Futon mattresses are so lightweight and comfortable that they are used for both sitting and sleeping purposes. The material is so versatile that they work great on couches, sofas, and beds. The only problem with futon mattresses is that they get dirty very quickly and need regular maintenance. Besides daily cleaning, you also need to deep clean once in a while to get rid of spots, stains, and germs.
A common asked question of most homemakers is ‘how to deep clean a futon mattress’ and today we will share with you the steps, tips, and advice to make this task easy. So, if you want your investment to stay good for years and enjoy a good sleep every night, learn how you can keep the mattress in tip-top condition. But, before we get into that, let’s briefly take a look at the history of futon mattresses.
The futon mattress (see my reviews) was originally invented in Japan and their western adaptations are based on the original Japanese concept with some alterations. In the western countries, the futon mattresses are typically kept on a wooden or metal frame that makes the product usable as a couch and bed. The frames are foldable from the middle so that can be converted into a couch or flattened to become a bed.
The first ever futon sofa bed was created by Bedworks in 1982 and since then their popularity has risen in manifolds. The western futon mattresses are typically filled with foam and they are many layers thicker than the original Japanese counterpart. Whether you use futon for a couch or bed, make sure you cover it with a mattress protector or vinyl sheet to prevent dust, dirt, and stains.
Steps For Deep Cleaning
Sweat, pet dander, dead skin, hair strands, dust, mold, dirt, and dust mites are just a few things that your mattress is subjected to every day. If you have pets and kids at home, add accidental urine, liquid spills, and food droppings to the list. While it’s mandatory to clean the mattress every day, only dusting or vacuuming is not enough. You will also need to deep clean the mattress once in a while to extend its life.
Step 1 – Vacuum clean futon
Start by using a good quality vacuum cleaner to remove the large particles like loose hair, dirt, and debris from the mattress. Make sure you run the vacuuming device throughout the mattress to suck out the dust and debris from all corners. If required, you may use an upholstery brush to reach the crevices and cracks. Turn or flip the mattress to the other side to vacuum clean both sides completely.
Step 2 – Deodorize the mattress
Besides the dust and debris, you also need to remove the bad smell caused by moisture or mildew growth. If left neglected, the futon starts emitting nasty smell after some time, so make it a habit to deodorize the mattress while deep cleaning it. To remove the smells, sprinkle some baking soda to cover the entire surface. Let it sit for approximately one hour and use a vacuum cleaner to remove the baking soda.
Step 3 – Clean the spots and stains if any
If you notice any spots on the futon mattress while cleaning it, use a gentle laundry detergent and warm water to blot it out with the help of a damp washcloth. Be careful to not use a lot of moisture as this may cause mildew growth. Most of the stains can be cleaned easily with water and detergent. Remember to test the cleaning mixture over a small part of the futon to ensure that it does not cause discoloration. You may also refer to the cleaning agents mentioned below to remove the stubborn stains.
Step 4 – Let the mattress dry completely
After deep cleaning your futon mattress, let it dry air completely before using. It can take an entire day or more for the mattress to dry, depending on the weather outside. Leave the windows and doors open to allow air and sunshine to get into the house. You can also turn on the ceiling fan or use a hair dryer to speed up drying.
Step 5 – Clean and inspect the frame closely
When deep cleaning the futon, you should also make sure that you clean the frame on which the mattress is placed. Take the mattress off from the frame and clean the frame with a good commercial solution. If you have a metal bed frame, abstain from using any chemicals on it and only use a damp cloth to clean. Always test the cleaning solution on a small part before using it to clean the frame on which the mattress is placed.
Now that we have covered the steps for deep cleaning a futon mattress, let’s not forget that there might be exceptions when the stains are too tough to remove. Below I have covered useful tips and tools that can help you remove stubborn stains.
Removing Stubborn Stains From A Futon Mattress
If you have kids and pets at home, expect to have all types of imaginable stains in your mattress. From curry and sauces to oils and mashed crayons, you can find the reminiscence of all the fun activities you have had (pun intended). So, no matter how stubborn the stains are, we hope to help you get rid of them in this guide on how to deep clean a futon mattress. Let’s take a look at some of the easily available things you can use to remove stains.
