Chances are, you're not spending a lot of time thinking about how clean your mattress is. Over time, it can collect things like skin cells, sweat, stains, bacteria or dust mites.
In fact, one study suggests an average mattress could contain between 100,000 to 10 million dust mites.
If you struggle with breathing problems like asthma, allergies, or sleep apnea, it's particularly essential you keep your mattress clean.
A clean mattress could improve the air quality in your home, your health, and your sleep.
But can you steam clean a mattress?
In this article, your hybrid foam mattress specialist, Polysleep, gives you some advice about steam cleaning your mattress.
What is steam cleaning a mattress?
Steam cleaning is an eco-friendly way to eliminate dirt, bacteria, dust mites, and more. The vapor molecules penetrate the pores of the surface.
Steam cleaning a mattress is about using this technology to remove allergens and dust mites. This helps you sleep better since your bed is clean, fresh and free from bacteria.
Pros and cons of steam cleaning a mattress
If steam cleaning a mattress seems to be a good idea, there are some pros and cons.
It can be a very efficient strategy to keep it clean. The steam reaches 250 degrees Fahrenheit and does an outstanding job of killing bacteria, dust mites, and everything in between.
It can break down dirt, urine, and sweat stains.
It’s an eco-friendly, chemical-free method of cleaning since it only consists of heat and water.
It can remove odors.
It can cause excess moisture in your mattress, which could lead to mildew and mold if you steam clean a mattress and do not allow it to dry properly.
It can damage the mattress if you do not follow the mattress manufacturer’s cleaning instructions.
How do you steam clean a mattress?
As we said, before considering this method, you should check your mattress manufacturer’s recommended cleaning instructions. If you’re a Polysleep customer, here is the link to contact a mattress expert.
If it’s approved, here are the steps to steam clean your mattress:
Step 1: Decide on a steam machine that fits your budget and needs. Machines that will heat the water to a minimum of 212 degrees F will work. You could use a household steam cleaner, clothes steamer, iron (if it has a steaming function) or a large commercial renter.
Step 2: Vacuum first. This will remove loose dirt, debris, and hair, so that the steam cleaning can do a better job.
Step 3: Follow the manufacturer's instructions for filling and heating the steamer. Most steamers will come with a tank for water, a wand to apply the steam and a motor to generate the heat. You simply fill the tank with water to the suggested level in the instructions, turn the machine on and let it heat up.
Step 4: Use slow and long strokes to run the steam to your mattress. Don't actually touch the mattress. Start to run the steam at the left top corner of your mattress, using 2 ft strokes. Then, in even rows, slowly move to the right and down until you've covered the entire mattress top with the hot steam.
Step 5: Run the steamer along the sides of your mattress for an even deeper clean. Work your way from top to bottom. Steam cleaning the sides will help ensure you're killing as many mites, bacteria, and bed bugs as possible.
Step 6: Allow the mattress to dry completely (typically two to four hours). You can open some windows or turn on a fan to speed the process up.
What type of mattress can you steam clean?
Generally speaking, traditional mattresses, like spring mattresses, can be safely steam cleaned.
However, you should refrain from using steam cleaners on latex mattresses as the excessive heat they produce can over-bake the natural latex.
Your next question may be, "Can you steam clean a memory foam mattress?". The answer to this is yes, but you want to do so carefully and only if the manufacturer says it’s safe.
Also, before you attempt to clean a memory foam mattress, be sure you carefully read the specific instructions on cleaning it. Plus, keep in mind that some hybrid mattresses also contain memory foam.
If you decide to steam clean a memory foam mattress, first, you’ll want to choose a steam cleaning machine that dries as it goes in order to leave the least moisture behind. You’ll also want to clean it lightly on a medium heat setting. This ensures that heat does not damage the ‘cells’ of the mattress.
How to go about steaming a mattress with bed bugs?
To create safe steam and gain maximum control over bed bugs, it's important you carefully follow the steamer directions by the manufacturer and adhere to any additional precautions. However, here are some tips to follow for steaming a mattress with bed bugs:
Connect the nozzle to the steam wand.
Make sure the surface reaches between 160 to 180 degrees F. Bed bugs will survive any temperatures below this, and you risk damaging the fabric or other materials of the mattress using any temperature above this.
The fabric might be damp, but it shouldn't be wet. If it’s too wet, you can typically reduce the amount of stream by a dial or switch on the steamer.
Steam clean all surfaces of the mattress, particularly where you think bed bugs might be hiding and where you actually have seen bed bugs.
Run a fan to circulate the air in the room where the damp mattress is, once you're finished, to help it dry.
You might need to repeat these steps a couple of times. It ensures that you expose the bed bugs to adequate heat and that the steam comes in contact with all the bed bugs.
Other cleaning and hygiene advice for your mattress
If your mattress can’t be steam cleaned, we wrote a detailed article on more ways to clean your mattress. However, here are 7 tips for good mattress hygiene.
Use mattress protection. Keeping your mattress protected with a cover will keep it cleaner longer. Plus, you’ll be able to simply remove the cover frequently to wash it.
Deodorize and vacuum the mattress. Strip your bed of all sheets, pillows and blankets. You'll want to remove everything from your mattress before starting.
Use high heat to wash and dry your bedding. This can help ensure it's clean and sanitized.
Sprinkle baking soda all over your mattress to deodorize it. Baking soda helps remove odors from fabrics.
Vacuum off the baking soda from your mattress using the hand attachment. Give the baking soda some time to deodorize your mattress first and then apply slow, even, short strokes across your whole mattress. This will help ensure it sucks up all dust mites and dead skin cells.
Spot clean and dry a spring mattress or latex mattress by hand. In between deep cleaning, always spot clean mattresses for stains.
Avoid leaving damp towels or laundry on the bed. This moisture can seep into the mattress, leading to mildew or even mold growth.
This is your basic guide to steam cleaning your mattress. As a reminder, you should always use a mattress protector or at least buy a mattress with a waterproof cover and antimicrobial foam.
A removable cover or a mattress protector can usually be cleaned in a washing machine. This is the ideal way of keeping your mattress clean and eliminating the need for frequent steam cleans.
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