it in cold water to prevent the stain from setting, then place the comforter in your washing machine. Wring the comforter out as well as you can before putting it in the washing machine.

Pro Tip

Never put a comforter in the washing machine and then leave before the washing cycle is over. Keep an eye on the washing machine throughout the cleaning process. If the washing machine starts to make a banging or knocking noise, this is probably occurring because the comforter (which is very large) is unevenly distributed in the washing machine. Stop the machine, change the position of the comforter in the machine, and then start the cycle again.

Pillows

Pillows can be filled with different materials, which can affect how they should be cleaned. When trying to decide how to clean your pillows, pay attention to the contents of the pillows and, of course, the labels on the pillows as well.

When to Wash

Pillows should be washed three to four times per year, depending on how often they're used and what they're used for. Your favorite pillow is likely to develop stains from saliva and sweat, so pay attention to the appearance of your pillows when trying to decide whether it's time for them to get washed.

If your pillows have started to look slightly yellowed or maybe water-stained, this is your sign that it's time to wash. Wash pillows after getting over a cold, since many people open their mouth to breathe when their head is stuffy, and this can result in more drooling on the pillow.

Feather

Feather pillows can be placed in the washing machine, but check your pillow for any holes in the seams or fabric before putting it in. If you find any holes, sew it up before placing it in the washing machine. When drying feather pillows, put clean tennis balls in the dryer with the pillows to make them fluffier.

Fiberfill

Fiberfill pillows are made from lightweight synthetic material that dries easily and maintains structural integrity during a normal laundering cycle. Feel free to wash these pillows in a normal washing machine at home.

Unless the label specifies otherwise, clean the pillow on warm then cold, gentle cycle. Dry pillows on low heat.

Foam

These pillows can't be put in the wash. Follow all care instructions carefully; some allow for hand washing, others can only be vacuumed. Remove the cover to wash it with your sheets. Wash the cover as often as your pillow case.

Pro Tips

  • Wash pillows in pairs to prevent them from causing an imbalance in the washing machine.
  • If your washing machine has an agitator (a cone in the center of the washing machine), place pillows in a vertical position around the agitator to prevent them from becoming tangled or damaged.
  • When drying pillows, stop the drying cycle frequently to fluff the pillows.
  • Allow pillows that have a musty odor after washing to dry for several hours in the sun before returning them to your bed.

Not sure when to replace your pillows? Fold them in half. Pillows that fail to spring back after being folded probably need to be replaced.

Bed Skirt, Canopies and Curtains

Bed skirts, canopies and curtains are usually made out of the same materials as the sheets, so they can be washed together. They don't need to be washed as frequently because they're not in regular contact with your body.

When to Wash

Wash whenever these items become stained, or every three to four months. Curtains have a way of getting stained by dust when the window is open. Dust ruffles also get dirty where they come into contact with the floor. You can extend the time between washings by vacuuming with an extension.

Washing Instructions

Keep these items with like-colors to prevent dyes from spreading. Sometimes curtains will have special laundering instructions, so follow all manufacturer recommendations when washing. Canopies could potentially shrink when put in the dryer, so take care or the canopy could become unusable.

Extra Tips

  • Change your pillowcases two times per week if you wear cosmetics to bed, or if you have acne-prone skin.
  • If your allergies seem to be worse at night, wash your sheets and bedding more frequently.
  • Try hypoallergenic bedding material to discourage dust mites.
  • Take care not to wash too many sheets, pillows and other forms of bedding together, to prevent the washing machine from becoming unbalanced.

Never wash your sheets with towels. Towels can produce lint during the washing and drying cycle, which can leave you de-linting your linens before putting them back on your bed.

Add a cup of vinegar to your rinse cycle whenever cleaning your sheets. Vinegar helps whiten whites, brighten other colors, and kill bacteria. Vinegar can even soften your sheets.

Mattresses

Cleaning Your Mattress

With all the concern about keeping your bedding clean, it's easy to forget about the mattress. Mattresses can harbor dust and allergens in much the same way as any other form of bedding. A dirty mattress can also impact your bedroom's indoor air quality, and can impact your sleep as much as any other type of bedding.

Caring for your mattress involves different levels of care at different times, so keep track of how you're caring for your mattress and when. Mark your calendar when you vacuum its surface or turn the mattress over, so you'll know when you need to do it again.

Preventative Care

Mattresses are expected to last for years. In the life of a mattress, anything from food to urine to blood could potentially be spilled on your mattress. Because mattresses are so hard to clean, prevention and protection are very important.

