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Can You Steam Clean A Mattress?

Updated: Aug 6, 2023

Mattresses are an essential part of our daily lives, and they can become dirty over time due to sweat, spills, and body oils.


After all, most of us spend at least 8 hours sleeping on them, probably more if you count those lazy Sundays!


One effective way to clean a mattress is by using a steam cleaner. Steam cleaners not only lift up stains and accumulated dirt but also sanitizes your mattress too.


This is why steam cleaning is a popular option in many care homes and hospitals, we believe it should be everyone's go-to solution to mattress cleaning.


Most professional mattress cleaners will use a steam cleaner as part of their process and for very good reasons.


But before you try to replicate the professionals, it's important to understand the techniques and methods involved, as well as make sure that you have everything you need before starting.


Can You Steam Clean a Mattress Every time?

mattress steam cleaning

It entirely depends on how far gone your mattress is. Most of the time, steam cleaning is enough to give your mattress the deep clean it needs.


Sometimes though, there are times when cleaning solutions and a high-powered hot water extraction method are required.


If you keep on top of your mattress regularly then it won't have the chance to get this bad. If it has reached that point already, steam cleaning is still going to be a part of the solution regardless.


How often should you steam clean your mattress?


We recommend steam cleaning your mattress every 3-6 months to prevent sweat stains from building up and drenching the pores. Not only that but regularly keeping on top of your mattress will keep your sleeping area sanitised and bed bug free for its entire lifespan.


Keep in mind that your mattress is where we spend the most time so it's essential that we keep it as clean as possible.


Despite that fact, it's often overlooked as requiring cleaning and it's only ever considered when the build-up of dirt is impossible to ignore.


Benefits of Steam Cleaning a Mattress


Steam cleaning your mattress has several benefits. Here are some of them:

  1. Removes dirt and stains: Steam cleaning uses high-temperature steam to break down dirt and stains on your mattress. This helps to remove grime and dirt that regular cleaning methods cannot.

  2. Kills bacteria and allergens: Steam cleaning can kill bacteria and allergens that can accumulate on your mattress over time. This is especially helpful for those with allergies or respiratory issues.

  3. Saves money: Professional mattress cleaning services can be expensive. By steam cleaning your mattress yourself, you can save money and still get professional-quality results.

  4. Less or no chemicals: Using no chemicals in cleaning your mattress is a big environmentally friendly plus. While in many cases you will still need to use some chemicals, the amount used will be lessened significantly.

  5. Easy enough for everyone: Unlike carpet cleaning which is heavily reliant on chemicals and a stringent method, steam cleaning is a very easy and user-friendly way of cleaning your mattress. Just let the heat do the hard work for you while you watch that dirt come up to the surface.


Not all mattresses can be steam cleaned


Before you begin steam cleaning your mattress, it's important to identify what your mattress is made of first.


Mattresses that cannot be steam cleaned include:


Memory Foam: A memory foam mattress is not suitable for steam cleaning. The material inside the mattress beyond the fabric surface is very sensitive to moisture. Using a steam cleaner could damage the foam inside and prevent it from moulding into the shape of your body which is what makes it so comfortable.


*For great tips on cleaning this type of mattress, read our blog on 'how to safely clean a memory foam mattress'.


Tempurpedic Mattresses: Very similar to memory foam mattresses, but with some slight differences. This type of material can't be cleaned with steam because it can and will damage the material inside. If you use a low-volume steam cleaning method, you are in luck but most of you will not have a steam cleaner with this capability.


Newton Mattresses: Mostly used as baby mattresses, these types consist of mostly 'air' inside. This keeps a baby safe when they sleep on their tummies and it's an excellent safety mattress for your children. Steam cleaning a netwon mattress can destroy the material which makes it breathable or even clog it up, removing that capability from it.


*Read our blog on 'how to clean a newton mattress' for tips on how to maintain these materials.


How to Steam Clean Your Mattress


If it is safe to steam clean your mattress, follow these steps:

  1. Vacuum your mattress thoroughly to remove any loose dirt and debris.

  2. Fill your steam cleaner with water and turn it on.

  3. Allow the steam cleaner to heat up for a few minutes.

  4. Starting at the top of the mattress, work in sections and use the steam cleaner to clean the surface of the mattress. Be sure to use the appropriate attachment for your mattress fabric.

