February 2022

Mattress care & maintenance: how to look after your mattress

Getting the perfect nights sleep is more than just finding the perfect mattress. It's about how you can ensure you get the most out of your mattress for years to come by looking after your bed. By following relatively easy care and maintenance tips you can ensure your bed stays in prime condition for a perfect nights sleep. 

Updated 2022: It doesn’t matter whether you’ve just bought a new mattress or are looking for tips on how to look after or clean an old mattress. This guide will help give you top tips to keep your mattress providing comfort for many years. failure to do so may mean your mattress starts to sag or become uncomfortable far faster!

how to clean your mattress

Mattress Maintenance & Cleaning Tips

Many of our customers ask the question of how they should care and maintain their mattress. Whilst many know to ‘turn’ (flip it over so the underside becomes the top side) your traditional sprung mattress ‘regularly’ there is little information on how regular this should be. But don’t worry we’re here to help!

Artisan Bespoke 002
Mattress cleaning & care can significantly extend the lifespan of your mattress

Here we have provided you with a guide for looking after, maintaining and cleaning your new mattress.

Why do I need to maintain my mattress?

Just like a new car will over time get dirty and require washing and service once a year, your new mattress requires a similar, if less expensive kind of maintenance.

Failure to look after your mattress will result in a reduced mattress lifespan.

Natural sleep with wooden Headboard

A lack of maintenance may result in your mattress getting dirty, suffering from inconsistencies such as isolated compression (one specific area is lower than the other), dips, sags, or the rare case of the mouldy mattress.

It also helps you to keep your bedroom healthy, increase sleep hygiene and be one less major purchase to consider if you keep your mattress in good condition. Although you may forget about your bed if you’re sleeping well in it, monthly maintenance will enable this to be the case for years to come.

So let’s look at when you should turn, rotate and clean your mattress.

How to clean a mattress

All mattresses can be cleaned to various degrees depending on the freshness of the stain, the liquid or the material that has stained your bed.

However, we would always advise that you use a mattress protector in the first place and try to avoid spills. A mattress p[protector will help you remove the top layer which can then be machine washed.

We do realise that sometimes accidents happen and your mattress/bed can become stained and or end up with perspiration marks after use.

Instructions to hand clean a mattress:

If your mattress cover has become stained due to sweat, spilt drinks or other ‘accidents’ then you can follow the instructions below to help remove them:

  1. Fill a bowl with warm soapy water and another bowl with warm clean water (no detergent)
  2. Always use a clean damp cloth with a small amount of detergent (avoiding bleach)
  3. Sponge the stains in a circular motion lightly
  4. Rinse the cloth in the second clean bowl to help remove the stains
  5. For stubborn stains, bicarbonate of soda can be added as a paste (mix with some water) to help list stubborn stains
  6. Using a clean cloth then sponge the area to help dry it
  7. Open a window and leave the mattress to air dry – never be tempted to use a hairdryer on the bed or place it next to a hot radiator.

How to clean a dirty mattress

Can I put a mattress in a washing machine?

This may sound like a daft question but believe us we get asked it a lot. For high-quality mattresses, you simply would never find a machine washer big enough to get them in. However, for cheap foldable mattresses or foam beds, it is possible that in a large machine washer you could fold and squeeze it in (no doubt damaging it in the process).

A mattress can and never should be machine or service washed!

Can I wash my mattress

Turn your mattress over once a month
Turn your mattress over once a month
Rotate your mattress once a month
Rotate your mattress once a month

How often should I turn my mattress?

You need to turn your mattress once a month and rotate it.

This helps even out wear and will ensure your 2-sided mattress lasts far longer. Not only are you getting the maximum use out of your mattress but turning monthly helps reduce natural settlement which reduces the chances of sagging or mattress dipping.

If you don’t turn your mattress and keep sleeping in the same position each night you will find that settlement occurs. Where a body imprint takes place as the fibres here have compressed compared to the unused part of the mattress.