First and foremost, get a mattress cover. There are many different types of mattress covers you can choose from.

If you have pets or children, purchase a waterproof mattress cover, even if the mattress is used only by adults. You never know what might happen on that mattress over the course of many years. A sick child could eat (and spill) soup on it someday, or a pet could have an accident.

If you're an allergy sufferer, select a hypoallergenic model that claims to be easy to wash.

Pro Tips

Select a high-quality mattress pad and/or cover. The better quality the mattress pad, the easier it should be to remove and put back in its place without tearing the material.

If you do have children or pets, establish a few rules to protect your mattress. For example, no pets on the bed. Children might be allowed on the bed, but not allowed to eat there. You can pick the rules that work for your family, but state them to everyone in the household and discuss the rules regularly to ensure everyone is clear.

Prevent Bed Bugs

If your mattress ever gets bed bugs, you'll know by the itchy spots on your legs and by the little black or red stains on your bedding and on the mattress itself.

Bed bugs can enter your house when your clothes or bedding come into contact with infested pieces of furniture. Often, this happens when someone visits a hotel that has been exposed to bed bugs. The following tips can help you avoid bringing bed bugs home with your luggage:

  • Keep your luggage off the floor and off carpeted areas of the hotel room.
  • Inspect the hotel bed for signs of bed bugs before opening your luggage.
  • Read reviews of hotels before booking a room, and be aware when hotels have had reports of bed bugs in the past.

Pro Tip

Support your mattress with a box spring. This helps keep the mattress up off the floor, where the mattress can get dirty. A box spring also provides the mattress with support to extend its service life.

Weekly Care

Remove your sheets fully once per week and vacuum your mattress. This will remove dust, dust mites, hair, food, crumbs and so on. Administering this kind of weekly maintenance will help your mattress last longer.

Monthly Care

Sprinkle baking soda on your mattress once monthly, and allow it to sit there for several hours. Baking soda is an odor absorber and also a cleaning product. Allowing baking soda to sit on the mattress for a while will keep the mattress clean. Baking soda may also absorb oils that can also be found on the mattress.

After the baking soda has been sitting for a while, vacuum it completely until the mattress is clean. For an extra good night's sleep, spritz the air above the mattress with essential oils before putting the sheets in their place.

Twice Annually

Clean parts of the mattress with a light cleaning product two times per year. Upholstery shampoo, water, detergent, lemon juice and salt are all possibilities.

  • Use as little cleaning product as you can, and avoid getting the mattress any wetter than it needs to be.
  • Allow the mattress to dry fully before putting sheets back in their place.
  • Increase airflow around the mattress to help it dry quickly.
  • Flip or rotate the mattress if it's appropriate.

Yearly Care

Sun can be a natural bacteria killer. If you're able to move your mattress safely and want to get rid of mold or germs, take your mattress outside on a hot day and place it in the sun. Flip the mattress over once to expose the other side, then bring the mattress in.

While the mattress is outside, spot-treat any stains (see the method below) and then allow the mattress to dry fully in the sunshine. Don't do this on a day with high humidity.

When to Replace

One part of maintaining a clean mattress is in knowing when to replace it. Even the best mattresses, with the best maintenance, need to be replaced when their service life comes to an end.

Most mattresses are designed to last between 8 and 10 years, though some have 25-year warranties. How often you must replace your mattress will depend on how you sleep, how many people (or pets) sleep with you, how often you sleep on your mattress, the quality of the mattress, how diligently you maintain your mattress, and so on. You'll know it's time to replace your mattress when:

  • The mattress sags
  • You've noticed an odor that won't go away
  • You wake up uncomfortable, or have a hard time staying comfortable all night
  • Your allergies are worse when you wake up in the morning
  • Your chiropractor or doctor is recommending a different kind of mattress
  • Your mattress is permanently stained or soiled

Extra Tips

Your mattress manufacturer will help you maintain your mattress. Don't remove labels from your mattress, as these labels likely come with information that can help you take care of your mattress. When your mattress does become stained or if you have questions about mattress care, check those labels before beginning any cleaning procedures.

Read your mattress warranty to avoid any activity that might invalidate your warranty. Keep a copy of the warranty somewhere that you can find it, if you should need it. Know how long the warranty lasts, and if the mattress should start to have problems, read the warranty before deciding to make fixes yourself. It's possible that whatever problem you're having with the mattress is something that could be covered by the warranty.

