Care & Maintenance of Mattresses from an Ex-Mattress Salesperson - Includes Tips for a Deep, Sound Sleep!
The best way to keep any new mattress clean is to not let it get dirty to begin with. Mattress Protectors are essential for keeping a mattress clean & fresh for YEARS.
When we removed old mattresses from homes, there was always a considerable difference in ickyness-factors between the mattresses that had obviously been taken care of by being covered with a simple mattress protection barrier, and the ones that had not been protected.
There is also another good reason to protect your mattress with a good protector: a mattress manufacturer will not honor a mattress warranty if there is a stain on it. You see MANY angry customer comments about this around the web.
You should buy the Mattress Protector that the store you are buying your new mattress from will try to sell to you along with the bed. Usually, they are recommending this particular protector because they believe it works.
Believe it or not (I've been accused of this many times), the store is NOT trying to sell you this protector just to get you to spend more money - although there can certainly be a considerable difference in pricing from one store to another on how much they charge for this (sometimes same) recommended mattress protector.
This mattress protector has more to do with the eventuality of you possibly taking advantage of a return/exchange; because they are confident that it will keep a new mattress relatively clean and still 'newish' for the next customer.
Dust Mites - ICK!
But, here's a disgusting factoid for you: the weight of a typical mattress will supposedly DOUBLE in ten years IF you don't keep dust mites from wanting to live in it.
And, it isn't just the mites, its their waste that can contribute to things like asthma and difficulty breathing, in general. If you keep a barrier on that keeps your dead skin cells from settling into the mattress - mites won't have anything to eat. They won't want to live there even if they manage to wiggle their way into it.
Mattress protectors also need a waterproof barrier (that breathes) to prevent spills and that liter of water most of us sweat out every night from soaking into the mattress.
You should wash a mattress protector at least as often as you wash blankets and/or bedspreads. However, you probably don't want to wash them as often as you change sheets - because the washing/drying process will break fabrics down, faster (including bedspreads).
When I was younger, I used to work at a popular motel chain. The rule was that we changed sheets every day on beds that were used (of course); but bedclothes such as protectors, blankets and bedspreads were washed no more than once every 6-8 weeks - unless something had gotten spilled on them. Certainly you can and maybe should wash them a little more often if you're not worrying about profit margins like a motel chain. ;)
If you keep a mattress covered with a good protector; it will often still look new (if a little out of shape) by the time it finally needs to be replaced. In that eventuality, you don't mind handing it off to someone else who might need a starter mattress.
BED BUGS are a huge concern, especially in apartment buildings and dormitories across America and the rest of the World.
Bed bugs need to be eliminated as soon as you know you have them.
The problem with people living in close quarters to each other; is that many times, people will call pest control THEMSELVES to eliminate these critters without telling anyone because they are embarrassed to reveal such a seemingly unclean situation.
HOWEVER, you do not need to live in filthy quarters for bed bug guests to infiltrate your bedroom. They move easily from one duffel bag to another for college students, and with people moving into a new apartment from another one that has been infested with them.
Sometimes, you can even pick them up in a hotel room on a trip.
When ONE apartment is treated for bed bug control, they simply move into the adjacent apartments next to it - then your neighbors (probably most if not all of them) suddenly have bed bugs to deal with, too.
But, if they can PINPOINT the origin of where these bugs START from - they can keep them from from spreading throughout the rest of the building.
Incidentally, a lot of pest control places won't say anything to you about this, because it's a whole lot more money for them if they get to come back and do the whole building, later.
Of course, there are honest agents out there - but even then, a lot of customers just want to keep things hush-hush and take their chances.
The bottom line is, they'll do whatever you're willing to pay them to do.
This has become such a problem in some places, that some apartment managers are requiring people to have their mattresses covered with a zippered bed bug proof cover before they can move in.
Just be smart about it... Let the building manager know so that they can make sure they don't spread if a bed bug problem comes up.
If you get bed bugs and you can't or don't want to get rid of your bed for whatever reason, cover it in a bed bug proof encasement. If you keep it covered for at least a year, the bugs will die (yes, it can take that long for adult bed bugs). Then you can vacuum it off and return your bedclothes to normal if you want to.
Cleaning a Mattress
Getting rid of an old stain is relatively easy - a mix of one 16oz bottle of peroxide and 1/4 cup of baking soda swirled together (not shaken) into a spray bottle. Then spray immediately onto the stain and watch disappear after about 15 minutes like the yellow stains on your teeth. Yeah, it's the same trick; but the chemical reaction also only lasts about that long - so spray fast and allow to dry thoroughly.
If you've got a mattress that hasn't had a protector on it for awhile - go ahead and vacuum it. While this won't eliminate every dust mite or dander build-up on your mattress, it will do a lot to get rid of most of it.
However, spills and such do happen... Deal with it immediately with WATER - just water. This also works well for carpet stains. With a mattress, don't thoroughly soak it, but do use a generous amount and be aware that you are going to NEED to give it time to dry THOROUGHLY afterwards.
You do not want mold to happen - use a hairdryer on the mattress after you have soaked the stain up/out with paper towels or whatever. And leave it sit out uncovered to dry thoroughly through for awhile - maybe all day while you're at work.
If you're dealing with a stinky stain like cat urine - add a tiny bit of laundry detergent (vinegar supposedly works, too) to help cut the smell and/or use something like Febreeze for fabrics after it's dry.
