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If you or any of the family members have been infected with the Covid-19 Coronavirus, You may have concerns over disinfecting your home to avoid spread of the virus to other members. This usually includes spraying disinfectants and wiping out every surface area in the house which we touch. From Toilet seats to kitchen tops, everything we put our hands on should be disinfected with a good surface cleaner. With that said, how do you disinfect your mattress? Should you change your mattress after the covid-19 or can you disinfect the mattress?

Before you make a decision on your mattress purchase, you need to understand how the covid-19 spreads and how long it stays on a surface. Its common knowledge now that the Coronavirus lives on surfaces for a specific time. For instance, on plastic surfaces, Glasstops and steel surfaces, the corona virus could live up to 72 hours or 3 days. On a Cotton sheet or cardboard, paper etc, the virus could live up to 24 hours. The virus could stay alive for up to 3 hours in the air and up to 4 hours on copper surfaces.

Purchasing a mattress may not be a good decision after all. How sure can you be that the mattress which comes to your home is not infected already with the virus from the people who transport it or from the people who work in manufacturing the mattress itself? Sometimes even thinking of these possibilities will create panic and you may not want to consider purchasing a mattress anywhere in the near future. Panic will not help and proper planning can go a long way in deciding your purchase and also making it safe for you. Understanding the pandemic and how it spreads is important. First, let’s assume that you wouldn’t want to purchase a mattress at all. What can you do to disinfect your mattress?

How to disinfect Your mattress 

Step 1 : Sun-Dry Your Mattress Or Air Dry it

Simple Way to disinfect your mattress is to put it out in the open. When possible, leave the mattress in the sun for at least 3 days. If it’s not possible to leave the mattress in the sun, leave it untouched in an airy room. Be sure that no one is allowed in the room and no one touches the mattress for 3 days. Ensure the windows are open. Even when you leave the mattress in the sun, ensure that kids are not allowed to play near the mattress. Ensure proper safety while moving the mattress around. Wear a disposable glove and an N95 Mask while handling any infected object including your mattress.

If your mattress is aired out in the outdoors, ensure that you move it back indoors every evening. Rain and even normal dew could leave the mattress moist and ruin it. Keep the mattress dry at all times during the disinfection period.

Step 2 – Dust it out & Wash what’s possible

Once the mattress completes 3 days of airing out in the sun or a ventilated room, you can be sure that it’s already safe and free from any virus. But it’s always a good idea to disinfect further. Dust out your mattress completely as much as you can. Leaving your mattress outdoors will accumulate dust and this will cause allergies and other symptoms (which may be very similar to the COVID symptoms and create unnecessary panic). A good vacuum cleaner is your tool for this and added with a crevice tool, you should go about the entire surface of the mattress including the sides and back. 

Dusting the mattress is key, especially if you have left the mattress outdoors for even a single day. If your mattress has been indoor, there may not be much dust but it’s a good idea to dust it out to avoid problems later. Moreover, it takes less that 20 minutes to vacuum your mattress. Why not get it done now when you are already at it!

If you have sheets and toppers or protectors, now is the time to remove them and get them laundered. A normal detergent should do . Watch out for washing methods of your specific mattress covers and protectors. Avoid Bleach in your detergent as it may ruin your protectors or sheets. Mild detergent should be enough at this stage. Check out your mattress protector washing label on how to handle your protectors and toppers. If your topper is not washable, do not worry. Normal dusting should do at this stage. 

Step 3 – Steaming 

Steaming your mattress will not rid the mattress off COVID-19. Its a theory provided by some social media posts which went viral for some time. There is no evidence whatsoever about the effect of steaming on coronavirus. So if you are wondering why you should steam your mattress, let me assure you that it’s not because you can get rid of the COVID-19 but for ensuring that the chemicals which you are going to use from now on do not put in a bad effect on the mattress itself. Some of the chemicals like alcohol may be reactive to your mattress fabric and may actually ruin your mattress. Moreover, The small amount of moisture in the steam will help the alcohol and disinfectant spread better over the mattress without making it wet and soggy. Steaming will help spread more alcohol/spirit/ disinfectant spread out deeper and better with lesser quantity. 