#1. Using White Vinegar
White vinegar is a natural cleaning agent that is effective at removing mildew and mold. It’s strong acidic effect neutralizes the mold and removes any stains on the mattress. Don’t worry about the strong smell of vinegar because it will fade away eventually. To use white vinegar for cleaning, follow the steps below.
Mix one cup of white vinegar with about four cups of water.
Take a clean sponge and dip it in the solution. Let the sponge soak enough of the solution.
Squeeze to remove excess solution from the sponge and dab on the area that has mold and mildew growth.
Wash the sponge again in clean water, squeeze excess water and clean the treated area to remove the odor of vinegar.
Dry the mattress outside in the sun and let it air dry completely because if there’s any moisture left, this may again initiate mold growth. This also helps in removing the smell of vinegar.
#2. Using Hydrogen Peroxide
If there are dried food stains on the futon mattress or anything that has dried and seems difficult to get rid of, they can be removed with the help of hydrogen peroxide. This cleaning agent is capable of making the debris lose its grip over the surface so that you can easily pull it off with the help of a vacuum cleaner. You just need to follow the steps mentioned below:
Mix a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide with a cup of water to prepare a cleaning solution.
Take a clean sponge in your hand and dip it in the mixture. Squeeze out excess water and dab on the stubborn stains gently.
Now, let the mattress air dry completely to remove the smell of hydrogen peroxide. If you don’t like using hydrogen peroxide, try baking soda instead.
This is the dry cleaning method that involves sprinkling baking soda over the futon, leaving it for an hour and then vacuum cleaning the entire thing to eliminate the occurrence of mold, mildew, mites, and odors.
#3. Use Rubbing Alcohol
If there are mold and mildew stains, you can also make a cleaning solution with equal quantities of rubbing alcohol and water. Pour some of this solution over the stains to completely cover them. If there are urine stains, you may use an enzyme cleaner instead of rubbing alcohol or white vinegar.
Let the mixture sit over the stains for 10-15 minutes and then use some paper towels to blot the stains. Keep blotting until you absorb most of the moisture and the stain becomes significantly lighter.
#4. Using Bleach to Disinfect
If there are rodents in your house, you will need a more potent disinfectant to clean and sanitize the mattress. When cleaning with bleach, make sure you wear rubber gloves and a face mask to prevent inhaling the toxic fumes.
Start by mixing 1.5 cups of bleach with one gallon of water. Fill the solution in a spray bottle and spray on the bed frame and railings. Wipe with a paper towel and discard. Steam clean the mattress to kill up to 99.9% germs and air dry completely before using.
Useful Tips To Take Care Of Your Futon Mattress
While deep cleaning is important to keep your futon mattress germ-free, sanitized, and odorless, it is also important to take regular care. With timely care and maintenance, you will not need to deep clean so often. So, here are some important tips to help you keep your investment safe and ensure that your mattress stays good for a long time.
Allow The Break-In Period
If you recently bought a new futon mattress, it will need a break-in period just like a new car or a pair of sneakers. When new, the mattress will be super thick at about 6 to 10 inches and in the first few weeks of use, you will notice that the area conforms according to the contours of your body. Don’t be alarmed to see this development because most of the mattresses that are made from cotton material will compress after use and this is not a manufacturing defect.
Other fibers such as wellspring fiber and wool have a more resilient nature and they don’t compress easily. However, bear in mind that all types of cotton futon will compress by nearly 25% and get firmer as they age. Depending on your sleep pattern, it may be essential to create valleys in the areas that get the most weight consistently. This is precisely why it is necessary to flip the futon mattress every week for the first month of use and monthly thereafter.
Airing Out Futon Mattress
One of the biggest favors you can do to your futon mattress is to leave it outside to air dry to remove any moisture. If you have been to Japan, you will be told by the locals that you sweat nearly one cup of water at night. That’s too much for the poor mattress to handle, isn’t it? Airing out is thus a common way to get rid of all that moisture. If there’s good sunshine outside, it can also help kill germs and prevent mold and mildew.
