How to Clean A Latex Mattress? (3 EASY Methods)

Published
by Max S
How To Clean A Latex Mattress

You probably own a latex mattress because of its hypoallergenic properties. Still, over time, allergens and stains may show up on your mattress because of accumulated dirt and spills. This type of situation calls for methods on how to clean a latex mattress.

Even with a hypoallergenic latex mattress, a build-up in allergens such as dust, dust mites, and mould can worsen allergies.

Did you know that according to WHO, dust mites account for 70% of all respiratory allergies? So, ask yourself, how long has it been since you cleaned your mattress? Be honest!

A dirty mattress can lead to allergies kicking off, and it reduces the lifespan of your mattress too.

In this blog, we’ll share tips on cleaning your latex mattress using methods that will use mild ingredients. These methods will help remove stains from blood, urine, or vomit. We’ll also share some dos and don’ts in caring for your mattress.

What materials will you need?

Before we start, prepare the following items.

Don’t worry. It will be minimal! Most of the items will most likely be already in your cleaning stash. If not, we included some recommendations from known retailers.

  • Water
  • Mild or natural liquid detergent
  • Small bowl or container
  • Clean cloth
  • Baking soda
  • Distilled vinegar
  • Enzymatic cleaner

How to Spot Clean a Latex Mattress?

Cleaning your latex mattress is genuinely pretty easy peasy.

Latex mattresses have a dense structure, meaning it’s harder for dust and dust mites to penetrate the latex mattress. In addition, latex is naturally antimicrobial; therefore, latex is mould-resistant.

It means latex mattresses need fewer deep cleaning sessions than other mattress types. When stains are left for too long, there is a chance that you might not remove all the stains completely.

You will need:

  • mild liquid detergent
  • vinegar
  • baking soda
  • water
  • clean cloth for wiping in spot cleaning.

Why mild liquid detergent?

Latex mattresses are made of natural materials that can be ruined using strong chemicals, including chlorine or bleach cleaners like Clorox.

When cleaning your latex mattress, use only mild and natural ingredients to avoid damaging the material and reduce its longevity. Mild and natural ingredients include baking soda, vinegar, water, mild detergent, and natural enzyme cleaners.

holes in a latex mattress exposed by removed cover
Image source: Sleeping Organic

If you have a mattress cover, remove it before starting. This helps to uncover the mattress stains to see the damage! Don’t worry. We’ll touch on your mattress cover later.

Whether there’s a stain from blood, urine, vomit, or pretty much anything else, our methods below can help.

Note: In cleaning blood stains, cold water is recommended. Warm water will make the stain cling to the mattress more, the exact opposite of what you want.

Method 1: Mild detergent and cold water

  • Mix a few drops of mild liquid detergent and cold water in a small container. We recommend Neutral 0% Sensitive White Washing and ZERO (Non-Bio) Washing Powder.
  • Using your fingers, dip a clean cloth into the soapy mixture. Squeeze out any excess liquid.
  • Gently rub over the stained area until the stain is lifted.
  • Using another damp clean cloth with cold water, wipe the soapy liquid on the mattress.
  • Repeat steps 2 to 4 until you’re satisfied with removing stains.

Method 2: Vinegar and cold water

  • Mix equal parts of distilled vinegar and water in a small container. Vinegar acts like acid and will break down stains on your mattress.
  • Dampen a clean cloth with the vinegar mixture and squeeze out any excess liquid.
  • Gently rub over the stained area.
  • Dampen another clean cloth with cold water and wipe the vinegar mixture
  • Repeat steps 2 to 4 until all stains are lifted.

Method 3: Baking soda and vinegar

  • Sprinkle baking soda on the stained area.
  • Using your finger, dab small amounts of vinegar on the baking soda. Once baking soda and vinegar contact, the mixture will bubble up. This will not damage your latex mattress. Baking soda is mild enough for latex and strong enough to lift the stains.
  • Dampen another clean cloth with cold water and wipe the mixture.
  • Repeat steps 1 to 3 until the stain is completely removed.

How to Clean Urine out of a Latex Mattress?

The methods shared above will work effectively in cleaning urine stains. But if you’ve already tried those and still end up with a pungent urine smell, you can try using an enzyme-based cleaner.

Enzyme-based cleaners break down molecules from protein-based sources like

Do you notice the pungent smell that sometimes remains after cleaning? That’s ammonia. And ammonia is not suitable for human inhalation.

Thankfully, an enzymatic cleaner also addresses the smell. Ammonia is a by-product of protein metabolism, and enzyme cleaner can break down molecules from a protein-based source. Amazing, right?