Spot-Clean Your Mattress

Some people use upholstery cleaner to clean their mattress if it becomes stained. If you don't have upholstery cleaner, mix dish soap and warm water, then gently scrub the stain with a clean washcloth.

Use as little water and soap on the mattress as you can to prevent the inner part of the mattress from getting wet. Allow the mattress to dry completely before putting bedding back in place. Place a fan in the room and aim it at the mattress to speed the drying process.

Urine Stains:

  • 8 ounces of hydrogen peroxide
  • 3 tablespoons baking soda
  • Drop of liquid dish soap

Mix these ingredients and dab them onto the mattress. If this stain treatment does not work, mix 3 parts powdered laundry detergent with 1 part water, then dab the mixture onto the stain. Allow the mixture to dry, then scrape away the remaining paste. Again, dab the remaining stain with hydrogen peroxide. Allow the area to dry fully before vacuuming and putting the sheets back in place.

Blood Stains:

  • 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide
  • 1 tablespoon liquid dish soap
  • 1 tablespoon table salt

Mix together the ingredients above and apply the resulting paste to the mattress in the area of the stain, then allow the paste to dry. Once the mixture is dry, scrape it off. Treat any of the remaining stain by dabbing it with hydrogen peroxide. Allow the area to dry fully before placing sheets on the bed.

Vomit Stains:

Put on gloves. Dip a rag in ammonia, and then use it to dab the stained area. After waiting a few minutes, blot the area with a damp rag.

Sprinkle baking soda over the entire area and allow the baking soda to soak up the remaining moisture. Vacuum after a time and allow the area to dry thoroughly.

Headboards, Footboards and Frames

How to Care for Headboards, Footboards, and Bed Frames

You may not come into direct contact with these parts of your bed on a nightly basis, but some care and cleaning is still necessary to keep your bed in good condition. This is especially true if your headboard and footboard are upholstered.

Grime from dust and occasional contact with your skin's oils can take a toll on any upholstered surfaces. Failure to clean these parts of the bed could result in a premature replacement of the bed frame, which could be expensive and time-consuming.

The key to maintaining the various parts of the bed is in preventive care. Treat stains and blemishes as soon as you notice them. Inspect them regularly to look for signs of a problem. The longer a stain is on an upholstered surface, the harder it will be to remove when the time comes.

Tips for All Upholstered Headboard Care

While different types of upholstered headboards may require different stain treatments, some pieces of advice are consistent throughout. These tips can help you keep your upholstered headboard or footboard clean and in good condition.

  • Vacuum your upholstered headboard once per week, when changing the sheets, to remove dust and oil.
  • When going to bed with your hair wet, put a towel on your pillow, and curl the top of the towel up at the headboard so the headboard is doubly protected.
  • Inspect the headboard once monthly for signs that oils from your hair or lotion could be soaking into the fabric, and clean the fabric whenever necessary.
  • Treat stains on the surface of your headboard by blotting; never rub.
  • Always test a new cleaning product in a small, inconspicuous part of the bed before applying it to a large or visibly obvious area.

Always follow instructions from the manufacturer before spot-treating stains or cleaning the surface of your headboard. Finally, familiarize yourself with the upholstery care codes found on upholstered surfaces.

  • "W" indicates that the upholstered surface can be cleaned with water-based cleaning products.
  • "S" indicates that the upholstered surface can be cleaned with solvents only (dry cleaning is appropriate, or you can use commercially available dry cleaning solvents found in home improvement stores).
  • "S/W" means that the upholstered surface can be cleaned with solvents or water-based cleaning products.
  • "X" indicates that the fabric can't be cleaned with solvents or water at all; you may clean this surface by vacuuming and brushing it only.

Before attempting to clean any upholstered surface, find this code on your headboard or footboard, if you can. Know what it means and follow its advice.

Linen and Cotton

Linen and cotton headboards tend to be fairly sturdy, so you can use a standard carpet or upholstery cleaner when spot-treating this kind of fabric. Limit the amount of water the headboard is exposed to; avoid soaking the headboard. Before replacing any pillows and blankets that might cover the spot, give it time to dry fully.

If you don't have any carpet or upholstery cleaner, mix together a drop of natural dish soap and water. Dip a washcloth into the mixture, then use the washcloth to dab the stain.

Sometimes, cleaning products can leave a water stain on fabric. If this happens, dab the stain with a damp cloth, then dry the stain with a low setting on a hair dryer. If this does not work, dab the stain with vinegar and allow it to dry.