Besides the damp and moist areas creating a favorable breeding ground for mold and mildew, the dead skin shedding offer food for dust mites (see more ways to clean dust mites) and ticks. Airing out the futon regularly and keeping it dry and deodorized will keep these menaces away.
Don’t Beat The Futon Mattress
In Japan, it is a popular tradition to beat the mattress with a stick after drying in order to get the dust out of it. Even though the Japanese believe this concept, the westerners don’t approve of it as this may spread the allergens and damage the futon. I would recommend that you leave the mattress in the sun to kill mites and prevent allergens instead of beating it with a stick.
Remember to use a futon cover like this to prevent allergens from getting into the mattress. Vacuum cleaning is also an effective method to get rid of dust, dirt particles, and dust mites. Some vacuum cleaners come with specially designed nozzles to clean the futon mattress.
Rotate the Futon Mattress Regularly
Another important tip to keep your futon mattress good for long is to rotate it regularly. This will prevent the formation of lumps and sink spots. It also limits the thinning out of the mattress as the weight is distributed evenly. Based on the type of mattress you have, you may need to rotate it less or more frequently.
If you travel less often and use the mattress daily then you will need to rotate it at least once monthly. Those who occasionally use the mattress, such as the mattress on the guest room, rotating it in every 3-4 months may be fine. As an exception to the rule, if the mattress is already lumpy in texture, avoid rotating it or else the problem may aggravate.
Just like rotating, flipping the mattress is also a good tip to maintain the mattress and extend its life. It will shift the materials inside the mattress to the other side to ensure a stable surface for you to sleep on.
Taking Care Of The Frame
Whether the mattress is placed over a bed or sofa-cum-bed frame, it is also important to take care of the frame. So, when you remove the mattress for deep cleaning, inspect the frame to see any signs of rust or bent. Tighten the screws, if required. If the frame is made from hardwood, dust it with a clean cloth and polish with the help of a furniture polish.
Get a washable cover
If you have futon mattress at home, it is a must to use a cover that can protect it from getting wet or dirty. Stains from mold, food droppings, liquid spills, dirty paws, and other allergens can be prevented from getting into the mattress. Make sure the cover is easily washable in a washing machine and comes with a zipper that can be used to take off and put on the cover on the mattress.
Signs That You Need To Replace Your Futon Mattress
Now that you know how to deep clean a futon mattress, we are sure it will be easier for you to protect a good night’s sleep. However, please remember that everything has an expiry date and no matter how much you take care of the mattress, it can only be used for 4-5 years, after which you will need to replace. Here are a few signs that indicate that your futon mattress needs to be replaced.
If you wake up every morning with body aches and pains then it’s a sign that you are sleeping on a deformed and sagging mattress.
There are numerous sinking spots and lumps on the mattress and no amount of flipping or rotating helps.
If you constantly get a better sleep when you sleep on a mattress that is not yours, it’s a sure sign that you need to get rid of it.
Sometimes accidental kid’s bed wetting or pet spraying may leave a deep stinky odor in the futon mattress and no amount of cleaning helps. This is when you need to get a new mattress.
What is the minimum thickness of a futon mattress
For adults to enjoy a comfortable sleep, the minimum thickness of a futon mattress should be at least six inches. The foam and cotton mattresses provide a reasonable amount of comfort while the ones with innersprings offer the maximum comfort.
How long does a futon mattress last?
Many customers replace their mattress after 4-5 years of use, while there are some who comfortably use theirs for over 10 years. The life expectancy of futon mattresses depends a lot of what they are made up of and frequency of use. Spring mattresses can last for up to 15 years with regular use while the cotton mattresses can last for up to 5 years with occasional use.
What are the common ingredients used for making futon mattresses
The most common models are made of wool and cotton, both of which are breathable and natural fibers. The spring mattresses comprise of pocket coils or springs made of steel. Another promising ingredient is the natural coconut coir that is infused with liquid latex to give extra support and extend the lifespan.
Is it possible to sleep on a futon mattress every night?
Yes, it’s a great idea to use a futon mattress to enjoy a comfortable sleep every night. Start with using a good and sturdy bed frame, add a comfortable and fitting futon mattress on it, and cover the mattress with a protective cover and sheets.