So, to deal with urine stain or urine smell alone, enzyme cleaner is here to rescue. But haven’t we talked about using only mild products for cleaning? We recommend UK brands like

Refer to the instruction manual of these natural cleaners for safe application. But the general best practice includes starting with small amounts and testing on a small area to check for an adverse reaction.

Another option to try, if you’re only looking for an all-natural solution, is to make a plant-based cleaner yourself.

Can I Sun Dry a Latex Mattress?

If you’ve dealt with how to clean a foam mattress before, you’ve probably tried air drying your mattress in the sun. It’s a good practice to remove moisture in the mattress and also helps in deodorising naturally.

But not for a latex mattress.

A study conducted found that the tensile strength of latex decreased by 55% when exposed to UV rays for 24 hours. Simply put, the elasticity or stretchability of the latex is compromised. Hence, the bounce and comfort decrease.

Mattress brands like Una Mattress warn users not to expose their latex mattresses directly to the sun as extreme heat and strong UV rays. Warning it can damage latex material.

Heat and UV rays can accelerate the oxidation process of latex and may cause it to:

  • dry out
  • flake
  • crack
  • get discoloured.

Can I Steam Clean Latex Mattress?

Like sun drying, steam cleaning can prematurely degrade your latex mattress. 

An experiment conducted showed natural rubber starts degrading at 350°C temperature. And steam cleaners can go up to this temperature.

So, to avoid damaging your latex mattress, please save the steam cleaner for your carpet only.

How to Properly Dry a Wet Latex Mattress?

If you can’t sundry or steam clean a latex mattress, how should you dry a wet latex mattress properly? Here are our top methods:

How to air-dry your mattress without sunlight?

You can still air dry your latex mattress but keep it away from direct sunlight. If you have a shaded patio, garden, or garage, you can place the latex mattress here for a few hours.

Direct an electric fan on your mattress.

If the sun is nowhere in sight, use a fan to dry out your mattress.

For latex mattresses, using a hairdryer is not recommended, especially with a hot setting. As mentioned, extreme heat can damage the latex mattress.

Use baking soda to absorb moisture.

Baking soda can absorb moisture on the mattress surface. To do this,

  • Sprinkle the baking soda on the moist latex mattress surface.
  • Leave it for about an hour or longer to let the baking soda soak up moisture.
  • Pat the baking soda off the latex mattress.

Do’s and Don’ts in Maintaining a Latex Mattress

Image source: Heveya

Do spot clean any stain or spill immediately.

Latex mattresses are not entirely waterproof, even though they’re made from rubber.

They have tiny pores like memory foam, where moisture can seep when a spillage is not immediately tended.

Remember that any moisture can encourage mould growth.

With the methods discussed, most yellow or brown stains will come off and help to prolong your latex mattress life.

Do vacuum clean regularly.

Latex mattresses are known to be dust and dust mites resistant. The dense structure of latex mattresses makes it impossible for small dirt to penetrate.

But what about your mattress cover? Dirt can still build up on the mattress cover and its creases. To maintain an allergen-free bed, light vacuum clean every week.

Do use a mattress protector.

Aside from the mattress cover that comes with the latex mattress, using a mattress protector is encouraged, especially if it’s waterproof. This prevents the spills and staining that can penetrate the latex mattress and mattress cover, taking time to clean.

Choose waterproof mattress protectors and machine washable ones like this one for easy cleaning in case of spills.

According to the manufacturer’s guide, flip, rotate or re-arrange latex mattresses.

Check with the care guide on the recommended frequency of flipping and rotating your latex mattress. Flipping and rotating are not necessary on some latex mattresses because some mattresses are one-sided while others are double-sided.

If you own a one-sided latex mattress, rotate it every 6 months. If your mattress is double-sided, include a flip of your mattress every 6 months. In any case, the image above can guide you in rotating and flipping your latex mattress.

latex mattress with different sized internal layers
Image source: Foam Source

Don’ts

Don’t machine wash your mattress cover.

Latex mattresses usually come with a mattress cover like this mattress from Sealy. Mattress covers like this are quilted, which means padding between the fabrics provides additional comfort. Therefore machine washing and tumble drying can cause shrinking of the material, permanently damaging it.

For spills and stains, follow the above methods to clean the mattress cover without damaging the material.

You can also leave the cleaning to professional cleaners who can ensure proper cleaning methods for different fabrics.

Don’t expose your latex mattress to extreme heat.

