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A Cleaner Night's Sleep: 5 Steps to Deep-Cleaning Your Mattress

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Last week, we were all about cleaning your pillows, but this week we’re diving deeper with an easy 5-step guide to deep-cleaning your mattress.

You spend about a third of your life on your mattress – when was the last time you gave it a good, deep clean? Your sofa probably sees the bristles of a vacuum cleaner more often. Besides a more pleasant and productive night’s sleep, a clean and well-cared for mattress can last longer and can help prevent nasty (and costly) pest infestations.

The conventional wisdom, back when most mattresses could be flipped over, was that you’d turn your mattress twice per year, and take that as an opportunity to clean it. These days, most mattresses, including the pillow-top variety, have a proper top and bottom and are unable to be flipped. However, cleaning it twice a year is still a good rule of thumb. Our list of five steps for a deep clean will make you sleep easier and cleaner.


Start the cleaning process by stripping the bed of all sheets, pillows, and bedding, and toss the appropriate items in the wash. To remove tough stains, use Nellie’s Oxygen Brightener or the WOW Stick. Be sure to wash and dry on high heat if possible to ensure a truly deep clean.


Vacuum your entire mattress surface with your vacuum cleaner’s upholstery attachment. Pay special attention to seams and crevices where dirt, dust, dead skin, and other gross things can gather.


When you’re finished vacuuming, check for stains and spot treat them with the Nellie’s WOW Stick.


Next, deodorize by sprinkling Nellie’s Laundry Soda over the entire surface of your mattress with a sifter. If this is your first cleaning, sprinkle lots! For best results, leave the Laundry Soda there for 6 or more hours. If you can place the mattress near a window, the sunlight will add to its sanitizing power.


After you’ve tackled any odors, go back over the mattress with your vacuum’s upholstery attachment. If you don’t already have a mattress cover, we’d recommend buying one. Adding a mattress pad between the cover and bottom sheet will help absorb any moisture. Along with the periodic deep cleaning, the extra layers of protection will help prevent mites, fleas, and other unwanted bed guests. Now that should really help you sleep tight!

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Your Pillows Need Some Love Too

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They support your head while you sleep, and they’re a key player in a polished-looking bed – but when compared to bigger bedroom pieces, pillows can seem insignificant. So even if you’re the type who regularly deep cleans the house, it’s easy to forget about cleaning your pillows. You’re probably washing your sheets and pillowcases on a regular basis, but let’s face it – those fluffy, feather-filled sacks (which absorb oils from your hair and skin!) also need some TLC. Keep in mind that not all pillows can be cleaned the same way – down and feather-filled ones require different methods than the decorative accent pillows you have around your home. It’s not laborious or time-consuming – just follow our tips and tricks for foolproof pillow cleaning that will leave them looking like new! While we’re at it, we’ll throw in some good tips for cleaning your pillowcases too.



Both down and feather-filled pillows can be machine washed on a delicate cycle and then placed in the dryer to tumble dry. However, make sure they’re completely dry to prevent the feathers from producing mildew. We also recommend leaving the pillows out near a window or warm radiator for a few hours before returning them to the bed, just to be certain that the interior filling is completely dried out. This goes for travel pillows too! Their synthetic stuffing tends to create mildew if left damp inside the pillowcase, so only wash the pillow if completely necessary (like you spilled your in-flight drink on it). Otherwise, you should be fine with a simple refresh.


Vodka – it's not just for Moscow Mules! You only need to wash your pillows every six months to a year, and vodka is a quick-drying sanitizer so it's perfect for giving your pillows a refresh when you're changing the sheets. Simply fill a spray bottle with vodka, spritz your pillows, and let dry. These will dry faster than when you do a deep clean, so you’re not risking the chance of mildew.


For more decorative pillows (like those on your sofa or guest bed), they should be spot cleaned as needed, but the appropriate cleaning technique depends on the type of material each is made of. Since these pillows often have appliques and fabric that should not be machine washed, spot removal is the way to go.

Try using Nellie’s All-Natural WOW Stick to lift stains out of the fabric by rubbing the WOW Stick on the stained area, and then agitate the stain under water. Let air dry.


When it comes to washing pillowcases, we suggest a weekly (and perhaps twice-weekly during the hot summer months) machine wash with Nellie's All-Natural Laundry Soda. If your cases are made of cotton, flannel, synthetic, bamboo, or modal, wash them in hot water. If your pillowcases are linen, silk, or sateen-weave cotton, choose the gentle cycle and a cold-water wash. For both, dry on the low setting with your Nellie's Lamby Wool Dryerballs.

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