It depends on what you are trying to clean up. If it does not have any stains, then you can vacuum it. Make sure you vacuum both the mattress and the box spring if you have one. Also you should turn and flip your mattress every three months to allow for even wear – and that’s a good time to vacuum. You can freshen up the mattress by sprinkling on a small amount of baking soda and letting it sit about 30 minutes and then vacuum.
If there are stains, you need to be careful cleaning them, as you do not want to saturate the mattress with water which could allow mold to grow. You only want to use a small amount of cold water with a mild detergent to clean up the stain. Make sure the mattress is totally dry before putting sheets back on.
The article below also suggests covering the mattress with a washable cover so that it needs cleaning less often and using an upholstery shampoo, making sure to follow the directions exactly.
Mattresses can be vacuumed, which prevents particles from becoming stains in the event that it gets wet. Stains can be cleaned with upholstery cleaner, as they are mild enough to clean fabrics that come in close contact with your skin. Stains caused by bodily fluids can be cleaned with an enzyme-based cleaner, or one of the more particular methods described in the link below, which has a way out of every mattress stain scenario.
As other respondents have mentioned, vacuuming the mattress is a good maintenance tool to keep it clean and prevent it from getting full of dust and other particles. The site below also recommends using mattress covers for easier cleaning, and using chlorine bleach to wash the covers (if the care label says it is okay; some materials should not be washed in bleach) in order to kill germs and help take care of the material. I have also heard that airing out mattresses in a sunny, well-ventilated area for a few days (perhaps even propping it up outside if you know the weather will be good) can help air out odors.
The best way is to protect the mattress from dust, dirt or liquid spills. For protecting your it from dust, dirt and mites, you can use a waterproof mattress pad or a mattress protector.
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