Extreme heat and intense UV rays can damage the latex foam by accelerating oxidation. Heat will cause it to dry out, flake, and crack. So, you’ll want to stay away from

  • direct sunlight
  • steam cleaner
  • hot hairdryers
  • heating pads
  • heating blankets

Don’t block the underside of the latex mattress.

Some latex mattresses are structured with air channels for maximum air ventilation. But if your latex mattress doesn’t have one, consider using a slat bed frame for better mattress breathability.

Your mattress usually comes with instructions for the best bed foundation to use with it. This also helps you stay within the warranty guidelines.

You have to consider maximum airflow within the mattress to avoid having a moist and humid environment where mould can foster.

Don’t use strong chemicals for cleaning.

When cleaning a latex mattress, you should only use mild products like natural detergents and baking soda.

Steer clear of using cleaners with strong chemicals like benzyl alcohol, chlorine, or bleach. These speed up the deterioration of your latex mattress.

How to Clean Mould Out of A Latex Mattress?

The truth about moulds is that they are survivors. If the environment allows it, mould will grow. Mould needs moisture, humidity, and darkness to thrive. So if your sleep environment has them all, forget what your mattress brand and salesperson say. Mould can and will grow.

Here are some situations that promote mould growth:

  • The wooden bed platform being wet
  • A solid bed foundation allowing no airflow
  • Spills or liquid accidents unattended

If the mould growth isn’t deep into the mattress, you might be able to save that mattress using the mild detergent and cold water method we shared earlier.

Remember that we have to avoid using cleaners with strong chemicals like benzyl alcohol, chlorine, or bleach in cleaning a latex mattress.

How Long Should You Keep a Latex Mattress?

Latex mattress brands like Latex Sense and  Eco Terra offer a 15-year warranty on their mattresses. In contrast, some brands like Ghost Bed and Latex for Less provide a 20-year warranty. They’ve designed their latex mattress to last this long, as long as you keep your side of the bargain by following their care guidelines.

Signs that Your Latex Mattress Needs Replacing

The warranty period of latex mattresses only provides a rough estimate of the mattress’s lifespan. But in cases where the mattress is heavily used or not taken care of, the lifespan of a latex mattress may reduce. Your latex mattress needs replacing if:

  • Deteriorating material – As mentioned, extreme heat and UV rays exposure can cause degradation of the latex material. I’m yet to lay eyes on a deteriorating latex mattress. Still, we expect it to be the same as an old rubber that has dried out, cracked and discoloured.

dry latex mattress surface with hundreds of cracks
Image source: Dreamstime
  • Sagging – Sagging is less likely on a latex mattress than on a foam mattress. But heavy wear and tear can do this to any mattress. If this has happened to you, it’s a sign to replace your mattress.
  • Mould infestation – Although we’ve mentioned that latex is naturally antimicrobial, latex foam has a porous structure like traditional foam.
    • This means moisture can still penetrate into the mattress in extreme situations, i.e. natural disasters or water-related home accidents.
    • If you suspect mould infestation deep within the mattress, prioritise your health and replace the mattress.

Takeaway

Latex mattresses are made up of natural materials that should be cleaned with care to avoid damage to the material. In cleaning a latex mattress, harsh cleaners like bleach should be avoided. Opt for mild and eco-friendly cleaners like baking soda, vinegar, mild detergent, and natural enzyme cleaners.

Extreme heat can also damage and dry out the latex material. Avoid exposure to direct sunlight and use heated appliances on latex mattresses.

Latex mattresses can last up to 20 years. Still, your latex mattress might need replacing if you can see signs including deterioration, sagging, and mould infestation.

Sources:

https://allergomedik.com/en/allergies-and-dust-mites-statistics

McCay, S., & Mahlberg, P. (1973). Study of antibacterial activity and bacteriology of latex from Asclepias syriaca L. Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy3(2), 247–253. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC444395/

National Research Council (US) Committee on Acute Exposure Guideline Levels. Acute Exposure Guideline Levels for Selected Airborne Chemicals: Volume 6. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2008. 2, Ammonia Acute Exposure Guideline Levels. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK207883/

Weiner, I. D., Mitch, W. E., & Sands, J. M. (2015). Urea and Ammonia Metabolism and the Control of Renal Nitrogen Excretion. Clinical journal of the American Society of Nephrology : CJASN10(8), 1444–1458. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4527031/

Examining the Effect of UV on Latex and Nitrile Glove Degradation

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AUTHOR

Max S

Chief Editor here at The Sleep Checklist. Suffered from a seemingly infinite knot in my thoracic area (between the spine and shoulder blade) due to my lifelong side sleeping habits. With my girlfriend, we look to provide the most relevant and best mattress advice.