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How to Kill Bed Bacteria

Michael Davidson

Bacteria is a common problem in sheets and mattresses. Human skin oil and sweat permeates the bedding materials over time as we sleep and this provides an ideal environment for bacteria to breed and prosper. Regular cleaning and diligence is needed to keep your bed as bacteria-free as possible.

Even a clean looking bed can contain millions of bacteria.

Bacteria is often resistant to being killed, but certain substances along with heat are useful in eliminating them from your sleeping quarters.

  1. Pull off all your sheets and pillow cases, and wash them in a washing machine on the hottest setting using detergent. The hot water is useful in killing bacteria and the soap helps remove it as well as cleans out the skin oil and sweat that the bacteria feed on. Wash your comforter as well if it will fit safely in your washing machine. If it is too thick, leave it out since it could damage your machine.

  2. Place the bedding materials in the dryer on the hottest setting as well after they're washed. The added heat helps to further kill off any remaining bacteria.

  3. Spray a solution of white vinegar and water in a half-and-half solution onto the mattress surface using a spray bottle. White vinegar is a useful disinfectant that kills many different types of bacteria on contact. Allow it to sit on the mattress for several minutes and than absorb it up with an absorbent cloth.

  4. Run a steam cleaner over the bed. The hot steam kills bacteria since most microorganisms cannot survive in extreme heat. Use a cleaner that is specifically designed for mattresses to ensure the mattress doesn't soak up too much water from the steam. Follow all operating instructions for best results.

  5. Vacuum the mattress with a HEPA-filtered vacuum to pull out dust mites and other debris while also circulating air through the mattress material to help with drying.

  6. Warning

    Avoid using a steam cleaner on water beds or memory foam since it could damage them.