cleaning air mattress

Cleaning Air Mattresses: Remove Pet Urine, Mold, and Stains Step-by-Step Guide 2024

Cleaning an air mattress is different from cleaning a regular mattress like a memory foam one. Our step-by-step guide will help you do it perfectly - removing mold, pet urine, pet hair, and any stains from your air mattress at home. 

Over time, air mattresses can accumulate dust, skin cells, and other debris, not to mention the occasional spill or stain. This guide will provide you with a comprehensive step-by-step approach to keeping your air mattress in pristine condition.

Table of Contents

  1. Key Takeaways
  2. Preparation for Cleaning
  3. Step-by-Step Cleaning Guide
    • Daily and Weekly Maintenance Tips
    • Deep Cleaning Process
    • Special Considerations
  4. Preservation and Storage
  5. Expanded FAQs
  6. Conclusion

Key Takeaways

  • Regular Maintenance is Key: Routine airing, vacuuming, and spot cleaning can significantly extend the life of your air mattress and maintain its comfort.
  • Use Gentle Cleaning Solutions: Mild detergent and warm water are usually sufficient for most cleaning tasks. For tougher stains or odors, white vinegar can be a powerful alternative.
  • Proper Drying is Crucial: Always ensure the mattress is completely dry before storing or reusing to prevent mold and mildew growth.
  • Handle Stains Immediately: Prompt attention to spills and stains can prevent them from setting and becoming more difficult to remove.
  • Storage Matters: Folding or rolling the mattress as recommended and storing it in a cool, dry place will protect it from damage and extend its usability.

Preparation for Cleaning an Air Mattress

Before diving into the cleaning process, it's important to gather all the necessary materials and understand some pre-cleaning considerations to ensure the safety and longevity of your air mattress.

Materials Needed

  • Mild detergent
  • Warm water
  • Soft-bristled brush or cloth
  • Vinegar or specialized air mattress cleaner (for tough stains or odors)
  • Baking soda (for odor removal)
  • Vacuum with a soft brush attachment.

Table 1: Cleaning Supplies Checklist

Item Purpose Notes
Mild detergent General cleaning Use diluted
Warm water Mixing with detergents
Soft-bristled brush Spot cleaning Use gently to avoid damage
Cloth/sponge Application of cleaning solutions Soft materials to prevent scratching
Vinegar Natural disinfectant for stains and odors Mix with water for mild cleaning solution
Baking soda Odor absorption Sprinkle on, let sit, then vacuum
Vacuum (soft brush) Removing dust and loose debris Use attachment for gentle cleaning
Air mattress cleaner Specialized cleaning (optional) Follow manufacturer's instructions if used

Pre-Cleaning Considerations

  1. Check Manufacturer’s Instructions: Always review the care instructions provided by the manufacturer before cleaning your air mattress. Some materials may require specific cleaners or methods to avoid damage.
  2. Identify the Material: Understand whether your air mattress is made of PVC, vinyl, or another material, as this can affect the cleaning agents you should use.
  3. Inspect for Damage: Look for any tears, holes, or weak spots. Cleaning can exacerbate existing damage, so repair these issues beforehand if possible.

Step-by-Step Cleaning Guide for Air Mattresses 2024

Daily and Weekly Maintenance Tips

Daily Maintenance:

  • Air Out Regularly: Each morning, remove sheets and bedding to let the mattress air out, reducing moisture buildup and preventing odors.
  • Light Vacuuming: Use a handheld vacuum or a vacuum with a soft brush attachment to remove dust and debris. This is especially important if the mattress is used frequently.

Weekly Maintenance:

  • Spot Clean as Needed: Attend to any spills or stains immediately using a mild detergent and warm water. Avoid soaking the mattress.
  • Freshen Up: Sprinkle baking soda on the surface, let it sit for a few hours to absorb odors, then vacuum it up.

Deep Cleaning Process for an Air Mattress

1. Spot Cleaning for Stains

  • Mild Detergent Solution: Mix a small amount of mild detergent with warm water. Apply with a soft cloth or sponge to gently blot the stain. Avoid scrubbing harshly, as this can damage the material.
  • Specialized Stain Removers: For tougher stains, use vinegar or an air mattress cleaner designed for the mattress material. Test any cleaner on a small, inconspicuous area first.

Table 2: Common Stains and Treatment Solutions

Type of Stain Cleaning Solution Instructions
Urine Vinegar and water solution Apply, let sit, blot dry, then sprinkle with baking soda
Blood Cold water and mild detergent Blot gently, then rinse with cold water
Food Mild detergent and warm water Spot clean, then blot dry
Ink Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) Apply sparingly, then blot
Mold/Mildew Vinegar and water solution Apply, let sit, scrub gently, then air dry

2. Washing and Drying Techniques for Air Mattresses

  • Gentle Washing: Clean the entire surface with a cloth or sponge dampened with a mild detergent solution. Work in sections, wiping gently.
  • Rinse Thoroughly: With a clean, damp cloth, go over the mattress to remove any soap residue.
  • Air Dry Completely: Before reusing or storing, ensure the mattress is completely dry to prevent mold and mildew. This may take several hours or ideally, a full day in a well-ventilated area or outdoors.

3. Dealing with Mold and Mildew on Air Mattresses 

  • Vinegar and Water Solution: If mold or mildew is present, mix equal parts white vinegar and water. Apply this solution to the affected area and let it sit for a few hours before wiping clean and drying thoroughly.

