Can you shampoo a mattress? Experts respond to technique

The question of whether you can shampoo a mattress might seem like a niche at first glance. However, given that the average person sleeps about 8 hours a day, an interest in mattress maintenance is somewhat expected. And part of caring for your mattress involves the inevitable cleaning process.

While finding a mattress that suits your needs (and your larger bedroom) is key to getting a good night’s sleep, the process of cleaning a mattress also plays a part in getting the perfect sleep. . But while many people consider using shampoo to clean a mattress, experts have warned against using this shower staple on this bedroom essential.

This is what you need to know before refreshing your best mattress, according to experts.

Can you shampoo a mattress?

“In some cases, hair shampoo is recommended as a replacement for laundry detergent for clothes, [but] I wouldn’t recommend it when it comes to cleaning a mattress for several reasons,” says expert Karen Yu of Zinus. (opens in a new tab).

Luxury bedroom with decorative bedding, ceiling lamp and curtains

(Image credit: Future/Chris Everard)

Karen warns that shampoo does not have the necessary chemical composition to clean a mattress and keep it in good condition. However, the problems do not end there.

“Shampoo can also leave a soapy residue that can attract dirt and dust if not properly removed,” she warns. “It can make your mattress smell nice, but there are other cleaning methods and products that will have a bigger impact on keeping your mattress in good shape.”

Likewise, Susan Miller, an expert at Sleep Mattress HQ (opens in a new tab), reinforces Karen’s warning. “Using mattress deep-cleaning shampoo is not recommended,” she says. Indeed, “any harsh chemicals in the cleaning agent can damage the mattress” and may require you to invest in a new one.

Crisp white bedroom with the lower half of the wall painted light brown, bamboo-style bed frame, white bed linen with green patterned cushions, pastel throw in geometric shapes, wooden bedside table with small vases of flowers , metal wall sconce above, framed artwork and painter's palette mounted above the bed,

(Image credit: Mary Wadsworth)

What’s the best thing to clean your mattress?

Your mattress is one of the many pieces of furniture you can clean with vinegar, along with baking soda and a paste of lemon juice and salt spray (as recommended by Byron Golub, product and merchandising manager at Saatva (opens in a new tab)). However, when it comes to cleaning your mattress, prevention is, in many ways, better than cure.

“Using a mattress protector can help protect against stains on the mattress,” suggests Karen. However, you can also use a vacuum cleaner to remove any threat of dust mites and other pests that may be nesting in your room.

Green painted bedroom with a gallery wall above the bed, a white frame with white linens, cushions and throws in an earth color palette, a metal bedside table with a table lamp with a wooden base glass, fabric shade, stone floor, cream rug

(Image credit: Neptune)

How to wash a mattress thoroughly?

While using shampoo to deep wash a mattress isn’t a popular solution among experts, there are other ways to ensure your upholstery stays stain-free. Many of them are listed in our guide, but Susan suggests another shampoo alternative.

Susan recommends “an enzyme-based cleanser available on Amazon (opens in a new tab) or Walmart’ which has a particular impact on a memory foam mattress. This method will eliminate odors and make your mattress (almost) like new.

Likewise, Karen suggests that baking soda is a great cleaning alternative. “It’s a versatile cleaning ingredient, and it can be one of the best ways to clean a mattress and remove nasty stains,” she adds.

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