cleaning your mattress
If you haven't thought about cleaning your mattress lately, consider this: You probably spend six or seven hours on it every night. During that time, dead skin cells, sweat and oil from your body make their way onto it. That's why Carolyn Forte, director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab, recommends following this advice every few months to keep your bed fresh.
1. Ditch the dust.
The easiest way to tackle dust is to use the upholstery tool on your vacuum cleaner to go over the top and sides of the mattress and as much of the box spring as you can access. Press firmly on the tool to draw out dust beneath the fabric's surface. Then use the crevice tool to get into the quilting, along the edge welting and where any pillow top is attached. If you have a garment steamer, go over the mattress with the steamer before you vacuum to help kill and remove dust mites lurking near the surface.
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2. Wipe out old stains.
If pets sleep with you, or you like to snack in bed, chances are your mattress may have some stains on it. The easiest way to remove them is with an upholstery cleaner formulated to remove pet stains, like Good Housekeeping Seal-holder Bissell Pet Stain and Odor Remover ($19, amazon.com). "They not only remove stains but also contain enzymes to tackle odors," Forte says. Avoid over-wetting the mattress, and let it dry thoroughly before making the bed.
3. Kill any odors.
For any telltale smells, spray the mattress and box spring with a disinfecting spray, like Lysol ($7, amazon.com). It's safe to use on fabric and kills bacteria that causes odors. To freshen your mattress between cleanings, sprinkle some Arm & Hammer Baking Soda ($12 for a 4-pack, amazon.com) onto the fabric, wait 15 minutes and vacuum.
Now that you know your mattress is clean, make sure your pillows and mattress pad are dust- and odor-free too. And watch out for these mistakes you might be making when you wash your sheets.
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