Velvet and Suede

These materials can be very delicate and are likely to come with very specific instructions from the manufacturer for care. Velvet in particular tends to be a "dry clean only" product, while suede can be treated with cleaning products designed specifically to clean suede. This could require you to buy some chemical cleaning products from a home improvement store or online.

For sensitive fabrics like velvet and suede, it's always best to use cleaning products that are designed specifically for them. However, if you're unable to find any specific instructions and you're unwilling to use harsh chemicals in your home, mix up a solution of lemon juice and baking soda. Apply the lemon juice and baking soda to the affected area in gentle dabs. Allow the mixture to dry. If cleaning velvet, brush the pile back to its usual position.

Wool

Properly Cleaning Wool Bedding

Wool is a type of product that often reacts badly to water. Check the upholstery cleaning code before proceeding with the cleaning of your wool headboard or footboard, and purchase a cleaning product appropriate for your product. Follow all cleaning product instructions. Like with other materials, use only the bare minimum amount of cleaning product and give your headboard adequate time to dry when cleaning is finished.

Leather

In most cases, leather can be cleaned with a solution of equal parts water and vinegar. Dampen a cloth and wipe down your leather. Dry it with a soft, dry cloth.

  • Mold, mildew and ink stains: Apply rubbing alcohol to the affected area, then wipe it away with a dry cloth.
  • Grease: Wipe away grease and soak up any remaining stain with baking soda.

Wood

Generally speaking, a good dusting is enough to keep most wooden headboards clean most of the time. If the wood becomes scratched, rub the scratch with a nut (for light-colored wood) or coffee grounds (for dark-colored wood). Doing this will help disguise the scratch so it is no longer visible.

Crayons and markers designed to repair scratches in wood are also effective tools. When cleaning wood, use as little water as possible. Instead, use oil-based wood cleaners, as wood can be warped or stained by water.

Bed Frame

Bed frames only need to be cleaned when the mattress is removed to prevent the mattress from becoming stained when it is replaced. If you live in a home with pets, you're more likely to notice a build up of pet hair in the wire edges of the frame.

  1. Vacuum. Vacuuming is the best way to remove a light layer of dust from the frame.
  2. Dust. Use a microfiber cloth to remove any hard-to-reach dusty areas.
  3. Clean. Mix together a solution of dish soap and water (unless your bed frame is made of wood), and use the solution to clean any grime or stains on the frame.

If your bed frame is made of wood, use an oil-based wood cleaner to keep your bed frame tidy. If you flip your mattress periodically, this is another good time to clean your bed frame. Always take those cleaning opportunities, as they don't come up often.

Caring for Other Types of Beds

There are many kinds of beds. Not all of them get slept on every night, so the type and frequency of maintenance will vary. However, if you have different kinds of beds scattered throughout your home, maybe in a guest bedroom or in a spare room, these instructions can help you care for them.

Some overall tips:

  • The frequency of when the beds are cleaned should be proportional to how often the beds are used.
  • Inspect beds before and after guests use them to ensure the beds look their best for visitors.
  • Always give guests clean sheets to use before their arrival.

Daybeds

A day bed is basically a convertible couch. By day, it's a sofa. Remove the sofa cushions propped on the back, and by night, it's a bed. Daybeds have a standard twin-size mattress and take standard twin-size sheets. Clean your daybed sheets and bedding in the same way that you would clean your other twin-sized beds.

Tips:

  • If your daybed gets regular use as a sofa, inspect the comforter regularly for signs of stains, and wash it as often as needed.
  • If you use decorative pillows to make your daybed more sofa-like, cover them with removable cases for easy cleaning.

Futons

Taking Care of Futons

Futons are technically a type of Japanese mattress. However, today's futon is also a couch/bed hybrid. Futons are placed on movable frames that can convert from a flat bed into an upright sofa quickly and easily. When used as a couch and a bed, futons can get dirty fast. The key to maintaining your futon is in using a good cover and moisture management.

  • Wash the cover weekly, like you would a sheet.
  • Vacuum the mattress when the cover is removed.
  • Keep more than one cover on hand if your futon is frequently exposed to stains.
  • When purchasing a cover, read the tag and follow recommended washing instructions.
  • Remove the cover immediately after spills and wash the mattress underneath (mattress cleaning instructions listed above).
  • Give the mattress adequate time to dry before replacing the cover.
  • Flip the mattress periodically to prevent the development of sunken areas.
  • Examine the frame periodically and tighten joints or clean the frame as needed.

