In this second blog entry under the Ask Rach series, I answer my friend M’s question of how to keep her mattress clean and in good shape. She also had a first question of whether she should choose a memory foam or a box spring mattress, but I will discuss that in a Part Two blog entry, because as you may know, choosing the right mattress is like choosing a bed for Goldilocks and the Three Bears. It’s all subjective to your taste in how soft or firm a mattress is, and what your body needs!
So instead, we will go straight to M’s second question: how do you maintain your mattress, keep it clean, not saggy, and firm? Mattresses can cost a pretty penny, so we would really like to see this investment last for a long time.
Others may argue that a fancy 200,000-peso vacuum cleaner that supposedly sucks out the dust mites (fun fact: it doesn’t!) would do the trick; but aside from regularly changing your sheets, there are other low-cost or no-cost solutions out there.
1. Use a mattress protector. This is a lifesaver for me. When you have a family, mattresses can get really gross. Your precious mattress will get stained with baby weewee, breast milk, period leaks, and other body fluids I cannot mention in polite company. Left unchecked, these will eventually discolor and destroy your mattress beyond salvation.
This is why you should use a mattress protector; which is like a waterproof fitted sheet that you slip over your bare mattress before putting on your actual bed sheets. It acts as a barrier between your mattress and your linen, and protects the mattress from potential stains. Get two sets of protectors, and chuck the dirty one in the wash every couple of weeks; simple as that!
Contrary to popular belief, the mattress protector doesn’t get hot and uncomfortable when you lie on it, as it is topped with a quilted, soft fabric. If you choose the right one, it doesn’t bulk up your linens, either. There are many mattress protectors out there in the market, at various price points, but my personal preference is the ultra-soft and luxurious bamboo mattress protector by Canadian. It’s available at SM Home for about P1,500-P2,000 and up, depending on size.
2. Flip your mattress. Number two solution is the no-cost option. Rotating and flipping your mattress every several months will minimize the wear and tear of the mattress structure, prevent sagging, and “Hammocking”, which is the human-sized dent in the middle.
According to this blog, memory foam and the newer inner-spring mattresses need to be flipped every six to 12 months, hybrid mattresses (made out of a mix of memory foam and gel) every three months, while the older box spring mattresses can wait a year. Mandaue Foam, among other brands, have a label stitched onto each corner of their mattresses advising when to flip it or rotate it, which is really thoughtful and clever.
I have to warn you, though, that this is a chore you should not do by yourself, lest you break a nail or worse—sprain your wrist! Ask help from your hubby or partner, or another able-bodied household member.
I hope I answered your question alright, M! Will address Question Number One later on in the week.
Main image by Nathan Oakley, flipping mattress image by Stephen Andrews, both at Unsplash; other images from the respective brands.