  5. Use a clean, damp cloth to wipe away any excess moisture and to help remove any remaining dirt.

  6. Allow your mattress to air dry completely before using it again.


Tips on steam cleaning a mattress:


Take your time: The best thing you can do when steam cleaning your mattress is don't rush. All of those bodily oils and sweat stains need time to be broken down. This means going over the mattress one area at a time. Attach a microfibre cloth to the end of your steam to avoid over-wetting the mattress and go over it slowly.


Apply some enzyme cleaner: If you are steaming the mattress and its contents don't seem to be budging, don't panic! apply an enzyme cleaner generously to the mattress and let sit for at least 10 minutes. After 10 minutes go over the mattress again with your steam cleaner and you should see the dirt starting to lift.


Whatever moisture you put in must come out: This means that if you have sprayed an enzymatic cleaner or had your steamer on the mattress for long periods of time, the moisture build-up will need to be removed otherwise it could cause bad smells or even mildew. Don't panic though, read the next section for some great tips on how to dry your mattress.


How Long Does A Mattress Take To Dry After Steam Cleaning?


It will take around four hours for a mattress to dry after it's steam cleaned if you do it yourself without using drying aids. A professional will be able to cut that time in half, but you can speed the drying time up too.


You can speed this process up a lot by following these tips:


drying a mattress
  • Heat your home to up to around 70 degrees Fahrenheit

  • Use fans on the mattress to help dry your mattress out

  • Apply towels and blot the mattress to help any wet parts dry faster

  • Put baking soda on your mattress and allow to sit for 20 minutes before vacuuming it up


*For more tips on drying your mattress, have a look at our 'how to dry out a mattress quickly' guide.


Does Steam Cleaning A Mattress Remove Urine Stains?


removing urine from mattress steam cleaner

Steam cleaning will not be able to remove a large urine stain if there was a substantial amount of urine that went into the mattress.


While you may be able to get rid of those urine stains on the top layer of your mattress, there will still be urine left inside the fibres of the mattress.


The only true solution for getting rid of urine inside of a mattress is with a professional upholstery cleaner.


They will have powerful machines and suction tools to draw the urine out of your mattress.


Does Steam Cleaning Remove All Stains On Your Mattress?


Steam cleaning is a great way to get rid of many nasty stains on your mattress including the more frequent ones such as sweat stains and many food-based stains.


There are some stains that will not be removed by steam cleaning and require a chemical solution to remove them.


The stains which are not removable by steam alone are:



Does Steam Cleaning Kill Bedbugs & Dust Mites On Your Mattress?


Steam cleaning is one of the most effective ways of getting rid of bed bugs from your mattress. It can reach places that a normal carpet cleaner can't and eliminate the bugs if they are hiding deeper under the fibres too.


To use a steam cleaner for bed bug removal, you will need to go over the mattress slowly, applying a good amount of pressure to make sure that the fibres are penetrated deeply enough to confirm the bed bugs and dust mites are killed.


The only drawback here is that you will need to help your mattress dry out, air drying won't be enough. Apply baking soda, vacuum and crank the heating up while using fans to make sure your mattress dries properly.


Can You Use A Steam Iron Or Steam Mop On Your Mattress?


While anything is possible, we do not recommend using a steam mop or iron on your mattress for the following reasons:


  1. You can't regulate steam effectively: While there are some settings to allow for less steam to be generated on your steam iron or mop, they are often replaced with a larger amount of water instead. That much water is not designed to be applied to a mattress in such large portions.

  2. You won't get an even clean: It's not likely that you will be able to clean your mattress evenly with either a mop or an iron. If you are just wanting to clean a specific area of the mattress, you may be able to use the iron but be very careful as it gets really hot fast.

  3. Mistakes can easily happen: Steam irons don't have the capability of being able to be hot and then safe. They are only hot and not, for that reason, mistakes such as burns on your mattress, or even on yourself can be easily imagined.

  4. You can't apply a microfiber attachment: The microfiber attachment is important for two reasons. One is that it stops the moisture coming from steam being too unbearable for the mattress. The second is that it picks up dirt as your steam. Applying a microfiber cloth or attachment to an iron is dangerous and to a mop, impossible.


Conclusion


In conclusion, steam cleaning can be an effective way to clean your mattress.


However, it's important to make sure that your mattress is suitable for steam cleaning before proceeding.


If you are unsure, check with the manufacturer or consult a professional mattress cleaner. If the materials in your mattress are too delicate then we have listed a few different ways of cleaning them without steam.


By following the steps outlined above, and taking care to use the right equipment, you can effectively steam clean your mattress and enjoy a cleaner, healthier sleeping environment.

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