Your guide to mattress maintenance

keep your bedding crisp and clean
Mattress careArtjafara - Getty Images

We all know how important getting a good night's sleep is for our health, but it's something that many of us struggle to do. Around one in five people in the UK aren't getting enough sleep, according to Mental Health UK.

Regular exercise, avoiding caffeine late in the day and limiting screen time before bed can all help you improve your sleep quality, but another factor is your mattress. A quality mattress is worth investing in and, once you have it, it's important to take care of it so that you continue to reap the benefits.

If you're unsure of how to take care of your mattress, here's what you need to know.

1. Check if your mattress should be turned

Contrary to popular belief, not all mattresses should be turned over; it all depends on the type of mattress you have.

Generally speaking, you should turn sprung mattresses over and rotate them through 180° every week for the first three months, then once every three or four months. However, memory foam and gel foam mattresses should be rotated end to end weekly at first, then once every few months but never turned over.

The only way to be sure you're getting it right – and getting the most from your mattress – is to check the manufacturer's care guide.

GHI Tip: Dust mites love the bedroom. There are estimated to be around two million dust mites in the average mattress. You can help to keep them at bay by washing bed linen at least once each week, at 60°C or higher. They're also fond of humidity, so leave a window open at night and air the room in the morning.

2. Vacuum every month

Use a very low suction suction and the upholstery tool for this job. Pay particular attention to areas such as underneath buttons and along piping — you'll be horrified by the amount of dust and fluff that can accumulate there!

keep your bedding crisp and clean
Photographer, Basak Gurbuz Derman - Getty Images

3. Know when to replace your mattress

According to the National Bed Federation, you should be replacing your mattress every seven years, but you're not alone if you've broken this rule! Research by show that half of us keep them going for at least 10 years. One in five people even said they’d never replace their mattress unless it was completely unusable.

There are some telltale signs, however, that it's time to trade in your mattress for a newer model – for example, if you answer yes to one of more of the below:

  • You wake up with stiffness, numbness, aches and pains

  • You realise you got a better night’s sleep somewhere other than your own bed (such as at a hotel)

  • Your mattress shows visible signs of overuse (it sags, has visible tearing, ripping, holes, staining or damage)

  • You are usually tired despite getting a full night's sleep

  • Your mattress is seven years old or older

GHI Tip: Buy a mattress protector, which helps protect the mattress's surface, and can be removed to wash every couple of months.

keep bedding crisp and clean
Cavan Images

4. Deal with spills and stains promptly

The study revealed that 11% would leave it as long as six months before cleaning their mattress. However, dried stains are difficult to remove, so we recommend you deal with them straight away.

You should always refer to the manufacturer's care guide before cleaning your mattress, but as a general rule of thumb:

  1. Tip the mattress on its side and sponge with cold water, but don't over-wet it!

  2. Blot thoroughly and spot-treat with carpet or upholstery shampoo.

  3. Rinse and blot dry.

For urine or other stinky stains, add a few drops of disinfectant to the rinsing water. Persistent odours can sometimes be eliminated by sprinkling bicarbonate of soda over the affected area (just make sure it's completely dry before you so this), leaving it for a few hours, then vacuuming it off.

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