This is a quick guide on mattress hygiene; the essential do’s and don’ts in washing mattress covers, protectors and pads.
Marilyn Monroe is quoted to have said that the nicest thing for her was to sleep, then at least she could dream!
Good sleep is essential to our day in day out lives.
Evidently, we are most productive and full of life when we are adequately and properly rested.
Sleeping patterns and preferences vary from person to person; however what is of great symmetry is our desire for a good night time, well sleep soundly when we hit the bed.
Owing to the vast scientifically proven medical and physiological benefits of a well-deserved nap, it is equally vital to ensure what we sleep on is clean and worthy of the task.
This is where mattress hygiene comes in.
Whereas the three serve the common purpose of protecting the mattress and ensure durability, they may differ in a few functional points.
Generally, mattress covers are the most common form of mattress protection.
These covers are predominantly for the purpose of preventing any staining of the mattress.
On the other hand a mattress protector is commonly used to prevent the buildup of allergens.
Allergens are substances that cause an individual to have an allergic reaction.
They may include bed bugs, plant pollens, particular foods and even house dust.
Lastly, mattress pads which are thicker than the latter are predominantly used to add extra comfort and to help fit the bed-sheets more snugly.
Mattress pads are popular with memory foam mattresses as opposed to conventional mattresses commonly made up of cotton.
Dirt to look out for in a mattress cover
The most common forms of dirt that can be found in bed are:
- Urine stains
- Sweat stains
- Body oils
- Food particles
- Liquid stains
- Animal fur
- Buildup of dead body cells that may result in odor
- Yellowing due to dampness or fungal growth.
How to wash and dry a waterproof mattress cover
Most mattress covers have a waterproof lining.
Due to this, care should be taken to not destroy the lining while cleaning.
- Do read through and adhere to the Care label or Care instructions of the mattress cover.
Most mattress covers come with instructions from the manufacturer on how to clean and dry the piece.
Some manufacturers propose use of warm water others insist on only cold water- hence one should be keen on such details.
- Do toss the Mattress Cover into the washing machine
Most covers are machine –washable owing to the material used in manufacturing.
In most instances this is cotton and vinyl.
- Do use a normal laundry cycle setting with cold or warm water (as per the care instructions).
- Do add a mild detergent for the wash.
Do not use bleach or any bleach containing household detergents.
This is because bleach destroys the waterproof lining of the mattress cover.
- Do dry the mattress cover over low-heat.
One can tumble dry the cover on low heat.
Do not use medium to high heat as high temperature also can destroy the waterproof lining of the cover.
Air-drying can also suffice.
- Do not iron dry the mattress cover.
Again, excessive heat may destroy the waterproof lining of the cover.
- Once done, feel free to toss it back on the mattress and spread the bed.
Washing mattress protectors
A similar wash routine as that of a mattress cover does suffice.
Remember to use a mild laundry detergent and adjust the washing machine settings to allow a gentle wash cycle.
Washing mattress pads
Mattress pads are prevalent in memory foam mattresses– these are mattresses that are able to remember the shape, weight, sleeping position of the user and conform to his/her body shape.
Typically they allow the person’s body to sink into the mattress which allows a more form-fitting comfort to one’s sleeping experience.
Contrary to mattress covers and protectors, mattress pads are usually not machine-washable.
This is because they are very thick and thus can hardly fit into an average washing machine.
Therefore the best cleaning technique to be employed is as below:
- Vacuum the mattress pad using a small handled vacuum cleaner
This helps remove visible particles such as hair and food particles from the surface.
- Spot clean any visible stain
This requires the use of a simple homemade solution such as 3% hydrogen peroxide, mixed with a mild laundry detergent.
- Mix the two ingredients into a container and pour into a spray bottle.
- Spray the solution on the surface of the pad and allow it to soak from 10-15 minutes.
- Using a dampened washcloth rub the stained spot until it is clean.
- Be cautious not to use a lot of water as this will dampen the mattress.
Where there is a stubborn stain, you can spot clean using this simple technique:
- Mix vinegar and baking soda into a container and pour into a spray bottle
- Spray the solution onto the stained surface and allow the pad to soak from 20-30 minutes.
- Blot out the solution from the surface, gently.
- Be cautious not to use a lot of water that may dampen the mattress.
- Sprinkle baking soda on the whole surface of the mattress pad –Baking soda is a great multi-purpose household item that deodorizes and dries up any moisture on the pad surface.
- Allow the baking soda to sit for 25 minutes.
- Using a small handled vacuum, vacuum the powder off the pad.
- Allow the mattress pad to completely dry in a well – ventilated area then spread the bed afterwards. This is only if you had spot cleaned. It’s important to ensure the pad is dry as dampness may encourage the growth of fungi on the mattress thus force you to get a new mattress.
How often to wash a mattress pad
A mattress pad need not be washed often as most of the stains and body sweat are absorbed into the bed sheets which are routinely washed.
Advisedly, a mattress pad can be washed every two months.
A mattress cover and protector can be washed more frequently, perhaps together with the bed sheets.