Determining effective strategies for thoroughly cleaning your bedroom probably isn’t the kind of thing keeping you up at night. But maybe it should be. Because this all-important room in your home gets seriously gunky. And even though you spend roughly a third of your life there, the bedroom likely lingers low on your list of housekeeping priorities—all of which means this restful oasis is the secret hog pit of your home.
Grossed out yet? Look no further than our House Cleaning Guide on how to clean a bedroom right. To find out which areas need cleaning most—and the best way to make them immaculate—we interviewed professional housecleaners to get their insider tips on how to give this room the thorough cleaning it deserves. Read on to rest a little easier.
How to clean a mattress
Your mattress is ground zero. After all, you spend a lot of time there sleeping, snuggling with significant others, maybe even scarfing down late-night snacks. But that’s all OK, provided you know how to clean the darn thing.
After removing all sheets and bedding, break out your vacuum cleaner. Attach the hand-held extension, then run it across the entire mattress surface, paying special attention to seams and crevices, which is where dirt, dust, and tiny particles of dead skin (eww) collect.
To remove stains, spot clean them with a solution of 1 teaspoon mild dish detergent and 1 cup warm water. Next, sprinkle a layer of baking soda over the mattress to deodorize and sanitize it, and let it sit for a half-hour before you break out your Dyson again to vacuum it all up.
To keep your mattress in good shape, flip it periodically if it’s a two-sided mattress, says Debbie Sardone, president of SpeedCleaning.com. (Do not flip a pillow-top mattress.)
Studies also show that rotating a mattress every six months can extend its life span and prevent sagging. Here’s more on how to clean a mattress.
How to clean a mattress pad
Mattress pads come in an assortment of materials, including cotton, down, vinyl-backed, foam, and egg crate—and cleaning methods vary accordingly. In general, cotton, down, and vinyl-backed mattress pads can go in the washing machine using cold water and a mild detergent. Foam and egg crate pads, meanwhile, are more delicate and can tear if put in the washing machine; therefore, it’s best to spot clean them with a solution made from equal parts water, distilled white vinegar, and lemon juice, says green cleaning expert Leslie Reichert.
How to clean pillows
When’s the last time you washed your pillows? If you can’t remember, it’s time to get cracking. Bed pillows should be washed every three to six months, because fungi and allergy-causing dust mites can collect in them over time, and “you don’t want sneezing fits or breathing problems at night,” says Beth McGee, author of “Get Your House Clean Now: The Home Cleaning Method Anyone Can Master.”
Most pillows can be machine-washed, but check the label first for instructions. You’ll usually want to use the gentle cycle on your machine, hot water, and liquid detergent. Depending on the size of the machine, you can probably wash two regular-size pillows together to balance the load (king-size ones should go one at a time). To dry, throw pillows in the dryer with two clean tennis balls and a fabric softener sheet on medium heat. When you take them out, the pillows should be nice and fluffy.
How to clean down pillows and duvets
If you have down or feather in your pillows or duvet, these can also go in a washing machine—just make sure to use a mild detergent like Woolite, since a stronger one will strip the feathers of their natural coating, which is what makes them such amazing insulators. Then put them in the dryer with a couple of tennis balls on moderate heat until dry.
How to clean bedsheets and blankets
How frequently you should wash bedsheets really boils down to personal preference, says Sardone.
“Some people like the fresh, clean feel of weekly washing, [while] others think every other week is sufficient,” she says. “Both are perfectly acceptable.”
In either case, you’ll want to dry on low heat, since high drying temperatures can cause wrinkling and shrinking. Blankets can be cleaned less often, perhaps every few months.
How to clean curtains
Cleaning treatments for curtains vary depending on the fabric, so check the label first. If they’re machine-washable, use the gentle cycle, cool or lukewarm water, and mild detergent; then, hang on a clothesline to dry, or put them in a clothes dryer on a no-heat or delicate setting. Do that once or twice a year. Then, for routine cleaning, you can use a vacuum to remove dust, says McGee.
Pro tip: Set the vacuum cleaner for reduced suction so you don’t draw the fabric into the nozzle.
How to clean blinds
Blinds can be tricky to clean with all those slats, but one easy hack is to grab a pair of old socks and place them over your hands. Dip your mitts in a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water, then run your hands over your blinds from top to bottom, making sure the blinds are completely lowered and slanted down toward you.
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