Can you shampoo a mattress? Here's what you need to know before cleaning

How will shampoo impact your mattress? Experts share how to avoid unsightly stains and long-term damage to this bedroom staple

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The question of whether you can shampoo a mattress may initially seem niche. However, given that the average person sleeps for approximately 8 hours a day, an interest in mattress maintenance is somewhat expected. And part of taking care of your mattress involves the inevitable cleaning process. 

While finding a mattress to accompany your needs (and your wider bedroom) is vital to getting a good night's sleep – the process of how to clean a mattress similarly plays a part in achieving the perfect slumber. But while many people consider using shampoo to clean a mattress, experts have warned against using this shower staple on this bedroom essential. 

This is what you need to know before giving your best mattress a refresh, according to the experts. 

Can you shampoo a mattress? 

'In some cases, hair shampoo is recommended as a replacement for laundry detergent for clothes, [but] I wouldn't recommend it when it comes to cleaning a mattress for a few reasons,' says expert Karen Yu from Zinus

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Karen warns that shampoo lacks the chemical makeup required to clean a mattress and keep it in good condition. However, the problems don't end there. 

'Shampoo can also leave a soapy residue that can attract dirt and dust if not properly removed,' she cautions. 'It might make your mattress smell nice, but there are other cleaning methods and products that will make a greater impact on keeping your mattress in good shape.'

Similarly, Susan Miller, an expert from Sleep Mattress HQ, reinforces Karen's warning. 'Using shampoo for deep mattress cleaning is not recommended,' she says. This is because 'any harsh chemical in the cleaning agent can damage the mattress' and may leave you needing to invest in a new one. 

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What's the best thing to clean your mattress with?

Your mattress is one of the many furnishings you can clean with vinegar, along with bicarbonate of soda and a paste from lemon juice and salt spray (as recommended by Byron Golub, Director of Product and Merchandising at Saatva). However, when it comes to cleaning your mattress, prevention is, in many ways, better than a cure. 

'Using a mattress protector can help to protect against mattress stains,' Karen suggests. However, you can also use a vacuum to eliminate any threat of dust mites and other pests that may nest in your bedroom. 

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How do you deep wash a mattress?

While using shampoo to deep wash a mattress is not a popular solution amongst the experts, there are other ways to ensure your furnishing remains stain-free. Many of these are listed in our guide, but Susan suggests another shampoo alternative. 

Susan recommends 'an enzyme-based cleaner available on Amazon or Walmart' that is especially impactful on a memory foam mattress. This method will eliminate odors and leave your mattress looking (almost) as good as new. 

Similarly,  Karen suggests that baking soda is a great cleaning alternative. 'It's a versatile cleaning ingredient, and it can be one of the best ways to clean a mattress and remove unpleasant stains,' she adds. 

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.