I was reading some clickbait "cleaning hacks" article, and it mentioned cleaning a mattress by using vodka in a spray bottle, then leaving it to air dry.

Is this actually effective? If so, I'd rather use something with even more alcohol, like everclear (190 proof).

Are there any other more effective ways to clean a mattress?

  • I would use a clothes steamer to clean a mattress. Making the mattress stand vertically would make it easier. The high temperature of the steam would kill bugs and microbes, and also soften any stains prior to using another cleaning method.
    – Ian
    May 5, 2015 at 9:16
  • Do you want to CLEAN ir - and if so, what ius making it dirty? Or disinfect it? Or ...? May 5, 2015 at 11:22
  • 1
    @RussellMcMahon, it's not stains or anything, I guess just the normal buildup of skin and dust that happens over time, and the associated mites/microbes. It's not that I'm noticing a smell or residue or whatever, just thinking about it as a regular maintenance/prevention kind of thing.
    – briantist
    May 5, 2015 at 15:15
  • @Ian, that makes sense, probably a good method. I like the lazy appeal of just spraying and forgetting it though.
    – briantist
    May 5, 2015 at 15:16
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    Well, the idea behind hand sanitizer is that alcohol will disinfect and kill the germs, so if that works, I can only assume that vodka would. The bottle of hand sanitizer on my desk is 62% alcohol, so I would say use at least that, and I would think that everclear ought to get 'er done.
    – Coder-guy
    May 6, 2015 at 21:40

3 Answers 3


The idea of using alcohol is that the alcohol will evaporate quickly. So the more alcohol content will help but you need careful about the smell.

This might help Wiki - Clean a Mattress


Alcohol solutions are used for removal of living tissue and oils. The ideal blend is 70% alcohol to 30% water. The alcohol damages the cell wall, and the water causes the living cell to rupture.

The best solution is prevention, or a sacrificial top to the mattress. A separate layer of high density foam at the top of the mattress is ideal. This can be aired out every so often and the cover laundered.


If you have a steam cleaner (for cleaning bathrooms/ovens etc) they are ideal for also cleaning a mattress as long as you can air it out afterwards to allow it to dry.

Simply move it over the surface of the mattress, the steam will kill any organics within the mattress and the water will cause dirt to wash away/lift out.

Once done, the best way to dry it is to leave it outside in the sunshine. The UV rays are also antibacteria.

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