This is why foam and boxed mattresses have so many complaints about sags and dips. This happens as you can’t turn these mattress types.

How to rotate your mattress

Each month spin your mattress round and if possible turn it over. There are some types of mattresses that are known as ‘no turn mattresses’. You can still rotate these but can’t, unfortunately, turn them over. We always advise you to avoid these beds as they have a much shorter shelflife, after all, you only have half of the mattress you can use!

The construction method of Memory foam means it does not need to be turned over. It also means that you can’t usually turn it like a traditional mattress.

Rotating your mattress, spinning it around on the same side, once a month will allow you to distribute this wear more evenly.

Close up of John Ryan Handles on Mattresses

When we talk about rotating we mean spinning the mattress like the hands of a clock so the head end becomes the foot end and the foot end becomes the head end etc.

No turn mattresses

We have covered in this article how the no turn benefit is really just down to the construction method. At John Ryan though we have crafted our beds to be either fully turnable in the case of the Fusion latex range. One-sided/no turn/single-sided mattresses have no benefit to the consumer. Only the retailer – who can make half a mattress but charge you full price for it!

If you have bought a no-turn mattress then we advise you buy a separate topper that can be turned and rotated to help even out wear.

So you can rotate the base mattress but turn/flip the topper. This again extends the life of your mattress and ensures consistency as it beds in and wears over time.

John Ryan Latex Topper For Fusion Range

How to prevent ridges in the centre of your mattress

Some customers, particularly with Super king size mattresses, have noted that a ridge can appear in the middle of the bed and are concerned this means the bed is sagging. John explains this as the Virgin Mattress Syndrome. This is where the centre of the bed receives little to no use so keeps its uncompressed state, whilst the two other sides compress slightly.

Human nature means we are creatures of habit and tend to sleep in the same position every night meaning this area get more wear and compression than the rest.

Woman aches after bad sleep picture from John Ryan Site

Regular turning and rotating can help with this.

It doesn’t mean the mattress has sagged or dipped as in failed, it is just natural when you have two people using the same parts night on night. It is more of an aesthetic problem and not a construction failure by turning and rotating the mattress you can help even this out.

What about preventing mattress dips?

Mattress dipping and sagging are usually caused by either:

  1. Overuse of one area – see the advice above about rotating or turning to even out settlement
  2. A mattress defect

To prevent a mattress from sagging or dipping it is important to have chosen the correct spring tension for your mattress in the first place and also undertake monthly maintenance. To ensure that any settlement is easily apportioned across the mattress.

The best way to see if it’s a defect is to see if the dip or sag is more than 3cm and if it doesn’t even out after turning and rotating for a few weeks. If this fixes it then it’s mattress maintenance at fault, If not it may be worthwhile contacting your bed retailer to see if they can send out an inspector to run some tests on the mattress.

Mattress guarantees being written by hand

How often should I turn a latex mattress?

If you have a solid core latex mattress like the fusion latex range, ie two-sided, we recommend you turn and rotate these once a month just like a normal mattress. This helps even out wear and compression making your mattress last longer. Mattresses like Latex can suffer from indentations quicker than natural fibres so it is essential that you turn and rotate them diligently.

The larger the mattress, such as a superking, the more particular attention needs to be paid to turning or rotating
The larger the mattress, such as a superking, the more particular attention needs to be paid to turning or rotating
As the central part that gets little 'use' will settle at a slower rate. Zip & link models can help alleviate this.
As the central part that gets little 'use' will settle at a slower rate. Zip & link models can help alleviate this.

How to prevent mouldy mattresses

This has occurred in a few instances online of certain mattress manufactures, naming no names! This usually occurs when maintenance is neglected and moisture is allowed to sit on the mattress especially in high humidity areas. Also when synthetic non-breathable fibres are used in a low-end mattress.

Allowing moisture to sit and attract nasties like mould. Regular rotating and turning of the topper should prevent this.  See our post here for more details on this. This issue is rare but as always we provide some advice on it!

What is a Mattress protector?

