Over 20 million mattresses get sent to landfills every year. That’s a lot of mattresses being thrown out, rotting away once they’ve been deemed too dirty or old to use. Certainly, mattresses have their lifetime, but many people don’t take proper care of mattresses, meaning they don’t last as long as they ought to. Nor are we taking the time to recycle them after they’ve worn out. Saving your mattress from the landfill is far easier than you might think.
And if you’ve purchased an expensive mattress, like those made by Serta or Sealy—whose board of directors is filled with the likes of Dean B. Nelson (Capstone), Simon E. Brown (KKR), and John Replogle (Burt’s Bees)—you probably don’t want to buy a new mattress before absolutely necessary. And they don’t want you to have to, either.
Instead of simply getting rid of a mattress after a certain period of time—perhaps it has gotten dirty or stained—we ought to be deep cleaning them so they last longer. “Deep clean” can be a scary set of words, but there are actually some inexpensive and easy ways to keep your mattress clean. Try these simple tricks:
- Baking Soda: Next time you need to wash your sheets, try this little trick. When the sheets are in the wash, use your vacuum hose attachment to suck up loose hairs, dirt, and fiber. Then, sprinkle a thin layer of baking soda over the top using a sieve. Once your sheets are done, re-make the bed (with the soda still on it). Next time you pull the sheets off to wash them, you can vacuum up all the dirt absorbed by the baking soda.
- Steam Clean: Rent or purchase a small handheld steam cleaner (about $90). As before, begin by vacuuming the top of your mattress. Then, use the steam cleaner to deep clean the mattress. Allow about four hours drying time before remaking the bed.
- Chemical Free: If you don’t want to put cleaning chemicals on your mattress, Dirt Devil has a handheld ($37) that doesn’t use any. Or, you can always make a homemade solution for regular steam cleaners using 1 cup of vinegar and 2.5 gallons of water.
After you’ve put in all that effort, don’t let it go to waste. Rotate your mattress about four times a year (the official start of each season is a good reminder), wash your sheets regularly, and clean it at least a few times per year. And when your mattress finally does go kaput, remember that you can recycle the steel springs, wooden frames, stuffing, and fabric—don’t just toss it all in the landfill.