Step 4 : Disinfect

A wide range of disinfectants is available in the market. Choosing the right one is very important. Harsh chemicals may ruin your mattress and a mild one would have no effect on the Covid-19 virus. Your options are

  1. UVC Lamp Disinfect – You could use a UVC Lamp from amazon and run the lamp across the entire mattress from side to side, top and bottom. Though there are a lot of theories stating that the UVC may be harmful for your body, you can be sure that its safe for use on top of your mattress. There are no side effects to the use of UV light on a mattress. UVC light has been in use in China to disinfect everything from floors to buses after the covid-19 pandemic. It seems to have worked there and we would want to believe it works on a mattress top too.
    Pros: No Side effects. Easy to use and less time-consuming. No liquid mess
    Cons : No clear evidence on its effectiveness. Many claims but no assurance.
  2. Antibacterial spray: There are sprays available in the market specifically for mattresses. These antibacterial sprays are effective in controlling allergic symptoms related to bacteria in the mattress. Unfortunately this may or may not be effective against Covid-19 and you need to be sure that it is before you purchase one. Antibacterial sprays usually come in concentrate form and should be mixed with water before spraying. Mixing instructions vary from product to product.
    Cons : Tedious mixing process. May or may not work . Some products contain bleach which may damage the mattress. Possibility of stains from the product color.
  3. Alcohol Based disinfectants & Vodka : Most alcohol based disinfectants work great to rid of covid-19. Alcohol is also safe to use as it evaporates in a few seconds leaving no trace of the product. Most alcohol based products will have a small odor to it. Test it in a small area of your mattress to ensure that there are no stains or reaction to the mattress. Also test it on a cotton swab and leave it for a few minutes before testing for odor. If the swab does not smell anymore and does not leave stains, you can be sure that the product will work . Its a good idea to dilute the alcohol base with water before spraying the same onto the mattress. If you have already steamed the mattress, you can spray a slightly concentrated level on your mattress. Do not use fully concentrated alcohol on your mattress. If you do not have alcohol , go ahead and use vodka. Just be sure that it does not leave a smell after the use.
    Pros : Proven, Effective and easy to use. Safe
    Cons : A bit tedious 

Step 5: Drying it out

Once Disinfected, leave the mattress to dry indoors in a well-ventilated room. Leave the fan running to speed up the process. Ensure that the mattress is dry before putting on the sheets or using it. Even a bit of moisture in any corner of the mattress will lead to molds and fungus over a period of time. If needed, turn the mattress upside down and ensure the bottom area of the mattress is dry too. A day extra in drying is always better than finding molds after a week.

Process to change or purchase a New mattress

It may be necessary that you purchase a new mattress. You may not be mentally prepared to use the old mattress or its time you Replaced your old mattress. Whatever may be the case, You may want to check out and prepare yourself for the purchase. Before you even purchase a new mattress, ensure that you have a face mask, Gloves and hand sanitizers ready. You need to understand that white glove delivery requires a delivery person to enter your home. Practice social distancing. Wear a mask and ask the person setting up the mattress to disinfect their hand with the hand sanitizer you provide. Ensure that the person does not touch anywhere else. Do not Help them transport the mattress to your room. Let them do their job. If they are infected, they may transmit the virus to you and if you are carrying the virus already, you may infect them. 

Things you need to take care of when you purchase a new mattress

  1. Try not to use a white glove delivery services. It may be a bit painful to set up a mattress but it’s worth the effort. The lesser the time someone whom you don’t know spends at your home, the lesser the chances of them infecting you or you infecting them.
  2. If you are indeed going for a white glove delivery, ensure that you keep a distance from the person who is delivering and setting up your mattress. Ensure that they remove everything away including the plastic covers and cardboard boxes. The only thing they should leave is the paperwork and the mattress. Everything else goes with the delivery guys. If they are not willing to take the boxes and covers, ensure that they leave the boxes and covers in a secluded room which will not be used for the next 4 days. 
  3. Always use a Glove and facemask while handling your package and wear them till you unpack the mattress. Use a hand sanitizer if you do not have a glove after you have finished setting up the mattress. Also, ensure that you don’t touch your face while you set up the mattress
  4. Once the mattress is set up, Let it be. Air the mattress for the next 3 days and do not touch it. 3 Days are good enough time to get rid of the virus. To be on the safer side, let it be for 4 days. This will not only get rid of the virus if any, but also remove the chemicals involved in packaging and manufacturing. Offgassing is often common in all mattresses and will ensure that you are not affected if you are allergic to chemicals.
  5. Ensure that your old mattress is removed safely. Follow the steps below to safely remove your old mattress.

Mattress Removal

It’s important that you be careful while you purchase your new mattress but its just as important that you ensure that your old mattress is removed safely without infecting someone. If you or a member of your family is already infected, ensure that you disinfect your old mattress before asking a mattress removal service company to get rid of it. Ensure that the mattress is aired out, preferably in the sun for at least 4 days before they take the mattress away. Chances are its already safe after 5 days in the sun. If you think you need to disinfect the mattress thoroughly, follow the Disinfection process above before you ask for mattress removal. 

During these tough times, ensure that your community is safe. Practice safe distance and also practice safe garbage removal. Ensure that you store all your waste products in a covered Garbage bag for at least 3 days before sending it out. Do your part to keep the community safe.