Special Considerations

Handling Urine Stains and Odors in Air Mattresses

Urine stains and odors require immediate attention to prevent lasting damage or smells.

  • Blot the Area: Use a dry towel to absorb as much liquid as possible.
  • Vinegar Solution: Mix one part water with one part vinegar and apply to the stain. After a few minutes, blot the mixture away with a clean cloth.
  • Baking Soda: Once the area is dry, sprinkle baking soda over it to absorb any remaining odor. Vacuum the baking soda after a few hours.

Removing Other Common Stains

  • Food, Blood, Ink: Treat these stains with a mild detergent solution, using the spot cleaning method mentioned earlier. For blood stains, cold water is more effective than warm.

Preservation and Storage for an Air Mattress

Table 3: Maintenance Schedule

Frequency Task
Daily Air out and light vacuum
Weekly Spot clean stains, freshen with baking soda
Monthly Deep clean surface
Every 3-6 Months Thorough cleaning and check for damage

Best Practices for Air Mattress Storage

  • Ensure It's Dry: Never store a damp air mattress. Mold and mildew can develop, causing damage and unpleasant odors.
  • Fold Properly: Follow the manufacturer's instructions for folding or rolling to avoid creases or damage.
  • Cool, Dry Place: Store the mattress in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and sharp objects.

Preventive Measures

  • Protective Covers: Use a mattress cover to protect against spills, stains, and dust.
  • Regular Inspections: Check for leaks or damage regularly, especially if the mattress is used frequently or stored for long periods.

Table 4: Troubleshooting Common Issues

Issue Solution
Persistent Odor Vinegar solution, then baking soda
Leak Detection Soap water solution to identify air leaks
Yellowing Mild detergent clean, avoid direct sunlight
Valve Odor Clean with vinegar solution
Fabric Damage Patch kit or professional repair


Can I Use Bleach on My Air Mattress?

It's generally not recommended to use bleach on air mattresses, as it can damage the material and weaken the structure. Stick to mild detergents and vinegar solutions for cleaning.

How Often Should I Clean My Air Mattress?

For regular use, a thorough cleaning every three to six months is advisable. However, spot cleaning should be done as needed, and airing it out can be more frequent.

Is It Safe to Use a Hairdryer to Speed Up the Drying Process?

Avoid using hot air from a hairdryer, as it can warp or melt the material. If you need to speed up drying, use a fan set on a cool setting.

Can I Use a Mattress Protector on an Air Mattress?

Yes, using a mattress protector can help keep your air mattress clean and protect it from spills, stains, and dust mites.

How Do I Repair a Leak After Cleaning?

If you discover a leak, dry the area thoroughly. Then, apply a patch kit specifically designed for air mattresses according to the manufacturer's instructions.

What Should I Do if the Valve Smells Bad?

Clean the valve with a cotton swab dipped in a vinegar and water solution to remove any buildup and neutralize odors.

Can I Clean My Air Mattress Outside?

Yes, cleaning your air mattress outside on a sunny, breezy day can help with thorough drying and naturally freshen it up. Just make sure to place it on a clean surface.

How Can I Prevent My Air Mattress from Getting Dirty?

Regularly using fitted sheets, cleaning spills immediately, and storing the mattress properly when not in use can significantly reduce the accumulation of dirt and odors.

What’s the Best Way to Remove Pet Hair from an Air Mattress?

A lint roller or vacuum with a brush attachment works well for removing pet hair. For static cling, a slightly damp cloth can help pick up the hair.

Can Essential Oils Be Used for Cleaning or Freshening Up the Mattress?

While essential oils can add a pleasant scent, they should be used sparingly and diluted, as some oils can damage the mattress material or leave stains.

What If the Air Mattress Fabric Has Turned Yellow?

This discoloration can be due to sweat, oils, or UV exposure. Gently cleaning with a mild detergent and keeping the mattress out of direct sunlight can help prevent further yellowing.

How to Maintain an Air Mattress Used Daily?

For air mattresses used daily, consider using a mattress cover, regularly airing it out, and performing spot cleans as needed to maintain hygiene and comfort.

Can I Machine Wash an Air Mattress?

No, machine washing an air mattress is not recommended as it can damage the material and internal structure. Stick to spot cleaning and gentle surface washing as described in the cleaning guide.

How Do I Get Urine Out of an Air Mattress?

  1. Blot the Area: Immediately soak up as much liquid as possible with a dry towel.
  2. Clean with Vinegar Solution: Apply a mixture of one part vinegar to one part water, let it sit for a few minutes, then blot dry.
  3. Neutralize Odor with Baking Soda: After the area is dry, sprinkle baking soda over it to absorb any lingering smell. Vacuum the baking soda off after a few hours.

What Are the Best Cleaning Solutions for Air Mattresses?

The best cleaning solutions are mild detergents mixed with water, white vinegar for disinfecting and deodorizing, and baking soda for odor removal. Always test any solution on a small area first to ensure it does not damage the material.

How Can I Remove Bad Odors from an Air Mattress?

Sprinkle baking soda over the entire surface of the mattress and let it sit for at least a few hours or overnight. Vacuum it up thoroughly. For persistent odors, a vinegar and water solution can help neutralize smells.

Tips for Quick Spot Cleaning

  • Always blot stains rather than rubbing to avoid spreading the stain.
  • For oil-based stains, a small amount of dish soap can help break down the grease.
  • Keep a spray bottle with a mild detergent solution handy for quick spot cleaning.