Mattress protectors are a cost-effective way of protecting your mattress from spills, stains, bodily fluids and damage. They are a washable and replaceable fitted sheet that goes underneath your bed sheets.

We can’t stress enough how valuable a mattress protector is. These can be purchased from most department and homeware shops. They are a slightly padded usually fitted sheet that goes over your mattress and topper. They are a cheap and easy way to prevent the 3 evils from damaging your mattress.

If you don’t have a mattress protector a duvet sheet in the size of your mattress can be used as an alternative. The benefit is these can be removed washed or disposed of if necessary after periods of wear. They keep your mattress secure from the 3 evils that will over time damage them.

They help prevent:

  • Sweat/Bodily fluids
  • Dead Skin
  • Settlement & Indents
Tufted mattress cover
Mattress protectors will help keep your mattress pristine and therefore it will last far longer.

Deep fitted sheets

Due to the depth of our full range of mattresses ranging from 18cm to 32cm in depth. Standard fitted sheets probably won’t suffice to keep your bed adequately covered. A number of high street shops sell deep and extra deep fitted sheets keeping your bed perfectly covered in whatever fabric, colour or design takes your fancy!

The cover can add 1cm-2cm to the depth along with the quilted undulations. We advise you double-check once the mattress arrives before purchasing any specific depth fitted sheets. We don’t include the cover as we find it misleading to quote the cover as part of the foam.

Extra deep fitted sheets on a mattress

You can review all of our mattress sizes, depths and weights here in our detailed article.

Cleaning up spills and stains on a mattress

If you do by accident spill or wet your mattress our guidance is to take off the sheets as soon as possible and strip the mattress back to its core. Clean up any liquids with towels and then allow the mattress to air dry.

Never use a heat source that could damage or warp the mattress materials.

Once it is fully dry re-make your bed with clean dry bedding and allow ventilation to ensure any residual moisture in the room or the bed can escape through evaporation.

Clothes pegs on a line

Stains may be a slightly different problem, we advise against using cleaning chemicals on the mattress for stains that may compromise the foam. This can lead to it becoming damaged or failing.

If your bed is covered with a protector and sheets usually these can be washed with stain removers or simply replaced if beyond cleaning.

It goes without saying that spills & stains need immediate attention
It goes without saying that spills & stains need immediate attention
A damp cloth is all you need to remove any spillages and then let the bed air dry.
A damp cloth is all you need to remove any spillages and then let the bed air dry.

Other forces of nature

We also need to stress that whilst it is sometimes seen as a good idea by children to use a mattress as a toboggan down the stairs or a trampoline it will cause untold damages to the mattresses. This too is not covered by our guarantee as our mattresses are only guaranteed to be slept on. Whilst we agree it can be fun, we, unfortunately, can’t guarantee the mattress if they are used as an adventure playground!

Top 5 mattress maintenance tips

1.  Rotate your mattress monthly if one-sided.  If two-sided like our latex fusion range then turn monthly.  Turn and rotate the topper monthly.

2.  Always use a mattress protector, it’s the cheapest way to ensure your mattress stays in pristine condition

3.  Ensure that you have adequate ventilation, especially if you’re drying clothes on radiators or clothes horses.

4.  Clean up spills as soon as possible and always allow a wet or soiled mattress to air dry once cleaned.  Never use a heat source!

5.  Deep fitted sheets will ensure all the lovely comfortable layers of your mattress are well covered and contained allowing you the perfect nights sleep!


There are a lot of tips in this article about ensuring your mattress stays in as good a shape as possible. Monthly maintenance of turning and rotating is vital in ensuring that wear is evened out across the mattress and it goes without saying that any spills or liquids need to be cleaned as soon as to prevent damage to the internal components of your mattress. it’s really easy to ensure you get the most out of your mattress by spending a little bit of time each month looking after your bed. That way you’ll have years of dreamy nights sleep!

If you have mattress care questions why not get in touch with our small friendly team on 0161 437 4419.

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