A new mattress is a big purchase that — under ideal circumstances — will provide you with years of use. One of the best things you can do to ensure the longevity of your mattress is to keep it clean. Many people don’t often think of a mattress as something that needs regular maintenance. Given that it is something that sees daily use — and that the average person sweats out up to half a pint of perspiration each night — regular cleaning can be essential in preventing smells and stains from building up.

Cleaning a mattress is an easy task if you know a few basics. Here’s a quick guide to some easy ways to ensure your new mattress stays clean and functional for years to come.

Basic Cleaning:

The first step in keeping your mattress clean is to regularly vacuum it and take care of any stains or spotting. Vacuuming your mattress removes the dead skin, hair and other debris that accumulates each night. Even when it’s not visible to the naked eye, these irritants can trigger allergies, asthma and other respiratory problems — compromising the quality of sleep you receive each night. Take a few minutes to regularly vacuum your mattress using an upholstery brush attachment.

You’ll also likely notice a few stains on your mattress, most of which are due to sweat. When cleaning a mattress, use as little water as possible to prevent mold from building up. Spot cleaning can be done with a combination of salt, baking soda and water. Make a paste of this mixture, apply it directly to the stain and let it sit for 30 minutes before using a damp cloth to dab it up. Other effective stain removers include liquid dish soap, lemon juice and salt, and non-toxic commercial cleaners. Some trial-and-error may be necessary to determine which combination is best for your mattress.
Deodorizing and Deep Cleaning:

The best way to clean your mattress is with a combination of surface treatment and deep cleaning. You can deodorize mattresses by sifting a layer of baking soda on top of them, letting that layer sit for 30 minutes, then vacuuming it up.

Your mattress will also benefit from periodic airing out — if you are able to place it in direct sunlight, the UV rays will help eliminate bacteria. If not, any amount of fresh air is still useful for preventing smells and mildew from accumulating. Certain mattresses can be steam cleaned, though it’s recommended you check with the manufacturer first and allow sufficient drying time after the fact to prevent mold.

Investing in a breathable, machine-washable cover is a great way to keep your mattress clean without a lot of hassle. Ultimately, the more care you take with your mattress, the longer it will provide you with a calm, restful sleep.