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How to steam a mattress

Updated February 21, 2017

Whether you're donating your mattress or simply wish to remove odours and bacteria from your current mattress, steaming this item helps remove unwanted odour and germs. Steam cleaning not only eliminates odours, but also kills germsa that cause illness, as well as mites, bed bugs and other small pests. Mattress steam cleaning must be carefully done to ensure mould does not grow on moist fabrics.

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  1. Position the mattress so it is leaning against a wall. Do not steam clean a mattress while it is lying horizontally on its bed frame or floor.

  2. Turn on the steam cleaner and wait for the steam to be produced. Test for the correct amount of steam by running the steamer across a bed sheet. If the sheet is drenched with water after a quick run-over, reduce the amount of steam produced by the cleaner. If the sheet is fairly dry, increase the amount of steam produced. You want the sheet to be slightly damp.

  3. Move the steam cleaner over the mattress slowly in a horizontal or vertical manner, whichever is more comfortable, in a left-to-right or up-and-down motion. Continue to use the same motion throughout the cleaning process to ensure the deepest clean possible. For example, if you're cleaning the mattress with a left-to-right motion do not switch to an up-and-down motion halfway through the cleaning process.

  4. Turn the mattress and clean the opposite side. This is very important if you're donating the mattress or you've just purchased a used mattress, as this ensures all bacteria and dust mites are removed or killed.

  5. Remove excess moisture from the mattress by using a water-safe vacuum cleaner, such as a shop vac, on both sides of the mattress.

  6. Place a fan directly in front of the mattress. Mildew can quickly develop on a moist mattress; a box fan expedites the drying process, which reduces the risk of mildew growth. Allow the fan to dry one side of the mattress for 30 minutes before turning over the mattress to dry the other side. Repeat this cycle of 30-minute drying for each side until the entire mattress is dry.

  7. Tip

    For extreme odours or stains, manually clean the mattress using a fabric cleaner and a sponge on the mattress prior to using a steamer. Scrub stains in a circular motion for two minutes.


    Locations with high humidity may require longer drying times in front of the fan, as air moisture can prevent the mattress from drying effectively.

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Things You'll Need

  • Steam cleaner
  • Bed sheet
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Box fan

About the Author

Jonathan McLelland

Jonathan McLelland has been a professional writer since 2005. He has worked as a story writer and editor for the international sitcom, “Completing Kaden,” as well as a proposal writer for various production companies. McLelland studied communication and theater at St. Louis Community College.

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