How to Refurbish a Mattress

Pros & Cons Of A Refurbished Mattress

The condition of your mattress determines how comfortably you can rest and sleep on it.

From lumpy mattresses that can ruin your posture and cause backaches to smelly, germ-filled ones that can make you sick, there are a number of problems to tackle.

If you’re unhappy with what you’re sleeping on, you might be wondering whether it’s worth the effort to try and fix it or whether it’s easier to just replace it.

A good quality mattress costs hundreds of dollars, and it’s not always possible to splurge on one. If your mattress is causing you to have sleepless nights, you should consider refurbishing it.

First, let’s look at the benefits of doing so and if your mattress is even worth saving.

Pros & Cons of a Refurbished Mattress

Pros & Cons Of A Refurbished Mattress

There are certain benefits and drawbacks to using refurbished mattresses. Make sure you consider them before getting started:


  • It’s significantly less expensive than buying a new one.
  • It’s an eco-friendly option since there’s no waste being disposed of in a landfill.
  • It can be sold at a minimum price or given away to someone in need.


  • There’s a risk of getting infected if the mattress has been invaded by bed bugs, cockroaches, or bacteria.
  • Infections and diseases can also spread if the mattress has too many food particles, stains, or has soaked up too many liquids like spilled water and drinks over the years.

It’s advisable to get a new mattress if you are particularly sensitive to germs or have very young children or older adults in the house who are susceptible to infections.

How to Refurbish One?

Now that you’ve decided to refurbish your mattress, we’re going to walk you through the different factors that caused your mattress to deteriorate in the first place and what steps you need to take to refurbish it.

Stain & Spill Removal


Stains are mostly caused by spills, so if you have dropped something on your mattress, you need to act fast.

The longer the liquid stays there, the deeper it will sink in and potentially lead to the growth of mold and bacteria (not to mention the damp smell).

Dab at the liquid stains with paper towels or regular towels until they stop absorbing moisture. Make sure to use a fresh, dry towel once the previous one gets wet.

For any liquid other than just water, use a microfiber cloth or a slightly dampened sponge to prevent lasting stains.

In particular, if it’s a liquid that is likely to leave a smell or cause the growth of bacteria (like milk), wipe the area with some dish soap that’s dissolved in warm water.

Wring the towel properly to make sure it isn’t too wet (this will prevent any more moisture from soaking into the mattress). Clean up the soapy residue once you’re sure all the liquid is out.

The final step is to dry the mattress out. If you live in a place that gets plenty of sunlight, then place the mattress outside for a couple of hours or open the windows of the room.

Otherwise, switch on a fan (you may need more than one depending on the size of the mattress and spread of the spill) and dry it completely.

Removing Lasting Stains

For any other less aggressive stains like dirt, you can try the same remedies as those mentioned in the next section to get rid of odors.

For harsh stains like blood or urine, you need something stronger. Make a paste using hydrogen peroxide, salt, and dish soap and apply it to the stained area. Once it’s dry, scrape it off, and the stain should be gone.

Vomit stains can be removed by dabbing them with a little bit of ammonia. Remember not to use too much since the ammonia will leave a slight lingering smell.

Since vomit has many different acids from your stomach, the stains may not go away easily.

Getting Rid of Odors


Using Baking Soda

If you’ve recently spilled something on your mattress, it is likely to have a bit of a smell. In such a situation, you should simply sprinkle a little baking soda over it and leave it there for up to half an hour.

Dust off the baking soda using a brush, vacuum cleaner, or even a leaf blower.

If you spilled a liquid that seeped into the depths of the mattress, it’s a good idea to flip it over and apply baking soda on the other side as well.

Air-dry the mattress to get rid of any remaining musty smell. Once all the smell is gone, you can place it back on your bed. Baking soda is particularly effective for smells like sweat or vomit.

Using Lemon

Fresh lemons work best for this. Simply rub the lemon and its juice over the mattress and give it a few hours to dry.

The natural antibacterial properties of the lemons will not only remove light odors like sweat, but it will also leave behind a fresh, lemony fragrance.

Make sure the mattress is completely dry before spreading the bed sheet on top.

Using Vinegar

Like the other two items, vinegar also has antiseptic properties. Dab it onto the mattress after diluting it with water (on its own, it can be too strong) and then dry it with paper towels.

It is ideal if you’re trying to get rid of the smell of urine. Just remember that it will leave a faint, vinegary smell behind.

Physical Repairs


If you have an old spring mattress, it will naturally start wearing out over the years. Every 6 months, rotate the mattress to balance out the shape at the head and footrest.

If possible, flip the mattress over. This will make it last longer and keep it from getting lumpy and uncomfortable.

If your mattress is a memory foam or pillow-top one, you won’t be able to flip it, so just stick to rotating it.

Using a Foam Topper

If your mattress is sagging, it can be quite uncomfortable to sleep on. You can get a memory foam topper from a hardware or mattress store.

This will be cheaper than getting a brand new mattress and will fill in any areas where the mattress is slouching. Keep in mind that the foam topper isn’t a permanent solution and will eventually wear down with the mattress.

If you don’t want to get a foam topper, you can add a pillow to the area that’s sagging and tightly tuck in the bed sheet over it.

Using Plywood

If using a foam topper isn’t an option, there is another method you can try. It’s particularly useful for pillow-top mattresses.

Get a thin wood board, around 1 inch thick, and place it under the mattress. This will add support for any sagging areas. Just remember that this will make the mattress feel a little firmer, especially if you’re used to a very soft one.

Checking the Box Spring

Lastly, if your bed has a box spring below the mattress, check to see if it is intact. If it isn’t, it will cause the mattress to sink in some places and wear it down faster.

Lastly, if you have one large lump in the mattress, it is probably due to the uneven distribution of pressure applied to it.

You can try and wear it down to the same level as the rest of the mattress by resting your head or feet on it while you watch television, etc.

Deep Cleaning Your Mattress

Deep Cleaning Your Mattress

If you’ve been using the same mattress for years and it’s starting to get very smelly and uncomfortable, you need to deep clean it.

This includes getting rid of odors, spills, stains, and fixing lumps. In some cases, you can’t manage on your own, so you might need professional help.

Mattress cleaners use steam cleaners to clean your mattress on the inside and outside and to dry it completely before use.

You can also get a hand-held steam cleaner to do the job at home, especially if you have little children or people with health problems who spill frequently.

In such cases, it’s much more cost-effective to clean the mattress at home rather than getting it done professionally.

When Is a Mattress Beyond Repair?

No matter what you try, most of the methods you use are temporary, and some might not work at all, given the condition of your mattress. In such situations, the only solution is to get a new one.

Some warning signs that it’s time to change it include:

  • The mattress is broken to the extent that you can even see the springs poking out.
  • It has deep indents that are more than 1.5 inches lower than the original height.
  • The mattress is over a decade old and is practically impossible to sleep on.

If it’s come to this, then it might be a good idea to pull out your savings and invest in a new, good quality mattress that will last you another decade or so.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *