5 On Your Side

Keep your bed at its cleanest with these tips

Posted May 1
Updated May 8

— Several routine cleaning tips and some surprising everyday items can help you keep your bed at its cleanest.

Just like bathrooms, kitchens and other living areas, bedrooms need a deep cleaning. We spend a third of their lives in bed, so it makes sense to keep it as fresh as possible. That starts with periodically cleaning your pillows and mattress to removes dust mites, dirt and other allergens.

Most bed and mattress cleaning tips involve things – and products – people have probably never thought about using.

Experts recommend using your vacuum's upholstery or crevice attachment when tackling your mattress. After you vacuum, deodorize by sprinkling a one pound box of baking soda over the entire surface of the mattress.

"We recommend leaving it there for about 24 hours, so, before you start this, you'll want to make sure you've made other sleeping arrangements for the night," said bed expert Sara Morrow.

Pillow are a different story -- experts recommend fluffing them every day to help them keep their shape and remove any dust. Once a month, run them through the dryer on the no-heat cycle or hang them outside on a breezy, sunny day.

According to Morrow, some pillows can be washed while others can't. "Memory foam and latex are two that you shouldn't wash because they're extremely difficult to dry thoroughly," she said. "Instead, just spot treat any stains with a damp cloth and mild detergent."

To clean feather or down pillows, submerge them in warm water and a small amount of powder detergent and knead gently. Press out the extra water, and roll the pillow in a towel to dry. You can also use the no-air or air-dry setting of a dryer.

"Just be patient, because it can take hours for pillows to completely dry," said Morrow. "We want a completely dry pillow to prevent any mold or mildew."

Adding a couple of towels to the load can speed up the drying, and, while the sound can be annoying, a clean tennis ball or two can keep the pillows from clumping in the dryer.

Other recommendations assert that pillows and comforters should be washed twice a year, sheets should be washed once a week and pillowcases should be washed every few days.

For more tips, check out Consumer Reports' guide to keeping a clean mattress.

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