One of the most important things to do in order to maintain as long of a life as possible for a new mattress is to ROTATE it seasonally - four times a year.
If you have a double-sided mattress, you need to rotate every time and flip every other time.
This often get neglected, but it is essential for preventing uneven wear from happening too fast - especially for partners with considerable weight differences.
Also, like I've said before - try to remember to roll around across the foam from top to bottom from time to time and sleep in the center every once in a while. This will help compressing foam fluff back up a bit.
If you've got a mattress with significant dips & valleys, flip the whole thing upside down when you go on vacation. Gravity actually does wonders for helping to work out those dips.
While you may lose a little bit of cush on top because of the looser foam layers compressing - it isn't usually much of a noticeable difference, and they will fluff back up a bit after time, when you turn it upright.
You don't usually sleep on the parts of the foam that doesn't compress, anyway.
How to Get a Good, Deep, Sound Sleep Out of Your New Mattress
A deep, relaxing sleep that supports healthy body-rejuvenation often needs more than just a good mattress!
As I've said before, pillows play a very important roll in being able to sleep well - and they depend a lot on how much cush your mattress has on top of it already. Test them out if you can find a mattress store that has the option to do that.
Most pillows are seriously lacking in neck support. This is why so many of us prefer a Down pillow, because they are easy to punch into the shape you need and then redo that when you need to, ha!
Here's a reminder about pillows.
Sleep Style Pillow Recommendations
Plush w/ Firm Support
Thin w/ Neck Support
Soft Top w/ Firm Support
Depends - with GOOD neck support to keep weight off shoulder.
Plush w/ Firm Support
Not too thick w/ good neck support.
Does every little bump in the night wake you? I have a fan in my bedroom that goes on every night throughout the entire year for 'white noise' - Summer through Winter - just to keep my kitties (who sometimes decide that the middle of the night is the best time to play) from waking me up so often.
This also works well for couples who work different shifts and/or need to sleep during the day.
There are all kinds of different noise-reducing products on the market. Another one of my favorite things that gets turned on every night is this humidifier. Not only does it add moisture to the air - it cleans it, and you can add Essential Oils like Lavender or Rose (I like Lilac) that may also help you sleep.
Sleep Temperature Regulation
It is so uncomfortable to sleep either too hot or too cold. It makes it difficult for your body to relax - especially for women going through menopause with hot flashes.
All Mattress Sizes Available
I haven't tried this product, but I had a customer who did and raved about it. She said she had tried everything from 'cooling sheets' to 'cool gel' toppers, and she finally found relief with this ChiliPad. (She only got the Twin XL size to put on her side of their King-size bed.)
The only thing she didn't like was the price; but she also said it was worth it for the relief she felt while sleeping because you can adjust the temperature during the night. While it isn't an instantaneous adjustment - it was enough to make a big difference for her to sleep.
There are many 'cooling' products out there on the market for sleep comfort. Shop around to see if there's something out there that might work for you.
Cut All The Light
Most people don't realize how much that sliver of light streaming through the crack in the drapes can be a major factor in the quality of their sleep. Try cutting off all the light in your bedroom at night for a week or two - do you notice a difference?
There are light-blocking curtains, get yourself some and fix those light holes.
Make Your Bedroom Personal & Cozy!
Lighting, sound, touch, atmosphere - is it relaxing and/or romantic? This your personal space even if you share it with your significant other. Make it a haven for both of you that inspires feelings for solace, conversation, sleep AND sex. (Yes, this is very important and we all know it!)
Other Mattress Buying Articles from this Author
- How to Test, Choose & Buy the BEST Mattress for Your Body: Real Information from a Mattress Sale
Online research can lead to information overload - Innerspring construction, Memory Foam, Latex, Organic. So many hyped options, but how do you test to know what mattress is right for you? Part 1 of 4
- How to Test a New Mattress to See if it is Right for Your Body to Sleep Healthy - Part 2 of 4
Buying a new mattress: How to test for correct support, back alignment and sleep comfort for your personal body to have the deepest sleep. The best type of mattress for tummy, side and back sleepers.
- What About Buying an Organic and/or Eco-Friendly Mattress Due to Off-gassing Concerns?
Toxic chemical & 'offgassing' health concerns can scare mattress consumers. How mattress customers can spot the difference between real information and sales pitches that play on their consumer fears. Part 3 of 4
- What Different Types of Mattress Options are Available? Which Ones are Best and Why?
Innerspring, foam, memory foam, gel memory foam, latex, latex hybrids, natural & organic mattresses - offgassing, bad backs, sleepless nights - which ones are worth buying and what to watch out for. Part 4 of 4
- Explaining Why a Memory Foam Mattress is NOT the 'Best Mattress' nor Good for a Bad Back
Exposing both the good things about Tempur-Pedic-type Memory Foam mattresses, and their misconceptions surrounding pressure point relief & body support - by a former mattress sales expert.
- Shopping for a New Mattress for a Child
How to buy a new mattress for children. Some parents over-care, others don't care nearly enough. Here are some boundaries and buying guidelines for toddlers to teenagers from a mattress sales expert.
- Different Types of Mattress Foundations - How to Choose
What are the different types of mattress foundations to consider, and what should you be aware of when making a decision. Also includes TIPS for a SOUND SLEEP, and mattress care & maintenance.
© 2013 Catherine Mostly