What lies beneath: UK’s dirty mattresses revealed

While your bed might be one of your favourite places in your home, UK households are neglecting to care for mattresses properly.

Nearly a fifth of UK homes have never cleaned their mattress at all (17%), and the younger generations are the worst rising to 35% of 18-24 year olds, and 26% of 25-34 year olds according to home appliance manufacturer Vorwerk.**

Often getting at least eight hours of use a day, the average mattress is packed with dust mites, human debris, sweat, and potentially much, much more.

Cleaning experts at the German appliance manufacturer are encouraging households to give their mattresses a deep clean this spring and start treating it like a carpet when it comes to cleaning.

Thomas Henningsson, from Vorwerk, explained: “A person can lose around half a pint of fluid, sometimes more, every night – most of which ends up in their mattress. Added to this is the grim fact that we also lose a pound of skin when asleep every year – all this makes beds a favourite breeding ground for the common dust mite.

“It seems crazy that we are obsessed with cleaning our carpets and floors, but often don’t consider applying a fraction of the same effort to our mattresses yet we lay on them for hours every day, spending a third of our lives sleeping.

“To keep the critters at bay, and improve the both the hygiene and the longevity of your bed, we recommend that you clean your mattress weekly. A little time now will really pay off in the long run.”

Top five worst regions for never cleaning mattresses

  Region Percentage of people that have never cleaned their mattress
1 East Midlands 27%
2 South East 24%
3 South West 20%
4 Wales 19%
4 East Anglia 19%


Vorwerk, which counts celebrities including TV property expert Sarah Beeny among its fans, has offered some top tips on how to give your mattress the perfect spring clean.

Vorwerk’s top #homehacks for cleaning your mattress

  1. Treat it like a carpet

The easiest way to keep your mattresses in a top condition is to make cleaning it as part of your routine. Just like you vacuum your carpets regularly, you should also take time to vacuum your mattresses and at the very least, remove all the surface dirt. Simply use your vacuum cleaner to roll backwards and forwards over the mattress for one minute.

  1. Rotate and flip it

You should rotate and flip your mattress at least every quarter whilst cleaning it. By balancing out the wear, you’ll help to prolong the life of your mattresses and you won’t have to replace it as frequently.

  1. Avoid using water

Avoid getting your mattress wet, even when cleaning it. Not only are they extremely tricky to dry out, but a moist mattress is also a breeding ground for mould and mildew.

  1. Dry clean it

Whilst vacuuming your mattress will remove surface dirt effectively, dry cleaning it will ensure that you achieve a thorough, deep clean and leave it sanitised and hygienic. Consider investing in a specialist mattress cleaning kit, such as Vorwerk’s MP440 and MR440 cleaning heads which come with the brand’s VK200 vacuum cleaner. The MP440 massages the specially designed cleaning powder into your mattress, and the MR440 that vibrates to loosen the dirt from the mattress surface, sucking away allergy-causing micro particles and leaving the mattress clean and sanitised.

  1. Take time to deodorise it

With the average person sweating out approximately half a pint of perspiration every night, deodorising your mattress regularly to keep it smelling fresh is essential.  A clever way to do this is to sift baking soda over the mattress, leave it for thirty minutes and then vacuum away using your regular vacuum cleaner.

  1. Use a mattress protector

If you love to have guests around, then mattress protectors are one of the best investments you can make. Not only do they offer an additional layer of protection against spills and stains, but they also help prevent perspiration, oils from our skin and dead skin cells penetrating the mattress. Take them off and throw them in the washing machine once a month to ensure that they stay clean and stain free.

  1. Allow it to air

Before putting clean sheets back onto your mattress, allow it to air in a ventilated sunlit room. The sun helps to kill bacteria and dry out moisture built up in the mattress.

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