How to Care for Your Mattresses for Your Family’s Long-term Comfort

Your mattress might be one of the more overlooked members of the household, but a comfortable bed and a good night’s sleep can really make a world of difference.

From being slept on night after night, to accidental spills, stains and other nasties, our mattresses go through a lot.

Give yours some TLC and it might even return the favour with sweet dreams for years to come.

Here are some tips for caring for your family’s mattresses for happy and healthy sleep.

When You First Get It

Bought a new mattress recently? One of the most important things that will keep it in great shape is making sure it’s supported on the right base.

A poorly designed frame or the wrong base can cause rolling in or out, or a reduced support level.

If your mattress is placed on a slatted frame, make sure there isn’t excessive flexing and ensure the timber slats are evenly spaced.  

Brand new mattresses can have a smell similar to a new-car smell, from the glues and materials used in the manufacturing process which are then trapped in the protective wrapping.

Once you bring your new mattress home, allow it to air for at least four hours in a well-ventilated place before dressing it.

Protect It

Using a mattress protector right from the start is vital for the long-term care of your mattress – think of it as the first line of defence against spills and stains.

A mattress protector can also avoid damage from moisture, bacteria and dust mites for a healthier night’s sleep, which is helpful if you suffer from sensitivities.

Without a mattress protector body oils, perspiration and humidity may seep into the mattress, reducing its lifespan.

If you have small children, choosing a waterproof protector will come into its own for those late-night poonamis, unexpected illnesses, and spilt water bottles.    

The bonus of a mattress protector is that many can be easily popped in the wash - much easier than having to clean more set-in stains off a mattress. Before you go ahead and put in the wash, make sure you read the care wash guidelines. 


No matter how careful you are, the odd spill or stain is inevitable. Cleaning spills up quickly is important to making sure odours don’t linger on your mattress. 

Quick tips for wiping up spills:
  • Gently scrape away any solid residue then soak up any liquid with a clean sponge or paper towel.
  • A mixture of ¼ dish soap to one cup of warm water makes for an effective DIY cleaner to dab away any remaining stains before they set in. 
  • Avoid oversaturating the mattress with the solution, and don’t let any moisture linger.
  • Urine stains can be harder to clean, as they leave behind crystals that retain an unpleasant odour. Try a mix of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and dish soap in a spray bottle, adding a drop or two of an essential oil to really clear up the smell. 
  • For sweat stains, mix some lemon juice and salt together and gently dab at the area. 

While spills and stains can happen, it’s best to try and avoid them by using a waterproof mattress protector.

Not only will it keep your mattress nice and clean, but it can offer some extra peace of mind!

Airing and Keeping It Clean

It’s a great idea to air your mattress regularly to keep it fresh.

Do this once a week when you change your sheets, letting the sun work its magic to naturally disinfect it. 

A sprinkling of bicarbonate of soda can help deodorise it (just remember to vacuum it up before making the bed!).

Vacuum your mattress monthly on low suction using an upholstery attachment to get rid of any dust mites, dead skin cells and other nasties, or more regularly if you have a family member that suffers from allergies.

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Help Keep Its Shape

Modern mattresses are designed to gently conform to the shape of your body and will soften in the first few weeks after your purchase.

Some mattresses need to be rotated every few months to keep their shape, while others do not need rotating at all. The best way to check this is to read the manufacturer’s guidance. 

Do you flip? Pillow top mattresses or those with specific top and bottom layers generally don’t need flipping, but spring mattresses without these can be flipped at least every six months – again, it’s best to check with the manufacturer’s instructions just to make sure.

Love Your Mattress and It Will Return the Favour

An average mattress’ lifespan is seven years, which is 2556 nights supporting your sleep. Covered up with comfy bedding, it can be easy to overlook what’s under the covers.

Many of us only think to clean our mattress when there’s been an accident, but regular care and maintenance will help you get the best out of your family’s mattress’ and ensure you all sleep more soundly.

More tips to help you all get a good night's sleep:

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