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How to fumigate a mattress

Updated September 27, 2018

Dust, dust mites, bed bugs and debris like dead skin cells can collect on a mattress. Fumigating the mattress will remove all foreign materials and bugs. Dust mites cause allergic reactions in many homeowners and must be removed. A routine cleaning every three months, including vacuuming and steaming, will keep bedding free of allergens and pests.

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  1. Remove all bedding from the mattress and wash it in hot water immediately.

  2. Vacuum the mattress with a vacuum cleaner, using the crevice attachment. Start at one corner of the mattress and work in a 2-foot section across to the other side. Continue vacuuming until the entire mattress is clean. Flip the mattress over and clean the other side in the same manner. Clean around all four sides with the vacuum.

  3. Clean deep into the mattress fibres, using a steam cleaner. Steam the entire mattress on both sides and on the edges by cleaning edge to edge in 2-foot sections.

  4. Mix ½ cup of borax in a gallon of water in a bucket. Pour the solution into a spray bottle and spray the mattress on both sides and the edges until the entire mattress is damp.

  5. Move the mattress outside and lean it against the house or a garage wall in the sun. Let the mattress dry completely.

  6. Replace the mattress on the bed and make the bed with fresh bedding.

  7. Tip

    To remove all traces of bed bugs, fleas, and debris, treat the edges of the mattress around the seams on the top and bottom. Pests tend to migrate to indentations on a mattress. Pay special attention to the areas of buttons and seams on a mattress when they are concave so that all cleaning penetrates deeper in these areas.


    Do not use pesticides on bedding as they can cause trouble breathing for infants, the elderly, asthmatics and even healthy humans.

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Things You'll Need

  • Vacuum cleaner with attachments
  • Hand-held steam cleaner
  • Borax
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Spray bottle

About the Author

Mary Lougee has been writing for over 10 years. She holds a Bachelor's Degree with a major in Management and a double minor in accounting and computer science. She loves writing about careers for busy families as well as family oriented planning, meals and activities for all ages.

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