Deodorize the mattress with baking soda periodically (once monthly) to absorb odors and moisture. Sprinkle baking soda on the mattress, leave the baking soda in place for a few hours, and then vacuum before replacing the cover.

Trundle Beds

Trundle beds are beds that slide in and out of place beneath a larger bed. Trundles are usually twin-sized and low to the ground. They use the same types of sheets that fit on regular twin beds and need much of the same maintenance.

Pay particular attention to the sides of the mattress whenever vacuuming, as it is low to the ground and will gather dust at the edges. Use a good cover to protect the entire mattress. The cover will prevent dust bunnies from making the mattress dirty, which will make it easier to clean.

Vacuum around the mattress more thoroughly than you would otherwise, in order to prevent the buildup of dust bunnies in the vicinity around the bed.

Fold-Out Sofa Beds

Sleeper sofas are typically only used when guests come to town. The rest of the time, these beds spend their life folded up in the space underneath your couch. Between the time spent in your couch and the time spent with your houses guests, fold-out sofa beds can get dusty and grimy. Most people only wash their fold-out sofa beds when guests are coming to town. When you're expecting company, follow these steps:

  1. Open the bed.
  2. Remove any old sheets and blankets, following standard sheet-cleaning procedures.
  3. Vacuum and wipe down the mattress.
  4. Spot-treat any stains.
  5. Allow the mattress to dry fully before putting sheets back on.
  6. Wash down the legs of the sofa sleeper.

Cleaning underneath your couch on a regular basis can help keep the sofa sleeper clean as well. Dust bunnies left under the couch can eventually attach themselves to the mattress, which could exacerbate your guest's allergies, if they suffer from the condition.

Finally, flip the mattress when you're using it. Sofa-bed mattresses spend enough time crunched between the cushions of your couch that flipping the mattress can help prevent it from becoming misshapen or warped.

Air Mattresses

Air mattresses are another excellent bedding option when you're expecting guests. Maintaining your air mattress requires you to clean it regularly and store it properly.

Cleaning Tips

  • Vacuum the air mattress before putting sheets on.
  • Use rubbing alcohol to wipe down stains on the air mattress until the stain is removed.
  • Allow the rubbing alcohol to fully dry before either storing the air mattress or before putting the sheets back on.
  • Unplug the air mattress (if it functions on an electric pump) before cleaning it with rubbing alcohol or the vacuum.

Storage Tips

  • Never store the air mattress when it's wet or damp.
  • Store the air mattress in a low-humidity environment.
  • Store the air mattress in a part of the home where the air temperature is consistent - not too cold and not too hot.
  • Avoid storing the air mattress in a garage, shed or basement.

Storing the air mattress in a dry, clean environment free from temperature extremes prevents the air mattress from cracking or warping while in storage. If the air mattress is stored in a wet environment, it may mold. If the mold is severe, the air mattress will likely need to be replaced. If the air mattress has a small spot of mildew, this may be removed by rubbing alcohol.

Cribs and Toddler Beds

Babies and toddlers are messy, so cribs and toddler beds usually have thin, easy-to-lift, waterproof mattresses. Cleaning these mattresses is simple. Use a damp rag to wipe down the mattress to remove any stains or bodily fluids. For hard-to-remove stains, use rubbing alcohol to clean the mattress, and allow it to dry fully before putting sheets back on.

If your little one is sleeping in a non-plastic mattress, protect it with a fully enclosed, fitted waterproof cover to make cleanup easier. Follow standard mattress cleaning procedures to keep your child's mattress clean.

Pet Beds

To help keep your bed clean, give your pets their own beds. Commercially available pet beds are designed to be laundered easily. Most have a removable cover that can be machine-washed while the pad underneath can be spot-cleaned and vacuumed.

Pay close attention to the care instructions on the label to avoid ruining the bed. If your pet is known to be hard on beds, or if your pet regularly has accidents in the bed, look for a bed that is advertised as stain-resistant or especially easy to clean.

Clean Beds Contribute to Good Health and Wellness

Why Take Care of Your Bedding

A comfortable and well-maintained bed can improve your sleep quality, physical health and state of mind. To ensure that your bed is well maintained, clean your sheets once a week, your mattress once per month, and the other parts of your bed on a regular schedule. Following these tips, you may be able to enjoy improved sleep and better overall physical health.