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Can You Use a Steam Cleaner On a Mattress?

mattress cleaning with steam cleaner

Steam cleaning is one of the best ways to ensure your mattress is clean from within. When done right, it can be one of the most effective ways of killing off bacteria, germs, and any bed bugs in your mattress.

However, if you do it incorrectly, it is also possible to make a bad situation worse. Steam cleaning an already dirty mattress can make it a breeding ground for mildew.

You may even leave the mattress wet for too long, making it susceptible to staining. The following are some of the tips you may want to keep in mind for using a steam cleaner for your mattress:

Vacuum First

vacuum dirty mattress

Before you let a steam cleaner go anywhere near your mattress, it is important to ensure that you vacuum the mattress thoroughly first. Ensure the vacuum cleaner is strong and is suitable for vacuuming upholstery. Change the tool head out so you can vacuum crevices and corners, a favourite spot for germs and bacteria to hide.

If you run a steam cleaner over an already dirty mattress, you can make it messier. Imagine simply pouring water over a dusty floor without wiping it down. Steam cleaning a dirty mattress without vacuuming it first is akin to that. So, be sure you give the mattress a good once over with a cordless vacuum cleaner before moving on to a steam cleaning.

Steam Cleaners and Alternatives

There are several good multi purpose steam cleaners available, so you should not have a paucity of options. It might even be useful to get a steam cleaner that can be used in other parts of the house, instead of simply purchasing one that is good for cleaning mattresses.

Even if you do not have a steam cleaner or if you don’t want to invest in an expensive appliance simply to clean a mattress, you can consider renting one for big clean up jobs. If it is simply a routine cleaning process, even a clothes steamer is a good alternative. You can use a clothes iron on the steam setting as long as you get the appropriate temperature for killing off bugs and bacteria – (212 to 220ºF).

Set up the Steamer

Once you have found the right kind of equipment, set it up by adding water based on the product instructions. It is advisable to use distilled water instead of tap water as the former will not have mineral deposits that may build up inside the steamer. Plug the appliance up and let it heat.

Get Started

Once the appliance is ready (a light usually lets you know), bring the steam cleaner head up to the mattress though maintain a safe distance so the mattress does not become sopping wet. Start from the top and work your way down. It may be useful to divide the mattress into sections (mentally, of course), which makes the steam cleaning process easier.

Move across the mattress slowly to be sure that you are thorough with the cleaning process. It is important to use a light hand with the steam as you do not want the mattress to be wet, only damp. Start slowly so that you can adjust the controls and get the right amount of steam coming out.

Once you have steam cleaned the top of the mattress, you need to get on with the sides. This is an important step as often mites, bacteria and bugs lodge themselves on the side of the mattress. If you use the mattress on both sides, you should certainly run the steamer on the other side as well. However, ensure the first side of the mattress is dry before flipping it as the mattress has a chance of becoming dirty again.

Dry the Mattress

clean dry mattress

Do not skip the drying step of the steam cleaning process as using a damp mattress is not only uncomfortable, it is also counterproductive. You should give the mattress at least four hours to dry completely. Pop a window and let some fresh air through. If possible, you may even want to put the mattress out in the sunlight.

If taking the mattress out into the sun is not possible, you can prop up a pedestal fan near the mattress or turn on the ceiling fan if you have one. In the colder months, a heater near the mattress may make the drying process quicker.

If you’ve accidentally soaked the mattress during cleaning, then you’ll need a wet and dry vacuum cleaner to remove excess water, then allow the remaining dampness to dry naturally. It’s a good idea to have an alternative bed or mattress to sleep on before cleaning, just in case you need more time to thoroughly dry out the mattress.

Prepare the Mattress for Use

Once you are sure the mattress is completely dry, you can go ahead and make the bed. Do not put sheets on the mattress unless you are certain that the mattress is dry to the core.

Additionally, be sure to use clean sheets as you want the bed to be fresh after spending so much time cleaning the mattress. Ideally, you should take up steam cleaning in the morning so there is enough time for the mattress to dry and for you to use the bed at night.

Points to Consider

A mattress can be the breeding ground for germs, bacteria and bugs if it is not cleaned regularly. Especially if the room the mattress is in does not have a window to let fresh air and sunlight in, the mattress can collect more dust and dirt.

Since the mattress comes in such close contact with the skin and the nasal cavity, among other things, it can make you sick if you do not clean it regularly. A steam cleaner not only kills any bugs and bacteria in the mattress, but the heat from the steam cleaner also makes your mattress crisp and wrinkle-free.

With the right technique, steam cleaning also does not take too long and you also do not have to do it too often. Once every few months should be sufficient if you are thorough enough with the appliance each time.

Related: Best Budget Memory Foam Mattress